Cheesy-Chicken Tortilla Casserole – A Family Favorite

Nothing smells better than a cheesy Mexican-food flavored casserole in the oven! Though many ingredients make up this dish, they are super easy to assemble. Cook your chicken and let it cool. Cut it small, put a piece of foil on the top. Prepare your pan, turn on the oven, and make the sauce, which is a matter of adding everything to a pot and stirring it while it melts. Easy, right?

Cheesy-Chicken Tortilla Casserole Satisfies Every Palette


After preparing the side dishes of salsa, chips, guacamole, and sour cream, we *the fam* go for a refreshing swim while the casserole heats through. If it’s cold outside, we crack out the dominoes or the Upwords board game to play while the main star of dinner comes to a bubbly delight inside the oven.


  • 2 large chicken breasts w/skin and bone
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. salt for boiling chicken, or use canned chicken broth and use no salt
  • 2 Tbls. olive or grape seed oil
  • 1/2-1 whole onion, chopped


  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 cans Hatch chopped green chilies, I prefer hot over mild
  • 1 small bottle of pimentos
  • ½ cup chopped black olives, drained (optional) 
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
  • ½ lb. + 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 minced jalapeño pepper, seeds included (optional)
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas

Boil chicken breasts in a heavy pot with bay leaves and 2 tsp. salt until done. I use canned chicken broth for boiling the chicken for more flavor, leaving off the salt. Cool slightly. Cut meat into very small pieces, carefully removing all bones. Reserve 1 cup of the chicken broth. In a pot, sauté onion in oil. Don’t overcook. Add chicken broth, garlic, green chilies, pimentos, black olives, both cans of soup, 1/2 pound of shredded cheddar, Velveeta cubes, sour cream, chili powder, and black pepper. Stir constantly over low heat until cheese melts. Toss in minced fresh jalapeño. Butter or spray an oblong casserole dish. Line the bottom and sides with corn tortillas. Tear as needed for coverage. Layer chicken pieces and sauce. Add more tortillas *not the sides* and continue layering until all ingredients are used and all tortillas are completely covered, finishing with the sauce. Cover top with remaining one cup of shredded cheddar. Bake at 350-degrees 45-60 minutes or until bubbly.

Use a shallow, 13 x 9 glass pan for the casserole to distribute the heat better. Serve with chips, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. 

Comment:  My mother, Vivian Woods-Myrick, has been making her version of this casserole for longer than the Israelites wandered in the desert.


Author Jodi Lea Stewart FacebookJodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who believes in and writes about the triumph of the human spirit through overcoming adversity.

Her writing reflects her life starting in Texas and Oklahoma, moving to an Arizona cattle ranch next door to the Navajo Nation, and resuming later in her native Texas. As a youngster, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, bounced two feet in the air in the back end of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country.

Many monsoon seasons later, Jodi writes historical and contemporary novels set in the South and Southwest.

Her latest novel, TRIUMPH, a Novel of the Human Spirit, launches September 23, 2020. Check out her news and her latest everything.

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