Other than ice cream, burritos are my favorite thing to eat. They are bold flavors and textures wrapped in a warm tortilla. But there’s a tiny drawback to giant, filling, delicious burritos: A food coma is likely, and leftovers rarely reheat well.
Enter Burrito Casserole: Seasoned rice, shredded chicken, beans, salsa verde, and cheese are layered in a casserole dish and baked until perfectly melty. Cut them into small, medium, or generous portions, and leftovers, if any, reheat beautifully.
Serve Burrito Casserole with plenty of toppings—the usual suspects are sour cream, cilantro, shredded lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, and your favorite salsa. Get creative and serve the toppings on the side as a fun BYO (build-your-own) meal! It’s an easy and fun weeknight meal to share with family.
What’s in a Burrito Casserole?
This dish is full of ingredients typically found in a chicken burrito, but in the form of a hearty layered casserole.
Rice: Long grain white rice is cooked with chicken stock and tomato paste until tender. The rice will take approximately 20 minutes to cook; however, you’ll save a bit of time (and dirty dishes!) by cooking the chicken right on top of the rice at the same time. The chicken helps flavor the rice.
Chicken: The recipe calls for 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs, or even a combination of both would work. If using chicken thighs, trim the fat off.
Seasonings: The seasonings in the recipe are a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Although flavorful, the spice level is mild, so this dish can be comfortably enjoyed by the whole family. Add a pinch of cayenne to make it spicier.
Cheese: I like Colby jack cheese in casseroles because it bakes into a pretty swirl of yellow and white, it melts well, and its mellow flavor goes well with most any ingredient.
Tortillas: This casserole is layered (bottom, middle, and top) with three large (10-inch) flour tortillas. To fit the round tortillas into a square casserole dish, I cut each tortilla into three long strips and lay them slightly overlapping. To fill in gaps, I cut up an additional tortilla.
Beans: Any sturdy cooked beans of your choice will do. I personally love the flavor and texture of pinto beans. For this recipe, I use canned beans, but cook your own if you’d like! Avoid soft varieties like great northern beans, which fall apart easily. Rinse and drain the beans well before adding them to the casserole.
Experiment a bit! Here are some ideas for yummy variations:
- Make it a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken and adding an extra 15-ounce can of beans. Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock or water (add an extra 1/2 teaspoon salt if using water). Sautéed bell peppers and onions would also be delicious.
- Make it spicier by adding 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.
- Use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano to the rice for a boost of herby flavor.
- Have a cheese that you’re partial to? Feel free to use it as long as it melts well! Low-moisture mozzarella is always a good choice—it melts beautifully. For a bit of zing, use sharp cheddar. Pepper jack is an easy way to add a bit of spice. You’ll need two cups. Extra cheese on top (before baking) is okay for you cheese lovers.
- Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas for more nutty corn flavor.
- Black beans or kidney beans will work instead of pinto beans.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Transfer leftovers into a lidded container or tightly cover the baking dish with foil. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Reheat the casserole (keep the foil on) in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, until heated through. If you are pressed on time, cut out individual portions and reheat it covered in the microwave until heated through.
More Spiced and Baked Recipes
Easy Burrito Casserole
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed
1/4 cup green chilis
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade salsa verde
3 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the seasonings:
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and salt. You will use half of it to season the chicken and the other half in the rice.
Season the chicken:
Place the chicken breasts on a large plate and use one hand to rub 1 teaspoon olive oil all over them. Sprinkle them with about half of the seasoning mix. Set it aside while you make the rice.
Cook the rice:
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rice and the remaining seasoning mix. Cook stirring continuously for about 2 minutes, until the rice is lightly toasted.
Stir in the chicken stock, green chilis, and tomato paste. Place the chicken breasts (make sure to get all the tasty seasoning stuck to the plate too) on top of the rice. Increase the heat to medium-high. As soon as it comes up to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
Shred the chicken and season the rice:
Transfer the chicken breasts onto a large plate and shred them into bite-sized pieces using two forks or your hands (you may need to wait for it to cool down a bit).
Give the rice a stir, taste, and season with more salt if desired. Add about 2 tablespoons of chicken stock if the rice looks dry and needs more liquid.
Assemble the casserole:
In an 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/4 cup salsa verde. Layer one tortilla on top, trimming it as needed to cover the dish. Evenly spread a layer of half each of the beans, rice, and chicken. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese and 1/2 cup salsa verde.
Repeat with another layer of tortilla and the remaining beans, rice, chicken, 3/4 cup cheese, and 1/2 cup salsa. Add a final layer of tortilla and top it with 1/4 cup salsa verde and 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake and serve:
Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Serve it with optional toppings like sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, diced avocados, and chopped tomatoes.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 27g||35%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||53%|
|Total Carbohydrate 76g||28%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||30%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 24mg||120%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|