King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

An easy dinner that only requires ten minutes of preparation time is a King Ranch Chicken Casserole made in the traditional style. Either put it in the freezer for later use or serve it today with a side of chips and salsa. You can’t go wrong with either option. Your loved ones are going to go crazy for the chicken, corn tortillas, vegetables, and cheese that are layered in this spicy and creamy dish.

If you read this post, you’ll learn how to cook King Ranch Chicken Casserole, the tastiest casserole you’ve ever tasted. If you have questions or comments, please use this page’s contact form. 

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • This chicken casserole dish is pure comfort food nirvana, and I think that’s exactly what I need after months of eating nothing but refreshing refrigerator salads. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, and it’s loaded with chicken.
  • This recipe for King Ranch Chicken Casserole is soothing, and it has quickly become a go-to option for my family on evenings when we have a full schedule. This quick and simple supper may be prepared in less than ten minutes thanks to the use of a few convenient components, such as a rotisserie chicken purchased from a grocery shop and canned soup.
  • The combination of the green chiles, the creaminess of the cheese, and the richness of the chicken create the best Flavor. Magic for your dinner, in terms of taste!
  • When it is served, the cheese will be melted over the top of everything else; as a result, each portion will be served piping hot, gooey, cheesy, creamy, and spicy.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

What Is King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

The King Ranch is one of the biggest ranches in the world, and it was established in 1853 in the southern part of Texas. The King Ranch Chicken Casserole seems to be a homage in name only since there is no record of it having any historical connection to the real cattle ranch in any form. This is even though the ranch has an interesting and eventful past. Nevertheless, this is a comforting dish that is ooey-gooey and cheesy, and it has an appeal that is as widespread as the state of Texas!

Ingredients That You’ll Need:

  • Chicken: Chicken is the foundation of King Ranch Chicken, which you can prepare in several different ways, including baking it in the oven, using a slow cooker, or poaching it in water that is heated to a simmer on the stovetop. It’s up to you whether you want to go the long route or take the quick cut of shredding a reliable rotisserie chicken. For the casserole that is shown in this article, I prepared the chicken breasts for the casserole by placing them in a slow cooker after defrosting them, seasoning them well, and allowing them to cook on their own until they were so soft that they almost fell apart.
  • Corn tortillas: To prepare the tortillas, cut each one into four equal halves. In addition, I believe corn tortillas are superior to wheat tortillas in almost every way. In a casserole with a lot of liquid, like this one, flour tortillas tend to become a little sticky, much as they do in most enchilada-type dishes.
  • Onion: We use both white and yellow onions in our cooking.
  • Condensed Soups: When we prepare it, we use both condensed cream of chicken soup and condensed cream of mushroom soup. However, if you want more cream of chicken soup or if you have an allergy to mushrooms, you may use more cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom soup.
  • grated or grated cheese: Depending on which one you like, Cheddar, Colby Grated cheese: Jack, or a Mexican mix are all wonderful choices for this recipe. You also have the option of using Monterey Jack cheese or, for more of a bite, pepper jack cheese.
  • Chopped green bell pepper: The green bell pepper is the primary contributor to the dish’s taste. Because they are more readily available, I make use of green bell peppers.

The Best Chicken For A King Ranch Chicken Recipe?

For this dish, you may use cooked chicken that has been shredded, diced, or shredded, and any of these alternatives will work. Choose the approach that is most practical for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Chicken Prepared by Boiling and Shredding First, boil about 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs until they are completely done (about 20 minutes). When it is no longer too hot to handle, the chicken may be pulled or chopped. You will need around three cups’ worth of shredded ingredients, give or take a few tablespoons.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: Purchasing a chicken already prepared on a rotisserie is a time-saving option. To prepare this dish, just get a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, remove the flesh, and proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • Leftover Chicken: Make Use of Any Leftover Grilled or Baked Chicken If you have any leftover grilled or baked chicken from a prior dinner, you can put it to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: You can even use chicken from a can in this dish if you want to!

If you’re wondering how much time it will take to cook chicken at home instead of purchasing it fully cooked, this article ” How Long To Bake Chicken Thighs At 400 “should help.

How Long To Cook A King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

On average, the entire length of time that is required to prepare casserole should be close to half an hour. In an ideal situation, you should cover your King Ranch Chicken Casserole, bake it uncovered at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for 25-30 minutes (or until heated through and bubbling), and then remove the cover during the final minutes so that it can crisp up. If you follow these steps, you should achieve the best results. The thickness of the layers of ingredients in the casserole is another aspect that may impact the amount of time needed to cook the meal. The cooking time may vary depending on these two factors as well as the components that are included inside the casserole.

How To Make King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

  1. Prepare the oven by preheating it to 375 degrees F. (190C).
  2. Spray a baking dish that is 13 inches by 9 inches with cooking spray and set it aside.
  3. Cook the onion and bell pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes).
  4. Combine the chicken, condensed soups, tomatoes, chilies, and sautéed bell pepper and onion in a large bowl and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  5. Place one-half of the tortillas in the prepared baking dish in an even layer to form the base of the dish. 
  6. To make it simpler to cover the dish with the tortillas, I usually cut each one in half first. It is acceptable if there is some overlap between them as well.
  7. The tortillas should each have a layer of the chicken mixture spread on them. Add half of the grated cheese to the dish.
  8. Continue alternating layers of the remaining ingredients and cheese, ending with the cheese.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes (or until heated through and bubbly)

Recipe Tips

  • You have the option of using leftover chicken or preparing fresh chicken in a variety of ways such as poaching, baking, grilling, using a slow cooker, etc. For this dish, I normally prepare three to four frozen chicken breasts (totaling around one and a half pounds), depending on their size. If you want, you may use chopped tomatoes and a small (4-ounce) can of diced green chiles in its stead. This gives roughly the same amount of food as using a rotisserie chicken that has been broken into bits. Alternately, you may use an equal volume of fresh chopped tomatoes and green chiles in their place.
  • Before stacking, stir a few dashes of hot sauce into the chicken mixture to give it a spicier taste that complements the Southwestern theme.
  • Check to see that the cream cheese has been allowed to come to room temperature. The majority of the time, all that is required to get cream cheese up to room temperature before using it is to just leave it out at room temperature for about half an hour before you put it to use.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Recipe Variations

You may use just cream of mushroom, only cream of chicken, or you can experiment with other tastes like cream of celery or cream of onion. You can use any mix of condensed soups that you enjoy best.

  • Add some heat to it: In most cases, I make use of mild Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies. Both of these ingredients have a bit of a kick, but they don’t completely dominate the meal or make it too hot for the kids to eat. Use a can of spicy Rotel if you want your casserole to have a little more of a kick to it.
  • When making King Ranch Chicken with Tortilla Chips: instead of using corn tortillas in the casserole, use tortilla chips that have been roughly crushed for an additional layer of crunch.
  • King Ranch Chicken with Doritos: Instead of using regular corn tortillas, you can give the meal extra flavor and crunch by covering the chicken filling with finely crushed Doritos. This will give the dish more texture as well (any flavor will work).
  • Experiment with a variety of cheeses: You may use Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Colby for the cheddar if you want your casserole to have a kick to it.

Topping Ideas

This King Ranch Casserole, much like Enchiladas is significantly enhanced if toppings are added.

  • Tomatoes: can be cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped, or you can omit the plain tomatoes altogether and use pico de gallo instead.
  1. Pico de gallo: is a type of fresh tomato salsa that is known for its vivacious and piquant freshness. You are welcome to use the store-bought version or my recipe for homemade pico de gallo. You can get a head start on the pico de gallo preparation by making it in advance and storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, allow the food to come to room temperature.
  • Cilantro: If you want a fresh and zesty flavor, you can load up on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead of making pico de gallo, and that will do the trick.
  • Sliced or chopped avocados: or try my homemade Hoisin Sauce recipe for a tasty treat.
  • Salsa: Salsa verde is a natural choice or black bean corn salsa, avocado salsa, or charred corn salsa add delightful texture.
  • Hot Sauce: Make sure everyone has access to the hot sauce so they may adjust the level of heat to their liking.

Can You Make This King Ranch Chicken Casserole Ahead?

Yes! This recipe for King Ranch Casserole may be prepared in advance for a simple supper that just requires baking and serving. It is important to remember that the tortillas will grow softer the longer the dish is stored in the refrigerator; thus, it is a good idea to char the tortillas before using them.

  • To make the casserole ahead of time, just prepare it as directed, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  • When you are ready to start cooking, let the casserole lay out for twenty minutes at room temperature.
  • Bake following the instructions provided in the recipe, extending the baking time by about ten minutes (while keeping the foil on top of the dish) or until the casserole is bubbling vigorously and is hot all the way through.
  • Additionally, you may prepare all of your toppings in advance by cutting them and keeping them in containers or baggies that are airtight. If you plan on using guacamole, you may store it in the refrigerator for up to a day without seeing a significant change in color; just be sure to put a piece of plastic wrap firmly on the surface of the guacamole to avoid oxidation.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

What To Serve With King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

How To Store King Ranch Chicken Casserole In The Fridge?

The King Ranch Casserole should either be transferred to an airtight container or tightly covered in plastic wrap or foil before being stored. This dish will stay edible for up to 5 days if it is kept appropriately. Of course, always use your best judgment.

How To Freeze King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

Yes, you are able to freeze this simple King Ranch Chicken Casserole; however, you should be aware that the tortillas will become much more pliable after freezing; therefore, it is a good idea to char the tortillas before freezing the casserole.

In Order To Freeze: 

  1. Wait until the casserole is completely cooled (or freeze before baking).
  2. First, tightly encase the casserole in plastic wrap, then cover it with aluminum foil.
  3. Label it, and you can keep it frozen for up to three months.
  4. When you are ready to eat, allow the King Ranch Casserole to completely thaw in the refrigerator for a full day before serving.
  5. Bake for thirty minutes, covered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take off the foil and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the dish is hot throughout.

How To Reheat King Ranch Chicken Casserole?

Both the oven and the microwave are great places to reheat this King Ranch Casserole to its previous delicious state.

  • Oven: Cover the dish with foil and bake it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until it is bubbling and hot.
  • Reheating Individual Servings In The Microwave:  You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave by moving them to a dish that is safe for the microwave and then microwaving them for one minute. Continue heating it in the microwave for intervals of 20 seconds until it is completely hot.

How To Reheat King Ranch Chicken Casserole In Air Fryer?

If you have any leftover King Ranch Chicken Casserole from the night before, you can crisp it up in the air fryer at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four minutes.

What Can Be Substituted For Cream Of Chicken Soup?

  • Sour cream: Although cream of chicken soup may be used as a seasoning as well, the major function it serves in most recipes is that of a binder, which brings together a variety of elements in a meal such as a casserole or a pasta dish, for instance. According to Healthfully, sour cream performs similarly to mayonnaise, particularly in bean-based dishes (like enchiladas) that also include cheese. It is also a good alternative for the cream of chicken soup when used in creamed vegetables, particularly when combined with spices that assist in recreating the tastes of cream of chicken soup.
  • Chicken broth: Condensed chicken broth is another alternative that can be used in place of cream of chicken soup (per CookinDocs). However, the word “condensed” is the one to focus on. It is likely that the conventional chicken broth on its own will not have sufficient body to accomplish the double-duty task of the cream of chicken soup. Although it is recommended by CookinDocs as a “last resort” alternative, this strategy may be successful when the broth is mixed with a little amount of flour in order to make it thicker.
  • Plain yogurt: The use of yogurt in place of cream of chicken soup comes with both positives and negatives, depending on how you look at it. According to the website Healthfully, fat-free, plain yogurt can be used as a thickener and binder because of its high calcium content and low-calorie count. On the other hand, it does not have the robust flavor of the chicken.
  • Roux: Roux is only a fancier term for a binder that can be easily prepared and consists of flour and fat that are mixed together while being heated on the stovetop. According to All Recipes, the traditional French culinary technique of using roux as a thickening dates back more than three hundred years. It is pronounced “roo,” and it imparts a taste that is between nutty and mild. Create as much or as little as appropriate for your situation. Because it retains its flavor even after being frozen, some chefs choose to prepare it all at once and store it in the freezer in individual servings.
  • Shelf-stable whipping cream: One user on Reddit was stumped when it came to finding a decent replacement for the cream of chicken soup, so they went to the r/cooking community for advice and recommendations. They were suggested by one of the thread’s followers to try the Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream sold by Trader Joe’s. They added, “I always have a few cartons on hand.” They went on to explain that combining it with roux and chicken stock, creates a “basic white bechamel foundation” that can be used for a variety of different recipes. “I usually keep a few cartons on hand.”

Do you have to pre-cook chicken in a casserole?

The chicken has to be prepared ahead of time in order to follow this recipe. This helps cut down on the amount of time spent in the oven and retains the texture of the rest of the meal by preventing the other components from overcooking throughout the cooking process. It will have the ideal amount of ooziness, booziness, and deliciousness!

Try These Other Delicious Casseroles:

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

FAQ Section

Why Is It Called King Ranch Chicken? 

Surprisingly, not a lot of people know very much about where casseroles originally came from. The only thing that anybody is aware of about its etymology is that it was named after King Ranch, which is the biggest ranch in the United States. The real kicker, however, is the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with the ranch, and the history of the casserole prepared in a Tex-Mex manner remains a bit of a mystery.

Can King Ranch Chicken Be Made In The Crock-Pot?

Yes! Put the ingredients for the casserole in the slow cooker and put the lid on the cooker. As soon as the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, cover and simmer on Low or High for a few minutes more.

Is This Casserole Gluten Free Low Carb And/or Keto-friendly?

This dish does not include gluten by its very nature; nevertheless, you should thoroughly check the ingredient list before using shredded cheese or corn tortillas since some manufacturers include gluten-based preservatives in their products. Simply replace the white corn tortillas in this casserole with keto-friendly tortillas prepared with coconut, almond, or cassava flour, and you’ll have a keto version of this dish in no time.

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 311
  • Total Fat 174g
  • Cholesterol 74.8mg
  • Sodium 739mg
  • Potassium 262mg
  • Dietary Fiber 1.3g
  • Sugars 1.7g
  • Protein 22g
  • Vitamin A 12%
  • Vitamin C 8%
  • Calcium 27%
  • Iron 7%

Nutrition Facts Source: Source

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 10 minutesCook time: 30 minutesRest time: minutesTotal time: 40 minutesServings:6 servingsCalories:311 kcal Best Season:Summer

Description

An easy dinner that only requires ten minutes of preparation time is a King Ranch Chicken Casserole made in the traditional style. Either put it in the freezer for later use or serve it today with a side of chips and salsa. You can’t go wrong with either option. Your loved ones are going to go crazy for the chicken, corn tortillas, vegetables, and cheese that are layered in this spicy and creamy dish.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the oven by preheating it to 375 degrees F. (190C).
  2. Spray a baking dish that is 13 inches by 9 inches with cooking spray and set it aside.
  3. Cook the onion and bell pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes).
  4. Combine the chicken, condensed soups, tomatoes, chilies, and sautéed bell pepper and onion in a large bowl and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  5. Place one-half of the tortillas in the prepared baking dish in an even layer to form the base of the dish. 
  6. To make it simpler to cover the dish with the tortillas, I usually cut each one in half first. It is acceptable if there is some overlap between them as well.
  7. The tortillas should each have a layer of the chicken mixture spread on them. Add half of the grated cheese to the dish.
  8. Continue alternating layers of the remaining ingredients and cheese, ending with the cheese.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes (or until heated through and bubbly)

Notes

  • You have the option of using leftover chicken or preparing fresh chicken in a variety of ways such as poaching, baking, grilling, using a slow cooker, etc. For this dish, I normally prepare three to four frozen chicken breasts (totaling around one and a half pounds), depending on their size. If you want, you may use chopped tomatoes and a small (4-ounce) can of diced green chiles in its stead. This gives roughly the same amount of food as using a rotisserie chicken that has been broken into bits. Alternately, you may use an equal volume of fresh chopped tomatoes and green chiles in their place.
  • Before stacking, stir a few dashes of hot sauce into the chicken mixture to give it a spicier taste that complements the Southwestern theme.
  • Check to see that the cream cheese has been allowed to come to room temperature. The majority of the time, all that is required to get cream cheese up to room temperature before using it is to just leave it out at room temperature for about half an hour before you put it to use.
  • Recipe Variations
  • You may use just cream of mushroom, only cream of chicken, or you can experiment with other tastes like cream of celery or cream of onion. You can use any mix of condensed soups that you enjoy best.
  • Add some heat to it: In most cases, I make use of mild Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies. Both of these ingredients have a bit of a kick, but they don’t completely dominate the meal or make it too hot for the kids to eat. Use a can of spicy Rotel if you want your casserole to have a little more of a kick to it.
  • When making King Ranch Chicken with Tortilla Chips: instead of using corn tortillas in the casserole, use tortilla chips that have been roughly crushed for an additional layer of crunch.
  • King Ranch Chicken with Doritos: Instead of using regular corn tortillas, you can give the meal extra flavor and crunch by covering the chicken filling with finely crushed Doritos. This will give the dish more texture as well (any flavor will work).
  • Experiment with a variety of cheeses: You may use Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Colby for the cheddar if you want your casserole to have a kick to it.
Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 311
Calories from Fat 174
% Daily Value *
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 739mg31%
Potassium 262mg8%
Total Carbohydrate 4g2%
Dietary Fiber 1.3g6%
Sugars 1.7g
Protein 22g44%

Vitamin A 12%
Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 27%
Iron 7%

* 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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