Mexican Chicken Casserole is everything you love about Mexican food loaded into an easy casserole recipe. It’s a hearty, satisfying dinner recipe that’s fast to make! Perfect for serve-yourself gatherings and Cinco de Mayo celebrations too.
If you are seeking a hearty, flavor-packed easy meal idea, this recipe is just that.
It’s that perfect recipe solution when you need something filling and delicious but just don’t have the time to cook.
Easy Mexican Chicken Casserole is full of mouthwatering flavors. All the Mexican ingredients you love piled high with favorite toppings.
AND can be whipped up in a flash!
- What is Mexican Chicken Casserole?
- Perfect for Parties and Gatherings!
- What Are the Ingredients in this Mexican Casserole?
- Option: Make Shredded Chicken at Home
- Suggested Toppings
- How to make this Mexican Chicken Casserole Ahead!
- How to Make Mexican Chicken Casserole – Step by Step
- Pro Tips
- How to Store the baked casserole
- Can Mexican Chicken Casserole be Frozen?
- Make It a Meal!
- More Recipes You’ll Love
What is Mexican Chicken Casserole?
It’s a layered casserole with tortillas, shredded chicken, spicy enchilada sauce and more. It’s filling like a lasagna and bakes in 30 minutes.
When served it is topped with the same toppings you’d use for tacos giving it a fresh flavor.
Perfect for Parties and Gatherings!
Mexican Chicken Casserole is perfect for gatherings and parties.
Why you’ll love this recipe (especially for parties):
- Quick and easy to make
- Delicious flavors everyone loves
- It’s easy to set up as a serve-yourself bar. The hot-from-the-oven Mexican Chicken Casserole and an assortment of toppings for individual serving.
- Great, satisfying comfort food for a relaxed get together that’s easy on the host too!
What Are the Ingredients in this Mexican Casserole?
There is a secret both to the mouthwatering flavors and the speed of pulling this together! Most of the ingredients are already prepared!
The Mexican casserole is delicious with prepared ingredients and so easy to make!
It’s also very flexible. Any of these ingredients can be substituted with homemade ingredients if desired.
Red Enchilada Sauce. Canned. Regular or gluten-free.
Corn Tortillas. Regular size. Corn tortillas are usually naturally gluten-free so work for a regular or gluten-free diet.
Refried Beans. Canned. We used black bean refried beans but regular refried beans may be substituted.
Olive Oil. For sautéing the onion.
Red Onion. Yellow onion or white onion can also be substituted.
Mild Green Chiles. Canned. Choose diced green chilies to save time. We recommend using milk chilies so it’s not overly spicy.
Pinto Beans. Canned. Drained and rinsed. If substituting homemade pinto beans you’ll need 1 1/2 cups.
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken. You can shred the chicken yourself or purchase shredded chicken at the grocery store for more time savings!
Corn Kernels. Frozen and thawed, canned/drained or fresh corn kernels may be used.
Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Canned, undrained.
Ground Cumin. Classic spice in Mexican cuisine. Give an deep earthy flavor.
Chile Powder. Delivers the spicy heat.
Grated Mexican Cheese Blend. This blend is sold pre-packaged in the dairy section of the grocery store. Or grate a combination of grated Milk Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses.
A note on pre-grated cheese. It often includes an anti-caking agent which prohibits it from fully melting and creating that gooey cheese we love.
If available to you we recommend Tillamook’s Farmstyle Thick Cut grated cheese. We’ve found it melts just like home grated cheese from a block.
Option: Make Shredded Chicken at Home
If you have some extra time, I love making shredded chicken at home with boneless chicken breasts.
It’s always moist and with great flavor.
It can be frozen and packaged in 1 cup servings for recipes like this too!
Having a selection of toppings allows each diner to customize their serving. Here are some favorite toppings to try:
- thinly sliced Iceberg Lettuce ribbons
- Pico de Gallo or fresh salsa
- Sour Cream or Mexican Crema
- diced fresh Cilantro
- pickled Jalapenos slices
- Pickled Red Onions
- crushed tortilla chips
- lime wedges
How to make this Mexican Chicken Casserole Ahead!
Mexican Chicken Casserole can be made ahead of time too.
Make it in the morning (leaving off the cheese), cover and refrigerate it.
Take it out while heating the oven (let it sit at room temperature). Add the cheese and cook as directed at dinner time.
Or even make it the day before in this same way.
The base preparation is about 20 minutes which is usually manageable on even the busiest of days!
How to Make Mexican Chicken Casserole – Step by Step
For a detailed printable recipe, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the blog post.
STEP 1. Preparation
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish.
STEP 2. Prepare the ingredients
- Layer the corn tortilla quarters to cover the sauce.
- Spread the refried beans over the corn tortillas. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, sauté until the onions are softened and translucent.
- Add the green chilies, pinto beans, cooked chicken, corn, tomatoes, spices and remaining enchilada sauce.
- Cook over medium heat to fully combine; 2-3 minutes.
STEP 3. Assemble the casserole and bake
- Spoon the chicken mixture into the baking dish spreading it evenly in the pan.
- Cover with the cheese and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through and cheese has melted.
- Serve with topping options or by itself.
Prepared ingredients saves prep time. Most of the baked casserole ingredients are canned. This saves alot of prep time. If you prefer using homemade ingredients, swap them in instead.
Grate the cheese yourself. For the best melting results grate the cheese yourself. Or use the suggested farm-style Tillamook brand grated Mexican cheese blend.
How to Store the baked casserole
Store leftovers, tightly sealed, for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Can Mexican Chicken Casserole be Frozen?
It *can* but I’d recommend making it fresh. It’s so quick, and actually faster to make it fresh rather than freezer/thaw and cook it.
If there be a situation requiring freezing (giving it to a sick friend, etc.) I recommend:
- Prepare the casserole (don’t cook it),
- Wrap it with plastic wrap followed by foil to be sure it’s well sealed.
To Thaw and Cook:
Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. Bake as indicated in the recipe card.
Make It a Meal!
This Mexican chicken casserole can be a one dish dinner. If you’d like to add some other drinks, side dishes or salsas, here are some great choices:
- Easy Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
- Authentic Costa Rican Gallo Pinto (beans and rice)
- Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)
- Roasted Pineapple Salsa
- Fresh-Style Margaritas
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Easy Mexican Chicken Casserole
- 1 15-ounce can Red Enchilada Sauce if gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free brand
- 6 Corn Tortillas cut into quarters
- 1 15-ounce can Black Bean Refried Beans regular refried beans may be substituted
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- ¾ cup Red Onion ,chopped
- 1 7-ounce can diced Mild Green Chilies fire roasted if available
- 1 15-ounce can Pinto Beans rinsed and drained (1 ½ cups homemade beans may be used)
- 3 cups shredded Rotisserie Chicken
- 1 cup Corn Kernels; frozen canned/drained or fresh may be used
- 1 14.5-ounce can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes preferably with Mexican seasoning if available (I used Muir Glen Organic with Adobo seasonings), undrained
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Chile Powder
- 1 ½ cups grated Mexican Cheese Blend (sold with packaged cheese) or a combination of grated Milk Cheddar, Monterrey Jack and Cobly cheeses
- thinly sliced iceberg lettuce ribbons
- pico de gallo or fresh salsa
- sour cream
- diced fresh cilantro
- pickled jalapeno slices
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour ¾ cup of the enchilada sauce into a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish; spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Layer the corn tortilla quarters to cover the sauce, overlapping them.
- Heat the refried beans with 2-3 tablespoons of water, in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave covered (for about 2 minutes) until hot and creamy. Spread the refried beans over the corn tortillas in the baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the chopped onions. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent; 3-4 minutes.
- Add the green chilies, pinto beans, chicken, corn, tomatoes, spices and remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce. Cook over medium heat to fully combine; 2-3 minutes.
- Spoon the filling into the baking dish spreading it evenly in the pan. Cover with the cheese and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through and cheese has melted.
- Serve with topping options or by itself.
Originally published: April 25, 2015