Home ยป Recipes ยป Casseroles ยป King Ranch Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Mac and Cheese

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.

King Ranch Mac and Cheese in cast iron pan.

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.

Fork lifting a bite of mac and cheese out of pan.


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!

Overhead of King Ranch Mac and Cheese in pan.

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

King Ranch Mac and Cheese in cast iron pan.

Never miss a recipe. Follow Spicy Southern Kitchen on Facebook and Pinterest.

King Ranch Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

This King Ranch Mac and Cheese is a combo of two southern favorites. It is creamy, spicy, and cheesy and has diced chicken and a crunchy Dorito topping.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 50 minutes


  • 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.


Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.


Calories: 607kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: chicken, mac and cheese

Want to Save This Recipe?

Adapted from Southern Living

Sharing with The Weekend Potluck.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Originally published April 1, 2015.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

I accept the Privacy Policy

44 thoughts on “King Ranch Mac and Cheese”

  1. Karen Henderson

    This sounds wonderful. Can you please confirm the actual amount of pasta you are using? “1/2 (16 ounce)”… I guess that means 8 ounces???

  2. 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.

  3. Vickie Palmer

    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.

  4. This is one of our absolute favorite cold weather recipes! About to put a pan in the oven now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Hope your son has a wonderful birthday Sharon! I think I would serve it either with corn or a salad.

  7. 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.

  8. Jess Wright @ The Cookbook Obsession

    Wow. Just wow. This looks absolutely delicious. It’s like grown up mac n cheese! I cannot wait to try this ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 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!

  10. Christine | Mid-Life Croissant

    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!

  11. 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.

Scroll to Top