Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole
Bold flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine combined in this classic chicken and rice casserole make for an easy choice for weeknight dinner!
This recipe is special to me because one, it was one of the first recipes I decided to post on the blog back in May 2011 and two, this Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole recipe got me through a lot of college evenings.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that it got me and my roommates through a lot of evenings.
I would make this Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole often because it fed a decent amount, it was flavorful, and the ingredients were fairly budget-friendly for college students.
And it was still basically considered a homemade meal!
So this Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole definitely has a lot of memories tied to it and now I pass this recipe to you so you can create your own memories with it!
How to make Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole
It may seem like a lot of steps but it really isn’t.
It’s almost kind of one pot on the stove then you put it into the casserole dish.
I would go as far as to say that if you have a dutch oven, you could technically make everything in there and put it in the oven that way.
Even better, if you have a large skillet that is oven-safe, you could do without the casserole dish.
Tips for making Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole a success
You can’t mess this up! Casserole dishes are very forgiving and you can tweak to your own tastes.
If you find that your rice isn’t cooked through all the way or something isn’t cooked through completely, just keep it in the oven a little longer but it should be cooked through with the high temperature and amount of time in the oven.
What if I can’t find the box of chicken flavored rice and vermicelli?
To be honest, I’ve never had a problem finding it and I wouldn’t really know what to substitute it with if you can’t find it.
If you’re in the boxed rice section, you could probably find a similar flavor or kind that you could substitute in.
Or, maybe you could do plain box of rice and then put a chicken bouillon cube into the mixture and that would give it similar flavors.
Can I use chicken thighs instead?
Yes! I highly recommend chicken breasts over thighs.
Can I make this with another protein?
Ground beef would be a good option or ground turkey.
What toppings could be used when serving?
Salsa, diced avocados, a squeeze of lime…so many possibilities!
Other casserole recipes you may enjoy:
Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1: 6.9 ounce box of chicken flavored rice & vermicelli
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1: 15 ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1: 4.5 ounce can of chopped green chiles
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Mexican blend shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Set aside a 9×13" oven-safe casserole dish and lightly spray it with cooking spray.
- In a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat, add cooking oil and once heated, add the onions. Cook until tender.
- Pour in the box of rice and vermicelli, including the seasoning packet.
- Stir for two minutes then pour in the chicken broth and water.
- Bring to a boil then bring down to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
- After the rice mixture has cooked for 20 minutes (note: not all the liquid will have cooked away, it finishes in the oven), add in the chicken. It's okay it doesn't cook all the way through as it finishes up in the oven.
- Remove from heat and add diced tomatoes, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
- CAREFULLY pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
- Bake for 25 minutes, covered, then uncover the casserole and sprinkle cheese on top and let it melt.
- After removing from oven, let sit for 10-15 minutes. The waiting time is crucial because the liquid will continue to absorb into the rice and the casserole will have a thicker consistency.
Photos by Jesse Reilly