Chicken Taco Casserole

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Chicken taco casserole combines the comforting layers of tortillas, shredded chicken, savory spices, and melted cheese, baked to perfection for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner that brings all the flavors of your favorite tacos in one dish.

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We add lots of tips in our recipe – so you can make this dish, understand why it works and what each ingredient means to the flavor of a recipe. I also answer questions my friends and family have asked about my recipes, to help home cooks of any skill level better understand the processes we use and why!

Easy Chicken Taco Casserole

Chicken taco casserole is a comforting, oven-baked delight that layers shredded chicken, soft tortillas, and a rich blend of cheeses with the bold flavors of Mexican cuisine. Infused with a savory red enchilada sauce, black beans, and a colorful mix of bell peppers and onions, this dish offers a satisfying blend of textures and tastes in every bite. Topped with slices of jalapeño and a sprinkle of green onions, it presents an inviting appearance that promises a spicy kick. Perfect for family dinners or gatherings, this casserole can easily be customized to suit different spice levels and dietary preferences, making it a versatile and beloved meal option.

This casserole is a favorite at potlucks and is so easy to throw together. When I am having a busy day I will assemble it in the morning, so it is ready to go in the oven when I get home from work, hope your family loves it as much as mine does!

How to Make Chicken Taco Casserole

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Cooked shredded chicken mixed with fajita seasoning (3 cups) – Provides a lean, flavorful protein base that perfectly absorbs the rich spices and sauces, serving as the heart of the casserole.
  • 8” tortillas (4) – Cut into pieces and layered throughout, tortillas offer a soft, chewy texture that mimics the classic taco shell in a more casserole-friendly form.
  • Red enchilada sauce (20 oz) – Infuses the dish with its deep, smoky flavor, coating the ingredients in a savory sauce that ties the casserole together.
  • Black beans (12 oz) – Add a hearty, fibrous element to the casserole, bringing in a creamy texture and a mild, earthy flavor that complements the spicier ingredients.
  • Mexican cheese blend (2 cups) – Melts into a gooey, stringy layer of deliciousness, adding a rich, cheesy goodness that blankets the casserole in comfort.
  • Yellow onion (½ cup) – Offers a sweet, aromatic base that enhances the overall savoriness of the dish, softening into tender translucence as it bakes.
  • Red bell pepper (1) – Adds a sweet, slightly tangy crunch and a pop of vibrant color, contributing to the dish’s visual appeal and nutritional value.
  • Green bell pepper (1) – Provides a slightly bitter counterpoint to the sweeter red bell pepper, adding complexity and freshness to the mix of flavors.
  • Jalapeno (1) – Delivers a spicy kick that punctuates the casserole with heat, which can be adjusted according to your spice preference.
  • Green onion (1/3 cup) – Sprinkled on top before serving, green onions add a mild, crunchy bite and a burst of color, finishing the dish with a fresh, oniony zing.

Use this Method

Assemble. Grease a 9×13” pan. Place two tortillas down on the greased pan. Add half the chicken, beans, onion, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Top with half the enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Repeat this with the top layer. 

Bake. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another five minutes. 

Garnish. Top with green onions and enjoy! 

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Mexican Chicken Casserole

Use Rotisserie Chicken: For a quick and easy shortcut, use shredded rotisserie chicken. It’s flavorful, moist, and can save a lot of prep time.

Season Generously: Don’t skimp on the taco seasoning for the chicken. Whether homemade or store-bought, a robust seasoning mix will infuse the casserole with that signature taco flavor.

Layer Wisely: Start with a layer of crushed tortilla chips or tortillas at the bottom to absorb the juices and provide a satisfying crunch. Layer your ingredients evenly to ensure every bite is packed with flavor.

Choose Your Cheese Wisely: A blend of cheeses such as cheddar for sharpness and Monterey Jack for meltiness creates a perfect, gooey topping. Consider adding a layer of cheese both in the middle and on top for extra cheesiness.

Add Freshness: Top the baked casserole with fresh ingredients like chopped tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, or avocado for a burst of freshness and a contrast to the warm, spicy flavors.

Customize Your Toppings: Serve with a variety of toppings on the side, such as sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and hot sauce, allowing everyone to customize their serving according to their taste preferences.

Don’t Overbake: Keep an eye on the baking time to prevent the edges from becoming too hard or the cheese from burning. The casserole is done when it’s bubbly and golden brown.

Let It Rest: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This helps the layers set, making it easier to slice and serve.

Experiment with Layers: Beyond chicken and cheese, consider adding layers of black beans, corn, diced green chiles, or sautéed onions and peppers for more depth and variety in your casserole.

Make It Ahead: Assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate. Just add a few minutes to the baking time if you’re starting from cold. It’s a great way to make meal prep easier for busy days.

FAQs

What kind of chicken works best for chicken taco casserole?

Shredded cooked chicken is ideal for casserole dishes for its texture and ability to absorb flavors well. Rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled or baked chicken are excellent time-saving options.

Can I use store-bought taco seasoning?

Absolutely! Store-bought taco seasoning is a convenient and quick way to add flavor to your casserole. If you prefer, you can also make your own blend using common spices for more control over the ingredients and salt content.

How can I make my chicken taco casserole spicier?

Increase the heat by adding more chili powder to your seasoning mix, using spicier peppers like jalapeños or serranos in your casserole, or adding a dash of hot sauce to the chicken mixture.

Can this casserole be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. You might need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if starting from cold.

Is chicken taco casserole freezer-friendly?

Yes, chicken taco casserole freezes well. Cool the casserole completely before covering it tightly with foil and freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven until hot throughout.

What are some good toppings for chicken taco casserole?

Fresh toppings like diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, sliced avocados, sour cream, and shredded lettuce add freshness and contrast to the rich, baked casserole.

How do I keep the casserole from becoming soggy?

If using tortilla chips or tortillas as a layer, make sure they are not too thin and consider giving them a light toast in the oven first. Also, avoid adding too much liquid to the filling.

Can I substitute beef for chicken in this recipe?

Definitely! Ground beef or shredded beef can easily replace chicken in a taco casserole. Just ensure it’s cooked and seasoned well before layering into the casserole.

How long does chicken taco casserole keep in the refrigerator?

Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat portions in the microwave or oven until thoroughly warmed.

What to Serve with Taco Casserole

Cilantro Lime Rice: The freshness of cilantro and the zesty kick of lime in the rice complement the rich flavors of the casserole, offering a light and refreshing side that balances the meal.

Black Bean Salad: A vibrant black bean salad with corn, avocado, and a lime vinaigrette adds a nutritious and colorful side that enhances the overall dish with its texture and freshness.

Grilled Vegetables: Grilled zucchini, bell peppers, and onions add a smoky flavor and a healthy element to the meal, contrasting nicely with the creamy, cheesy casserole.

Cornbread: A slice of moist cornbread on the side is perfect for soaking up any delicious juices, and its slight sweetness complements the spicy flavors of the taco casserole.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote): The creamy, spicy, and tangy flavors of elote provide a delightful contrast to the savory casserole, adding complexity to the meal’s flavor profile.

Green Salad with Avocado Dressing: A crisp green salad dressed with a creamy avocado dressing offers a refreshing and light side that cuts through the richness of the casserole.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa: Crunchy tortilla chips and a side of salsa add texture and a spicy kick, perfect for scooping up any leftover casserole bits, making every bite interesting.

Sour Cream and Guacamole: Offering sour cream and guacamole on the side allows individuals to add a cool, creamy element to their portion, enhancing the casserole’s flavors with these classic taco accompaniments.

Margaritas or Limeade: A cold margarita or a glass of refreshing limeade complements the spicy and savory flavors of the casserole, adding a festive touch to the meal.

Refried Beans: A side of creamy refried beans works as a hearty and flavorful complement, adding depth and richness to the meal, ensuring a satisfying dining experience.

Try these other Mexican inspired favorites next:

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A serving of layered chicken taco casserole with green bell peppers on top.
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Chicken Taco Casserole

Chicken taco casserole combines the savory flavors of seasoned chicken, melted cheese, and traditional taco fixings, all layered and baked to perfection for a comforting, easy-to-make family meal.
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken casserole, chicken fajita casserole, mexican chicken casserole, tortilla casserole chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 155kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell
Cost $14

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken mixed with fajita seasoning
  • 4 8” tortillas I used low carb to make the recipe keto
  • 20 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 12 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped, this is optional based on the spice
  • cup green onion copped, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9×13” pan.
  • Place two tortillas down on the greased pan. Add half the chicken, beans, onion, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Top with half the enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Repeat this with the top layer.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another five minutes.
  • Top with green onions and enjoy!

Notes

When reheating I found that using an air fryer on 400ºF for about ten minutes gives the best taste!

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 997mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1220IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 1mg

About Courtney

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2 Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    5 stars
    Yum!

  2. Katherine says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!