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Mexican Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken Casserole is the perfect quick meal for your family! This casserole is made with shredded chicken, beans, rice, salsa, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. It is baked to perfection in under 30 minutes and also makes great leftovers! 

Mexican Chicken Casserole on a white plate


Lately I have been trying to use as many of the ingredients in my pantry as I can.

I also like to repurpose other recipes into new ones.

Today’s Mexican Chicken Rice Casserole uses the chicken from a whole chicken that my husband smoked. I shredded the chicken and added it to this casserole.

If you have a rotisserie chicken that works great in this too!

By repurposing ingredients I already have and cleaning out my pantry it is keeping my grocery trips to a minimum.

This easy casserole is a recipe that is easy to put together and uses basic ingredients you probably have at home.

If you like these kind of recipes you have to try my Stuffed Pepper CasseroleSausage and Bean Casserole and this Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Later in the post I also offer some ideas on ways that you can modify this recipe with what you have in your pantry.

For example, I spread a layer of refried beans on the bottom of the casserole dish.

You can skip that or you can use black beans or red beans in its place.  

This Healthy Mexican Chicken Casserole was a huge hit in my house and makes great leftovers for the week.

Serve it alongside a few tortilla chips to help you scoop of that delicious casserole. 

Mexican Chicken Casserole in casserole dish


CHICKEN: I used shredded chicken in this recipe. You can use any leftover chicken you have on hand. Another option is to make this Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken to use in the casserole or use a rotisserie chicken. 

RICE: I had basmati rice on hand which worked nicely. Cook the rice according to the package and just add it into the chicken along with the diced tomatoes, salsa and spices. I also like brown rice, white rice, quinoa or farro. 

BEANS: I spread a layer of refried beans on the bottom of the casserole dish. You can also use any bean you like, black beans, red beans or kidney beans. 

DICED TOMATOES: I like adding diced tomatoes to this dish. You can leave them out if you don’t like tomatoes. I sometimes will add diced tomatoes with green chiles if I have it for more flavor. 

SALSA: I like to add about 1/2 cup of salsa to the rice mixture. If you don’t have salsa you can skip it but I like the flavor it adds. You can also make your own using this Homemade Salsa recipe or this Easy Homemade Salsa Verde

SPICES: If you use salsa in the recipe you can skip the spices. I always add them in along with the salsa for maximum flavor! I like to use chili powder and cumin and sometimes cayenne pepper for spice! 

Mexican Chicken Casserole on white plate


BEANS: I had a can of refried black beans in my pantry and used that as the bottom layer of my casserole. I like refried beans because it adds creaminess to the dish.

You could easily sub in black beans, red beans or pinto beans. Sometimes if I use black beans I will mash them so they are a softer consistency before laying them on the bottom of the dish. 

PROTEIN: I had leftover shredded chicken in the fridge so that is what I used in this easy casserole.

There are are a lot of options that would work nicely. Try using sausage, any ground meat like beef, turkey or pork, or sliced steak would also be great. 

GRAIN: For this casserole I used a basmati rice. I also like to use white or brown rice, quinoa or farro. 

CHEESE: When it comes to cheese there are a lot of options.

If I want some spice I add a shredded pepper jack  cheese. I also really like mozzarella, Monterey jack or a combination of whatever I have on hand. 

VEGETABLES: This casserole is great with added vegetables.

Some that I like are zucchini, bell peppers, poblanos, onion and jalapeños. I would suggest quickly sautéing them so they are soft before adding them into the rice mixture.

GARNISH: The garnishes are the best part in my opinion!

Once again just use whatever you have on hand. Some things I like include diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, red onion, jalapeños, salsa and crushed tortillas. 

Mexican Chicken Casserole in a teal dish







Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole with logo.

Mexican Chicken Casserole on white plate

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Mexican Chicken Casserole is the perfect quick meal for your family! This casserole is made with shredded chicken, beans, rice, salsa, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. It is baked to perfection in under 30 minutes and also makes great leftovers! 


  • 1 cup brown or basmati rice {or rice of your choice}
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of refried beans {or sub in black or red beans}
  • 3 cups of diced or shredded chicken {about 1 pound of cooked chicken}
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes {you can use diced with green chilies for extra flavor}
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese {or cheese of your choice}
  • 1 cup of salsa of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onion, cilantro and fresh chopped tomatoes for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the rice according to the package.
  3. In a 9 x 13 casserole dish spray non-stick spray. Spread an even layer of refried beans on the bottom of the dish. Alternatively you can use black, red or pinto beans and spread those on the bottom if you want. If you like creamier beans try mashing the beans before you spread them.
  4. Combine the chicken, salsa, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and 1/2 a cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the rice when it is done cooking and stir well to mix everything together.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese on top of the casserole.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted or the casserole is heated through.
  7. Remove and garnish with green onion, cilantro and diced tomatoes. Serve warm!


Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Sunday 21st of May 2023

Can this be frozen?


Monday 22nd of May 2023

@Julia, Thank you! I am the only one eating came out fantastic!!! I put crushed Tostitos on top and finished with sour cream....Love, love it!!!


Monday 22nd of May 2023

Yes you could freeze it and reheat it.


Wednesday 16th of February 2022

I’d love to know if and how I could incorporate crushed tortilla chips? I have an entire bag that was shipped and received entirely crushed…


Wednesday 16th of February 2022

@Julia, Thanks so much for the response! I’m making this tonight and I’m super excited to try!!! I’m sure it will be great! Thanks again! Jess


Wednesday 16th of February 2022

I would honestly add them after cooking. I don't think would be great underneath the casserole. Maybe add them as a topping? Or you could add them the last few minutes of cooking to make them warm.

Sausage and Bean Casserole - A Cedar Spoon

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

[…] few other casseroles I enjoy making are this Mexican Chicken Casserole, Easy Mexican Noodle Casserole, Southwestern Chicken and Rice Casserole or this Easy Tuna […]


Sunday 29th of August 2021

Sounds good. Have you tried it with salsa verde and maybe some sour cream? Just thinking of options.


Sunday 29th of August 2021

I think both of those sound amazing- I am a huge fan of salsa verde and I think that would work great. Sour cream would be a nice garnish at the end! Let me know how it goes.

Judine Boebel

Friday 7th of May 2021

Yummy!! Made this for dinner. I added 1/4 cup Apricot preserves with the tomatoes and salsa. It was a good addition.


Friday 7th of May 2021

That is a great idea! I will have to try that.

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