This Mexican Chicken Casserole is one of our favorite easy recipes for Cinco de Mayo or any busy weeknight. It has layers of tortilla chips, creamy chicken, salsa, black beans, green chiles, fresh tomatoes and lots of cheese!
We went to a birthday party a couple of weeks ago and my friend made this awesome casserole. I had two helpings. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and it was really, really good. Don’t judge me.
When I went home, I immediately wanted to make it again! I followed the base recipe, but made some changes. It’s the perfect main dish for Fiesta night – just serve with your favorite Mexican side dishes, like my Mexican Rice or Slow Cooker Mexican Beans.
How to Make a Simple Mexican Chicken Casserole
Chicken Casserole recipes are perfect for busy weeknights because they can be so easy to whip up. The layers of flavors of this Mexican inspired dinner are simple yet incredibly tasty, and you can even serve this with tortilla chips for a delicious appetizer.
What ingredients are in Mexican Chicken Casserole?
This Mexican Chicken Casserole only needs a few ingredients that you likely already have on hand:
Salsa – your favorite brand is fine. As long as you like the flavor it will work great in this recipe.
Cream cheese – you only need 4 ounces, which is half of a brick of cream cheese. Make sure to buy the brick style and not the whipped. Also you want full fat for full flavor, trust me on this.
Diced green chiles – I only use half of the 4 ounce can because I don’t like things really spicy. You can use the who can if you want a little more kick.
Black Beans – pinto beans would be an easy swap for these if it’s what you have on hand. Again you only need half of the 15-ounce can. You can add them all if you want to bulk up the meal a little bit.
Sour cream – Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute.
Tomato – one medium to large sized ripe, red tomato. I prefer Roma tomatoes because they have a lot less juice, but you can use any tomato you can get your hands on. If you have extra, dice some up for a garnish.
Green onions – thinly sliced. Save some for garnish.
Shredded cheese – Shred yourself from a fresh block of cheddar. The taste is so much better than pre-shredded, and it melts better too.
Tortilla chips – This is a perfect time to use up those crumbs and broken pieces at the bottom of the bag.
Assemble and Bake
This delicious Mexican Chicken Casserole is easily assembled in layers, and takes just about 10-15 minutes of prep.
Prep. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. You’ll want to also grease an 8 or 9-inch inch baking dish. You can use any shape – I like the oval – you just need it to be about 2 quarts in size.
Cut up the chicken. Since the chicken is already cooked, just shred or cube the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. If you’re making this chicken casserole as a meal, I recommend cutting the chicken into cubes. As an appetizer, go the shredded route.
Mix ingredients. Combine the cream cheese and salsa with the chicken until smooth and creamy over low heat in a large pan on the stove. Remove from the pan and stir in the black beans and green chiles. If you want to add a little more flavor, add a tablespoon of taco seasoning or garlic powder.
Casserole Assembly: Layer crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the baking dish, then the chicken mixture evenly. Next, layer sour cream, diced tomatoes, green onions and shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve as a meal with your favorite sides, or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Mexican Casserole Tips and Tricks
Want to make this meal your own? This chicken casserole recipe is easy to customize!
For an element of crunch and texture, add a handful of crushed tortilla chips on top before baking.
Not a fan of black beans? Swap them out for pinto beans, or leave them out altogether and spread a layer of refried beans on top of the chicken mixture in the pan.
Play around with your favorite cheeses. Cheddar and Jack are my favorites for this recipe, but you could use and favorite melty cheese, like Fontina, Mozzarella, or Pepper Jack for a little heat. Add some crumbled Cotija cheese on top after baking for a Mexican flair.
Amp up the heat with some diced jalapeños in place of the green chiles.
Try some Doritos or another flavored chip instead of tortilla chips.
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing
This is a great meal to take to a family in need! You can prep or fully bake ahead of time, and it travels well. Just make sure to include instructions for baking.
Can this casserole be made ahead of time? This recipe is a great make ahead option! Assemble the casserole and don’t bake it. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge while the oven is preheated, remove the foil and bake as directed.
How to store: Cool completely then cover and store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat small portions in the microwave or larger portions in the oven.
Can I freeze it? Yes! This casserole will actually freeze really well baked or unbaked. Assemble the layers and just don’t bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. The double layer helps to prevent freezer burn. For a fully baked casserole, cool completely before covering and freezing. Thaw overnight in the fridge and set out while the oven is preheating and bake as directed. If already fully baked, just bake until warmed through.
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.