This hearty, filling casserole is full of flavor! Layers of cornbread, cheese, chicken or turkey and veggies combine to create a crowd pleasing meal that everyone loves!
There is nothing like a hearty casserole during the winter months. They are delicious, filling and it is so easy to pop in the oven and have a complete meal that everyone loves.
What we love about this casserole is that it is a little unique! While many casseroles are full of pasta or rice this one has a cornbread base. It is a nice change of pace for when you feel like you’re in a dinner rut.
This casserole has a little spice and a ton of flavor, it has a south of the border flair that is perfect for topping with a little fresh salsa and sour cream! If your family loves tacos, fajitas, or burritos they’ll enjoy the flavors of this tasty easy dinner recipe!
Find the exact amounts & detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post-
Butter- I like to use salted butter, you’ll be melting it so no need to soften it beforehand
Corn Meal- You want to make sure to use plain corn meal and not corn bread mix.
Milk- I like to use whole milk because it makes the cornbread a lovely texture, you can use a lower fat milk or an alternative milk.
Cream Corn- You’ll need a can of your favorite brand creamed corn, you can also use homemade if you prefer to make it (or if you need to use up leftovers!)
Eggs- You’ll want to use fresh, large eggs.
Baking Soda- Baking soda helps the cornbread to rise, make sure yours is fresh!
Shredded Cheddar Cheese- I like to shred my cheese because it melts better, however for a timesaver pre-shredded cheese works beautifully. You can use sharp cheddar or mild depending on your taste preference.
Cooked Chicken or Turkey- This recipe is perfect for using up leftover turkey after the holidays or finishing up a roasted chicken. You can cook chicken specifically for this recipe, boneless skinless breasts or thighs work beautifully. You can also grab a rotisserie chicken for quick cooked chicken.
Fresh Cilantro- I know people have strong opinions about cilantro so if you are someone who hates it then you can leave it out! Otherwise the addition of fresh herbs lightens this dish and gives it delicious flavor!
Pickled Jalapenos- You can find these near the pickles in most grocery stores. They are pretty spicy and tangy so you can adjust them to taste in your casserole. I’m a weenie when it comes to spice so I used about 1/4 cup.
Red Bell Pepper- Red peppers add a touch of sweetness to this recipe, if you prefer green peppers you can swap them out, or use a combination of both! You’ll want to dice the pepper into small pieces before you get started assembling this casserole.
Here’s how to make this cornbread casserole
First preheat the oven to 350
Butter a 13×9 inch baking pan on the bottom and sides. Add 2 tablespoons of cornmeal to the pan and shake it to coat the inside of the pan, this acts like flouring a cake pan and keeps the casserole from sticking to the pan.
In a small pan heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add in chopped red pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until the pepper has softened.
Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl whisk together milk, melted butter, cream corn, eggs and baking soda until well mixed.
Gradually add the corn meal, mixing in between additions until all the corn meal has been added and the mixture is well incorporated.
Scoop or pour out about 1 1/2 cups of the corn meal mixture and set aside.
Pour the rest of the cornmeal mixture into your prepared pan.
Sprinkle the shredded chicken evenly across the top of the cornmeal mixture, sprinkle shredded cheese evenly across the top of the chicken.
Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and cooked red peppers across the cheese. Lay pickled jalapenos evenly across the top, using as many as you like depending on how spicy you’d like your casserole.
Pour the rest of the batter in a thin layer across the top, some of the toppings will show through.
Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired!
Variations & Substitutions
This casserole is delicious as it is but there are a variety of swaps you can make to create different flavor combinations and varieties!
Use different cheese– I like to use sharp cheddar in this recipe but you can swap it out for another variety and change up the flavor. Pepper jack is a great choice that adds a bit more spice, Monterey Jack is a nice mild cheese that melts beautifully so it is another great option. If you like a super creamy texture American is another great option!
Use different meat– This is a great recipe to use ground beef, pulled pork, or even leftover roast beef. Pretty much any meat that you’ve got cooked can be shredded and put in this casserole!
Add more veggies– You can dress this casserole up with your favorite veggies if you’d like to add more flavor and nutrition. Onions make a great addition, more peppers, chopped spinach… whatever you think would taste good! You’ll want to saute your veggies before adding them and watch for excess water content. If you add something like tomatoes you’ll want to drain them first and may need to bake the casserole longer.
- ½ Cup Melted Butter
- 1 ¼ Cups Corn Meal + 2 Tbsp.
- 1 ½ Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Can Cream Corn
- 3 Eggs
- ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 8 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 3 Cups Cooked Chicken or Turkey
- ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- ¼- ½ Cups Pickled Jalapenos
- ½ Cup Diced Red Peppers
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salsa & Sour Cream
Preheat the oven to 350
Butter a 13x9 inch pan or 3 qt. casserole dish. Use 2 tbsp.
corn meal to flour the inside of the pan.
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a skillet over medium heat,
add in red peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
Whisk together melted butter, milk, cream
corn, eggs baking soda and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.
Gradually add in cornmeal and stir until well incorporated.
Reserve 1 ½ cups of the corn meal mixture and set aside.
Pour the remaining corn meal batter into the
bottom of your prepared pan.
Sprinkle the shredded chicken evenly across the cornmeal layer. Layer
the shredded cheese evenly across the chicken.
Sprinkle cilantro and cooked red peppers across the cheese.
Lay jalapenos across the top using as many as you’d like to adjust the level of
Pour the remaining batter across the top. The toppings will
show through, spread it as evenly as possible.
Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve warm topped with salsa and sour cream if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 482Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 197mgSodium: 1295mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 28g