Chicken Tortilla Casserole

(2 votes)
5 Comments
7 minutes
May 31, 2023
Carole JonesJump to Recipe

This chicken tortilla casserole only has FIVE ingredients and is so easy to make! It is an all-time favorite at Casa Jones because we love Mexican food and it is such a healthy recipe. We love how it is layered in the casserole pan instead of having to roll up each individual enchilada. Plus this chicken enchilada casserole is super kid friendly!

layered green chile chicken enchilada casserole with diced tomatoes in the back

Why I Love this Chicken Enchilada Casserole

As a mom of six who runs her own business, time is always short and kids are always hungry! I need dinners that are healthy, filling, and easy enough that I can make them quickly or my kids can make them all on their own. This chicken tortilla casserole hits all those important notes together in one. Plus, it makes enough to feed our family for two nights in a row. Double bonus!

This chicken enchilada casserole is a recipe I created many years ago when the fridge and cupboards were quite bare. I was scrambling to find anything! Years later, it is a staple in our menu rotation, appearing at least twice a month. It is simple enough that my kiddos can make it themselves and it can also be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge, then popped into the oven right before dinner. If I don’t happen to have chicken on hand, I will use ground beef or some of my leftover Sunday pork loin roast.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole Ingredients

I promised you only five simple ingredients and here they are!  If you want some ideas of how to make different variations of this chicken enchilada casserole, I’ve included those as well further down in the post.

  • Corn tortillas
  • Green Chile enchilada sauce
  • Cooked chicken
  • Refried beans
  • Shredded Colby jack cheese
Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Casserole?

Time needed: 1 hour

This process couldn’t be more simple! Great casserole recipe for a beginner cook to try out.

  1. Prepare oven and baking dish

    Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9×13” deep casserole dish.

  2. Create the first layer of the chicken tortilla casserole

    Start with green Chile enchilada sauce, then corn tortillas. Add a layer of refried beans, chicken, and cheese, then more enchilada sauce.

  3. Create the second layer of the casserole

    Repeat the same process on top of the first layer.

  4. Top the completed layers with corn tortillas and the remaining sauce

    You can also add additional cheese on top if wanted.

  5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes

    Keep the chicken tortilla casserole uncovered while baking

  6. Let the finished dish sit for 15 minutes before serving

    The chicken enchilada casserole needs that time to set up so it isn’t soupy when you serve it.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole FAQs

Can you freeze tortilla casserole?

Yes, chicken tortilla casserole freezes very well. Assemble the casserole according to the recipe below but do not bake it. Instead, top it with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze the casserole for up to 3 months. I suggest using a quality disposable pan so your pans aren’t stuck in the freezer. When you are ready to prepare it, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 2-3 days then bake it according to the instructions, adding 10 minutes extra.

What’s the difference between a corn tortilla and a flour tortilla?

There are differences in both the ingredients and the preparation of corn and flour tortillas. For the ingredients, corn tortillas are made with corn masa flour, salt, and water. There is no fat added to the tortilla. While a flour tortilla uses wheat flour, lard or shortening, salt, and water.

To make corn tortillas, you form them using a tortilla press until flat and thin. This is easy to do because corn masa has no gluten. For flour tortillas, they have to be rolled out either by hand or with a rolling pin. This happens after the dough has rested, allowing the gluten bonds that formed while the dough was made to relax. Both types of tortillas are then cooked on a hot, flat surface.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Recipe FAQs and Troubleshooting

What type of Chicken Goes in Enchilada Casserole?

Cook the chicken before putting it into the tortilla casserole. You can use leftover chicken in your fridge, buy a rotisserie chicken from the store, or bake well-seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Whatever type of cooked chicken you use, be sure to chop it up into small, bite-sized pieces.

Can I Use Red Enchilada Sauce Instead of Green?

Yes, you can use either red or green enchilada sauce in this chicken tortilla casserole. Green enchilada sauce has green chilis, water, seasonings, and a thickening agent. Red enchilada sauce uses the same ingredients but adds tomato paste or puree. Both types of sauce come in various spice levels, but the ones in a standard grocery store tend to be quite mild, so don’t let that concern you.

Will the Chicken Tortilla Casserole Dry Out if it Bakes Uncovered?

The whole reason the casserole bakes uncovered is that it will dry out 🙂 Now, that doesn’t mean it gets nasty and crunchy on the top. To make the finished dish turn out correctly, moisture needs to evaporate as it bakes. As long as you put enchilada sauce on the very top of the casserole as instructed in the recipe, the top will turn out perfectly.

My Chicken Enchilada Casserole Turned Out Soupy

If this happens, it’s usually for two reasons. First, be sure that you bake your casserole uncovered the whole time it is in the oven. Also, the oven needs to be preheated before the casserole goes in. If you cover the deep casserole dish with aluminum foil, it will trap the moisture and your end result will be soupy.

Secondly, that 15-minute rest after the chicken tortilla casserole comes out of the oven is very important. It allows the dish to set up before you begin scooping out dinner. And if the refried beans you used were on the softer side, 30 minutes would be a wiser resting time. Don’t worry. The casserole will still be nice and warm after resting that long.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Video

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe Variations

Being a home cook provides endless opportunities to experiment with recipes, personalizing them to your tastes and creativity. Any of the following variations would be great spin-offs of this chicken enchilada casserole recipe.

  • Use ground beef instead of chicken. Be sure to fully cook and season it. Depending on how much meat you want, you will need between 1 to 2 pounds of beef.
  • Add spiciness to the casserole by using pepper jack cheese and some diced jalapenos to each layer. 
  • Use fresh avocado slices in one layer of the chicken tortilla casserole. You’ll need 3 ripe avocados to slice thinly and add them between the refried beans and the chicken.
  • Add brininess to the dish by tossing in some sliced black olives. The amount depends on how much you love olives but I would suggest using 4 ounce can of chopped olives.

What to Serve with Enchilada Casserole?

If you are looking for some great side dishes to go along with this chicken tortilla casserole, here are a few great options.

Looking for More Delicious Mexican Recipes?

If this chicken tortilla casserole is right up your alley, then you’ll love these other dinner recipes as well. Go grab the recipes now so you don’t miss out!

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chicken tortilla casserole

Chicken Tortilla Casserole Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

This chicken enchilada bake only has 5 ingredients but tastes like you spent all day making it!

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 28 ounce can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 215 ounce cans refried beans
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken breasts
  • 16 ounces shredded colby jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan, then layer on 6 tortillas. Spread one can of beans over the tortillas, then sprinkle on half the chicken and half the cheese. Drizzle 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over the first layer, add 6 more tortillas, and repeat the above process one more time.
  3. Top with the remaining 6 tortillas then evenly spread the remaining 1/3 sauce over the top. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the edges of the casserole are bubbling. Let sit for 10-15  minutes before serving.

Notes

Avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream all make great toppings!

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/12
  • Calories: 392
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 957 mg
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Cholesterol: 73 mg

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

5 comments

Donald
4 years ago

This is so easy and we loved it with guacamole on top!

Carole
4 years ago

Love hearing this! Thanks for coming back and leaving a review!

Jennifer Smith
7 months ago

Can I leave out the refried beans and should it be replaced with something else. Not fans here. Thank you

Carole Jones
7 months ago

Hey Jennifer! You can leave them out or use whole black beans instead.

Lisa
6 months ago

Made my own refired beans in the IP and used leftover honey lime chicken. Delicious & my picky eater really liked it!

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