Texas Living

Original King Ranch Casserole Recipe

By Jillian Kring 8.10.21

The King Ranch Casserole is a Texas culinary classic. Though it was named for King Ranch in Kingsville, the true origin of this recipe remains somewhat of a mystery. It has been, however, enjoyed throughout the Lone Star State since it first appeared in the 1950s. It even gained enough popularity to be featured as one of Ladybird Johnson’s favorite recipes that she regularly served at her ranch in Stonewall. 

This cheesy and flavorful chicken casserole is affordable, easy to make, and serves 8 to 10 people. Check out this from-scratch take on the classic King Ranch Casserole recipe.


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne
  • 5 small tomatoes, diced
  • 4 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 24 standard size tortillas 
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Toppings (Optional)

  • Green onion, diced
  • Pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado


  • 9″x13″ casserole dish with lid (freezer-safe if making ahead and freezing) 
  • Skillet
  • Spatula 
  • Tinfoil
  • Can opener
King Ranch Casserole recipe
Natalie Goff


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté diced onion and bell pepper for 2 minutes until soft. Stir in shredded rotisserie chicken and spices; cook for several minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, and soups and bring to a boil.

Spread a small scoop of the creamy chicken mixture over the bottom the greased baking dish. Layer tortillas over it, then cover the tortilla layer with another layer of the creamy chicken mixture. Top this layer with shredded cheese. Repeat this layering until the baking dish is full. 

Cover the casserole with tinfoil; place the dish on the middle oven rack and bake 30 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Garnish with toppings such as diced green onion, pico de gallo, sour cream, and avocado.

Your King Ranch casserole can be made in advance, covered, and stored in the fridge for 24 hours or in the freezer for up to one month. Before baking, thaw in the fridge if frozen. Remove from fridge in both instances and bring to room temperature before baking.

Find more Texas comfort food here.

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