King Ranch Chicken Casserole

This Texan classic, creamy cheesy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe is a guaranteed mood enhancer for cold winter evenings.

The Absolute Best Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |
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Over the holidays I visited my brother in Texas.

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.

Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |

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.

How To Make Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |

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 to Make Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |

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’m 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.

Best Ever Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe with Doritos |

Homemade King Ranch Chicken Casserole

The creamy chicken filling is layered in a casserole dish with shredded cheese and torn tortillas, then baked until golden and bubbly.

The creamy sauce saturates the tortillas forming tender decadent layers of spicy cheesy goodness.

Texas King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |

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!

Best Texas King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |

King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a wonderful freezer make-ahead meal, and is also handy for potlucks and tailgating.

My brother would tell you it’s best with Cholula, a popular hot sauce in Texas, doused over the top.

Find more of our Favorite One-Pan Recipes. You might also like our One-Pot Chicken Noodle Casserole and our Chicken Pot Pie Stuffed Peppers.

Get The Full Texas King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe Below!

The Absolute Best Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe |
5 from 18 votes

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole loaded with chicken, tortillas, cheese, and green chiles. This zesty King Ranch Casserole Recipe is packed with comfort, not canned soup!

Servings: 16
Nutrition Facts
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 310 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 585mg 24%
Potassium 298mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin A 13.2%
Vitamin C 13.3%
Calcium 39.7%
Iron 7.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • 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
  • cups shredded Mexican style cheese
  • 20 white corn tortillas


  1. 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.

  2. In a large bowl mix the sautéed onions and garlic, chopped 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 golden and bubbly. Wait at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serve warm!

Recipe Notes

This chicken casserole does freeze well! Leave it out at room temperature to thaw completely before baking. 

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54 comments on “King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  1. Yvonneposted March 22, 2019 at 11:22 pm Reply

    As true as the other reviews, this recipe was a huge hit! I made it exactly as written. For those who like measurements instead of sizes, my large sweet yellow onion chopped up to be a little over two cups and it was just right. This is a definite keeper for many occasions and a feed-all casual dinner!

  2. Katieposted March 20, 2019 at 8:30 pm Reply

    Just tried this tonight for dinner and it was such a huge hit and feeds an army!!! Love it! 

  3. Chef Mikeposted February 18, 2019 at 7:58 pm Reply

    Two things:
    1) This was delicious and will be making again 
    2) There’s actually no ranch in this recipe 

    • Sommer Collierposted February 19, 2019 at 11:38 am Reply

      Hi Mike,

      LOL! Yes, the title actually refers to the famous King Ranch in Texas, not the ingredient. However, maybe we should make a version with ranch dressing in it?

  4. SANDY Johnsonposted February 13, 2019 at 6:55 pm Reply

    Tweek it as you wish

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  7. Amber Matthewsposted December 28, 2018 at 3:00 pm Reply

    Hi, I had a quick question and hope you can get back to me quickly as I am in the process of making my grocery list. I wanted to make this recipe, “King Ranch Chicken Casserole”, for a potluck that’s on Sunday. I was wondering if you used White Onions or Yellow Onions for your recipe as you did not specify. I want to make sure I make it with the correct ingredients, so everyone will love this dish. I have never made it before, so I’m not sure what is best. Thank you for your time.

    • Sommer Collierposted December 28, 2018 at 3:58 pm Reply

      Hi Amber,

      You can use either. I almost always use sweet onions, but this casserole will taste great no matter which variety you choose. :)

  8. Karenposted December 13, 2018 at 6:45 pm Reply

    Our family loves this recipe. With four teen boys , I’m always looking for something they will all like… this is it! On a cold day in Colorado, like today, this is a go-to recipe. Thanks for making it so yummy without the processed soup!

  9. CHERYL F CATLETTposted December 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm Reply

    I saw this question in the comments, but not an answer. Is the amount for the green chilies 13.5 oz. as printed OR should it have been 3.5 ounces? Thanks!

    • Sommer Collierposted December 19, 2018 at 5:58 pm Reply

      Hi Cheryl!

      You will need 3 – 4.5 ounce cans, or 13.5 ounces. :)

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  11. Maria Williamsposted November 29, 2018 at 3:28 am Reply

    Wonderful!!!! This was my first time making King Ranch and my whole family loved it. They said it a keeper. I also appreciate there is not canned cream soups! Thank you for sharing this great recipe. Regards Maria

  12. Anastasia Ensmingerposted November 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm Reply

    I am guessing that you meant a  3.5 oz can of chiles, not 13.5 oz. Made it with the one 3.5 oz can and it was fantastic!

  13. SharonKposted November 27, 2018 at 2:10 pm Reply

    Hi, Sommer.  I love your blog and your recipes. I live south of Houston, TX, and I have to say, your King Ranch Chicken Casserole is very different from what I am accustomed to. We have always used cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups and Rotel tomatoes. That said, your recipe absolutely sounds delicious, and I am anxious to try it. Thanks for sharing this new version of a classic Texas dish!

    • Janey Phillipsposted November 27, 2018 at 8:02 pm Reply

      Absolutely, Sharonk! This is not the King Ranch Casserole most Texans know, not to say this can’t be good. As a matter of fact, Sommer’s recipe closely resembles my Chicken Enchilada casserole.

    • Sommer Collierposted November 28, 2018 at 7:58 pm Reply

      Hi Sharon,

      LOL! Yes, I know that is the classic preparation. Secretly I have an aversion to adding canned soup to flavor recipes. It’s a personal problem. ;)

      I adjusted the recipe to taste like the one my brother introduced me too… without the canned soup. I figure there are others out there like me.

  14. Nancy McDonaldposted November 4, 2018 at 7:41 pm Reply

    I liked it but it was too spicy for my kids. Next time, I will cut the onions by half.

  15. Patricia Mackeyposted October 31, 2018 at 10:30 pm Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you for creating and sharing a recipe for this casserole that does not include any cream of soup. I cannot stand any dish that includes cream of soups and this is the first recipe for King Ranch Casserole that I have found that doesn’t have that in it. Thank you

  16. Bridgieposted October 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm Reply

    I followed the recipe exactly and it came out battery. Any ideas?

    • Bridgieposted October 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm Reply


      • Sommer Collierposted October 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

        Hi Bridgie,

        I’m sorry that happened. I’m guess it that you used a very watery salsa verde. It that possible?

  17. Dana Hposted October 2, 2018 at 10:13 am Reply

    I covered four chicken breasts in jar of salsa verde and cooked low and slow in crock pot for about 7 hours to really infuse flavor. When I got home from work, I pulled out chicken and let cool slightly then cut it up (~4.5 cups). So very tender! Then I put recipe together and popped it in the oven. Topped with sour cream, more salsa verde (or Herdez guacamole salsa – addictive!), diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and green onion. It was absolutely delicious! 

  18. Lindseyposted September 7, 2018 at 1:18 pm Reply

    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!

  19. Julieposted August 18, 2018 at 2:54 pm Reply

    10 STARS, SOME REASON I cant get the stars to clic, I posted a comment that actually appeared on my search. So I see I must post it here too. I made this mayebe a couple months ago, WOW! I was skeptical at first being all king ranch recipes are basically all the same! This was screaming “try me” I will never make the old ways again, this is in a category of it’s own! Delicious and thank GOD I tried it. Rotisserie chicken is the way to go!

  20. Dianaposted July 20, 2018 at 6:08 pm Reply

    This is delicious and so easy to make! 

  21. Julieposted June 13, 2018 at 2:17 am Reply

    PENOMINAL! I actually already commented on the recipe posted before hitting “read me” I posted a picture as well. IT’S A KEEPER! Followed as it said, no changes, after all if I changed it, I wouldn’t be reviewing for others on this specific recipe! I hate when people do that crap. If you don’t make don’t review, want opinions on the recipe at hand.

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  23. Tamara Carpenterposted November 29, 2017 at 11:55 am Reply

    Can you make this the day before and heat up? Do the corn tortillas need to be heated prior to placing in dish?

  24. Deborah lynchposted November 4, 2017 at 11:48 am Reply

    Easy and wonderful. Everyone loved it. 

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  26. T Jposted September 21, 2017 at 11:04 am Reply

    Does this freeze well?

    • Sommerposted September 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm Reply

      Hi TJ,

      Absolutely! Just wrap it very well, so it doesn’t get freezer burn. :)

  27. Ericaposted August 28, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply

    Has anyone successfully assembled, frozen and then baked at a later date? Thinking about making this for a friend who just had a baby. I thought about assembling it and taking it to them the same day. That way they could immediately bake and eat or put in the freezer for later? Suggested baking times from frozen? Thanks all!

  28. Tacy Tposted February 27, 2017 at 4:10 pm Reply

    For a real splurge – make it with Doritos instead of corn tortillas. Nacho cheese and regular. YUMMO.

    • Sommerposted March 1, 2017 at 7:14 pm Reply

      Niiiiiiiiiiiice! I’m going to have to try that. :)

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  35. Sharon @ Grits andPineconesposted January 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply

    I have made this dish many times with cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. But, I can’t wait to try your version. It looks delicious! 

  36. Stephanie @ Stephanie's Az kitchenposted January 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm Reply

    My boys would love this and make ahead meals are huge for my family during the week. Lol might sneak some kale in there too

  37. Emily @ Life on Foodposted January 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

    Oh my goodness this sounds delicious. And so perfect for a cold night.

  38. marlaposted January 20, 2016 at 12:21 pm Reply

    My family will LOVE this casserole!!!

  39. Mariaposted January 20, 2016 at 11:20 am Reply

    I love any meal you can make ahead and stick in the freezer!

  40. Kevin @ Closet Cookingposted January 20, 2016 at 10:36 am Reply

    Now this is one yummy looking casserole! 

  41. naomiposted January 20, 2016 at 10:20 am Reply

    My boys love this cheesy, hearty casserole!

  42. Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountainposted January 20, 2016 at 9:39 am Reply

    Now, this is only way to get over the hump! Great recipe, Sommer! 

  43. Lizposted January 20, 2016 at 8:51 am Reply

    Thank you. Sounds really good, but really fattening.

    • Sommerposted January 20, 2016 at 9:10 am Reply

      Hey Liz, LOL! It is a splurge, but you could make the same recipe with low fat sour cream and low fat cheese. :)

  44. [email protected]posted January 20, 2016 at 6:36 am Reply

    Sounds so very American and delicious!