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Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Do you have a favorite casserole dish? You know, your standard go-to whenever you need a quick and delicious meal that will feed many? This healthy spin on our favorite Chicken Tortilla Casserole is one of my go-to comfort food casseroles.

It’s a make and bake, one-dish meal full of bold flavors and lots of CHEEEESE. It’s also a gluten-free recipe, and made with shredded rotisserie chicken for quick dinner prep. 

serving of chicken tortilla casserole on a plate with salad and fork

Packed with chicken and good flavors

This easy one-dish meal casserole has layers of flavors and will be one of your family favorites. It is easy to make and freezer friendly so if you want to do some dinner prep for the week, make this in advance and freeze it.

Here’s Why This Recipe Works:

Let’s take a moment to break down all the deliciousness that is a Chicken Tortilla Casserole:

  • A creamy, homemade sauce that’s rich and buttery with hints of garlic (by the way, we used our recipe for garlic butter sauce as a base to make this creamy sauce.
  • Cooked onion, red bell pepper and chopped green chiles for big flavor.
  • Shredded, rotisserie chicken makes it quick and easy.
  • Crunchy, corn tortillas add more flavor.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese because every yummy casserole needs it.

Are you hungry yet? Because I sure am. Not only will this casserole be a lifesaver when you need a large dinner in a pinch, but it saves great for next-day enjoyment!

The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

The Sauce

What makes this the best chicken tortilla casserole? It’s the sauce! This is a creamy, garlicky, buttery sauce made from scratch. No canned soup in this casserole so you can feel good about serving the family real homemade food.

  • Butter.
  • Garlic
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour
  • Sour cream
  • Chicken broth

The Casserole Filling

Here is what goes in the rest of the casserole.

  • Onion.
  • Bell pepper (we used a red bell pepper)
  • Chicken. We used a rotisserie chicken but you can use leftover grilled chicken breast, chicken thighs, or a combination of white and dark meat.
  • Green chiles. You can use the canned chiles or make your own roasted poblano peppers.
  • Chicken broth. Either canned or homemade chicken broth.
  • Corn tortillas. The corn tortillas give the casserole a classic flavor. You can certainly use flour tortillas or sweet potato flatbread if you want.
  • Cheese. We used cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.

If you only have frozen chicken and don’t have time to thaw it out, you can cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot.

A collage of two photos showing how to make the filling and sauce for a casserole.

How to Make the Casserole:

Here is a brief overview so you can get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Make the sauce. Saute the garlic, melt the butter, then add seasonings and flour. Next, slowly whisk in the broth then stir in the sour cream.
  2. Make the filling. Saute the onion and peppers. Stir in the chicken, chiles and broth. Fold in the creamy sauce.
  3. Assemble the casserole. Place some tortillas in the casserole dish. Add half of the filling then top with some cheese. Repeat the layers one more time.
  4. Bake. Bake the casserole covered then remove the cover during the last 10 minutes of baking time.

Helpful Tips for Success

  • When you make the sauce stir the chicken broth in slowly and stir it with a whisk so the sauce does not get lumpy.
  • Taste the filling and add seasoning as needed. If you want to add some extra seasoning, Spiceology makes an incredible El Mariachi Mexican seasoning that goes well in this casserole.
  • Cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Spray the bottom of the aluminum foil with nonstick spray so it does not stick to the cheese.
  • Recipe additions: You can add 1 cup of frozen or canned corn. You can also add about 1 cup of black beans or a can of beans.
overhead view of casserole with spoon full
Baked to a golden brown

How to freeze Chicken Tortilla Casserole

If you want to freeze the casserole unbaked, simply assemble it and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. When you’re ready to bake the chicken tortilla casserole

  • thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Bake the casserole according to the recipe instructions– that’s 30 minutes covered with foil and an additional 10 minutes without the foil until the top is golden brown and the edges bubble. 

What to Serve with Tortilla Casserole

This chicken tortilla casserole has everything you need for a full meal but if you want to add some sides, here are a few suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze the casserole after I bake it?

Yes, you can freeze the casserole before OR after you bake it. You should thaw it in the fridge overnight.

How long will leftovers keep?

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Can I bake the casserole while it is still frozen?

Yes. If you choose to bake it while it is still frozen you will need to add 40 to 50 minutes to the baking time. Keep it covered while it bakes and for best results, check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.

Overhead view of a serving of casserole and salad

This Chicken Tortilla Casserole is the perfect dinner-in-a-pinch meal that requires very little prep, so long as you have some leftover chicken on-hand. It’s tasty and flavorful and deliciously cheesy- a busy mom win if there ever was one. 😉 

Some Other Recipes You Will Love:

Our Farro Chicken Bake is a hearty, one-pot casserole with an earthy, nutty flavor of the farro grain. It’s savory, filling and healthy!

This chipotle chicken tortilla soup has some extra flavor from smoky chipotle peppers. It is a hearty and filling soup that is great any time of the year.

Do you have leftover tortilla chips? You can use them to make this tortilla chip casserole. It is a twist on a traditional chicken tortilla casserole.

Comfort food season = BEST season and this Beef Casserole with Garlic-Chive Einkorn Dumplings is pure comfort food you’ll want to make again and again!

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A slice of chicken casserole on a plate with a salad.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Casseroles were created for weeknights and busy parents and this one will please the whole family. It is a one dish meal. Just add a side salad and you are set. We updated our old-time family favorite of Chicken Tortilla Casserole with a creamy sauce and corn tortillas. This is homestyle cooking, made from scratch at its best.

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (60g) flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 medium sweet red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cans (7oz. each) chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Green onions or cilantro for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F Coat a 9x13-inch oven-proof casserole dish with oil spray.

For the Sauce:

  1. In a small pan set over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and when it has melted add the grated garlic. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds. Do not let it brown.
  2. Add the remaining butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper and cook only until the butter is melted.  
  3. Stir the flour into the butter making a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Gradually add the chicken broth whisking to combine. Continue to whisk until smooth and creamy, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth. Set aside to cool.

For the Filling:

  1. in a large skillet set over medium heat add the oil and when it has warmed add the onion and red pepper. Sauté just until the onion has softened. 
  2. Remove from the heat and add the shredded chicken, green chilies and cooled sauce.
  3. Stir in enough of the chicken broth to make the filling thick and spoonable.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

To Assemble the Casserole:

  1. Place 6 of the tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish and add 1/2 of the chicken mixture and 1/2 of the Monterey Jack Cheese and 1/2 of the cheddar cheese.  Repeat with a second layer.
  2. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick oil spray and cover the casserole, sprayed side down.  
  3. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes; then remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown and bubbly at the edges. 
  4. Transfer from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Garnish with chopped green onions and/or cilantro leaves 

Notes

  • The creamy Garlic Butter Sauce can be substituted for any recipe calling for canned cream soup. 
  • When stirring in the chicken broth, do so in increments to obtain a thick spoonable mixture.
  • This casserole can be assembled, covered and refrigerated until ready to bake/serve.
  • To freeze unbaked, cover with foil and place in freezer for up to 3 months.  To bake, thaw the frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Place in a 350° preheated oven and bake with foil for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until bubbly around the edges and golden brown on top.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8th of
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 1098mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 38g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Cathy

Sunday 18th of October 2020

This tasted really good! I like the fact that the creamy sauce is made from scratch. However, it came out very soupy. I’m wondering if that additional cup of chicken stock for the filling is really necessary?

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 18th of October 2020

Hi, Cathy...thank you for your comments on this chicken tortilla casserole. I'm sorry it was looser than you expected I have adjusted the recipe instructions with the chicken broth to be stirred in after the sauce and with 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth, just enough to be thick and spoonable. I hope you try it again with these changes. Thanks again for your feedback.

angiesrecipes

Friday 3rd of January 2020

This could become my favourite casserole! It looks so darn good!

Pat Nyswonger

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Thank you, Angie....It is delicious, try it, you will like it!

Jeff the Chef

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Yum! I always have tortillas around, because I love them. I either make them or buy them. So I guess I'm totally prepped to make this on the fly! Thanks for the recipe!

Pat Nyswonger

Friday 3rd of January 2020

You are welcome, Jeff!

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