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If you like chicken fajitas, then you’ll love this zesty, flavorful, dump-and-bake chicken fajita casserole! You don’t even have to pre-cook the rice or the veggies. Just stir everything together for an easy dinner with 10 minutes of prep!

Dump and bake chicken fajita casserole recipe served in a white dish on a wooden table.

Dump-and-bake dinners might not be fancy, but they sure do come in handy when you’re short on time, or when you just don’t feel like cooking! Whether it’s a pan of my dump-and-bake white chicken chili casserole, this unique and flavorful dump-and-bake chicken tzatziki with rice, this dump-and-bake chicken tortellini alfredo, or the wildly popular dump-and-bake meatball casserole, so many of you rely on these shortcut meals for your busiest days.

Rather than repeat the same old favorites over and over, mix up the weeknight routine with this new addition to the dump-and-bake lineup: chicken fajita casserole! It’s got all of the delicious seasoning, veggies, meat, and rice that you love in a classic plate of chicken fajitas — but with very little effort!

Square side shot of chicken fajita casserole with rice on a white plate.

Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

While most casserole recipes call for cooking the rice before mixing it into the dish, this particular recipe is designed specifically for uncooked rice. That means that you do not boil the rice in a saucepan on the stovetop before adding it to the casserole dish.

Instead, the rice cooks right in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. This requires extra liquid in the pan (since the rice absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks), and extra cooking time to make sure that the rice is tender.

Overhead shot of a white baking dish full of chicken fajita casserole.

The Best Chicken to Use for a Fajita Chicken Casserole

You’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole!
Whisking together wet ingredients in a baking dish.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for our favorite chicken fajita casserole recipe. As always, specific measurements are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Enchilada sauce and water: liquid in the pan that flavors the rice as it cooks. Use a mild enchilada sauce if you don’t want a spicy casserole.
  • Fajita seasoning: use the seasoning from a 1-ounce packet for convenience, or prepare your own fajita seasoning blend at home with seasonings such as garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and cumin. A packet of taco seasoning will also work!
  • Kosher salt: to enhance the other flavors in the recipe. If you’d like to limit the amount of sodium in your dish, you can omit this ingredient.
  • Long grain white rice: do not substitute with brown rice, instant rice, or any other variety of rice, since the amount of liquid and the total cooking time are designed specifically for uncooked white rice.
  • Petite diced tomatoes: sub with a can of regular diced tomatoes if necessary.
  • Red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion: classic fajita veggies that add great flavor, texture, and color to the casserole.
  • Chicken: rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut for a quick-prep meal. See my notes above if you’d like to cook your own chicken at home.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: because every great Mexican-inspired casserole needs plenty of ooey, gooey, melty cheese! I like sharp cheddar, but a shredded Mexican blend or Pepper Jack cheese is also good.
Process shot showing how to make chicken fajita casserole with rice.

How to Make Chicken Fajita Casserole

This dump-and-bake chicken fajita casserole is the perfect solution when you need an easy meal. You don’t even have to wash an extra skillet or bowl at the end!

I’ve included the detailed cooking instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  • Whisk together the liquid and seasonings in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • Add the uncooked rice, veggies, chicken, and half of the cheese.
  • Cover tightly and bake until the rice is tender.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, sprinkle extra cheese on top, and place under the broiler until the cheese melts.
Square overhead shot of dump-and-bake chicken fajita casserole.

What to Serve with Chicken Fajita Casserole

This is basically an entire meal in one dish, thanks to the meat, rice, and vegetables. That said, if you’d like to round out the supper, pair the chicken fajita casserole with any of the following sides, or garnish with these simple toppings:

Overhead shot of fajita chicken and rice on a white plate.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The rice will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy rice.
  • Storage: This casserole is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The rice will dry out a bit as it sits.
  • I do not recommend freezing these leftovers, as rice tends to get mushy when thawed.
  • How to Reheat: Cover and reheat leftovers in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in a microwave for about 1 minute on high power.
Close overhead image of a serving spoon in the easiest chicken fajita casserole recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • Use regular diced tomatoes (rather than petite diced tomatoes) if you prefer. You can also sub with a Mexican cheese blend or other shredded cheese (rather than cheddar), or omit the kosher salt if you’d like to control the sodium.
  • Don’t have fajita seasoning? Substitute with taco seasoning instead.
  • Make it spicy by adding hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add a can of drained and rinsed black beans or pinto beans to make it more hearty and satisfying.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Close up side shot of a plate of chicken fajita casserole on a dinner table.

Tips for the Best Chicken Fajita Casserole Recipe

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, cauliflower rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.
Overhead image of a pan of fajita chicken casserole with rice on a wooden table.

More Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Rice Casseroles

Looking for even more inspiration? Check out all of our dump-and-bake recipes!

Square overhead shot of dump-and-bake chicken fajita casserole.

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Fajita Casserole

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 393 kcal
The easiest chicken fajita casserole requires just 10 minutes of prep — and then the oven does the work!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (from a 1-ounce packet), or use a homemade seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, not drained
  • ½ of a red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • ½ of a green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • ½ of a small onion, finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or other herbs; pickled red onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°F). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Add water, enchilada sauce, fajita seasoning, and salt to the prepared dish. Whisk together until completely combined.
    Whisking together wet ingredients in a baking dish.
  • Stir in uncooked rice, tomatoes with their juices, bell peppers, onion, chicken, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. I find it’s easiest to use your fingers to make sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed.
    Process shot showing how to make chicken fajita casserole with rice.
  • Cover tightly and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  • Use a fork to fluff the rice. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining grated cheese. Place the dish under the broiler for a couple of minutes, just until the cheese melts.
    Square overhead shot of dump-and-bake chicken fajita casserole.
  • Garnish with optional toppings and serve immediately.
    Close up side shot of a plate of chicken fajita casserole on a dinner table.

Notes

  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked long grain white rice. Do not substitute with brown rice, cauliflower rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 28gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 984mgPotassium: 442mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1227IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 311mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken fajita casserole, chicken fajita casserole recipe, chicken fajita casserole rice, fajita chicken casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Carol L Foster says:

    5 stars
    Blair, this was really easy (had rotisserie chicken) and very yummy. It does make a lot and there is just the two of us so will cut it in half next time. I did not change a thing and we really enjoyed it. Thanks for a fun, easy recipe.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Carol! We’re so glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Doug says:

    Since this is made with rice, instead of pasta, do you think it will freeze OK?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We don’t recommend it as rice tends to get mushy as it thaws.

  3. Kurt says:

    5 stars
    I’m always leery about recipes like this, but I was astonished how tasty this is! This is an absolute keeper in my cooking repertoire. Definitely going to try other “dump-n-bake” recipes. Thanks so much!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Kurt! We’re glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Janet says:

    5 stars
    This was tasty! I did grease the glass pan but the rice still stuck to it. I don’t really want to add more water than is called for but may have to when I make it again.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re sorry the rice stuck to the pan but are glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for trying it out, Janet!