This healthy Tex-Mex King Ranch casserole recipe is typically made with cans of cream-of-something soup. We've lightened up this casserole recipe considerably by making a homemade cream sauce and loading it up with veggies at the same time. You'll never guess that a serving of our version of King Ranch casserole has 300 fewer calories and two-thirds less fat than the original. This recipe makes enough for two 8-by-8-inch casseroles (four servings each)--have one for dinner tonight and freeze the other for a night when you don't have time to make dinner.

Carolyn Malcoun
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2013


Recipe Summary

1 hr 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch-square baking dishes with cooking spray.

  • Place chicken in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Dice when cool.

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the mushroom liquid has evaporated, 7 to 9 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder; stir for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add broth and cook, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, sour cream, chiles, salt and the chicken.

  • To assemble: Spread 1 cup filling in each prepared baking dish. Layer on 4 tortilla halves and top with 1 cup filling. Repeat 2 more layers of tortillas and filling, ending with the rest of the filling. Sprinkle cheese and olives on top.

  • To serve: Bake until hot and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. To freeze: Let unbaked casserole(s) cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap with heavy-duty foil (or freezer paper) and freeze. (To prevent foil from sticking to the cheese, coat with cooking spray first.)


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4, cover and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days. Uncover and bake at 375°F for about 50 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

356 calories; protein 32.9g 66% DV; carbohydrates 29.1g 9% DV; exchange other carbs 2; dietary fiber 5.2g 21% DV; sugars 3.4g; fat 12.6g 19% DV; saturated fat 5g 25% DV; cholesterol 81.1mg 27% DV; vitamin a iu 1365.4IU 27% DV; vitamin c 31.6mg 53% DV; folate 43.1mcg 11% DV; calcium 188.8mg 19% DV; iron 2.6mg 15% DV; magnesium 76.4mg 27% DV; potassium 662.1mg 19% DV; sodium 730.9mg 29% DV; thiamin 0.2mg 19% DV.

Reviews (14)

Read More Reviews
14 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
I'd give it a solid 3.5 stars. Held together pretty well for us. Followed the recipe to the letter except an ounce more of canned mushrooms (which I wish the ingredient list specified since you're supposed to evaporate the liquid but we had bought fresh - glad we had canned in pantry). Surprisingly tasty without drenching in hot sauce as I usually do. We will make this again - thanks for another good recipe to add to the rotation! It is heavy on prep work but worth it. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
So disappointed!!!! I made this casserole to freeze so that it would be available when my family was visiting a week later. I followed the directions to a tee......freezing uncooked then defrosting for 2 days then cooking uncovered. Well just as another reviewer commented: it was totally mushy. I ended up throwing the whole thing out after all that work. My assumption was that the other reviewer didn't follow the directions properly for freezing but apparently they I got the same result. I won't try making this without freezing as my first experience was so awful!!! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This is a delicious healthy version of this casserole!! I used a 9 x 13 pan for my recipe. I also modified by using about 1 lb of chicken and adding one can of black beans and also by adding a chopped fresh jalapeno pepper. 2 lbs of chicken seems like overkill. It does serve well as a leftover. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Pleasantly was delicious I tried this with low expectations for some reason but was pleasantly surprised - the whole family loved it! I am not sure why several reviews said it was a lot of work but we all define that differently I guess. I thought it came together pretty quickly. I did have leftover chicken so that helped. I also made it in a large pan rather than 2 small ones and we ate the leftovers over the next couple days. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Pros: Tastes great Read More
Rating: 3 stars
sounds decent I'm going to try this using the meat from one rotisserie chix bought at the deli instead of boiling chix breasts. Pros: good ingredients Cons: lots of prep Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Lots of Work but very good This is like eating a taco dip from a party for dinner but with less fat. It is very tasty. I don't know why people are calling it bland (it is not) but maybe they mean it is not spicy (indeed it is not hot). I would considering leaving out the corn shells and just scooping it into some taco shells. I will likely make this again but definitely will pre-chop and shred things as the prep time is WAY TOO LONG to tackle after work. Pros: Tastes great decent nutritionally Cons: Lots of Work Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Tasty! A bit more work than I'd like but really tasty. I put the whole thing in a 9x13 pan instead of cooking one 8x8 pan and freezing one. The leftovers are good too! I'd definitely make this again - my husband and I both really liked it. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Much better than the other EW KRC recipe I've made both of the King Ranch Casserole recipes on this site and this one was significantly better! I used quorn chicken cutlets as I'm a vegetarian and I subbed a variety of hot peppers instead of bell. I also used a combination of shiitake and hen of the woods mushrooms and left off the olives. I really enjoyed this version but it was even better topped with some Killin' me Man hot sauce that I got in Bocas Del Toro Panama. This isn't like a tabasco hot sauce it's more like ground up hot peppers and onions. Pros: Great flavors Read More
Rating: 3 stars
I'm a beginner cook and this dish was very easy for me. I dont think I cooked for long enough because its very watery. I took out the dish because the cheese fell to the bottom of the stove and was burning and I never put back in. It is edible and I can still taste all the yummyness but hate the watery looking stuff surrounding the chicken! lol I think I am going to try this dish again in a bigger dish! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
This was good and my husband loved it. I probably wouldn't make this again for myself but I will make it regularly for him. It's a little bit more work than I would like. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Easy and delicious My husband and I both really enjoyed this. We left out the mushrooms added more bell peppers added a can of rotel tomatoes added some cumin and subbed the corn tortillas for flour. Pros: Healthy lots of veggies Read More
Rating: 3 stars
First meal tasty frozen meal was not so great The casserole we ate on the first night was terrific! The frozen casserole eaten just a couple of weeks later was just total mush. Recommended but not for freezing. Pros: freshly made (first) meal was very tasty Cons: did NOT freeze well Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious A delicious meal! I can't believe it is a low calorie cholesterol recipe. IT is packed with so much favor. And it is great that there is a second meal that you can freeze for later. Pros: Can be made ahead Cons: Lots of chopping Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Converted my picky husband! I grew up with something similar but it was filled with cans of creamed soup. This tastes SO much better and you can customize it for yourself and family! I didn't add the mushrooms because my husband really doesn't like them. The only thing I would add is maybe another cup of broth because I almost didn't have enough filling for both casseroles (probably because I didn't add the mushrooms). Prep definitely took the full hour but it was worth it! I had a happy husband and 1-year-old! Pros: Tastes homemade makes two meals easy to convert to suit your family Cons: takes a while to make Read More