Tips for Creating Great Chicken Tortilla Casserole

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A chicken tortilla casserole is like the ultimate in Mexican comfort food. One could say that ALL Mexican food is comfort food, but this casserole really hits the spot. This recipe is easy to make yet simple to dress up if you want to. We’ve included lots of tips for you, too, including ideas for side dishes to turn this dish into a special occasion.

For now, let’s get to this cheezy, comforting recipe.

This recipe serves 8 people.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (or 2 teaspoons chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of corn kernels
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 18 flour tortillas
  • 2 pounds of either chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and shredded (with a fork)
  • 2 cups cheddar, Monterey Jack, or other favorite hard cheese, shredded



In a cast-iron skillet or another sturdy pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the diced onion till soft (about 2 minutes).

Add all of the spices and sauté for another minute, stirring well so that they don’t stick.

Add in the beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth or stock. Let the bean mixture simmer for 10 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease a casserole dish – we used a 9 x 13-inch dish.

Spread a layer of the simmered sauce along the bottom of the dish. Next, put a layer of tortillas, then a layer of shredded chicken. Put another layer of sauce, then a layer of cheese.

Next, top with another layer of tortillas. Add the rest of the chicken, then the rest of the sauce. Put a layer of cheese, but save some for the top of the casserole.

Finally, put a last layer of tortillas and top with the rest of the cheese.

Cover your casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the foil, then bake for 10 more minutes or till the cheese on top is bubbling and melted.

Let your freshly baked casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving with your side ingredients, if using.

Extra tips for chicken tortilla casserole

Make your own tortillas

You don’t have to do this, but making your own tortillas is easy to do. Simply combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup water, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to make a soft dough.

Knead the dough about 12 times, then let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide it into 8 equal pieces, and either roll it out into 7-inch squares or use a tortilla press like the one at

Toast your tortillas for 1 minute on each side in a dry pan on medium-high heat, and you’re done!

Make the casserole ahead of time

If you’ve got what appears to be a busy week ahead of you, you can easily make this casserole in advance. Bake it as usual, then let it cool before putting it in the refrigerator, where it can keep up to a week.

Alternatively, bake it, let it cool, and freeze it in a freezer-safe dish for up to 2 months.

To reheat it from the freezer, bake it at 350 degrees F for an hour and a half. You want the casserole to be heated all the way through. For reheating leftovers, heat them at the same temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Serve with side dishes for extra flair

This casserole goes well with lots of different side dishes if you want to offer guests more variety. Here are some examples:

  • Taco style toppings such as guacamole or sliced avocado, fresh tomato salsa, sour cream
  • A side soup
  • Refried beans (topped with extra cheese!)

Try corn tortillas

You can use corn tortillas if you wish. Corn tortillas are perfect for those who don’t eat gluten. Just remember that corn tortillas are smaller, so you may need more for the recipe, and they tend to be crispier when heated.

Try other proteins instead of chicken

Ground beef or shredded pork both work well in this recipe, so no need to use chicken unless you want to.

If you want to cater to vegetarians, you could also use crumbled tofu. Just be sure to press the excess water out of it first so that the tofu soaks up all the flavors of the spicy sauce.


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