Ditch the carb-heavy
tortillas and get your chicken enchilada fix with this keto taco casserole
instead! Luscious, tender chicken thighs with a zesty Mexican flavor kick, plus
a healthy dose of veggies and plenty of cheese.
And, at only 6g NET CARBS per piece, this keto taco casserole is hard to beat! Or, call it a keto chicken enchilada casserole if you prefer. (But I figured, without the tortillas, you wouldn’t have “the whole enchilada” anymore… *BA DUM KISH*)
Whatever you like to call it, this keto casserole lets you enjoy all of the tasty, comforting flavors you love without all of the carbs. And, it couldn’t be easier to make. Just pop all of your keto chicken casserole components into your baking dish, and bake! A healthy, flavorful, and simple low carb dinner to last you all week.
Or, for keto meal prep
purposes, you can cover your entire keto taco casserole and store in the fridge
for 2-3 days. Best of all, this is also a meal prep FREEZER meal that you
can store in the freezer until you’re ready to cook it, up to 3 months!
Why Chicken Thighs? Can I
Make my Keto Chicken Enchilada Casserole with Chicken Breast?
If you’d prefer to use chicken breast in your keto
casserole, go for it! Turkey will work just as well, too. Personally, I
used shredded chicken thighs for my keto enchilada casserole just because it’s
one of my FAVORITE keto friendly meats. Thighs have a richer fat content than
chicken breast, and thighs also tend to be the more tender and flavorful.
Plus, I also got a GREAT deal on free range organic
chicken thighs as part of my custom-selection Butcher Box! Butcher Box is
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Can I Make my Keto Taco Casserole with Ground Beef Instead of Chicken?
Just cook up your ground beef as
desired before layering it to your casserole dish. You can even use the same
seasonings and flavorings as I used in my recipe. Simply swap out the 3 cups
of shredded chicken thighs for 3 cups of cooked ground beef, or about 1 – 1½
Keeping Your Keto Chicken
Casserole Low Carb & Budget Friendly
In terms of other substitutions, this keto taco casserole recipe is very forgiving – so don’t be afraid to make other swaps if you’d like! But, just know that I’ve crafted this recipe with ingredients that are freezer-friendly, budget-friendly, and low in carbs.
The beauty of this keto
enchilada casserole is that EVERYTHING goes into the dish to be baked together,
and it comes out tasting super fresh and flavorful! So, even though I’ve used
some canned produce (like tomatoes, chiles, and olives) to help keep the cost down,
you don’t even taste the difference.
In terms of the
nutrition, I stuck with LOW CARB vegetables in this keto taco casserole like
cauliflower, green bell pepper, and tomatoes. Did you know that green bell
pepper is has the lowest carb content of all bell pepper colors? And that tomatoes
actually have fewer carbs per gram than broccoli or Brussels sprouts??
So, if you choose to make this keto chicken casserole with other veggies, just be mindful of the carb content to keep your keto casserole truly low carb!
How to Cook & Shred
As mentioned, you’re welcome
to make your keto taco casserole with ground beef, turkey, chicken
breast—whatever meat you like. But, if you’re using chicken thighs like I did,
or if you’re using chicken breasts, you’ll need to cook and shred the meat
To start, I added my chicken
cuts to a deep saucepan with onion, crushed garlic, a bay leaf, and a generous
pinch of salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the ingredients in your
pot, then turn the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, turn down
the heat to medium-high, keeping the water simmering gently. Cook for about
30 minutes, until your chicken is nice and tender.
Then, carefully remove your
chicken thighs or breasts from the pot using tongs and transfer to a cutting
board. Shred using 2 forks—getting the texture as rough or finely shredded as
you’d like the meat in your keto enchilada casserole to be!
#1 Cook Chicken Mixture
for Keto Enchilada Casserole
After your meat is cooked
and shredded, you’re ready to start cooking the keto chicken casserole mixture—enchilada-style.
Add a bit of oil to a
pan and sauté chopped onion for a few minutes. Once tender, add canned
diced tomatoes, diced green chiles, and your shredded chicken (or
whichever cooked meat you’re using in this keto taco casserole recipe).
Season to taste with taco
seasoning, preferably a low carb or no sugar taco seasoning, or a
homemade version so you know exactly what’s in it. Then, mix well to combine,
let that mixture heat through, and set aside.
#2 Sauté Cauliflower
& Pepper Veggie Mixture
Next, cook up your keto enchilada
Heat a bit of oil in a pan and sauté some onion with chopped green bell pepper, which is the lowest carb of all bell pepper colors. After a few minutes, add cauliflower rice—another solid low carb veggie choice—along with some taco seasoning.
Mix well to integrate and
cook until it’s almost tender. It’ll continue to cook in the oven, so don’t
worry if it’s still a bit crisp. Remove from the heat, and now your keto
taco casserole components are ready to assemble!
#3 Assemble Keto Taco
To make this keto enchilada casserole recipe, I used a glass 9×13-inch casserole dish. For keto meal prep or if you plan to prep this as a keto freezer meal, I recommend using a casserole dish with a lid if you have one! (I’ll show you my special method for how to freeze this keto taco casserole in a moment, whether you have a dish with a lid or not.)
For your first layer, cover
the bottom of the dish with your cauliflower rice and pepper veggie mixture.
Sprinkle a layer of black olives on top of that—a great keto taco ingredient
that’s rich in fat and fiber! Next, add your cooked keto chicken enchilada mixture,
and finish with a generous helping of shredded cheese on top.
And that’s literally it!
Your keto chicken enchilada casserole / keto taco casserole / keto
deliciousness-in-a-casserole is ready to cook. Pop it in the oven at 350°F
(180°C) for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Or, you can stop
here before cooking and store it for keto meal prep purposes!
Storing your Keto Chicken Casserole for Meal Prep
Again, for keto meal prep purposes, I recommend using a glass casserole dish with an airtight lid if you have one. But, even if you don’t have a dish with a lid, you can also cover the dish with foil, plastic wrap, or a reusable alternative like beeswax food wraps.
Seal your keto taco casserole as best you can around the
edges of your dish, and you can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days until
you’re ready to cook!
Or, you can use this same method to store as a keto freezer
meal as well. Just cover your un-baked keto chicken casserole with a lid or
food wrap, and then store the entire dish in the freezer for up to 3 months.
But, if you DON’T want to sacrifice an entire casserole dish
by leaving it in the freezer for weeks or months, I’ve got a nifty freezer meal
prep hack you can use…
How to Freeze your Keto
Casserole – and Keep your Casserole Dish!
your keto enchilada casserole ingredients into the dish, first create a foil
lining inside your dish. I recommend using a few longer pieces of foil
layered on top of one another—long enough so you can fold the foil back over
the top to cover the casserole. Press the foil into the edges and corners so
it’s flush with the shape of your dish.
Leave the long edges of the
foil stretched outward for now, and add your keto taco casserole layers into
the lined dish. Once it’s assembled, fold over those long edges of foil to
cover the casserole and pop the entire dish in the freezer overnight.
The next day, your keto
chicken casserole will be a frozen block that you can neatly remove from the
casserole dish! Then, just return the foil-wrapped casserole back to the
freezer—without the dish—and your casserole dish is free to use as you’d like.
The day before you’re ready
to cook it, simply remove the frozen foil block from the freezer, place your
wrapped keto taco casserole back into the dish, and transfer to the fridge to
thaw overnight. On the next day, just peel back the foil covering the top,
wrap it around the edges of the dish, and your keto casserole is ready to cook.
The cook time and temperature will be the same. If it’s still frozen in the middle after sitting in the fridge overnight, you may need to leave it in the oven a bit longer. Once it’s warmed through, the result will be just as deliciously savory, cheesy, and EASY!