This Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken Casserole is bursting with great Tex-Mex spices. It is too easy to be this good. Plus, it is lower in fat and calories, so it will fit many diet types.
This takes almost no skill. Just open a few cans and shred a chicken breast. Or you can even skip the shredding by using rotisserie chicken.
We all need a few easy meals we can just make and get a few meals. It is even better if the meal is good for you and tastes great.
Just add a couple of cans, a little spice to uncooked pasta, and chicken breasts. Shred the chicken and add some cheese late in the cooking. You are rewarded for your laziness with cheesy, tasty goodness.
This recipe started as an experimental beef recipe while my wife was out of town. The texture and the basic taste was right, but spices were just way too hot. I didn't give the RoTel enough respect. It does add taste but also some heat.
I have almost stopped precooking anything other than ground meat that goes in a crock pot. Even ground meat would be ok in most situations, but there is usually more moisture and fat released than you want. You also sometimes want a Maillard reaction to add flavor.
A nice solid 4.
You want about 2-3 cups of shredded chicken. It is a casserole, so you can vary that for your tastes and what you happen to have.
I suggest two skinless boneless chicken breasts. They can go into the dish raw and be shredded near the end of cooking.
You could use previously cooked chicken like a rotisserie chicken. You do not want that already cooked chicken cooking for the 4 hours. Add it near the end with the cheese.
♨️The Crock Pot
This fits nicely in a crock pot of 3 quarts or more. It works in a bigger crock pot also. A double size recipe needs 5 quarts or bigger.
As written, the heat is about 3-4 out of 10. Maybe a little too spicy for little ones.
Most of the heat comes from the Rotel. You may use a can of drained diced tomatoes to replace it. That will leave the dish a bit bland, so a small can of diced mild chilies and increase the other spices a bit.
Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and can be frozen for 3-4 months.
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🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Trim two skinless boneless chicken breast of any visible fat.
Add one 14 oz can tomato sauce, 14 oz can black beans rinsed, 10.5 oz can of RoTel, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 cup dry pasta (uncooked) to a smaller crock pot. Here I use my 3.5 qt pot. Mix well.
Add two trimmed skinless boneless chicken breasts. Push down into the liquid until covered.
Cook on low for 4 hours total. At 3 hours into the cooking, remove the chicken and shred.
Add chicken back along with ¾ cup shredded cheese of your choice. Mix well then top with ¼ cup of the cheese.
Cook for the final hour.
Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken Casserole - Tex Mex Style
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 14 oz tomato sauce
- 14 oz black beans - low sodium, rinsed
- 10 oz RoTel
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup dry pasta
- 1 cup shredded cheese - like Cheddar or a Mexican blend
- Trim two skinless boneless chicken breast of any visible fat.
- Add one 14 oz can tomato sauce, 14 oz can black beans rinsed, 10.5 oz can of RoTel, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 cup dry pasta (uncooked) to a smaller crock pot. Here I use my 3.5 qt pot. Mix well.
- Add two trimmed skinless boneless chicken breast. Push down into the liquid until covered.
- Cook on low for 4 hours total. At 3 hours into the cooking, remove the chicken and shred.
- Add chicken back along with ¾ cup shredded cheese of your choice. Mix well then top with ¼ cup of the cheese.
- Cook for the final hour.
Your Own Private Notes
- While this is a smaller crock pot recipe (3-3.5 qt), it will be fine in a larger crock pot.
- You need about 1 to 1 ½ pounds of shredded chicken. You can use pre-cooked chicken if you want but the pasta will still take about 4 hours on low. Add the precooked chicken the last hour of cooking, not at the beginning.
- Dry pasta in crock pot dishes is generally standard American dry pasta. Whole wheat pasta has less gluten and is more likely to turn to mush. Gluten-free even more so. So if you use a non-standard pasta, the results may not be good. Also, since crock pots vary, the cooking time of the pasta may vary some, so check it a few times.
- I use the Rotel for both some tomato and spicing. It provides most of the heat. If you don't want that, use a drained can of diced tomatoes. Be sure to drain. You probably will want to up the other spices a bit and consider a small can of chopped mild chilies.
- This is already low-fat and low calorie. You can skip the cheese if you want even lower numbers but you want the cheese.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and can be frozen for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally published November 23, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Can it be done without pasta?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
Yes, but you will have too much liquid since the pasta won't be there to absorb it. Cut back on the Rotel or tomato sauce.
Is this recipe new. I remember a similar one years ago, believe it was on an ad for Rotel. I Don't remember putting pasta in, but a can of corn was added. Of course I've lost the recipe after all these years.
Yep, new at the time. I had a great crock pot ziti ( https://www.101cookingfortwo.com/crockpot-baked-ziti/ ) so I was experimenting with crock pot pasta recipes. I remember the first run of this recipe, way too hot. I obviously had the spicing way off.
If the recipe you remember was in an ad for RoTel, check their web site. They have a large recipe section.
Bought a Crock-Pot at Kroger well over a month ago. Chick fil a was closed last night so I was stuck without any chicken tortilla soup today. This morning I decided on a whim to finally use that crock pot. On the way back from dnd I googled SW chicken and found this. Spent 5 mins at Kroger acquiring the goods. Could not have been simpler. Turned out great. And economic, too. I'll make it again. But next time I'll put the pasta in after 2 hours. Maybe later. Firmer pasta would've made this even better.
Thanks for the note. The paste probably needs at least 2 hours plus. So your end point would be the pasta being done.
You will love your crockpot if you like leftovers like we do.
I tried this recipe last week and it was great! The chicken seemed pretty undercooked at 3 hour on low. I had to kick it to high for the next hour or two.
Thanks for the note. I always check with a thermometer on things like this for 165. They just don't shred well if not done. This probably one of those variables. Different pots and different thickness of chicken breasts.
I was just curious if you could do this with rice instead of pasta?
I really don't think so. They cook so differently.
Love the uncooked macaroni and cheese great success
Crock Pots really can do pasta well if you're careful.
Thanks for the comment.
Is the 1 tea. chili powder and 1/2 tea. chili powder correct?
Nope, my bad... proof-reading failure complicated by cut and paste. It is 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Post is now corrected.
Thanks for the pickup
The 1 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder is corrected in the list but not in the instructions. Just letting you know. I am making this today to use the shredded chicken from the "freezer burnt rescue" I found on your site. Excellent idea. I have all of these ingredients in my pantry! I will be back to use more of your nice recipes. Thanks.
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
Thanks for the note, the correction (now fixed), and the rating. The freezer-burnt chicken will work well here.