I love recipes that combine two of my favorite foods into one dish. This recipe, which I’ve adapted from Southern Living, does a wonderful job of blending two southern favorites- mac and cheese and King Ranch Casserole- into one delicious meal.
I actually had very low expectations for this King Ranch Mac and Cheese recipe. I think something about the idea of tomatoes in my mac and cheese put me off. And a can of cream of chicken soup in my mac and cheese? That really raised an eyebrow. But my friend Stephanie of Plain Chicken did her own version of this recipe and she raved and raved about how good it was.
So I knew I had to keep an open mind and give it a try.
And boy was I glad I did. I can honestly say it was one of my favorite meals in recent memory. It is cheesy, creamy, and spicy with a crunchy Dorito topping and diced chicken really makes it feel like a full meal.
There are seriously so many flavors going on in this King Ranch Mac and Cheese – tomatoes and spice from a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilies (I used hot Rotel which gave the mac and cheese a fairly high spice level), but you could use mild instead.
There are southwestern flavors from chili powder and cumin, plus plenty of cheese flavor from cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and Velveeta cheese.
Sour cream and a can of cream of chicken soup help keep King Ranch Mac and Cheese super moist, even after the cooked dish cools down.
If you love the flavors of southwestern food, this spin on mac and cheese is sure to be a favorite!
King Ranch Mac and Cheese Recipe Tip
Any pasta shape can be used for this recipe. Large elbow, cavatappi, and shells also work well.
For more Mac and Cheese Recipes follow my Mac and Cheese- The Ultimate Comfort Food Pinterest Board.
More Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Super Creamy Mac and Cheese
- Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese
- Bourbon and Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Bacon & Ranch Mac and Cheese
- Breakfast Mac and Cheese
- Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
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King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 (16-ounce) package pasta, I used Gemelli
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, spicy
- 1 (8-ounce) package Velveeta pasteurized prepared cheese, product cubed
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup crushed Dorito chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.
- Stir in Rotel tomatoes and Velveeta cheese. Cook, stirring continuously until cheese melts.
- Mix in chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, ancho chili powder, and cumin.
- Add pasta and half of both cheddar cheese and Monterey cheese.
- Pour into a greased or 11X9-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and crushed Doritos.
- Bake until bubbly, for 25 to 30 minutes.
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Adapted from Southern Living
Sharing with The Weekend Potluck.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Originally published April 1, 2015.
43 thoughts on “King Ranch Mac and Cheese”
So are you only using 8 oz of pasta? Or 1/2 of a 32 oz bag?
I found the pasta amount confusing too. Will you clarify this for us ?
We thought this was delicious! I followed the recipe except for using more of both kinds of cheese, in the mix and on top. Although I was skeptical, an 11×7 baking dish was (just barely) the right size. Definitely will be making this one again.
Sorry, it was an 11×9, not 11×7, baking dish. It never would have fit in the smaller size.
I haven’t tried this yet but we have added a can of cream of chicken soup to our boxed mac and cheese since the 60’s. Everyone that has tried it loves it.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/208181363863350/permalink/265679678113518/ — this blogger has been blogging for 10+ years and she is using your recipes and your photos and saying they are hers
My family loved this!
This is one of our absolute favorite cold weather recipes! About to put a pan in the oven now. 😊
Made this for a group and everyone liked the flavor. But it’s not what I think of as mac and cheese. It’s more a casserole that happens to have pasta in it. I will likely make it again, but I plan to leave out the chicken soup, and instead of putting the cheese on top, I will mix it in before baking. I think that will make it more mac and cheesy.
Today is my sons 31st birthday and he said to surprise him with a meal. He loves mac and cheese, spicy food and Texas——gotta be a winner. I’ll let you know. Can you suggest a good side dish?
Hope your son has a wonderful birthday Sharon! I think I would serve it either with corn or a salad.
I made this for lunch at a homeless centre i volunteer with and the best comment (and common theme) i got was that it nearly made them orgasm. Everyone raved about it for days – i have to make it again and soon I’ve been told.
Wow. Just wow. This looks absolutely delicious. It’s like grown up mac n cheese! I cannot wait to try this 🙂
is there a site we can save recipes to like myrecipes.com
Your recipe was the most delicious Mac n cheese I’ve ever made!! We had our first snow of the winter in Atlanta last night, and I had planned ahead and gotten the ingredients for this tonight. My husband and I loved it so much – spicy, comforting and tasty in cold weather! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
I feel like I would like tomatoes in my mac and cheese. Especially spicy ones. I mean, I like them on my grilled cheese…must try this!
Hope you like it if you get a chance to try it Christine! I really think it is good!
You say you need 1/2 cup of Sour cream but you never tell us what to do with it in the recipe . I just added it when I added the soup.
Thanks for catching that and letting me know! I updated the instructions.
1/2 (16-oz package) of pasta. Ok, that’s 8 ounces…