King Ranch Chicken Casserole
I’m always enamored by the vast variety of regional specialties found in Texas. It seems Texas pride reaches into every element of life, especially local dishes.
My brother introduced me to a Texas chicken casserole I had never tried before, King Ranch Chicken Casserole.
History Of Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole
King Ranch, one of the largest and most historically innovative ranches in the world, was founded in the 1800’s by a runaway, Richard King, who made a name for himself later in life in both the steamboat industry and ranching.
These days many things are named after the epic King Ranch, from lavish leather car interiors and furniture, to creamy casserole recipes.
I’m not sure there’s a final word on whether Texas King Ranch Casserole actually originated at King Ranch, or whether it’s just a popular Texan title to tag on.
Either way, this ultra creamy enchilada style chicken casserole is a massive hit with anyone who tastes it.
Epic in its own right.
Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Made From Scratch
When researching King Ranch Chicken Casserole, I found most recipes include condensed cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup.
However, I am not really a fan of adding processed condensed soup to any recipe. I find you can get better flavor and texture with fresh ingredients.
So I started from scratch with sour cream, green chiles, and tomatillo salsa verde, then tossed it with fresh cilantro and chopped chicken.
The result is a super silky casserole base with a hint of spice.
This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a wonderful freezer make-ahead meal, and is also handy for potlucks and tailgating!
Homemade King Ranch Chicken Casserole
The creamy, savory chicken filling is layered in a casserole dish with shredded cheese and torn tortillas, then baked until golden and bubbly.
The rich sauce saturates the tortillas, forming tender decadent layers of spicy, cheesy goodness.
Here are the wonderfully simple ingredients you’ll need:
- Chopped cooked chicken – you can use leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken to make this recipe even easier!
- Sour cream
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Garlic – peeled and minced
- Jarred tomatillo salsa verde – your choice of mild or hot
- Chopped green chiles – 13.5 oz can
- Cilantro – chopped
- Ground cumin
- Shredded Mexican style cheese
- White corn tortillas
How to Make the BEST King Ranch Chicken Casserole
I think my Texan friends would approve of this Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe.
It has a definitive Tex-Mex flavor, an overall luxurious quality, and can be thrown together in minutes to feed the masses! One casserole is enough to yield 16 deliciously satisfying servings.
Here’s how to easily put together this scrumptious dish:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a skillet over medium heat and add the butter, chopped onions, and minced garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
2. Next, in a large bowl mix the sautéed onions and garlic, chopped precooked chicken, sour cream, salsa verde, chopped green chiles, cilantro, and cumin.
3. Tear the tortillas into rough pieces. Spoon one-quarter of the chicken filling in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese. Then spread a single layer of torn tortillas over the top.
Repeat layering the chicken filling, cheese, and tortillas three layers high, using up all the tortillas. Spread the last one-quarter of chicken filling and 1 cup of cheese over the top.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the King Ranch Chicken Casserole is golden and bubbly. Wait at least 5 minutes before cutting, and serve warm.
My brother would tell you it’s best with Cholula, a popular hot sauce in Texas, doused over the top.
Get The Full Texas King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe Below!
Can This Casserole Recipe Be Made Ahead of Time?
Yes! I love making this chicken casserole a few days before I am planning to enjoy.
Simply allow to cool completely before wrapping, and keep in the freezer for up to three months or in the fridge for up to three days.
If frozen, allow the casserole to thaw completely before reheating. Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly hot.
Is King Ranch Chicken Casserole Gluten Free, Low Carb and/or Keto-Friendly?
This recipe is naturally gluten free, but be sure you double-check the ingredients list for your corn tortillas and shredded cheese: some brands use gluten-based preservatives.
You can easily make King Ranch Chicken Casserole keto by substituting the white corn tortillas for a keto-friendly tortilla made with coconut, almond and/or cassava flour.
Looking for More Favorite One-Pan Recipes?
- One-Pot Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Pot Pie Stuffed Peppers
- Mom’s Best Beef Pot Roast
- Easy Jambalya
- Mexican Street Corn Chicken Chili
- Buffalo Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Balsamic Steak Sheet Pan Dinner
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- 5 cups chopped cooked chicken (use leftovers or a rotisserie chicken)
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 16 ounces jarred tomatillo salsa verde, mild or hot
- 13.5 ounces chopped green chiles
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 cups shredded Mexican style cheese
- 20 white corn tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a skillet over medium heat and add the butter, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- In a large bowl mix the sautéed onions and garlic, chopped chicken, sour cream, salsa verde, chopped green chiles, cilantro, and cumin.
- Tear the tortillas into rough pieces. Spoon one-quarter of the chicken filling in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese. Then spread a single layer of torn tortillas over the top. Repeat layering the chicken filling, cheese, and tortillas three layers high, using up all the tortillas. Spread the last one-quarter of chicken filling and 1 cup of cheese over the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Wait at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serve warm!
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