Mexican Chicken Casserole is a hearty and satisfying Mexican comfort food recipe that the whole family will love. This simple, easy-to-assemble dish, with baked corn tortillas and tender shredded chicken is perfectly seasoned with classic Mexican spices and baked into a cheesy comforting casserole. Plus, this recipe is a tasty make-ahead dinner for those busy nights.

Side shot of Mexican chicken casserole with spatula taking out a piece.

I originally shared this recipe on March 22nd, 2015. I have updated the text, photos and added a video to make this more useful today.

Why We Love This Recipe For Mexican Chicken Casserole

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know we have a deep love of Mexican-inspired dishes. And while turkey enchiladas and chicken enchiladas could quite possibly be our favorite, this Mexican Chicken Casserole is a very, and we mean, very close second!

If you are unfamiliar with Mexican Chicken Casserole, let us tell you, it’s the perfect combination of a cross between chicken chilaquiles and a Mexican lasagna!

Layers of perfectly Mexican spiced shredded chicken, crispy baked tortillas, and tender vegetables are smothered in an enchilada sauce and topped with Monterey Jack cheese and baked until golden brown perfection. And while this casserole is hearty enough on its own, serve with Mexican coleslaw for a simple, delicious, and comforting complete Mexican-inspired dinner that is perfect for those busy weeknights when the family is craving something other than the traditional tacos!    

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas have the best taste and texture when baked and added to a casserole dish. We recommend looking for tortillas that have a short ingredient list; our favorite brand of corn tortillas are Maria and Ricardo’s

Also, if you are gluten-free, be sure that the type of corn tortillas you are buying are not harboring any wheat, as this is becoming more and more common lately. 

Chicken

This recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked left-over chicken or rotisserie chicken. You can chop it or shred it depending on which you prefer.

Baby Spinach

We recommend using fresh baby spinach for this recipe. Because baby spinach is so tender and less bitter than full-grown spinach, it requires less cooking time and helps bulk up the veggie servings to make this a healthier recipe that melts right into the filling.

We also recommend using pre-packed baby spinach as it’s triple washed, so it only needs a quick rinse and spin before adding to the pan.

However, feel free to use full-sized spinach if that’s what you have on hand; just be sure to chop it into bite-sized pieces before adding it to the recipe.

Sweet Onion

The onion is the base of the flavors; therefore, we recommend using a diced sweet onion but feel free to use white.

When purchasing an onion, pick one that is firm and heavy for its size, has no scent, and is free from blemishes and rot.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is a low-fat, high-fiber vegetable that adds a natural sweetness to this savory casserole. While we prefer to use thawed frozen corn, feel free to use fresh off the cob – check out our Corn Chowder recipe to see how to do that easily.

Mexican Spice Blend

The filling is flavored with Mexican seasonings that are mixed right into the chicken mixture. We love the spice blend from the Teeny Tiny Spice Co, but feel free to purchase any blend you happen to find.

Note: If substituting enchilada sauce for the tomato sauce combination, feel free to omit or reduce the Mexican seasonings by 2 teaspoons.

Canned Enchilada Sauce or Canned Crushed Tomatoes Blended with Cider Vinegar and Salt

If using Mexican seasoning in the chicken filling, doctor a can of canned tomatoes with cider vinegar and salt. This work-a-around works great if you can’t find Hatch Enchilada Sauce or if you have kids that prefer a milder sauce. 

If you use the enchilada sauce, do not add vinegar and salt, and drop the Mexican spices to 2 teaspoons (or omit them all together for a more mild casserole). And use 3 1/2 cups of the enchilada sauce in place of the tomato combination.

Note: if you are salt sensitive, you can make homemade Enchilada sauce using the method in this Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe.

Other Ingredients

  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Avocado Oil
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro

Step By Step Instructions To Make This Easy Mexican Casserole

Baking tortilla chips and sauteing vegetables with chicken.

Step 1: Bake Tortillas

Preheat oven 350ºF and coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. 

On two baking sheets, lay tortillas out in a single layer. Bake until they are just starting to harden and brown in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Step 2: Prepare Filling

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in the Mexican spice blend and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in spinach, corn, and shredded chicken. Cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Assembled Mexican chicken casserole before it goes into the oven. and adding cheese to baked dish in the oven.

Step 3: Assemble Casserole

Open can of tomatoes and stir in vinegar and salt. Spread ½ cup of the tomato mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Layer a third of the tortillas over the sauce. Then, top with half of the chicken and corn mixture. Pour ¾ cup of the tomato mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Step 4: Bake and Serve

Cover dish with foil and bake until the casserole is heated through, steaming, and bubbly around the edges, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with the remaining ½ cup cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes.

A side view of a casserole dish filled with tortillas, cheese, and chilaquiles filling.

FAQs And Expert Tips

How to store leftover Mexican chicken casserole

Store any leftover Mexican chicken casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

When ready to reheat, cut individual servings and transfer to a microwave-safe plate. Tent with parchment paper and microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds on high power. (Microwave cooking times vary depending on your machine.)

Or you can reheat in the oven, by covering the casserole dish with parchment paper and foil and bake until the center of the casserole is hot and warmed through. 

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

This recipe is great for make-ahead or meal prep! To make ahead, follow the instructions through step 4. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days in advance. To finish, continue with step 5 but initially bake it for 45 minutes instead of 30 to warm it through before topping with cheese.

Can this easy Mexican casserole be frozen?

This easy Mexican casserole is a great freezer-friendly dish! Dish can be frozen before or after baking. If freezing after baking, allow casserole to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through.
If freezing before baking, prepare the Mexican Chicken Casserole, through step 4. Cover in cling wrap and foil and place in freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to cook, thaw overnight in the fridge and bake according to the recipe card.

How do I know when the casserole is done?

The casserole is done when an instant-read thermometer registers 150°F when placed in the center of the casserole.

If you don’t have a thermometer, slide a knife into the center of the casserole, and hold it for a moment. If the knife comes out hot, the center of the casserole is hot and it’s ready to be enjoyed!

How do I serve this easy Mexican casserole?

While you may want to dive right in, we recommend waiting serval minutes before serving to allow the casserole to cool to ensure you don’t burn your mouth but also, so you are able to top with scallions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Cooling will also allow the casserole to firm up, so you are able to cut it into six squares and serve like a lasagna.

What If I Don’t Have Any Leftover Chicken?

If you do not have any leftover cooked chicken, feel free to use a Rotisserie chicken from your local grocer, or you can cook chicken breasts using either of these two easy methods:

To Cook Chicken Breast In An Instant Pot

  1. Place two chicken breasts (approximately one pound) and a half cup of water into the insert of the Instant Pot.
  2. Add in a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  3. Pressure cook it on high for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the vent to release steam. Remove lid and remove the chicken from the liquid. Shred with two forks.

To Cook Chicken Breast on the Stove Top

  1. Place chicken breast in a medium saucepan and cover completely with cold tap water. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, turning in the poaching liquid occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks.

What Can I Serve With This Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole?

Additional Healthy Chicken Recipes To Try

  1. Completely made-from-scratch, Chicken and Rice Casserole, full of whole-grain brown rice, tender lean chicken breast, with fresh veggies smothered in a creamy sauce and baked until golden brown. This dish is naturally gluten-free, kid-friendly, and only has 441 calories and 31 grams of protein per serving.
  2. Chicken Divan with broccoli is a healthy version of the classic comfort food casserole but is made entirely from scratch – no canned soup or mayo in this dish! This creamy one-pot casserole is ready in under an hour and is the perfect cozy, cool-weather dinner.
  3. Slow cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili with sweet corn and creamy white beans is incredibly easy to throw together. Just toss all the ingredients into the crockpot, stir it, turn it on, and that’s it – it honestly can’t get any simpler than that! Plus, this dish can be meal prepped as a freezer-friendly dish for a tasty make-ahead meal!
  4. These 5-ingredient Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs are easy to make, so flavorful, and will quickly become one of your new healthy basics!
  5. Our Healthy Chicken Piccata is an all-time reader favorite around here.
  6. Garlic Herb Grilled Chicken requires only 6 ingredients and 20 minutes of hands-on prep gives you the juiciest chicken breast that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-carb but still sings with flavor!
  7. Sheet Pan Chicken and Broccoli Supper with Honey Sriracha Sauce and sweet potatoes is a healthy one-pan gluten-free, paleo meal. Perfect to portion out for easy-to-heat and eat lunches.
  8. Budget-friendly and oh-so-delicious, this simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup is the perfect cozy meal that the whole family is going to enjoy.
  9. This quick Chicken Tortilla Skillet is the perfect balance of crispy and soft corn tortillas, cheesy chicken, tender summer squash, warm spices, hearty chili, and sauce for a tasty one-skillet meal.
close-up of easy Mexican casserole

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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overhead show of baked chicken chilaquiles in sqaure serving dish.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This baked Mexican casserole recipe is made with tortillas, chicken, cheese and tomato sauce. It’s a healthy version of the Mexican comfort food casserole.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 6-inch soft corn tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican spice blend
  • 2 cups finely chopped baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 6 ounces
  • Freshly chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Lay tortillas out on two baking sheet. Bake until just starting to harden and brown in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in Mexican spice blend and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in spinach, corn and chicken and cook, stirring until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Open can of tomatoes, and stir in vinegar and salt. Spread about ½ cup of the tomato in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer a third of the tortillas over the sauce. Top with half of the chicken and corn mixture. Pour ¾ cup of the tomato mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the remaining chicen and corn mixture, ¾ cup sauce and ½ cup cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas and sauce.
  5. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake the casserole until heated through, steaming and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with the remaining ½ cup cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes.

Notes

  • Store any leftover in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days.
  • To reheat in the microwave, cut individual servings and place them on a microwave-safe plate for 1 minute 45 seconds on high power. Or reheat in the oven, cover with parchment and foil and bake until the center is hot.
  • To make ahead, follow the instructions through step 4. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days in advance. When ready to bake, follow with step 5 but initially bake for 45 minutes before topping with cheese.
  • To freeze a baked casserole, cool, cover with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through. To freeze a non-baked casserole, prepare through step 4. Cover in cling wrap and foil and place in freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to cook, thaw overnight in the fridge and bake according to the recipe card.

If you do not have leftover cooked chicken, you can use Rotisserie chicken or you can cook it using either of these two easy methods:

To Cook Chicken Breast in an Instant Pot

  1. Place two chicken breasts (approx one pound) and a half cup of water into the insert of the Instant Pot.
  2. Add in a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  3. Pressure cook it on high for 20 minutes. Carefully turn vent to release steam. Remove lid and remove the chicken from the liquid. Shred with two forks.

To Cook Chicken Breast on the Stove Top

  1. Place chicken breast in a medium saucepan and cover completely with cold tap water. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, turning in the poaching liquid occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes, depending on thickness of the meat.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 casserole
  • Calories: 399
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 35 g