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King Ranch Chicken Casserole in a cast iron skillet

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Course: Casserole
Cuisine: Texas
Keyword: Chicken, Corn Tortilla
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 459kcal
This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a Southern Texas favorite.  This version skips the canned soup mixes and process cheese, and is deep in flavor.  This can easily be made in advance.  Keep in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, or freeze for up to 1 month.  This is always a huge crowd-pleasing casserole. 
Print Recipe


  • 5 lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts or, 2 rotisserie chickens
  • Olive oil for chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup chicken stock
  • 1 10 oz can Ro-tel or tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 7.5 oz can green chiles
  • cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup cilantro chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups cheese shredded, combo of cheddar and Monterrey Jack is perfect
  • 18 corn tortillas or, 1 large bag of corn tortilla chips, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil for quick-frying tortillas
  • Cooking spray



  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Rub olive oil all over chicken breasts and then liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until internal temp is 165°F.  Using an instant-read thermometer ensures proper doneness.  Let cool, then remove skin and then cut meat from the bone and roughly chop.  Set aside.
  • Alternatively, removed skin from 2 rotisserie chickens, then remove meat and roughly chop, set aside. 


  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add onion, bell peppers, jalapeño and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and starting to brown.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and 1 & 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
  • Using a whisk, incorporate the stock into the vegetables.  Whisking to remove any lumps from the flour.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes, or until thickened.  Mix in the tomatoes, green chilies and sour cream.  Remove from the heat.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the shredded chicken with the cilantro and then add to the vegetable mixture. 


  • Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  
  • Add about a tsp of vegetable oil to the skillet and then add a tortilla, and swirl around. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom and starting to crisp. About 1 minute. Flip, and repeat with the other side.  Repeat with each tortilla, adding more oil as needed.
  • Alternatively, use roughly chopped corn tortilla chips instead of the skillet-fried tortillas.


  • Spray the bottoms and sides of either a large cast-iron skillet, or a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Line the bottom of the skillet (or baking dish) with tortillas, slightly overlapping.  You can quarter another tortilla to fill the open spaces between the tortillas.  Or, if using chopped tortilla chips, line the bottom with a layer of them. 
  • Add half of the chicken/veggie mixture and then a third of the cheese.  Repeat this process once.  Top with remaining tortillas (or chips) and cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  (375°F)
  • Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned on top.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.   


Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1447IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 349mg | Iron: 2mg