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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.

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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

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Adapted from Southern Living

Sharing with The Weekend Potluck.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Originally published April 1, 2015.

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44 thoughts on “King Ranch Mac and Cheese”

  1. Bam's Kitchen

    My boys are standing over my shoulder saying , “mom can you please make this this weekend?” Looks like this is a teenager approved and delicious meal that our whole family will love. Just Pinned!

  2. Mary @chattavore

    I am not a huge fan of traditional King Ranch casserole, but this? This looks aMAHzing. I need this in my life!

  3. Andrea @ Recipes For Divine Living

    This casserole looks absolutely amazing. Definitely will be giving it a try. Thanks

  4. This looks great! Do you think this could be made in the crockpot? If so for how long? Thanks!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      I haven’t tried making it in a crockpot Christina so I’m not sure how it would do. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out.

  5. Cheese overload. This really looks like a full loaded meal. It looks perfect! I can already taste its cheesiness, creaminess, and spiciness. It would really be a great comfort food!

  6. Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel

    I’ve never even heard of King Ranch casserole, but this looks AMAZING. So cheesy and delish. And anything topped with Doritos has to be good!! 😀

  7. Thao @ In Good Flavor

    This mac and cheese is seriously packed with flavor! It looks so luscious and creamy too.

  8. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com

    This looks like such ultimate comfort food! Beautiful photos – will be pinning for sure!

  9. Annie @ ciaochowbambina

    So delicious! I’ve never heard of King Ranch Casserole…I’ve clearly been missing out! This combination looks perfect!

  10. Stephanie @ PlainChicken

    OMG! I absolutely LOVE this recipe! Wishing I had a big bowl right now. Guess I will be making this over the weekend. So good!

  11. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I love the mashup of these two dishes, Christin! Both sound like such a delicious combo. Looks so hearty and full of flavor!

  12. Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen

    You have totally and completely sold me on this dish. As I read your description and saw the photos – Christin, my mouth watered! I definitely want to make this – and I’m pinning to my Favorites!

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