Prep Time
30 Mins
Cook Time
2 Hours 19 Mins
Other Time
40 Mins
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Recipe variations on this Texas-favorite chicken casserole abound simply because it's delicious.

How to Make It

Step 1

If applicable, remove giblets from chicken, and reserve for another use. Rinse chicken.

Step 2

Place chicken, celery, carrots, and salt in a large Dutch oven with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth; cool 30 minutes. Remove and reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Strain any remaining cooking liquid, and reserve for another use.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 6 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid, cream of mushroom soup, and next 5 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.

Step 4

Skin and bone chicken; shred meat into bite-size pieces. Layer half of chicken in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of soup mixture and 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Cover with half of corn tortilla strips. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Step 5

Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Step 6

*1 tsp. chili powder and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper may be substituted for Mexican-style chili powder.

Step 7

Lightened King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Reduce butter to 1 Tbsp. Substitute reduced-fat cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup for regular and 2% reduced-fat cheese for regular. Prepare recipe as directed through Step Bake, covered, at 350° for 50 minutes; uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Step 8

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Cracker Barrel 2% Milk Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Step 9

Quick-and-Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Substitute 1 (2-lb.) skinned, boned, and shredded deli-roasted chicken for whole chicken, 3 cups coarsely crumbled lime-flavored white corn tortilla chips for corn tortillas, and 3/4 cup chicken broth for cooking liquid. Omit celery, carrots, and salt. Prepare recipe as directed, beginning with Step

Ratings & Reviews

JFromAnnapolis's Review

January 10, 2012
My husband and I are gourmet cooks but I must say, we didn’t grow-up that way. I loved this recipe because it reminds us both of comfort foods that were cooked for us growing up! And he loves anything that has a mexican taste to it. I used their "time savers" at the bottom of the recipe by buying a rotisserie chicken and canned broth. I also added one chopped jalapeno and some chipotle powder because we like spicy. Before serving topped it with fresh chopped cilantro.

Simpson5togo's Review

September 08, 2013
Loved this! I used 3 large bone-in breasts instead of whole cut up chicken, otherwise followed exactly. Wouldn't change anything else. Not too spicy, just right. All of family loved it. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow after all the comments about how it improves. I think this is a great weekend supper or for a casual dinner with friends. Make some guacamole and a side salad and it's great for company. MAKE WITH CONFIDENCE!

mbailey's Review

November 19, 2012
I have made this twice, no shortcuts and it is worth the time to cook your own chicken. (I freeze any leftover broth for tortilla soup) My daughter was asking last night when I would make this again.

chef1greg's Review

February 21, 2011
This is a good, solid recipe of a Mexican-style chicken casserole. Instead of the cream-of-mushroom and cream-of-chicken soup, I used two packages of Trader Joe's cream-of-portabello-mushroom soup and it was great. It's even better as leftovers the second day after all the flavors settle together.

skoc50's Review

May 02, 2012
I thought this was a very good recipe that improved with age. My husband especially thougtht it tasted better the next day. I followed the lightened version but baked it for 55 min. like in the original version. Nice and spicy....but not too spicy.

Patties Point's

August 14, 2015
Used the little multi-colored peppers and added fresh mushrooms, The richness is amazing, also had great soup to boot...used thighs instead of chicken (perhaps that helped with richness?)  

The things you can create with chicken

September 23, 2017
I purchase a rotisserie chicken each time I am in Costco.  I created a dish with many of the same ingredients for this recipe.  Only I used chicken broth and butter while  sauteing the onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers.  After that, I use cream of mushroom soup with milk.  I cut up a tomato in small pieces, and put 1 tbsp of flour in milk to thicken the gravy.  I added besides salt and fresh pepper, but smoked paprika and tarragon and dried basil.  I then boiled No Yolks noodles.  Combined all together, and it was great.  Later I told my husband I should have put other ingredients and top with cheese to put in the oven.  Then you post the above recipe.  The brain is a terrible thing to waste, so use it, everyone, and you can create things you never thought of before.

DebinAZ's Review

December 15, 2009
My family adored this!!! Husband and High school son had 3 helpings... and made me commit to keeping it in the repertoire. I followed the recipe, but cheated with two rotisserie chickens from the store (not one) then just used chicken broth and I added diced jalapenos ( just a bit ) from a can. Don't make this unless you want to hear what an amazing wife and mother you are. : )

CookingKate's Review

January 12, 2014
Am I missing something?! Both times that I have made this recipe -- a few years apart and in different kitchens -- the casserole has been runny. Has anyone else experienced this? What am I possibly doing wrong?

Southlander's Review

March 06, 2013
Of course I had to fix this with my variations. Boiled chicken breasts in water with 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Cooled overnight in fridge, shredded next AM. I always use about half the onion suggested to suit our tastes. Also subbed the milder red pepper instead of green pepper. I did add an extra cup of broth to the soup mixture, and glad I did because the finished product could have used a touch more fluid. Overall - delicious! It did take about an hour to put together, plus the hour to cook and cool, so it's not something I would do when I got home from work and wanted to eat before 10 p.m.! My brother made this about a year ago and I can attest that it's even more fabulous the next day. Can't wait 'til tomorrow!