Southwest Chicken Pasta Casserole

5 from 3 votes

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Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole

Happy Friday, ya’ll! Yesterday I woke up thinking it was Friday. Realizing it was actually Thursday was a REAL buzz kill. A few choice words may or may not have been said. But, today, I can say with 94% accuracy that it is in fact Friday.

Let the angels sing.

Lately, I’ve been feeling under the weather. My stomach has been hurting and my abs have been aching. I think the 100 degree weather + no a/c is to blame. It feels like I’m being killed very slowly and painfully. Pretty sure this is what hell feels like.

I don’t really feel like eating anything at all either. Well, anything healthy. On Wednesday I made some mini brownie bites and ate approximately 31. Then I made another batch of this and ate it all with a bunch of those soft pocketless pita things. {The person who invented those deserves a medal.} Then I had 7 bowls of cereal and some diet root beer and called it a day. {Not together.} I did manage to eat a handful of grapes and some deli turkey at some point. And drank a few glasses of water. And had this for dinner.

{Remember my post about how I eat? YEAH. I’m such a healthy poster child. —>LIES.}

Why I chose to cook AND turn the oven on to make this in this heat is beyond me. Did I take crazy pills this morning? All signs point to yes.

I was lightheaded and delusional. Clearly.

So, this dinner. It’s amazing. My husband could not rave enough about this. We’re kind of a southwest freaks, so of course we enjoyed every last bite. I packed it full of veggies in an attempt to make myself feel less guilty about eating half the pan. And make up for all the cheese. And chips. Didn’t really work considering my previous consumption of 17,000 calories earlier in the day. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.

Moral of the story: make this.

Also, I like food. But I think you knew that already.

Here’s how to do it: Start by cooking some whole wheat pasta part way. You’re going to be cooking this whole thing in the oven later, so you don’t want your pasta to turn into mush.

Cooke pasta

In the same pot you cooked the pasta in, saute some veggies in a little butter. I used green peppers, red peppers, jalapenos, onions, garlic and corn.

Cooked Veggies

After they’re tender, sprinkle in a little flour and stir.

Cooking veggies

Pour in some chicken stock or milk and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.

Adding broth

Once the sauce is a little bit thicker, add in some rotisserie chicken

Chopped Chicken

mozzarella cheese,

Sprinkling Cheese

cheddar cheese,

Sprinkling Cheese

chili powder, cumin, s&p,


the cooked pasta and a splash of cream {not pictured}.

Cooked pasta in a pot

Stir it all up and pour into a casserole dish. Don’t be alarmed if it seems soupy. The pasta will soak some of that up in the oven.

Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole

Top the whole thing with crushed tortilla chips and bake 20-30 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole

After you pull it out, your family will sing praises and your tummies will thank you.

I think the chips on top were my favorite part. Love the textural difference. Oh, and the corn. It was super sweet.

We ended up LOVING this {my husband especially} and thoroughly devoured the leftovers yesterday. Here’s the printable:

Have a great weekend!

Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole
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5 from 3 votes

Southwest Pasta Recipe

This Southwest Chicken Pasta Casserole is a one-pot wonder, full of veggies, cheese, and chicken. Your family will ask for it again and again.
servings 4 portions
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1/2 lb rotini pasta or pasta shape of choice
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 jalapenos* seeded and diced
  • 10 oz corn frozen, or kernels from 3 fresh ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour or more, depending on how much liquid the veggies give off
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups tortilla chips crushed


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Bring a large oven safe pot (like a dutch oven**) of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook pasta for half the time recommended on the box. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same hot pot, melt butter and saute onions, garlic, peppers, jalapenos and corn until tender...about 7 minutes or so.
  • Sprinkle in flour and stir. Cook 2 minutes, then pour in chicken stock and whisk.
  • Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Increase heat to thicken sauce.
  • Turn of heat and add mozzarella cheese, one cup of the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, chicken and cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
  • Top with crushed tortilla chips and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered or 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve.


*Reduce or omit jalapenos if sensitive to spicy foods. 
**I wanted this to be a one-pot recipe, but if you don't have a dutch oven or other oven safe pot, feel free to transfer the pasta to a casserole dish and bake. 


Calories: 1028kcal | Carbohydrates: 108g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 939mg | Potassium: 1006mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2502IU | Vitamin C: 79mg | Calcium: 393mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: Chicken Pasta Casserole, Southwest Pasta Recipe


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Recipe Rating

39 Responses
  1. Bunny

    5 stars
    Soooo good! I didn’t have rotini on hand but I used mini farfalle I had instead. Pretty sure most any small pasta would work in this. This was wonderful. Hubby and I both loved it. It will be on my list of “what to make”. Hubby added some green and hot salsa to his and I added some sour cream to mine. Loved it!

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    […] Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole Adapted from: Lauren’s Latest Yield: 2 quart casserole 1 1/2 – 2 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini (need about 3 cups […]

  3. JE

    Hey Lauren,

    I first made this recipe 2 years ago, followed by many other times. (bookmarked it), now I made it again tonight. Still one of my favorites. So delicious, and the wife and kids love it and beg me to make it! Thanks!!!!

  4. Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole

    […] more details please visit this link were you will find instructions : This image is meant to be a source of inspiration. No copyright infringement intended. I do not own […]

  5. Alicia

    Found your recipe on Pinterest and knew it was destiny that I make this recipe. I do not regret my decision — so, so, so good! I didn’t have any fresh corn so I used a bag of frozen that I’d defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. I’d also chopped the peppers about a week before and had them frozen, defrosted them, ended up using the entire 1/3 c. flour because of all of the water the peppers gave off. It turned out perfect. Even my boy who is sensitive to stuff that is ‘spicy’ asked for a second helping.
    It is definitely going in to the rotation!

  6. Margaret

    Do you think it would be okay to use cornflour instead of flour? And vegetable stock instead of chicken stock? And how much milk/cream is really needed? Wondering if I need to buy a container or I can just steal a splash from a friend, haha. Thanks!

    1. Lauren

      I’ve never used corn flour before, so I’m not sure about that one, BUT the vegetable stock is ok and you probably only need a splash or two of cream!!

      1. Margaret

        Great! Thanks – I’ll definitely be giving this a try soon! : ) Though I’ll be using a British microwave/convection oven for the first time, so fingers crossed.

  7. Elizabeth

    I tried this recipe (with a few tweaks) and it turned out AMAZING. I was out of tortilla chips and heavy cream, so I used Panko bread crumbs and half and half instead. I also opted to used canned mixed veggies (I know, the shame!) instead of bell peppers and that would be my only regret. They mushed together a tad and I’m sure fresh peppers would have been much better. Anyway, thanks for the awesome idea!

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    […] Chicken Southwest Pasta CasseroleAdapted from: Lauren’s LatestYield: 2 quart casserole 1 1/2 – 2 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini (need about 3 cups […]

  9. Andrea

    I made this tonight for dinner. I used milk with a bit of chicken bouillon granules mixed in. I also used prepared spicy pico de gallo in place of the veggies and added half a can of drained corn to make things even more simple. It turned out delicious! Thanks for the recipe Lauren. 🙂

  10. Erin

    I made this last night and it was terrific. I used greek yogurt to creamitize the sauce and it worked great! I added a little more sharp cheddar cheese and used mini macaronis instead and called it Mexican Mac’n’Cheese so my boys would eat it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Cassy

    This is WITHOUT A DOUBT my family’s favorite recipe!! I have cooked it so many times now that I don’t even have to look at the recipe! I was never a big fan of bell peppers but I cook them down enough and it taste AMAZING!! You, my dear, are a genius!!!

  12. Erin

    I found your recipe while browsing Pinterest for something to make for dinner that included the left over rotisserie chicken from Costco we had for dinner a few nights ago. . I must say it was amazing! The hunny even said that this was definitely one of his top ten favorite dinners, score!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I do have to admit that I did make some changes per our tastes, and what I had on hand..

    First off, I used 1 can of corn, 1 can of green chilies, 1 can of tomatoes with green chilies, 1 can of olives, as well as the onion and garlic.

    Also I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, and lets face it after the holidays, who needs all the extra calories :). So instead I substituted 1 can of fat free cream of chicken soup. Then at the very end i realized that I didn’t have any corn chips on hand. But I did find some long forgotten flour tortillas. Soo I cut them up intro strips and covered the top with them and then covered the whole mess with more cheddar cheese! The addition of flour tortillas was, I think, the best part! They got nice and golden brown and crispy

    . YUM!! Im still sooo full from my two big helpings at dinner. But now after typing this my mouth is watering for more! Thank you for the delicious recipe. It is most definitely a new favorite in our house hold

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  14. Jeremy

    Wow! I found this recipe in google today and wanted to cook something special for the family tonight. That was awesome, even my kids who are usually picky eaters when it comes to peppers, onions, etc. were begging for more. Great recipe, you made one families night!


  15. RoselyC

    From the moment I saw this I knew I had to try it and I did! It was delicious, thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!!! Yes you deserve the triple exclamation points and a smiley face 🙂

  16. Jenny @ BAKE

    this looks amazing! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has bad food weeks, though I’m sure this dish would be a high point in my house any week!

  17. Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    I feel you on the heat! It’s been getting up to 90 degrees in my apartment and I just feel sick all. the. time.

    Whole wheat pasta and lots of veggies – who are you kidding, this is totally a healthy meal!