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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

13 April 2009 6 Comments

Every place has its regional specialties, which became very obvious to me after moving to Texas. Certain dishes – like Red Velvet cake – I was aware of in California, but had no idea they were so very prevalent in other areas. And some things I’d never even heard of until I moved here.

One of those is King Ranch Chicken. This is a delicious Tex-Mex casserole layered with corn tortillas, chicken, tomatoes, a mildly spicy (or however you make it) creamy sauce and topped with cheese. Usually, the sauce is made using a can of condensed soup.

I have a lot of reasons for disliking recipes that use condensed soups. One is that I have high blood pressure, so I have to watch my sodium, and canned foods have sooo much sodium in them, it’s ridiculous. Another is that it just seems so artificial to use condensed soups. Finally, I don’t want to use up all my pantry space with can after can of the various condensed soup flavors.

I love casseroles, but so many of them call for those stupid condensed soups. After some research, I have found substitutes so I can still enjoy a creamy, delicious casserole without that can. Some cornstarch, dry milk powder and chicken broth gives me a lovely creamy result, without all the junk. If you want to use this method for any other recipe, just remember you may need to add seasonings to approximate the condensed soup you are replacing. Here, I didn’t add any, because the rest of the casserole has plenty of flavor. But if you were doing something milder, you would want to add some herbs and spices to round it out.

Here’s my version of King Ranch chicken, which even my anything-healthy-hating boyfriend loves! It’s hearty, delicious and very satisfying.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Serves 6

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

adapted from MyRecipes.com


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles (1 can)
  • 1 1/2 cups light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 6″ corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Saute onion and bell pepper 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute briefly, until golden. Remove from heat.

Dissolve cornstarch into chicken broth, then add into skillet. Add next 8 ingredients (milk powder through pepper) to skillet and mix well.

Tear 5 corn tortillas into 1″ pieces and layer bottom of baking dish. Pour half of chicken mixture into dish and top with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture and cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.

If desired, garnish with chopped tomatoes, green onions or jalapeno peppers.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 426
Fat: 13g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 41g

King Ranch Casserole on FoodistaKing Ranch Casserole

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  • Mrs. D said:


  • Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said:

    DAMN good looking – !! This will be a winner in my house!!

  • Jessica said:

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Digigirl said:

    Mrs. D, Cathy, Jessica – hope you enjoy it!

  • Tris said:

    I thought this recipe was worth trying. I never have followed a recipe to the T. The key is just to go by taste as you move along with preparing the dish. I used all the ingredients listed except for the dry milk, thyme, chicken broth, cornstarch, and tortillas. This is what I did: used boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, threw in some pace picante sauce, johnny’s seasoning salt, and used crushed tortilla chips. I also added a layer of mexican style spicy refried beans. This dish was a hit! My husband is not a huge casserole eater but he couldn’t deny himself to seconds!

  • King Ranch Chicken Casserole « Sunny Side Up said:

    […] Ranch Chicken Casserole Adapted from Don’t Forget Delicious Ingredients 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 orange bell pepper, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 […]

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