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Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole

Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole features all the flavors of authentic enchiladas in the form of an easy chicken and rice casserole! This healthy dinner recipe requires little prep and is amazing for meal prep!

Top down image of cheesy enchilada casserole with a wooden spoon about to serve.

If you tried my Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole I posted several months ago, I’m back with a brand new version 2.0!

For those of you who love enchiladas with red enchilada sauce and are looking for the easiest, most comforting Mexican casserole, this Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole was made with you in mind.

It boasts a big enchilada flavor without all the hassle of making actual enchiladas. Truly, even the novice cook can excel at preparing this goof-proof casserole! It’s just one of those incredibly easy recipes.

In addition to the delicious authentic Mexican flavors infused in this simple casserole recipe, I love how quickly it comes together and how easy it is to make.

We simply dump all of the ingredients into a large casserole dish, give them a stir, then bake!

In the words of Ina Garten, how easy is that?

Ideal for weekly meal prep for busy weeknights, for serving friends and family, or for any special occasion, this well-seasoned cheesy casserole is an absolute dream and amazing comfort food.

Casserole with a wooden spoon about to take a scoop.

Let’s discuss the simple healthy ingredients needed to make this delicious chicken and rice casserole recipe.

Ingredients for Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole:

Onion, Bell Pepper, and Garlic: The veggies used in this easy casserole recipe! The combination of onion, bell pepper and garlic brings a great deal of flavor and adds to the authentic Mexican enchilada flavors.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: We chop up a couple boneless chicken breasts for lean protein and deliciousness! The combination of rice and chicken in this cheesy casserole recipe makes for a highly satiating and palatable meal. Use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you’d like! If you happen to have rotisserie chicken on hand, you can easily swap out the breasts for shredded chicken.

Chili Powder: A little chili powder is used to help season the meal with yummy flavor. Swap it out for homemade taco seasoning if you’d like.

White Rice: Rather than using flour tortillas or corn tortillas, this casserole recipe uses rice as the starch and the element that brings everything together nicely in a flavor factory of bliss. We use white rice because it doesn’t require very much time to cook, making it ideal for a dump and bake casserole recipe like this.

Stick with white rice, as brown rice requires more baking time. If you truly want to use brown rice, you can cook 2 cups ahead of time and add the cooked rice to the casserole.

If you go this route, you can reduce the chicken broth to ½ cup as the rice will already be cooked and won’t need to absorb as much liquid.

Enchilada Sauce & Chicken Broth: The combination of enchilada sauce and chicken broth acts both as the delicious flavorful sauce to give the casserole that iconic enchilada flavor, and as the liquid to cook the rice. Because the rice is tossed in the casserole dish uncooked, it requires liquid for absorption to become soft.

Use store-bought canned red enchilada sauce (this is what I do) or make homemade enchilada sauce. Green enchilada sauce works too!

The chicken broth can be swapped for cups of water but a little of the rich chicken flavor will be lost.

Cheese: Not only does cheese add utter undeniable deliciousness to everything it touches, but it also brings a gooeyness and a glue-ness to the casserole. It helps hold everything together, similar to lasagna so you end up with easily scoopable, thick and delectable delicious cheesy chicken and rice.

The recipe calls for three cups of grated colby jack cheese, but you can use cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, white cheddar, or your favorite melting cheese.

You can also scale the amount of cheese up or down according to your personal taste. The more cheese you use, the more flavorful and enticing (and calorically dense) the casserole will be.

Salt: Seasoning the casserole with salt helps enhance all of the individual flavors so that the meal turns out teeming with flavor. Add black pepper to taste.

Top down photo of whole enchilada casserole fresh out of the oven with slices of avocado and cherry tomatoes on top.

Optional Additions:

  • Add 1 can of black beans, green chiles or corn (or both) if you’d like.
  • Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of garlic powder or onion powder for even more flavor.
  • If you have leftover chicken and leftover cooked rice on hand, you can employ them in this casserole recipe. Simply omit the chicken broth and bake the casserole just until everything is thick and bubbly (about 30 to 40 minutes).

For Serving:

Pick and choose any of your favorite toppings or enjoy the casserole as it. It’s delicious on its own! Avocado, cilantro, sour cream, salsa are amazing options for topping the casserole. 

Hearty chicken for protein, starchy white rice for carbs, and plenty of ooey-gooey melty cheese for flavor, this win of a recipe will surely please the whole family. Plus, it is also easily adjustable for those who track their macros for specific fitness goals.

Now that we’re experts on the ingredients for this easy chicken enchilada casserole, let’s make it!

How to Make Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole:

If you’re making your own Homemade Enchilada Sauce, you can do so up to 5 days in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the chopped onion, bell peppers, garlic, chopped chicken, chili powder, white rice, and corn to a large (13” x 9”) casserole dish or baking dish.

Ingredients for chicken casserole in a casserole dish

Stir in the enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and sea salt and stir well. Similarly, stir in half of the cheese (1 ½ cups).

Pouring enchilada sauce and broth into the casserole dish
Half of the grated cheese stirred into the casserole

Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, give everything a stir, then sprinkle with the remaining (1 1/2 cups) of grated cheese. The casserole will appear very liquidy at this point – this is normal!

remaining grated cheese sprinkled on top

Turn your oven on the high broil setting and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is golden-brown.

Serve the chicken and rice enchilada casserole with tortilla chips and any additional favorite toppings, such as cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap. 

Chicken and rice enchilada casserole fresh out of the oven

Like most casserole recipes, this chicken enchilada casserole recipe tastes even better the next day!

And that’s it! A delightful hearty casserole with blow-your-mind flavor that you’ll want to keep coming back to over and over.

Wooden spoon taking a big scoop out of the casserole to serve.

If you love healthy casserole recipes, also check these out!

More Healthy Casserole Recipes:

The next time you’re craving enchiladas but want dinner on the table in under an hour, whip up this chicken and rice enchilada casserole!

Casserole with a wooden spoon about to take a scoop.

Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

All the flavors of classic Mexican enchiladas but without all the hassle! This easy dump and bake casserole recipe requires little prep and is so cheesy and delicious! Amazing comfort food for the whole family!

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup yellow corn*
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup white rice**
  • 1 (15-oz) can red enchilada sauce (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 3 cups Colby Jack cheese, grated***

For Serving (Optional):

  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

    2. Add the chopped onion, bell peppers, garlic, chopped chicken, chili powder, white rice, and corn to a large (13” x 9”) casserole dish or baking dish.

    Ingredients for chicken casserole in a casserole dish

    3. Stir in the enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and sea salt and stir well. Similarly, stir in half of the cheese (1 ½ cups).

    Pouring enchilada sauce and broth into the casserole dish

    All of the casserole ingredients stirred up in the dish

    Half of the grated cheese stirred into the casserole

    4. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, give everything a stir, then sprinkle with the remaining (1 1/2 cups) of grated cheese. The casserole will appear very liquidy at this point - this is normal!

    remaining grated cheese sprinkled on top

    5. Turn your oven on the high broil setting and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is golden-brown.

    Chicken and rice enchilada casserole fresh out of the oven

    6. Serve the chicken and rice enchilada casserole with tortilla chips and any additional favorite toppings, such as cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

Notes

*You can use 1 cup of frozen corn (which is what I do) or one can of drained corn.

**I use basmati white rice. Use long-grain white rice for best results.

***Use your favorite cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, jack cheese, etc.

If you’re making your own Homemade Enchilada Sauce, you can do so up to 5 days in advance.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1 Serving (of 8)
Amount Per Serving Calories 380Total Fat 17gCarbohydrates 26gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 30g

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Marja Carew

Monday 17th of October 2022

I love your Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole! It is fast to fix, and it taste delicious!

Julia

Monday 17th of October 2022

I'm so thrilled to hear it! I just love how easy it is and how delicious it turns out! xo

Lynn

Saturday 15th of October 2022

Doesn't list corn in the recipe. So I'm guessing a can? Drained?

Julia

Monday 17th of October 2022

Hi Lynn! Thanks so much for catching that! I use 1 cup of frozen corn, which I believe would equate to 1 can of drained corn. Appreciate you bringing this to my attention! xoxo

Matt

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

Am curious do you have a recipe for homemade enchilada sauce?

Julia

Wednesday 12th of October 2022

Hi Matt! I haven't made my own homemade enchilada sauce recipe yet, but this one looks great!: https://cookieandkate.com/enchilada-sauce-recipe/

Ingrid

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

@Matt, There is a link to a recipe above where she talks about all of the ingredients (before the casserole recipe). Look under the “Enchilada Sauce & Chicken Broth” heading.

Diane

Monday 10th of October 2022

Can you use cauliflower rice instead of white rice?

Julia

Monday 10th of October 2022

Hi Diane! Yes, absolutely! I haven't tested it myself so I'm not sure how much liquid you'll need, but I imagine you could skip the broth entirely since you won't need the liquid to cook the rice. If you add just the enchilada sauce and it looks too dry, you can add broth until it looks plenty moist. Let me know how you like it! xo

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