This chicken tortilla chip casserole is a quick midweek Tex-Mex dinner fix. It is a cross between chicken nachos, enchiladas, and Mexican lasagna. Made with juicy shredded chicken and plenty of gooey shredded cheese, this dinner is everything you want in comfort food.
For the calorie-conscious, this is not a light dinner. If you want to keep the entire casserole more “lightened up” then just use half of the cheese and you will reduce your calories to 227 per serving and your fat to 11 grams per serving
However, even if you use all the cheese that this recipe calls for you will still have far less calories and sodium than one of those recipes that use condensed soup. The small amount of low-fat cream cheese helps thicken the sauce and makes it creamy.
This makes a great game day casserole and the leftovers can be frozen. A rotisserie chicken makes this pretty quick to put together and tortilla chips always seem to be on hand when a football game is playing.
What you need for this tortilla chip casserole.
Here is what you need for this homemade, from-scratch Mexican inspired meal:
- Chicken broth
- Black beans. Straight from a can or whip up a batch of Instant Pot black beans.
- Diced tomatoes
- Green chilies.
- Cream cheese. Either regular or low fat will work.
- Shredded chicken. Use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken or use this recipe for Instant Pot frozen chicken. It’s fast and easy. For a smoky flavor, use our Traeger beer can chicken.
- Tortilla chips. This is a great recipe if you have leftover tortilla chips but don’t let that stop you from buying a bag specifically for this dinner.
- Cheese. We used Monterey Jack and cheddar but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Fresh cilantro
For a delicious variation, you can add some mole sauce to the mixture.
Let’s Make Dinner!
Here is a quick low-down and some tips for how to make this easy tortilla chip casserole. Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for the printable recipe card.
- Cook the onion and garlic then add the seasoning.
- Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes, chilies and cream cheese. Cook until the cream cheese melts.
- Add the chicken and simmer until the sauce reduces.
- Layer the creamy mixture with corn chips and cheese, just like you’re making lasagna.
- Bake until it is bubbly and golden brown.
Tips for success.
- Cooking the onion first will take the pungent bite out of the raw onion and bring the sweetness out. Cook it just until it is translucent.
- It only takes a few seconds to cook the garlic. If you cook it too long before adding the rest of the ingredients then the garlic can burn. Stir it until you smell it then add the other ingredients.
- Drain the liquid out of the canned items to limit how runny the sauce will get.
- Simmer the sauce until the liquid reduces a bit and thickens up. The less liquid you add from the canned goods, the less time it takes to reduce.
- Serve with extra chips to scoop up the saucy mixture.
Can you freeze this tortilla chip casserole?
You can absolutely freeze this casserole. The chips will get soft and lose their crunch but that will happen with the regular leftovers anyway. Just serve the casserole with some fresh chips. When you use crunchy corn chips, it tastes like chicken nachos!
Some More Recipes You Will Love:
This Southwest black bean chicken soup has a punch of flavors and makes a full meal. Make an extra batch for the freezer because you will want to serve this on repeat.
Keep the Mexican inspired meals on your rotation with this shredded beef chimichanga recipe. It is always a bit hit with the family.
Homemade tamales are a fun and delicious way to feed a crowd. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to make
These spicy pulled pork empanadas have a few components to them but they are worth all the effort. You can make the pulled pork ahead of time to make things easier.
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- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can (4 ounces) green chilies, diced
- 4 ounces regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
- 5 cups tortilla chips (3 ounces)
- 1-½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1-½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Pre-heat oven to 350° and spray a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and salt. Cook about 1 minute then add chicken broth, beans, tomatoes, chilies, and cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted.
- Add the chicken and simmer about 6 to 10 minutes to reduce the sauce.
- Spread 1/3 of chicken mixture in the bottom of the baking pan. Spread 1/3 of the tortilla chips and 1/3 of the cheese over the chicken mixture. Repeat the layers 2 more times.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbling hot. Top with cilantro before serving.
- Drain all the liquid out of the canned items to reduce how much liquid will be in the sauce.
- Use gluten-free corn tortilla chips if you need to be strictly gluten-free.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 16gSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 21g
This post was originally published on January 26, 2015. Updated with new photos. The original photo is below.