Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole





  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 3 large breasts)
  • 2 cups instant rice
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup frozen diced onion and bell pepper blend
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies (like Ro*Tel), undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (1.12-ounce) packet fajita seasoning (I prefer McCormick)
  • 1 (8-ounce) shredded Mexican blend cheese (about 2 cups)
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare Casserole Mixture:
    • In a large bowl, combine the shredded cooked chicken, instant rice, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, frozen diced onion and bell pepper blend, diced tomatoes with chilies, chicken broth, fajita seasoning, and half of the shredded Mexican blend cheese. Mix everything thoroughly to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
  3. Transfer to Baking Dish:
    • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly to cover the surface.
  4. Bake First Round:
    • Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the rice to cook.
  5. Cheese Topping:
    • Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining shredded Mexican blend cheese evenly over the top.
  6. Bake Until Cheese Melts:
    • Return the casserole to the oven and bake for an additional few minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and has a golden, bubbly appearance.
  7. Serve Hot:
    • Once the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, remove it from the oven. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Garnish (Optional):
    • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, or diced tomatoes if desired.
  9. Enjoy:
    • Serve this Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole hot, and savor the delicious blend of flavors and cheesy goodness.

This easy-to-make and flavorful casserole is a perfect weeknight dinner that combines the convenience of a casserole with the bold and zesty flavors of fajitas.

Here are some tips to make your Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole even more delightful:

  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • Marinate the chicken in fajita seasoning or a mixture of lime juice, garlic, and spices for an extra burst of flavor.
  2. Add Fresh Vegetables:
    • Include fresh sautéed vegetables like sliced bell peppers and onions for added crunch and freshness. Sauté them briefly before adding to the casserole mixture.
  3. Fire-Roasted Tomatoes:
    • Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for a smoky flavor that enhances the overall taste of the casserole.
  4. Homemade Fajita Seasoning:
    • Make your own fajita seasoning with a blend of cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne for a customized and well-balanced flavor.
  5. Crispy Tortilla Strips:
    • Top the casserole with crispy tortilla strips just before serving for added texture and a hint of authentic fajita flair.
  6. Fresh Herbs:
    • Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, or a squeeze of lime juice before serving for a burst of freshness.
  7. Jalapeño Kick:
    • For spice lovers, add sliced fresh jalapeños or pickled jalapeño slices to the casserole mixture.
  8. Layered Cheese:
    • Layer different types of cheese for a more complex flavor profile. Consider adding Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese for an extra kick.
  9. Sour Cream Drizzle:
    • Drizzle a bit of sour cream over individual servings for a creamy and cooling contrast to the cheesy and spicy casserole.
  10. Grilled Chicken Variation:
    • If time allows, grill the chicken instead of using pre-cooked chicken. This adds a smoky flavor and a nice char to the dish.
  11. Caramelized Onions:
    • Caramelize the onions before adding them to the casserole for a sweet and rich flavor.
  12. Diced Avocado:
    • Top the casserole with diced avocado just before serving for a creamy and refreshing element.
  13. Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup:
    • Make your own cream of chicken soup for a fresher and more natural flavor. It’s surprisingly easy and adds a homemade touch.
  14. Mexican Crema:
    • Drizzle Mexican crema or a mixture of sour cream and lime juice over the casserole for a tangy and creamy finish.
  15. Serve with Salsa or Guacamole:
    • Serve the casserole with a side of fresh salsa, guacamole, or pico de gallo for an extra layer of flavor.

Experiment with these tips to tailor the Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole to your taste preferences and enhance its overall appeal. Enjoy!

To achieve the perfect Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole, consider these secrets that enhance flavor, texture, and overall satisfaction:

  1. High-Quality Ingredients:
    • Start with high-quality ingredients, including fresh vegetables, good-quality chicken, and flavorful cheese. This forms the foundation of a delicious casserole.
  2. Marinate the Chicken:
    • Marinate the chicken in fajita seasoning or a homemade marinade before cooking. Allow it to soak up the flavors for at least 30 minutes or overnight for maximum taste.
  3. Sauté Vegetables:
    • Sauté the diced onions and bell peppers before incorporating them into the casserole. This step enhances their natural sweetness and adds depth to the overall flavor.
  4. Fire-Roasted Tomatoes:
    • Opt for fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chilies. The smoky flavor from the fire-roasting process contributes to the overall richness of the casserole.
  5. Homemade Fajita Seasoning:
    • Create your own fajita seasoning mix for a more personalized and well-balanced flavor profile. Adjust the spice level according to your preference.
  6. Balance Creaminess:
    • Achieve a perfect balance of creaminess by combining sour cream with cream of chicken soup. This combination provides a rich and velvety texture to the casserole.
  7. Layered Cheese:
    • Layer the cheese within the casserole mixture for even distribution of flavor. Reserve some for the top to create a gooey, golden crust.
  8. Fresh Lime Zest:
    • Add a burst of freshness by incorporating freshly grated lime zest into the casserole mixture. This elevates the overall citrusy notes.
  9. Crispy Tortilla Strips:
    • Top the casserole with crispy tortilla strips just before serving to introduce a satisfying crunch and mimic the essence of fajitas.
  10. Rest Before Serving:
    • Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after baking. This gives the flavors time to meld and ensures the dish is easier to serve.
  11. Garnish with Fresh Herbs:
    • Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, or parsley before serving for a burst of color and a touch of herbal freshness.
  12. Serve with Sides:
    • Accompany the casserole with side dishes like guacamole, salsa, or a refreshing avocado and tomato salad for a complete fajita experience.
  13. Adjust Spice Levels:
    • Taste the mixture before baking and adjust the spice levels or add additional seasoning as needed. Personal preference varies, so tailor it to suit your taste.
  14. Even Distribution of Ingredients:
    • Mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of flavors and ingredients in each bite.
  15. Bake Until Golden and Bubbly:
    • Bake the casserole until the cheese on top is golden and bubbly. This ensures a visually appealing and enticing final dish.

By incorporating these secrets, you’ll be well on your way to creating a Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole that is flavorful, comforting, and sure to please any crowd.

Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers related to Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole:

Q1: Can I use brown rice instead of instant rice? A1: Yes, you can substitute brown rice for instant rice, but keep in mind that the cooking time may need to be adjusted. Pre-cook the brown rice partially before adding it to the casserole to ensure it cooks through.

Q2: Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A2: Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it. Bake it when you’re ready, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s cold from the refrigerator.

Q3: Can I freeze Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole? A3: Yes, this casserole is freezer-friendly. Allow it to cool completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store it in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Q4: How do I adjust the spice level? A4: You can adjust the spice level by modifying the amount of fajita seasoning used. Start with less seasoning, taste the mixture, and add more if needed. Additionally, you can control spice by choosing mild or hot diced tomatoes with chilies.

Q5: Can I use a different cheese blend? A5: Yes, feel free to experiment with different cheese blends. Monterey Jack, cheddar, or a blend of Mexican cheeses can all work well, depending on your preferences.

Q6: Can I use fresh bell peppers and onions instead of frozen? A6: Certainly! If using fresh bell peppers and onions, sauté them in a bit of oil until slightly softened before adding them to the casserole mixture.

Q7: What can I serve with Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole? A7: This casserole pairs well with traditional fajita accompaniments like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and a side of Mexican rice or a fresh green salad.

Q8: Can I use leftover rotisserie chicken? A8: Yes, using leftover rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver. Shred the chicken and use it in place of the shredded cooked chicken.

Q9: Can I make this casserole without cream of chicken soup? A9: If you prefer, you can make a homemade roux-based sauce with chicken broth, flour, and butter as a substitute for cream of chicken soup.

Q10: How do I prevent the rice from being too mushy? A10: To avoid mushy rice, make sure not to overmix the casserole, and follow the recommended baking time. Additionally, using instant rice helps maintain a firmer texture.

Q11: Can I add black beans or corn to the casserole? A11: Yes, you can customize the casserole by adding black beans, corn, or other favorite fajita-style ingredients to suit your taste.

Q12: What’s the best way to reheat leftovers? A12: Reheat individual portions in the microwave or the entire casserole in the oven at a low temperature to prevent the cheese from becoming too crispy.

These answers should address some common questions about making Cheesy Fajita Chicken Casserole. Feel free to tailor the recipe to your liking and enjoy this flavorful dish!

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