This Fajita Casserole is full of delicious fajita taste in a cheesy pasta bake. The flavors in this recipe are perfect with my homemade fajita seasoning.
Fajitas are one of our favorite recipes, with my Steak Fajita recipe coming in on top with all of my family members. In this amazing Chicken Fajita Casserole we are taking all that great fajita taste and baking up with some pasta for a comforting casserole that you just can’t miss.
Even better, I have instructions for making this casserole ahead of time and baking it from frozen. It is the perfect thing to pop in the oven at the end of a long work day, and it is soul warming home-cooking.
How to Make Fajita Casserole
Here is a brief overview of how easily this fajita chicken casserole comes together. For the full recipe including all measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Cook your pasta. See my tips below for this step.
- Sauté the vegetables. While your pasta cooks, add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic to a skillet and sauté until soft. Stir in the tomato sauce and season with fajita seasoning.
- Put the casserole together. Stir in the cooked pasta, shredded chicken, and one cup of cheddar cheese. Put the mixture in a baking dish.
- Bake the casserole. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 10 minutes.
Homemade Fajita Seasoning
This Homemade Fajita Seasoning recipe has the perfect flavor. I love making my own seasoning blends because I can control the spice and flavor, as well as avoid extra additives that store-bought seasoning blends may have.
This recipe has two sets of measurements, a small batch that replaces the packet of seasoning if that is called for in a recipe, or a big batch that you can keep in your pantry.
While cooking pasta for a casserole may seem like the easiest step in a recipe, a few simple tips make it turn out perfect every time.
- Use plenty of water. A pound of pasta needs four to six quarts of water since it expands as it cooks. Make sure to add plenty of water to your pan along with salt for extra flavor.
- Bring your water to a roaring boil. Don’t add the dry noodles to the water until you see big, constant bubbles.
- Cook the pasta for two minutes less than what the package says. Since it will be baked with the casserole, the pasta will continue to cook. Set your timer for two minutes less than what the package says. Set a timer so you know exactly when it is done.
Options for Cooked Chicken
You have a few different options for cooked chicken for this recipe.
- Buy a rotisserie chicken. This is a super convenient and cost-effective way to get cooked chicken for a casserole. Grab one on your way home from work from your local grocery store.
- Boil chicken breasts. Put raw chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Shred the chicken using two forks or your stand mixer.
- Use frozen cooked chicken. Cooking chicken and freezing it is a simple and quick way to have chicken on hand and ready for easy weeknight recipes. In my post for Freezing Cooked Chicken, I share tips to make the process easy, including three different cooking methods. Since the casserole will bake, you can add it right to the recipe from frozen.
In this recipe we are using canned tomato sauce as the base for the sauce of the casserole. You want to look for something that is labeled tomato sauce, and it contains just tomatoes, no seasoning. This is just tomatoes that have been cooked down with all the seeds, skin and pulp removed.
A Note on Grating Cheese From a Block
Anytime a recipe calls for shredded cheese, I recommend grating your own from a block of cheese. It melts and tastes so much better than the pre-shredded stuff, which is covered in preservatives that prevent it from clumping together in the bag. Buy a block of cheese and use a cheese grater to shred your own; it will only add a few extra minutes to the recipe and will taste so much better.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store any leftover fajita casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat only the portion you plan to eat in the microwave or oven until heated through.
Freezing Fajita Casserole
To make this recipe ahead of time to freeze, prepare the casserole in a disposable or aluminum baking dish up to the point of putting it in the oven. Ceramic and glass pans can shatter in the oven when baked from frozen so it is best to avoid that. Cover tightly with foil two times and store in the freezer for up to three months.
When you are ready to bake it, remove the foil and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
If you make this fajita casserole recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment letting me know what you think. I love hearing from you!
- 1 pound bowtie pasta (453. 592 grams) or whatever small pasta you have on hand
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 15 ounces tomato sauce (425 grams) read more above
- 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken (340 grams) see note
- 3 cups cheddar cheese (339 grams) shredded
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. Salt the water. Add in the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than is indicated on the box.1 pound bowtie pasta, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet for approximately 30 seconds. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 medium red onion, 2 garlic cloves
- Stir in the tomato sauce. Season with fajita seasoning. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, you should see just small occasional bubbles.15 ounces tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
- Stir in the cooked pasta, chicken, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.3 cups cooked shredded chicken, 3 cups cheddar cheese