King Ranch Chicken


A king among casseroles.

King Ranch Chicken
Photo: Southern Living
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
12 serves

Hailing from an era when casseroles were king, this Tex-Mex dish still reigns supreme at church suppers and neighborhood potlucks. Though not an invention of the famed King Ranch—it's more likely the creation of a ladies' Junior League—the spicy flavors of chili powder, roasted peppers, and toasted cumin never fail to please.


  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion

  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 cup chopped poblano peppers (about 2 medium peppers)

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¾ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained

  • 1 ½ cups sour cream

  • 2 pounds coarsely chopped smoked chicken (about 5 cups)

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 18 (8-inch) soft taco-size corn tortillas

  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • Vegetable cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

  2. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in broth, and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes and sour cream.

  3. Stir together chicken and cilantro in a large bowl; stir in vegetable mixture. Combine both cheeses in a small bowl.

  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Lightly brush each tortilla on both sides with oil. Cook tortillas, in batches, in hot skillet 1 to 2 minutes each side or until lightly browned and crisp on both sides.

  5. Line bottom of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish with 6 tortillas, overlapping slightly, to cover bottom of dish. Top with half of chicken mixture and one-third of cheese. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese. Lightly coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, and cover baking dish.

  6. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


We tested with Swanson Natural Goodness 33% Less Sodium Chicken Broth.

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