King’s Ranch Chicken Casserole

King's Ranch Chicken Casserole

This little number is all over the internet in one form or another.  Most recipes are fairly much alike without much deviation. Although it is so prevalent, I had never made it nor eaten it. That’s too bad because I have been missing a really good casserole. The flavors are simple, yet rustic in a Tex-Mex sort of way, reminiscent of enchiladas, except actually better.

I can’t claim to be the one who started this recipe; however, I can say that this is my own version of the popular classic. I lightened up on the ‘cream of…’ soups, choosing to use the lower salt/lower fat versions of those soups. Good thing, too, because there is a moderate possibility that I used extra cheese (she said with wide-eyed innocence).

The flavor has been updated just a bit with fresh garlic and chipotle chile powder. I love the smoky heat that chipotle brings to this dish. Additionally, I used a poblano pepper in place of the standard green bell pepper. The first time I made this casserole was from a fairly standard recipe. The second time I made it, the few small changes that I’ve mentioned made big flavor difference. I hope that you enjoy this version of an old classic.

There’s one more thing I’d like to say before I leave you with the recipe. As I previously stated, I used “cream of” soups in this casserole. Perhaps at a later time I will work out the recipe using a bechemel. For now, however, I am staying with the more traditional recipe. If you decide to switch over to the bechemel, please drop back by and let us know how it worked for you. You’ll need about 2 1/2 cups of the sauce.

King's Ranch Chicken Casserole


King’s Ranch Chicken Casserole

Some slight updates have been added to this classic King's Ranch Chicken Casserole, but all of the great Tex-Mex flavor is still there!


  • 3 cups cooked chicken, diced (I used a rotisserie chicken from the deli section of my grocery store.)
  • 1 medium onion, medium diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, medium diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I used the lower salt/lower fat version)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I used the lower salt/lower fat version)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 9" x 13" casserole dish, or one of equal volume. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil when the pan is hot. Add the onion, garlic and poblano pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent. Lower the heat if necessary to keep the vegetables from burning.
  3. When the vegetables are tender, add the soups, undrained tomatoes, undrained green chiles, chipotle chili powder and cumin. Stir until well combined, then stir in the diced chicken.
  4. To assemble:
  5. Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it around. The sauce does not have to completely cover the bottom of the dish.
  6. Place 4 tortillas on top of the sauce, tearing the tortillas as needed to fit the dish. Put 1/3 of the remaining chicken sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the chicken sauce.
  7. Repeat layers (tortillas, sauce, cheese) twice more, ending with cheese on top.
  8. Bake at 350-degrees F for about 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Cool ten minutes before serving.


Chipotle chile powder can be hot for some folks. Regular chile powder can be used instead of the chipotle chile powder if you'd like a milder flavor.

King's Ranch Chicken Casserole

You may also like:

Easy Mexican Rice
Easy Mexican Rice
Refried Beans
Refried Beans
Shredded Beef Enchiladas with the BEST Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Shredded Beef Enchiladas with the BEST Homemade Enchilada Sauce


  1. Anonymous says

    This is a big casserole here in Texas and it is pretty yummy I personally haven’t made it but maybe I will now 🙂

      • reen says

        That’s because it supposedly originated as “Chicken Casserole for Company,” a recipe by Sylvia Paulk who worked at the King Ranch for many years. It’s the official Texas state casserole. LOL I like how your version looks…will try this next time!

        • says

          Well. Leave it to me to go messin’ with Texas. The official Texas state casserole? I’m lucky to still have my skin intact for changing anything with it. Maybe I can be forgiven since I lived in Houston for a while. 😉

          Thanks for letting me know the origins of the casserole. I love it when a particular dish has a history. Have a good day, Reen! ~Terri

  2. Sally K. says

    So Terri – I’m just curious. This sounds delicious, but in your ingredients list, you state 6″ corn tortillas, but in your assembly you state flour tortillas. Which is it? I think we would really love this casserole. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Sally. Corn tortillas is correct. Thanks for letting me know about the error in the recipe. I also made an additional clarification in the assembly instructions, indicating that 4 tortillas are to be used in each tortilla layer. I hope that this dish works well for you and your family. Have a great day. ~Terri

      PS–I found a quick video at Southern Living which shows how to make this casserole. The ingredients are very slightly different, but the assembly method is pretty much the same. They tear the corn tortillas into 1-inch pieces, which I have done in the past, too. It’s inconsequential to the outcome of the casserole. Anyway, it’s a fun little video and gets you all pumped to make King’s Ranch Casserole!

      • Sally K. says

        Thanks for the clarification. I plan on making the stuffed burrito’s as well. I just discovered your site and I’m in heaven! 🙂

        • says

          You’re welcome, Sally. I keep going back through my older recipes and am shocked at how I used to write them. I still make mistakes from time to time when I write, but at the least the recipes, overall, are written better. lol I’d better double check the burrito recipe and make sure I got it all straight!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *