This Chicken Tortilla Casserole contains layers of juicy shredded chicken, melty cheese, tender corn tortillas, and a flavorful Tex-Mex tomato sauce, stacked together and baked to gooey perfection.
Forget the Michelin stars.
The endorsement of a toddler is all the culinary accolades I need to know that this easy chicken tortilla casserole is a keeper.
My friend’s 20-month-old little girl awarded this easy and healthy casserole second-helping status when I brought it to her house for dinner. (This Mexican Corn Dip was also a big hit).
I know this is a rare occurrence for parents with toddlers, which is probably why my friend immediately asked for the recipe. (When you find a toddler-approve recipe, hold onto it tight.)
If you are looking for an easy-to-make, healthy recipe that even those with picky palates will adore, look no further.
Every family member (big and small) will enjoy this layered chicken tortilla casserole. (This crowd-pleasing Mexican Chicken and Rice is also always a winner.)
5 Star Review
“I can’t even tell you how many times my husband and I have made this. It is so easy and so good. Thanks for a great recipe.”— Kara —
How to Make Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Part Mexican lasagna, part chicken enchilada, this healthy chicken tortilla casserole is entirely attainable on a busy weeknight.
Like this Cowboy Chicken, I love that it’s simple enough for even a novice chef to prepare with success yet has all the comforting, from-scratch taste of an elaborate homemade meal.
- Chicken. Shredded chicken is my forever favorite for easy casserole recipes like this layered chicken tortilla casserole. (Use this How to Cook Shredded Chicken guide for all my best tips and tricks.)
- Bell Peppers. A mix of green and red bell peppers contributes tasty Tex-Mex flavors, color, and a little sweetness.
- Jalapeno. Kicks things up a notch. (Love jalapenos? Pour yourself a Spicy Margarita while you cook this recipe.)
- Onion + Garlic. For some extra zip.
- Tomato Sauce. Our swap for canned soup provides plenty of acidity, richness, and flavor without all the extra mystery ingredients. (This Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole also skips the cream soup.)
- Chicken Stock. Adds moisture and flavor.
- Jalapeno Hot Sauce. Perfect for this recipe because, although it is very flavorful, it’s relatively mild. A few quick dashes immediately increase the flavor complexity of the dish without adding too much heat.
- Spices. A traditional blend of cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper brings depth and authentic Mexican flavors.
- Corn Tortillas. My favorite for layered chicken tortilla casseroles like this one (and Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas). They break down beautifully, lend great flavor, and make the texture of this easy Mexican casserole truly divine.
- Cheese. Melty Monterey jack offers the perfect gooey finish to this cheesy and creamy chicken tortilla casserole.
- If needed, cook and shred chicken.
- Sauté the vegetables until tender.
- Add the spices and stir.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and hot sauce. Let simmer.
- In a greased casserole dish, layer a portion of the sauce followed by the tortillas.
- Top with some chicken and cheese.
- Then layer on a portion of the sauce.
- Repeat the process twice and top the casserole with the remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake chicken tortilla casserole for 35 minutes.
- Remove the foil, return the pan to the oven, and bake until the casserole is hot and bubbly. ENJOY!
- To Store. Chicken tortilla casserole leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
- To Reheat. Let the casserole come to room temperature before putting it in the oven. Then warm in a 350-degree F oven until heated through.
- To Freeze. Leftover casserole (either individual portions or a whole frozen casserole) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap airtight and make sure your container/pan is freezer safe. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Is your family hungry again already? They’ll also love this easy Taco Pasta!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have only tested this easy chicken tortilla casserole as it is written, so you would be experimenting. However, if you decide to try making this recipe with your favorite Enchilada Sauce, I’d love to hear how it goes.
No. I wanted to create a Mexican chicken casserole without cream soup which Campbell’s recipes always include. I love that this healthy chicken tortilla casserole recipe is made with minimally processed ingredients you can feel good about eating.
I recommend corn tortillas because they break down and have a more pleasing texture in the final baked casserole. In my experience, chicken tortilla casseroles with flour tortillas are chewier, and the layers are more separated (like a lasagna). That said, if you are trying to cook with what you have on hand, you could swap the flour tortillas—just know that the results will be different.
Absolutely! Assemble it in a freezer-safe dish and let cool completely to room temperature. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.
Chicken Tortilla Casserole
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts* cooked and shredded (see note)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper cored and chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper cored and chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno cored and diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can tomato sauce (28 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons jalapeno hot sauce such as Tabasco, plus additional for serving
- 18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 2 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces)
- Optional for serving: salsa, sliced avocados, lime juice, plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch casserole dish with baking spray.
- If needed, cook and shred chicken according to these easy steps.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high, then add the onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and jalapeno. Saute until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and jalapeno hot sauce, then stir to combine. Let the sauce simmer for 12 minutes.
- To assemble the casserole, spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 6 tortillas on top to cover the sauce, overlapping as needed.
- Top with 1/3 of the chicken and 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the top, then repeat the process twice more.
- Finish by sprinkling the last 1/2 cup of the cheese over the top then cover the pan with foil.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, return the pan to the oven, then bake for 10 additional minutes, until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve hot with desired toppings.
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: My guide on How to Cook Shredded Chicken is full of helpful tips. To make the chicken in the slow cooker, see this post for Crock Pot Shredded Chicken. To bake the chicken in the oven, see this post for Baked Chicken Breast. For pressure cooking directions, check out this Instant Pot Chicken recipe.
- TO STORE: Chicken tortilla casserole leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
- TO FREEZE: Leftover casserole (either individual portions or a whole frozen casserole) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap airtight and make sure your container/pan is freezer safe. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- TO REHEAT: Let the casserole come to room temperature before putting it in the oven. Then warm in a 350-degree F oven until heated through.
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