Monday, November 7, 2011

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

      Almost every one of my many spiral bound community cookbooks contains a recipe for King Ranch Casserole.  Named after one of the largest cattle ranches in Texas, but not necessarily invented there, some version of this creamy casserole can be found on pot luck tables all over south.  It's easy to see why it is so popular, layers of tortillas are drenched in a cheesy sauce, spiked with chilies and loaded with chunks of chicken.  The great thing about this recipe is that is does not require any precooking of the ingredients, all you have to do is open the cans, chop the vegetables and layer away.  In my 10 inch dutch oven this baked with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18-20 on the lid.  After 30 minutes the casserole was bubbling and ready for the final cheese topping.  Let it sit for a good half hour before serving so the sauce can soak into the tortillas.  Like a creamier version of an enchilada pie, this is the ultimate Texas dutch oven comfort food. 

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes with green chili peppers
1 (12 oz.) package corn tortillas, cut into slices
3 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 onion, chopped
1 green OR red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. grated Cheddar Jack cheese
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Combine chicken soup, mushroom soup, broth, tomatoes with chilies, chili powder and garlic powder. 
     Layer 1/2 of tortilla strips, 1/2 the chicken, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 bell pepper and 1/2 the cheese in prepared dutch oven.  Pour 1/2 of the soup mixture over the layers.
     Repeat the layers of tortillas, chicken, onion and bell pepper.  Pour remaining soup mixture over the top.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until soup is bubbling and casserole is heated through.
     Top with remaining cheese, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until cheese is brown and melted.
     Serves 6.

Layer ingredients in a 10 or 12 inch dutch oven

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot and bubbling

Sprinkle on the final layer of cheese

Bake for 10 minutes more or until cheese has melted

Creamy, cheesy, cold weather comfort food


  1. Excellent! This was a hit at our recent Dutch Oven cookoff.

  2. So glad you liked the recipe, thank you for the feedback, Liddy

  3. Cooked this at Scout Camp. Gone in 60sec. Will be cooking it again on the next campout

  4. That's great, so glad everyone liked it, thanks for letting me know! Liddy

  5. My husband and I are going camping for the first time in many years,. I am going to try this King Ranch Chicken in our Cast Iron Dutch Oven as one of our dinner meals under the stars. Thanks for the recipe! 2 Seniors Going Camping!!!

    1. Enjoy your camping trip, sounds very romantic, hope you like the recipe! Liddy

  6. Howdy,
    I'd like to feature your recipe in a magazine article. I don't see any way of getting in touch--can you please email me at abigail(at)abigailboatwright(dot)com? Thank you!

  7. Mine didn't turn our as much like a "casserole" as your picture shows. Maybe I did something wrong. I was making it in my dutch oven in the oven. Should I have layered more Corn Tortillas and should I have put the lid on while cooking it in the oven?

    1. I'm thinking yes on the lid... keeps moisture in plus since she was cooking with coal with the lid on, basically it was baking.

  8. I'm making this in the next few days, I'm excited to try it. I just stewed two of my roosters today and am looking for some yummy dutch oven recipes to try... Thanks!

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