King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken is a famous Texas casserole made with chile peppers, tomatoes, cheese and tortilla chips. With layers of gooey goodness, it’s immensely comforting and exactly what you expect from Tex-Mex food, one of my favorite cuisines on the face of the Earth. Spicy, creamy and crunchy all at the same time with a ton of different textures and flavors to keep your taste buds busy. And happy!

The original King Ranch Chicken calls for cream of chicken and mushroom soups which some swear makes for a superior casserole. You should know I don’t do canned soups in any way, shape or form simply because they repulse me. Unabashedly, I admit, being a soup snob prevented me from making this sooner. It fell right off my radar. You can understand my joy when I chanced upon this recipe. I may have done a little happy dance.

My first encounter with King Ranch Chicken was a wildly delicious one and it won’t be the last! Now that I know what it’s all about I can recreate it for myself. In true Yankee style. No canned soup required.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken is a famous Texas casserole made with chile peppers, tomatoes, cheese and tortilla chips.


3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, finely chopped
1 large poblano pepper, seeds removed finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can (14 ounce) Ro-tel tomatoes and green chiles, drained
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
2 cups shredded chicken, cooked
2 cups monterey jack or pepper jack
guacamole/avocado and sour cream, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a deep-sided 8×8 or 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute onion, red pepper, poblano and jalapeño chiles. Cook until tender, add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, continue whisking and slowly add broth, then milk. Heat to boiling while whisking, then cook 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and chile powder. Remove from heat.
  4. Spread thin, even layer of sauce on bottom of prepared dish. Top with half of chips, sauce, chicken, and cheese, then repeat. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.


Adapted from Good Housekeeping


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  1. fivestrike says

    this is a VERY different version of the original, living 45 miles from the King Ranch it might not go over so well here, especially since my youngest son loves me to make this for them to take to the deer lease all winter. But I am curious to try your rendition..I am ok with eliminatiing the canned soups, (thankfully you left the Rotel in). But I am most interested in your substitution of chips in place of the softer tortillas..Reeni, I  guess as soon as it cools off here a little I will try it your way! I have been on this dreadful D-I-E-T  trying to regain my figure and am sooooo ready to enjoy yummy foods again & your recipes!

  2. says

    This looks awesome! The tex-mex flavors are speaking to me…yum!There is only one dish that I use canned soup. I cannot change it up because I love it so much…I'm afraid it won't be as great.

  3. says

    That is so weird, I was just looking at this recipe on Southern Living tonight because I need to take a casserole to a friend next week.  Yours looks beautiful and I like that you don't use canned soup.  The SL living recipe does, which I don't really have a problem with, but it's nice to avoid when possible:-)

  4. BeadedTail says

    Anything with peppers, tortilla chips and cheese would be a hit here!  We'll have to try this one!  I'm glad you got your power back!  That storm looks like it was horrible!Warm purrs to handsome Moon!

  5. Claudia says

    The combination of flavors is irresistible – the heat and the cool – the crunch and the smooth. Dishes like that keep me interested (and well-fed). I didn't know you were affected by the snowstorm – hope your home is warm and bright!

  6. Nichol says

    Oh my gosh, this sounds incredible.  My family would definitely love this and I love how you recreated without canned soup!

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