Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
You guys are going to love this tasty, healthy chicken enchilada casserole that takes less than 30 minutes, from start to finish! It’s such a flavorful, hearty recipe that even my picky kiddos enjoy this meal! It’s made with shredded chicken, rice, corn, black beans, salsa and cheese, all baked together to golden brown perfection.
Having a favorite recipe for those busy nights is key to getting a filling meal into your family’s bellies. Everyone loves enchiladas, but sometimes it needs changing up. This chicken enchilada casserole recipe helps you do that!
I love making this because it’s super easy and super flavorful too! I try to always have the ingredients on hand because it has saved my behind on more than one occasion. It’s a go-to, family favorite and if I’m ever struggling with what to make for dinner… I make this chicken enchilada casserole dish.
healthy chicken enchilada casserole ingredients
This is the perfect recipe for using up leftovers, you may have lurking in the fridge. And this casserole is really versatile – don’t feel like you have to strictly follow the ingredient list! Here’s a note about the ingredients that I typically use:
- Brown rice. I usually use leftover brown rice or I’ll quickly microwave one of those ready-to-serve microwavable cups of rice. You can substitute with any cooked rice that you’d like or try using quinoa.
- Chicken. Use any cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken is my go-to because it adds so much extra flavor.
- Salsa. Any favorite salsa works here. Be sure to use a mild variety, if you or members of your family are sensitive to heat.
- Green chiles. Adds just a little kick of heat! If you’re sensitive to heat, use mild or leave them out completely.
- Corn. Fresh, canned, or frozen corn will work.
- Black beans. Beans give the enchilada casserole a tasty boost of protein and fiber. Sub with kidney or pinto beans, if you’d like.
- Cilantro. Love fresh cilantro for added flavor, but feel free to leave it out, if you’re not a fan.
- Spices. We’re using cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and salt & pepper to give this recipe delicious flavor.
- Cheese. I like to use a light Mexican blend of shredded cheese, but any favorite cheese works great.
- Optional garnish. We love to top this enchilada casserole with freshly diced avocado, tomatoes and cilantro!
Since this recipe is so versatile, you can feel free to use a little more or less of the ingredients listed, depending on what you have in your kitchen. Also, make any substitutions to fit your preferences.
how to make chicken enchilada casserole?
This healthy enchilada casserole seriously could not be easier to throw together! It’s really just a matter of stirring together ingredients.
Here are the basic steps for how to make the casserole, but reference the full recipe below for more details and a video tutorial.
- Preheat the oven and prep your dish. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and grease your 8×8″ (or other similar-sized dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients. In a large bowl, mix all of the enchilada casserole ingredients together.
- Transfer the mixture into the baking dish. Spread the chicken/rice mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with additional cheese and bake for about 15 minutes. Enjoy with your favorite toppings. So easy + quick!
tips for chicken enchilada casserole
As you can see, this healthy chicken enchilada casserole recipe really is so simple, but here are some tips to make sure your dish is incredible every single time!
- Cooked chicken. You can use any type of cooked chicken for this dish. I typically use leftover diced chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. If you don’t happen to have cooked chicken available, make this baked chicken from my Southwest Salad recipe. It’s easy and flavorful!
- Make ahead. This casserole can be assembled up to about 12 hours before you plan to serve it. Prepare it as instructed, then cover it and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
- Cheese. Use any favorite cheese for this recipe. I used a light 3-cheese blend from Trader Joe’s.
- Spice level. You can make this recipe as mild or as spicy as you like by selecting a salsa with the heat content of your preference. I use mild salsa because I’m feeding kids, but if you like spicy, switch to a hot salsa. You could also use spicy green chiles for an extra kick!
- Feed a crowd. This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a large crowd. Once doubled it should work well to cook it in a 9×13″ baking dish.
enchilada casserole variations
This enchilada casserole is SO good as-is, but feel free to get creative with your ingredients!
- Protein. Try using ground turkey, beef or bison instead of the chicken.
- Beans. Pinto or kidney beans work well if you don’t have black beans.
- Tortillas. Try serving taco-style! Once your casserole has cooked, spoon servings into corn or flour tortilla. Yum!
- Cheese. I typically make this dish with a 3-cheese Mexican blend. Cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack are all great options too.
- Extra add-ins. Feel free to use any favorite ingredients and make this your own! Mushrooms, diced bell pepper or sautéed onions would all be excellent additions (or substitutions).
how to store, freeze & reheat this casserole
To store: let the enchilada casserole cool completely and then either cover the whole dish and place it in the fridge or put individual slices into airtight containers and place them in the fridge. This casserole will stay good for up to about 5 days in the fridge. To reheat, simply place a serving on a microwave-safe plate and microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through.
To freeze: you can either bake the casserole first, cool it to room temperature, slice into servings, place in freezer safe containers and then freeze. Or, to freeze the whole dish, you can bake it, bring it to room temp, and then freeze the entire dish. Once ready to reheat, thaw it out in the fridge, then bake it, covered at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until heated through.
I love to add toppings to my casserole after it comes out of the oven – it’s an optional step, but it really makes this dish special! Some great topping ideas include diced avocado or guacamole, sliced black olives, chopped red onion, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sour cream or sliced jalapeños.
This is one of my go-to recipes to make on those busy nights when cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do. Everyone always enjoys it too – even my picky kiddos!
Love this recipe? Try my other favorite easy Mexican casserole dish, Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole! Try serving this meal with my BEST Homemade Salsa and my family’s favorite homemade guacamole recipe! Oh and don’t forget the skinny margarita!
If you try this healthy chicken enchilada casserole recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken.)
- 1 3/4 cups salsa
- 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
- 1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
- 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- salt & pepper to taste, as needed
- 1 cup shredded cheese, divided (I used a light combination of Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Cheddar.)
- Optional garnish; diced avocado, tomato and fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and prepare an 8x8 or 2 to 2 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine brown rice or quinoa, chicken, salsa, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
- Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake uncovered until bubbly and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately, garnished with avocado, tomato and cilantro, if desired.
This recipe was originally published March 2015. It was republished July 2021 with updated content.