King Ranch Chicken With Flour Tortillas

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This King Ranch Chicken with Flour Tortillas is a quick and delicious recipe. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, it’s perfect for a tasty meal that the whole family will enjoy.

For today’s recipe, we are making King Ranch Chicken With Flour Tortillas. Usually I am all about the low fat recipes but after pulling out the flour tortillas and thinking back on when I was a kid and made them at home with my mom, I just couldn’t resist but to add some full fat items to the recipe.

KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

This creamy, cheesy, King Ranch Chicken Casserole is an easy dinner recipe for busy weeknights. Layers of flour tortillas, chicken, and a creamy sauce make it a family favorite!

We love easy recipes and casseroles like this chicken king ranch casserole are right at the top of the list. They are the ultimate comfort food and so simple to make.

Just a little bit of slicing, a quick saute, and opening a few cans and you’re ready to throw it altogether and into the oven.

The result is show stopping delicious king ranch chicken. Featuring a zesty, creamy sauce, hearty chunks of chicken, layers of tortillas and plenty of cheese, even the pickiest kid will gobble this up!

INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe for king ranch chicken.

  • Butter – Butter makes it richer, but you can use olive oil if you prefer.
  • Bell Peppers – You can use any color you prefer.
  • Onion – We use either white or yellow onions.
  • Condensed Soups – We make it using both Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup and  Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, but you could use more Cream of Chicken Soup instead of Cream of Mushroom if you prefer or have an allergy.
  • Diced Tomatoes and Chilies – You don’t need to drain the can. We typically use Rotel since it is our favorite.
  • Chicken Breast – You can use rotisserie or another cooked chicken breast.
  • Flour Tortillas – You can use your favorite brand.
  • Cheddar Cheese – If you prefer, you can use another cheese like monterey jack or other similar cheeses.

HOW DO YOU MAKE KING RANCH CHICKEN FROM SCRATCH? 

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 325°F. As it heats, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the peppers and onions. You’ll need to cook them for about 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin to soften.

Step 2 – Mix in the soups and other ingredients. Once the onions and peppers are ready, mix in the Cream of Mushroom soup, Cream of Chicken soup, diced tomatoes & chilies, and chicken.

Step 3 – Assemble and bake. First, spray a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Once the pan is ready, add1/3 of tortilla strips to the bottom of the dish, followed by 1/3 of the chicken and soup mixture, and then 1 cup of cheese. Repeat the layers two more times with the final layer being cheese.

Finally, bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly. Serve fresh from the oven when your favorite veggies or other sides.

WHY IS IT CALLED KING RANCH CHICKEN? 

Oddly enough, no one knows much about the actual origins of the casserole. All anyone knows is that it gets its name from King Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States. But the real kicker is that it actually has no connection to the ranch and the origin of the Tex-Mex style casserole is a bit of a mystery.

WHAT CHICKEN SHOULD I USE? 

The easiest and fastest option is to keep some cooked chicken on hand and ready to go. When we make our  Crock Pot shredded chicken or Instant Pot shredded chicken, we always make a big batch of it. This way, we can make some sandwiches or dinner and keep some in the freezer for other recipes.

When we run out or haven’t made them in a while, we’ll either saute some chicken in a skillet with a little salt and pepper or if you’re trying to save time you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or canned chicken. These are all great options when you just want to throw together a casserole at the last minute.

HOW DO YOU REHEAT KING RANCH CHICKEN?

You can reheat leftovers a couple of ways.

If you are looking for a leftover dinner for the whole family, the easiest way is to place the whole casserole back in the oven set at 300 degrees. It will need to heat for several minutes or until it has warmed through. 

When you are looking for a single serving, you can scoop some out and place it in a microwave safe bowl or dish. We recommend covering it and cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes or until warmed through.

KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE — TORTILLAS, CHICKEN, PEPPERS, CHEESE AND A CREAMY SAUCE ARE LAYERED TOGETHER IN THIS CROWD-PLEASING SOUTHWEST CASSEROLE.

This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is one of our family’s favorite dishes. I once fed it to a couple of hungry young men and they suggested I open a restaurant! I don’t know many restaurants that serve casserole, but it is good.

I did a bit of research into the recipe’s origins and discovered that while there is a King Ranch in Texas, they don’t claim to have come up with the recipe.

EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY LOVED THIS RECIPE. IT IS DEFINITELY GOING INTO OUR REGULAR MENU ROTATION. ~ MELISSA

I do know that true King Ranch Chicken calls for corn tortillas, but I’m the only one in the family who likes them, so I use flour instead.

Of course, if you wanted to make a gluten-free version of this casserole, corn tortillas would be the way to go. We like a bit of extra heat, so I sometimes replace the green pepper with a diced jalapeno or two.

And of course, a rotisserie chicken is one of my favorite time-savers when I make this meal. I also love that I can prep it early in the day and then just pop it in the oven when it’s time to make dinner.

No matter what kind of tortillas you use, when you layer them with tender chicken, peppers, cheese and a creamy sauce, you have a winner!

I MADE THIS RECIPE EXACTLY AS DIRECTED EXCEPT I USED PLAIN GREEK YOGURT INSTEAD OF SOUR CREAM, AND I USED CANNED CHICKEN BREAST. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS AND SO EASY AND QUICK TO MAKE! ~ MARIA

This is one of my go-to recipes when I’m craving comfort food. No matter how often I make this casserole, my family looks forward to it, and I rarely have leftovers.

Just a note: the original recipe calls for 2 cans of diced tomatoes and green chilies.  I find that one is plenty, but feel free to add another if you like a saucier casserole.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSSEROLE

  • Chicken
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Butter
  • Produce: onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic
  • Chicken broth
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • Canned diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • Spices: salt, oregano, cumin, chili powder
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tortillas

KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

yield: 8 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 40 MINUTES

total time: 55 MINUTES

Tortillas, chicken, peppers, cheese and a creamy sauce are layered together in this crowd-pleasing Southwest casserolePRINT

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 8-10 (8-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and shred into bite size pieces.
  3. Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until tender. Add bell peppers and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes more.
  4. Stir in chicken broth, both soups, diced tomatoes and green chilies, salt and spices. Return the shredded chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until mixture is heated through.
  5. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the bottom of the pan to coat.
  6. Layer with half of the tortilla strips.Top with half of the chicken mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers once (tortilla strips, chicken mixture, cheese).
  7. Cover and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for and additional 5-10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole (Easy Recipe)

King Ranch chicken casserole is the perfect solution to big hunger and busy weeknights!

They say this chicken casserole is a Texas potluck staple. From that, you can tell this casserole is a.) massive and b.) delicious.

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With a whopping total of 11 layers, this casserole can definitely feed a hungry crowd.

It has everything you’re looking for in comfort food, as well. Chicken, cheese, cream, the works! 

It’s also easy to make, especially with lots of shortcut ingredients such as store-bought chicken, canned soup, and tomatoes.

If you’re looking for a shoulder to cry on, this dish is where you’ll find it! 

What Is King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

King Ranch casserole is a creamy and cheesy casserole with layers of white sauce, shredded chicken, corn tortillas, and lots and lots of melty cheese.

It’s named after King Ranch, which is one of the largest ranches in the US.

Funnily enough, none of the elements in the casserole has anything to do with the ranch. In fact, the ranch doesn’t even raise chicken!

Ingredients

  • Chicken – You can cook the chicken however you like it – boiled, roasted, slow-cooked, grilled, you name it. Or, you can also make life a breeze by getting rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Debone the chicken and chop or shred it to pieces.
  • White Onion and Red and Green Bell Peppers – For a bit of heat and crunch. You can use poblanos instead of bell peppers if you like.
  • Condensed Soup – mushroom and chicken
  • Canned Tomatoes and Green Chiles – AKA Ro-Tel. You can also use fresh tomatoes and green chiles if you’re willing to make the extra effort.
  • Chicken Broth – This is to saturate the condensed soups and give your sauce a smooth consistency. Use low-sodium broth if you want to reduce the amount of sodium in the casserole.
  • Sour Cream – For an added layer of richness and creaminess.
  • Spices and Seasonings – This isn’t set in stone, so feel free to use your own personal blend. If you don’t have one, though, I highly recommend a mix of ground cumin, ancho chile powder, dried oregano, and chipotle chile powder.
  • Cheese – Grated cheddar, Colby jack, Mexican blend, or any cheese variety that melts well.
  • Corn Tortillas – Cut them up in quarters (4 wedges) to make them easy to layer and fit into the pan.

How to Make King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Step 1: Saute the onion and bell peppers. Normally, this’ll take 5-7 minutes. But in this case, you only want to par-cook the vegetables. They’ll continue to soften as they bake, so you don’t want to overcook them.

Step 2: Make the sauce: Combine the sauteed vegetables, condensed soups, canned tomatoes and chiles, chicken broth, sour cream, and spices.

Taste and season accordingly.

Step 3: Assemble the casserole. This recipe needs 4 layers of sauce, 2 layers of chicken, 3 layers of cheese, and 2 layers of tortillas, so divide them accordingly.

Here’s how the layers should go:

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  • Sauce, just a bit
  • Chicken
  • Sauce 
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas 
  • Chicken
  • Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Sauce
  • Cheese

Step 4: Bake the casserole for 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, increase the temperature to 450 and bake the casserole for about 2-3 more minutes, until it turns golden on top.

Tips for the Best Chicken Casserole

  • Don’t swap flour tortillas for corn tortillas. They might look similar, but the texture isn’t the same, especially when they bake. Flour tortillas will fall apart during baking and turn into a gloppy, cereal-like consistency. For best results, stick to corn tortillas.
  • Don’t saute the onions and bell peppers too long. You won’t want them to soften too much because they add a nice textural variety to the otherwise purely tender and creamy casserole. 
  • Pick any variety of canned tomatoes and green chiles. If you’re also serving this casserole to kids, consider using the mild kind.
  • Any kind of condensed soup works. You can even use reduced-sodium condensed soups if you want to limit the amount of sodium that goes into the casserole.
  • Choose any kind of melty cheese. Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, Colby, Gouda, Swiss – whatever’s already in your fridge. 
  • Grate the cheese yourself for maximum melting. Pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose, an anti-caking agent that keeps the cheese from melting at its best.
  • Go crazy with the spices and seasonings. Don’t feel like you’re tied to whatever’s written in the recipe. Consider any or all of these options:
    • California or regular chili powder
    • Jalapenos
    • Smoked, sweet, or regular paprika
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Basil
  • Give the casserole an element of crunch by garnishing it with crushed corn chips. Use your favorite kind! I personally prefer Tostitos.

Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions

Fridge

Allow any leftover chicken casserole to cool completely before you store it. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Reheat the slices in the microwave until warmed through.

Freezer

King Ranch chicken casserole will keep well in the fridge for up to 6 months! I suggest you double the recipe, serve one casserole, and freeze the other for another day.

Be sure to assemble the layers in a freezer-safe container. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.

Let the casserole thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese bubbles, about 20-25 minutes.

Make-Ahead 

You can assemble the layers up to a day in advance. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.

Take the casserole out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Bake as instructed.

You can also freeze the casserole prior to baking. Again, it will keep well for up to 6 months.

To bake frozen, uncooked casserole, cover it with foil and bake it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake it for 15 to 30 minutes more, or until the cheese bubbles.

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