My easy keto Mexican Chicken Casserole is excellent in a low carb tortilla, in crisp lettuce wraps, in cheese taco shells, or on a bed of cauliflower rice. Top with a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro for the perfect main dish. This easy chicken casserole recipe is low carb, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, Trim Healthy Mama, and family friendly.
It's been a while since I added a new 5 ingredient, 5-minute prep dinner entree to my repertoire. After shredding a few chicken breasts I couldn't decide what to do with the shredded chicken for dinner. My fallback is always Mexican. My kids love making their own tacos no matter what type of meat I have prepared. They scoop some into a tortilla or taco shell, add their favorite toppings, and gobble it up.
With just 5 ingredients and only 5 minutes of prep time, this low carb keto Mexican chicken is a cinch to whip up. It also only needs to bake for 20 minutes. If you have shredded chicken ready to use you can have a complete nutritious low carb dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
Some of our other favorite Mexican dishes are Baked Chicken Fajitas, Keto Chicken Enchiladas, Instant Pot Carnitas, Keto Chile Relleno Casserole, Taco Zucchini Boats, and Crockpot Chicken Tacos. There are enough choices that you could make 2 or 3 of my Mexican easy keto recipes and have a whole themed buffet.
Cooked Chicken - Leftover chicken, cubed grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, or pulled chicken all work well. Or change it up and sub in pulled pork.
Salsa - Mild salsa, medium salsa, tomatillo salsa, or hot salsa. Choose what you like! We normally use medium salsa.
Cream Cheese - I use regular full-fat cream cheese but low-fat should work as well.
Cheddar Cheese - Or you can use a Mexican cheese blend.
Chipotle Powder - This adds a nice smoky heat to the casserole.
How To Make Keto Mexican Chicken Casserole
This low carb Mexican chicken casserole is SO simple to make, and it only takes 25 minutes and 5 ingredients to whip up a batch. Take a peek at these simple steps:
First Step: Heat up the oven to 400 degrees. Then grease an 8x8 baking dish.
Second Step: Mix together the chicken, cream cheese, salsa, 4 ounces of the cheddar cheese, and ½ teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper. Once combined well, pour it into the prepared casserole dish. Add the rest of the cheese to the top and add the ground chipotle pepper to the top.
Third Step: Bake the Mexican shredded chicken casserole for 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly. Serve hot and enjoy!
Mexican Chicken Casserole Variations
If you are in the mood for something different, consider adding in a few other ingredients. It’s always fun to try out new variations of the same low carb recipes. Here are some ideas to consider next time you make this keto Mexican chicken casserole.
- Onions - Chop up some onions and toss them in with the casserole ingredients. If you love onions, then they are a great option to add.
- Olives - If you are a huge olive fan, then toss in a few diced black olives! You can also slice them or keep them whole. Both ways work great.
- Jalapeno - Kick up the heat a little bit by adding some chopped peppers. Be sure to remove the seeds before adding them to the casserole. Or mix a can of green chiles into the chicken mixture.
- Cheese - We usually use cheddar cheese, but you can also add in other varieties if you want. Pepper Jack, Colby, and mozzarella are all great options to consider.
- Beans & Corn - If you are doing Trim Healthy Mama you can add a can of black beans and a garnish amount of corn. Or serve in corn tortillas for a healthy crossover.
- Tortilla Chips - Crushed tortilla chips are a great addition. Just sprinkle some on top of this creamy chicken casserole after baking or on individual servings. You can easily make low carb chips by baking low carb tortillas until they are crispy.
- Seasonings - Feel free to add some garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, or onion powder when you add the chipotle.
Best Toppings For Keto Mexican Chicken
Toppings always make everything even more delicious! Here are a few toppings that I think you will love with this taco casserole.
- Lettuce - Add some nutrients and color to your plate by sprinkling on some shredded lettuce. Opt for dark leafy varieties to get the most nutrients.
- Tomatoes - Dice up some tomatoes or use some cherry or grape tomatoes to add some extra flavor. You can even top with a little more fresh low carb salsa.
- Sour Cream - A dollop of sour cream is a must when eating anything Mexican-inspired. It’s so good and enhances the dish.
- Green Onions - If you love to add green onions to all your meals, be sure to add them to this one too. They will give you lots of colors, and they taste great too.
- Cilantro - If you are a fan of cilantro, then you already know how good it tastes on melted cheese and juicy meats. Try it on this casserole dish for a pleasant surprise.
- Crushed Keto Tortilla Chips - These are great on top of a salad using chicken from this Mexican casserole. Pork rinds work too!
What Kind Of Chicken Should I Use?
You can use any chicken you want as long as it’s cooked and shredded. Rotisserie chicken is a fantastic option. You just need to take the meat off the bone and shred it with a couple of forks. Another idea is to cook chicken breasts or thighs to your liking and add it to the casserole. I will bake the chicken in the casserole dish first, remove it and shred it, mix it with the other ingredients, and then add it right back to the same baking dish! Either way will work well.
What is Ground Chipotle Pepper?
The special ingredient in this recipe is Ground Chipotle Pepper. It adds smokiness and heat. I first tasted chipotle at least a dozen years ago at my local Trader Joe's. They were making quesadillas with chipotle salsa, canned chicken, and cheese. I simply had to buy all the ingredients after one bite of that sample. That simple meal became one of our favorite quick meals.
I took the same flavors of those quesadillas and turned them into an easy low carb main dish.
Can I Use Taco Seasoning?
My Easy Mexican Chicken Casserole with Chipotle has a bit of a kick. It wasn't too spicy for my kids but if yours are sensitive to heat you can cut back on the chipotle seasoning or use a homemade taco seasoning or keto fajita seasoning instead. You can even mix in my keto enchilada sauce.
How to serve Mexican Chicken Casserole
The first night we ate this Mexican chicken bake I just ate mine with a fork and a side salad. But when I was looking at the leftovers the next night I decided to whip up some cheese taco shells for a fun option. These are really easy to make but do take a little practice. My first few were not nearly as pretty as the ones in the photos.
Simply, heat a frying pan and add some shredded cheddar cheese into the center in a circle. Cook over medium until the cheese is melted and browned. Flip carefully. Cook for another minute. Transfer to some random kitchen item you can use to make it cool into a taco shape. I used a large stainless steel pastry scraper that has a rounded end. The end almost looks like the mold for a cannoli. Who can resist some Mexican cheesy chicken served in a taco shell made from cheese? Definitely not me.
Can I Double this Recipe?
Certainly! This Mexican chicken casserole is a huge crowd-pleaser among my family friendly recipes. All you need to do is multiply the ingredients by the number of people you are feeding. My recipe will feed 8 people easily. You may need to work in batches if you are making more than double just so you don’t overcrowd your oven. You could consider keeping it warm by placing it into a roasting pan or slow cooker. Don’t turn the heat up very high; you just want to keep it warm while the guests are filling their plates. This is fantastic for potlucks and get-togethers. It is a great unique option to add to a taco bar!
- 3 cups chicken shredded
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 16 oz salsa
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or taco seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Combine the chicken, cream cheese, salsa, half the shredded cheese, and ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper. Mix well. Put in the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle on the ground chipotle pepper.
- Bake for 20 min or until hot and bubbly.
Originally Published April 20, 2018. Revised and Republished August 16, 2021.
Cheryl Medlin says
I made this for dinner tonight, but I added leftover cauliflower rice to the casserole itself. It was so yummy. It will be fun to play around with other things to add, like leftover roasted cauliflower or broccoli. And different types of salsa! All the options!
Donna Henderson says
Your picture of the casserole is in a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish but your directions say to use a 9 x 13 baking dish. Which is correct, please?
That’s what I was wondering. I’m going to use the 8x8 and if it looks overfull I’ll switch it to the 9x13
I've used both. When I originally made this I used a 9x13. When I redid the photos more recently I used a 9x9 instead. Either works 🙂
Can you do it in the microwave instead of heating up the oven in the summer?
Sure! I wouldn't cook the chicken in the microwave but you can heat the casserole that way if you have chicken already cooked. Or use a slow cooker or instant pot.
Gail Gebert says
Simple, delicious. We ate it with a salad but plan on filling low carb wraps tomorrow.
Barbara Benton says
We loved this. I used leftover turkey and monterey cheese. Delish! Definitely will make again. So easy to make!
Can you add cauliflower rice to this dish?
Delicious!! I added a few sliced black olives before baking & then a few thin slices of avocado after it came out of the oven, along with the sour cream & cilantro. Everyone went crazy for it! Definitely a keeper!
Katie Richmond says
Could you make this with ground beef?
Sure! I have a taco casserole with ground turkey or beef too. https://joyfilledeats.com/taco-casserole
Katie Richmond says
Used Trader Joe’s cheddar pub cheese with horseradish because I didn’t have regular cheddar. Had already cooked a whole chicken so shredded some of that. Added some black olives because why not? So delicious and easy. Superhubs says it is his favorite keto recipe so far in our three week stint. Thank you.
Could this be done in the Crock-Pot?
Yes. I like to cook the chicken and drain it before adding the other ingredients so the sauce doesn't get thinned out from the cooking liquid.
Was wondering the same thing, I’m a night shift nurse and use the crockpot often. Thanks for the tip on cooking chicken first!
What kind of salsa is being used?
I honestly don't remember. Sorry! I just buy whatever brand is on sale that doesn't have added sugar. Most salsa is fine.
@tarynasays does work with green salsa, salsa verde??
Yes, that would be yummy!
This was outstanding.... it smelled so good and tasted even better. I made it and served it over lettuce! A perfect summer dinner!
Sandra Shaffer says
We love the spice, so this will be perfect casserole for us. I hope to have leftovers to give those cheesy tacos a try too!
Frank Lomas says
Chicken is precooked?
Yes, I used leftover shredded chicken.
How many servings is this recipe for. Ty.
Hi Olivia, This has 8 servings. Servings are listed at the top of the recipe box right under course and cuisine.