Chicken Taco Casserole

Chicken Taco Casserole

The Chicken Taco Casserole is the dinner that everyone will clean their plates after! This dish is layered with all of the best flavors of a chicken taco, from the succulent meat to the crispy tortilla shells, and all of it is baked together to perfection.

In addition to being delicious, this recipe is quick and easy to prepare. It’s a great meal for the busiest weeknight or any time of the week when you feel like some Mexican comfort food.

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Chicken Taco Casserole
Chicken Taco Casserole

Ingredients That You’ll Need:

  • Shredded chicken – This recipe can be made with any type of shredded chicken that has a neutral flavor or a Mexican flavor. It is my favorite kind of chicken to use, just pulled right off the bones of a rotisserie chicken. But you can also use baked, boiled, or leftover chicken.
  • Salsa – If you would like to add specific flavors to your salsa, you can use your favorite type. Although I really love fresh salsa, I prefer a thicker salsa for this recipe so that the sauce can really coat the chicken and not make the casserole watery.
  • Taco seasoning – Store-bought seasoning, as well as homemade seasoning, will both work well in this recipe. Using homemade is a good option if you have special dietary needs, especially if you know that it is gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. In addition, homemade stuff usually turns out to be fabulous!
  • Refried beans
  • Cheddar cheese – With this particular dish, I enjoy the taste of cheddar and use sharp cheese so that the flavor comes through without having to use a lot of cheese.

Important note: For details on how long to cook the chicken at home to prepare this delectable dish, please see our earlier post on How Long To Bake A Whole Chicken At 375.

Toppings:

  • Tortilla chips You can use the bottom chips of a bag that is getting close to empty for this! Alternatively, you can use the top chips.
  • Shredded Lettuce – This can be done with either romaine or iceberg lettuce. You can either chop the lettuce up yourself or you can buy shredded lettuce in a bag from the salad section at the grocery store.
  • Pico de gallo – You can either make this from scratch (it’s so easy!) or buy it in the fresh produce section at most grocery stores. Toppings such as this are among my favorites.

Is This Chicken Taco Casserole Recipe Gluten free/ Dairy free/ Nut-free..?

For those of you who have special dietary requirements, this recipe may meet some of those needs and can be easily modified to meet others.

Whenever possible, make sure that all the ingredients in store-bought items meet the requirements of your specific dietary needs. Please note that the notes below are general guidelines.

  • Gluten-free: Gluten-free versions of this Chicken Taco Casserole recipe are easy to make. To ensure gluten-free tacos, read the labels on premade ingredients, and make your own taco seasoning.
  • Dairy-free: If you would like to make this recipe dairy-free, just leave out the cheese layer and the sour cream.
  • Nut-free: It is a recipe that is naturally nut-free.
  • Egg-free: This recipe is naturally egg-free.
  • Low carb/Keto: For a low carb version of this Chicken Taco Casserole recipe, leave out the refried beans and chip layers.

How To Make Chicken Taco Casserole?

  1. Add the chicken, salsa, and taco seasoning to a large bowl and stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. In a 2 qt casserole dish, spread the refried beans evenly. Cover the beans with the chicken mix and top with cheese.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, until piping hot all the way through.
  4. Serve the casserole with crushed tortilla chips, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream on top.
Chicken Taco Casserole
Chicken Taco Casserole

Should the Chicken Taco Casserole be covered when baking?

No, it is not required. For those of you who find that your oven tends to dry out food, it would not hurt to cover the entire dish with aluminum foil before you place it in the oven.

For the last five minutes or so of cooking, you may want to remove the aluminum foil to ensure that the cheese is melted completely.

Recipe Variations

You can use these little tips to vary this recipe if you love it like we do, and want some quick ways to jazz it up for variety!

  • Cheesy Taco Casserole – Cheese is doubled in this version. In addition to the shredded chicken and salsa mixture, add one 8oz block of softened cream cheese in the recipe as directed. By doing this, it makes the casserole extra creamy, extra cheesy, and EXTRA delicious.
  • Ground Beef Taco Casserole – The recipe can be made as directed but the shredded chicken can be replaced with 2 lbs of cooked ground beef.
  • Taco Casserole with RiceYou will need 2 cups of prepared Mexican rice to make this version of the recipe. There are two ways in which you can prepare it :
    1. Add the rice to the refried beans and layer according to the instructions.
    2. As soon as the refried beans are spread on the bottom of the casserole dish, layer the rice over the beans, then place the chicken mixture on top of the rice and continue to bake as instructed.

What to Serve with Chicken Taco Casserole?

This casserole is one of the best because it has a great combination of meat, beans, cheese, and veggies, all in one dish. As a result, this meal can be considered a filling and wholesome meal in itself.

In addition to having the classic flavors of tacos, this recipe will pair well with many of your favorite Mexican side dishes as well. The classic options are available along with some healthy options to keep it light.

Check out this post What To Serve With Chicken Casserole for a variety of other Serving Ideas for the Chicken Taco Casserole.

How do I know when the Chicken Taco Casserole is done cooking?

It is true that there are a few visual indications that a casserole is almost cooked, but you cannot rely on them exclusively. You should look for lots of bubbles along the side of the casseroles, as this is the place where the hot air is escaping the Chicken Taco Casserole, and also check the top, which should be golden brown and crispy.

In case both of those conditions are present, then you will need to use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature in the center. It should register 165 degrees F to be considered safe to eat.

Chicken Taco Casserole
Chicken Taco Casserole

Recipe Short Cuts

Here are a few ways to make this recipe even faster if you don’t have much time.

  • Preparation ahead – The chicken can be cooked and shredded up to 2 days in advance, as well as the toppings such as pico de gallo and shredded lettuce.
  • Buying ready-made foods – These items can be bought pre-cut at the store, such as shredded or pulled chicken, refrigerated beans, taco seasoning, pico de gallo, and lettuce.
  • Cook the Casserole – You can prepare the taco casserole through step 2 up to 24 hours in advance so that it’s ready to go into the oven. Once it is ready, put it in the oven and continue with step 3.

How To Make Chicken Taco Casserole Ahead?

In order to prepare this Chicken Taco Casserole as a freezer meal, follow these steps:

  1. Add the salsa and taco seasoning to the chicken and mix well.
  2. In a casserole dish, layer the beans, chicken mixture, and cheese.
  3. Freeze.
  4. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 to 48 hours before baking. Follow the instructions for baking. Cooking from cold may require an additional 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  5. Continue with the recipe as directed after baking.

Recipe Tips

  • The right size dish. If you wish, you can use any size dish and still have this come out delicious. Personally, I prefer a medium-sized casserole dish (around 2-2.5 quarts). In this size, the layers are not spread out too thin but are still big enough so there is plenty of room for delicious toppings to go on top.
  • Flavor it right! In this dish, the salsa and taco seasoning form a combination of flavors that emphasize the burst of flavor. Obviously, both of these flavors can vary from one brand to another, so it is very important that you choose a brand that you enjoy!
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning – I cannot emphasize it enough! It is really important that you try making your own taco seasoning. This is not only amazing tasting, but it is also so easy, healthier, and cheaper than what you can buy in the shop, and you can make a large batch that will stay in your pantry for a year if kept in the right place! What a huge win!
  • Make sure you use THICK and SAUCY salsa! If you want to keep the casserole hearty (not watery), I would recommend using a thick salsa that is more of a sauce consistency, as opposed to a fresh salsa that may have a more watery base.
  • Add a little something extra to it! If you have the time, I highly recommend adding the crumbled chips after the cheese is melted and leaving them in the oven until they get nice and crispy while the casserole cooks. The flavor and texture of the entire dish are greatly enhanced, so if you have time, it’s worth the extra minute or two.

How To Reheat Chicken Taco Casserole In Air Fryer?

If you have any leftover Chicken Taco Casserole from the previous night, you can simply reheat it in an air fryer at temperatures ranging from 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four minutes, or until it is golden brown and crispy.

FAQ Section

How To Store Chicken Taco Casserole leftovers?

For leftovers, store your Chicken Taco Casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Your casserole dish can also be topped with either a lid that matches or parchment paper-lined (if you choose) aluminum foil. The whole dish can be heated in the oven or a single serving can be microwaved.

How Long To Cook Chicken Taco Casserole at 350˚F?

It is best to cook your Chicken Taco Casserole at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until it is piping hot all the way through. Due to the fact that various ovens cook differently, the cooking time of the Chicken Taco Casserole might be slightly different as well. It is also important to remember that a casserole needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be considered done and ready to eat.

How To Freeze Chicken Taco Casserole leftovers?

I would recommend allowing your Chicken Taco Casserole leftovers to come to room temperature before wrapping them firmly if you want to store them as is, or dividing them into small portions, which I prefer for easier reheating later on. You can place your Chicken Taco Casserole in the freezer and keep it there for up to a month.

How do you reheat frozen Chicken Taco Casserole In the Oven?

To reheat, let thaw overnight in the fridge. Cover the Chicken Taco Casserole with foil and bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking until the top is nicely browned.

How To Reheat Chicken Taco Casserole In Microwave?

The microwave is a convenient way to reheat single servings or small portions. Usually, all you need to do is place your Chicken Taco Casserole serving in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave it for approximately 1-2 minutes, until hot all the way through.

What can I use if I don’t have a rotisserie chicken?

If you prefer, you can simply boil or roast chicken breasts or thighs and then roughly shred them afterward. You will need about 2-3 cups of shredded chicken for this Chicken Taco Casserole. It is also a great way to use up leftover chicken if you have any leftovers.

Can I change/add fillings?

Yes! There are many ways to make this Chicken Taco Casserole recipe, and it can easily be adjusted to suit different tastes. If you would like to add a drained can of black beans to the filling mix, you can do so. Also, feel free to substitute turkey for the chicken. The red enchilada sauce can be used instead of the green sauce if you prefer. Feel free to get creative with this recipe.

Is it easier to shred chicken hot or cold?

The choice is entirely yours – I have found neither choice to be particularly more advantageous than the other.

Can you make Chicken Taco Casserole with raw chicken?

The answer is no, I would not recommend making this Chicken Taco Casserole recipe with raw chicken. I believe raw chicken will not cook properly in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. Additionally, the texture of the casserole is best if the chicken is shredded rather than raw, since raw chicken cannot be achieved.

Can I substitute the chicken for another type of meat in this Chicken Taco Casserole recipe?

Yes, absolutely! I think shredded pork shoulder, ground beef, and ground chicken would all make delicious options!

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Chicken Taco Casserole Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 219
  • Total Fat 8.8g
  • Saturated Fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 29.8mg
  • Sodium 492.4mg
  • Potassium 228.6mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 23.8g
  • Dietary Fiber 4.5g
  • Sugars 1.8g
  • Protein 11.3g
  • Vitamin A 2.3%
  • Vitamin C 4.3%
  • Calcium 7.7%
  • Iron 6%

Nutrition Facts Source: Source

Chicken Taco Casserole

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 10 minutesCook time: 20 minutesRest time: minutesTotal time: 30 minutesServings:6 servingsCalories:219 kcal Best Season:Available

Description

The Chicken Taco Casserole is the dinner that everyone will clean their plates after! This dish is layered with all of the best flavors of a chicken taco, from the succulent meat to the crispy tortilla shells, and all of it is baked together to perfection.

Ingredients

  • Toppings

Instructions

  1. Add the chicken, salsa, and taco seasoning to a large bowl and stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. In a 2 qt casserole dish, spread the refried beans evenly. Cover the beans with the chicken mix and top with cheese.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, until piping hot all the way through.
  4. Serve the casserole with crushed tortilla chips, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream on top.

Notes

  • The right size dish. If you wish, you can use any size dish and still have this come out delicious. Personally, I prefer a medium-sized casserole dish (around 2-2.5 quarts). In this size, the layers are not spread out too thin but are still big enough so there is plenty of room for delicious toppings to go on top.
  • Flavor it right! In this dish, the salsa and taco seasoning form a combination of flavors that emphasize the burst of flavor. Obviously, both of these flavors can vary from one brand to another, so it is very important that you choose a brand that you enjoy!
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning – I cannot emphasize it enough! It is really important that you try making your own taco seasoning. This is not only amazing tasting, but it is also so easy, healthier, and cheaper than what you can buy in the shop, and you can make a large batch that will stay in your pantry for a year if kept in the right place! What a huge win!
  • Make sure you use THICK and SAUCY salsa! If you want to keep the casserole hearty (not watery), I would recommend using a thick salsa that is more of a sauce consistency, as opposed to a fresh salsa that may have a more watery base.
  • Add a little something extra to it! If you have the time, I highly recommend adding the crumbled chips after the cheese is melted and leaving them in the oven until they get nice and crispy while the casserole cooks. The flavor and texture of the entire dish are greatly enhanced, so if you have time, it’s worth the extra minute or two.
Keywords:Chicken Taco Casserole
Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8.8g14%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 29.8mg10%
Sodium 492.4mg21%
Potassium 228.6mg7%
Total Carbohydrate 23.8g8%
Dietary Fiber 4.5g18%
Sugars 1.8g
Protein 11.3g23%

Vitamin A 2.3%
Vitamin C 4.3%
Calcium 7.7%
Iron 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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1 Comment

  1. The chicken taco casserole looks absolutely delicious and not hard to make so I think I’ll try it eventually thank you very much for the recipe I didn’t let download it I just saved in my favorite page I hope it’ll remain there I probably won’t try it until next week sometime thank you very

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