Chicken Tortilla Casserole

chicken, cheese, and tortilla casserole baked
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Rest: 10 mins
  • Servings: 6 to 8 servings
  • Yields: 6 to 8 plates
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
636 Calories
50g Fat
15g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 636
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 65%
Saturated Fat 21g 104%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 448mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 34g
Calcium 339mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A flavorful, satisfying chicken tortilla casserole is the perfect family meal for any night of the week. Most of the preparation can be done a day in advance, so all you'll have to do is pop it in the oven about an hour before it's time to eat.

The casserole starts with cooked shredded chicken breasts. Poach or bake the chicken breasts in advance, or use your Instant Pot to cook the chicken quickly. Or use the chopped or shredded meat from a purchased roasted or rotisserie chicken.

Another great thing about this casserole is its versatility. Make it spicier with some cayenne or hot chile peppers, or swap out the chicken and make it with leftover turkey. Add some corn or sliced black olives to the layers or add some rinsed canned black beans. Not only is this hearty one-pot meal a tasty choice for a family dinner—it's an excellent dish to take along to a potluck dinner or party.

The casserole is a complete meal, but you might want to serve it with some sliced tomatoes or fresh salsa to brighten the plates. Or make a simple tossed salad to go with dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked and shredded chicken breasts (about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (10.5-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom, or a combination)
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans mild green chilies, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 8 to 10 corn tortillas, cut into strips about 1 1/2 inches in width
  • 3 cups shredded mild cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • Optional garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for chicken cheese and tortilla bake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. 

    oil in a sauté pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. When the oil is hot and shimmering but not smoking, add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes.

    onions cooking in a sauté pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Add the minced garlic, cumin, oregano, and black pepper to the skillet and continue cooking for 1 minute.

    add the seasonings to the onions
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Add the canned soups and green chilies along with the chicken stock. Continue to cook until the sauce mixture is hot.

    soups added to the sauté pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

    spray the baking dish with nonstick spray
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Spoon about 1/2 of the sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread it to cover.

    layer of seasoned sauce in the baking dish
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Top the sauce with 1/3 of the tortilla strips, 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the remaining sauce, and about 1/3 of the cheese.

    assembling the chicken tortilla casserole
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  9. Repeat the layers (tortilla strips-chicken-sauce-cheese) twice, ending with the cheese.

    unbaked chicken, cheese, and tortilla casserole
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Remove the casserole to a rack and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    baked chicken tortilla casserole
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  11. Slice and serve portions with a simple tossed salad or fresh sliced tomatoes. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

    baked chicken, cheese, and tortilla casserole plated with sliced tomatoes
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How to Store and Freeze

  • Transfer leftover casserole to shallow covered containers within 2 hours. Refrigerate the leftover casserole for up to four days.
  • To freeze leftover chicken tortilla casserole, wrap individual portions in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to four months.
  • To freeze an entire unbaked casserole, line the baking dish with a wide, heavy-duty sheet of aluminum foil. Prepare and layer the ingredients as directed. Freeze the casserole until solid. Once frozen, remove the casserole from the baking dish and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze the casserole for up to four months. Defrost the casserole overnight in the refrigerator and take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to bake it. Bake the casserole for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is hot and bubbly.

Recipe Variations

  • Add about 1/2 cup of frozen, thawed corn to the layers along with the chicken.
  • Spice the sauce up with one or two minced jalapeno peppers or 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Add sliced ripe olives to the layers.