King Ranch Chicken Casserole (No Canned Soup!)

King Ranch Casserole is a classic Tex-Mex inspired dish. It’s creamy, cheesy, and sooooo delicious! King Ranch Chicken Casserole is the perfect dish to prepare for potlucks, to bring to a friend, or to make for dinner any night of the week. This King Ranch Chicken recipe is made without canned soup or Velveeta, but still just as cheesy and creamy!

King Ranch Casserole in a baking dish

King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Casserole is one of those classic, cheese-filled recipes I can’t get enough of! I’ve made a few King Ranch Chicken recipes (King Ranch Mac and Cheese, King Ranch Chicken Dip) in the past, but I had to bring it back to the classic casserole dish.

This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is filled with allll the best ingredients, like chicken, cheese, sour cream, green chiles and tomatoes, peppers, onions, and more. And I skipped the Cream of Mushroom soup and Velveeta that you’ll usually find in King Ranch Casserole recipes. I could never get tired of how delicious this recipe is, and it’s pretty nostalgic too, so it’s the definition of comfort food.

King Ranch Casserole is a great thing to make for family dinners, and it’s easy to make ahead of time and freeze. I just love casseroles because they are a whole meal all in one dish, with all of the flavors melting together. You guys know I love chicken recipes and this is a favorite! So good!

This is the best King Ranch Casserole recipe. Lots of cheese and amazing ingredients, with no canned soup or Velveeta in sight!

 

King Ranch Chicken Casserole topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and sour cream

King Ranch Chicken recipe covered in cheese

What is King Ranch Chicken?

I went over this in my (amazing) King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe, but if you haven’t seen that (what are you waiting for), I’ll explain it here. King Ranch Chicken is basically the best thing in the world. It a creamy, cheesy chicken dish with all of the best ingredients. It’s a wonderful Tex-Mex style dish, so it’s like eating Mexican food in casserole form!

King Ranch Casserole Ingredients:

  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Green Chiles
  • Onions
  • Shredded Chicken
  • Jalapeno
  • Bell Pepper
  • Sour Cream
  • Tortilla Chips
  • LOTS. OF. CHEESE.

Those are the classic king ranch casserole ingredients we love, but there’s also lots of spices, seasonings, and a few other ingredients in there as well.

Click here to check out our full Baked Chicken Guide for more EASY baked chicken recipes!

Casserole dish filled with chicken, cheese, green chiles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and more

King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole (without Canned Soup or Velveeta)

The classic King Ranch Casserole recipe has two ingredients in it that some people seem to have an issue with: Velveeta and canned Cream of Mushroom soup. I’ve got no issues with them; they make life easy and delicious if I’m being honest. But I made this king ranch chicken casserole recipe without canned soup or Velveeta anyways. I used lots of Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar cheese instead, and the casserole is plenty creamy without the cream of mushroom. So if you don’t like those 2 ingredients, then this recipe is perfect for you!

A spoonful of king ranch chicken being scooped out of a casserole dish

Spoonful of king ranch chicken casserole

How to Make King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Casserole is the perfect weeknight dinner or potluck dish. It has a lot of ingredients, but overall it’s pretty simple to make.

  1. Start by making a vegetable mixture (peppers, garlic, chicken broth, onion) in a skillet, and prepare the chicken.
  2. Then layer the ingredients into the casserole dish & cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake king ranch casserole at 375° for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover the dish and bake another 10-15 minutes.

See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions and details!

Recommended Products to make King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken topped with sour cream and tomatoes

A bowl full of king ranch casserole, topped with sour cream and tortilla chips

Can King Ranch Casserole be made ahead?

You can easily make King Ranch Chicken Casserole ahead of time if you want to prepare it for a party, or even just prepare some meals for your family. Follow the recipe without baking it, and then freeze it until you’re ready to reheat and eat. You could also store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, then grab it and bake it when it’s time for dinner.

If you just want to prep ahead of time to make meal time easier, here’s what you can do:

  • Cook and shred the chicken
  • Make the vegetable mixture in a skillet
  • Store both in the refrigerator
  • Then just layer everything together in a casserole dish when it’s time to cook

Can King Ranch Casserole be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze a whole casserole or any leftovers you have for up to 1 month. Just be sure it’s in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to reheat it, you can either let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook according to the instructions. If you don’t have time to let it thaw, bake it for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

You are going to love this creamy, cheesy King Ranch Chicken Casserole! Make it for dinner any night of the week, and your family will devour it.

Watch the video or see the recipe card for details on how to make King Ranch Casserole. Enjoy!

If you like this king ranch casserole recipe, try these other casseroles too:

3.73 from 18 votes
King Ranch Casserole is a creamy, cheesy, Tex-Mex inspired casserole filled with amazing ingredients. This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is made without canned soup or Velveeta!
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Resting Time
10 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
King Ranch Casserole is a creamy, cheesy, Tex-Mex inspired casserole filled with amazing ingredients. This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is made without canned soup or Velveeta! 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Casserole, king ranch chicken
Servings: 8
Calories: 790 kcal
Author: Becky Hardin
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sweet yellow or yellow onion diced
  • 1 red pepper orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles (including juice)
  • cup sour cream
  • 5 cups about 2 pounds chopped, cooked chicken (rotisserie works well, too)
  • 1 cup loosely-packed fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 2 cups 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups 8 ounces shredded Sharp Cheddar, white or orange
  • 8-10 ounces tortilla chips semi-crushed
Garnishes:
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Dollops of sour cream
  • Fresh tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F, and spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and peppers are tender. Add minced garlic, stir, and cook 30 seconds. Stir in chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Add the broth and lime juice and whisk. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in green chile tomatoes and sour cream.

  5. In a large bowl, combine chicken and cilantro; add vegetable mixture and mix well.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together both cheeses.
  7. Line the prepared casserole dish with 1/3 of the semi-crushed tortilla chips. Top with ½ the chicken mixture and 1/3rd of the cheese. Repeat the layers once with the last two layers being tostito chips and cheese.
  8. Spray a large sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick spray to loosely cover the casserole dish.
  9. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Top with garnishes of your choice.
  11. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 790 Calories from Fat 468
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 52g 80%
Saturated Fat 25g 125%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 938mg 39%
Potassium 588mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 30g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 4g
Protein 32g 64%
Vitamin A 30.3%
Vitamin C 11.2%
Calcium 55.7%
Iron 19.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

Jen
You list butter in the ingredients, but I don't see it used in the instructions. I'm assuming it should go in the skillet to cook the veggies in step 2 - is that correct?
Jason
The crushed red pepper flakes and lime juice aren't list instructions.
Susan C.
The normal baking time is 40-45 minutes, with 10 minutes standing time. But the directions for baking directly from the freezer indicate 45-60 minutes. Doesn't it need more time than that when frozen solid?
Tracy B.
I've never heard of King's Ranch Chicken so your recipe is my first experience with it. OMG! Sinfully good. Mine didn't look anything like your's though. My rotisserie chicken was scrawny so I only got about 2 cups of chicken from it. I also mistakenly thought I had tortilla chips but I didn't so I crushed up taco shells. I used a 13x9 baking dish and my layered ingredients didn't even fill it half way. My whole family loved it, in spite of my problems. Thank you! P.S. Ten minutes prep time? LOL. I started this at 7PM and we ate at 9. I don't know where I went wrong!
Maria Williams
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! Regards Maria
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