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Simple Southwest Tortilla Pie

This southwest tortilla pie recipe is delicious and deceptively easy. Some links in this article are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Mile high tortilla pie slice

I used to make this all the time, but it somehow fell out of the rotation. When I made it tonight, my husband told me, “This is one of your better recipes. Why don’t you make it more often?”

Given how simple it is to make and how much of it I can do in advance, I have no good answer. Fingers crossed you get the same response when you make it.

My mom stole some of the leftovers from my fridge and took it to bridge for lunch. Everyone in her bridge group was jealous of the “gourmet” lunch she had. Little did they know how easy it was….

I’ve also made this as part of my Supper Swapping, and with different families having different tastes, it’s easy to alter. These are the types of recipes that always win.

One family doesn’t like beans very much, so I leave them out. Another likes things really spicy, so I use a spicy salsa and throw in some hot sauce to boot. Then there are those people who don’t like corn… you get the idea.

Can I make these in advance?

Absolutely you can. I will often make the filling first and put it in a tightly sealed container a day or even two before I’m ready to assemble and enjoy my southwest tortilla pie.

If you assemble the entire thing, the tortillas will get more soggy, but my son actually likes it that way. He finds that the flavored juices from the filling make the tortilla layers more like lasagna noodles, and I kinda see his point.

Given how quickly you can toss together the layers when you want to bake it, this is a perfect make ahead meal.

If you bake it, you can store it in the fridge for two to three days, as well, and reheat it in the oven until the cheese bubbles. The tortillas will definitely soften, but it’s just as delicious. I still prefer assembling at the last minute, however.

Can I freeze my southwest tortilla pie?

You can, and I often freeze my tortilla pie before I bake it. In fact, I’ll frequently make a double batch of filling and make two of the southwest tortilla pies.

I’ll bake the first one and tightly wrap the second one and place it unbaked in the freezer. It isn’t twice the effort, and you end up with a delicious “emergency” meal.

You can even cook it straight from the freezer. Just unwrap the pie and place it in a greased baking dish. Add 10-15 minutes to the bake time, and you’re good to go.

How do I poach chicken?

Poaching chicken is incredibly simple. The trick is to ensure that you don’t let the water ever boil.

The water to poach chicken needs to be simmering. That’s when you have the little bubbles near the edge of the water, but never the full bubbles of a boil.

Bring a pot of water to a simmer with a tablespoon or so of salt, a quartered onion, and a bay leaf. Add the chicken once the water simmers.

Let the chicken simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. If you have thick chicken breasts, cook for 25 minutes.

Remove your chicken from the water after that and shred with meat claws or in a stand mixer with the paddle. If for some reason the chicken doesn’t easily shred, return it to the water for another three minutes to cook longer.

If you boil the chicken, it will get tough, so make sure you watch the chicken!

What if I don’t want to poach the chicken?

This recipe works great with any shredded chicken. Did you pick up a rotisserie chicken? Just shred or chop the leftover chicken, and you’re all set.

Costco actually sells shredded rotisserie chicken in its refrigerated section that would be perfect for this. Regardless of where you get your chicken, as long as it isn’t highly flavored, you’re set.

The exception to flavored chicken is if you make a salsa chicken or chicken for tacos. Those have very complementary flavors to the rest of the southwest tortilla pie filling and would work well.

Do I use canned or dried black beans?

I prefer dried beans for pretty much any recipe, and this one is no different. Canned beans tend to be mushy and salty, even after you rinse them.

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To make your black beans, put them in a pot or bowl and cover with water an inch over the beans. Let them soak overnight.

Rinse the beans, then place into a large pot and cover with water. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until soft.

If you use canned beans, make sure your rinse them well and repeatedly in a colander before you use them.

How to Make Southwest Tortilla Pie

Prep your beans and chicken, as necessary.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

Chop cilantro. Add cilantro, chicken, beans, corn, and salsa to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.

If your family doesn’t like cilantro, leave it out. Some people genetically feel that it tastes like soap, and this recipe works without it.

Layer an 8 inch flour tortilla in the bottom of the baking dish. You can make this with corn tortillas, but my family likes the flour tortillas better.

Add 1/4 of the mixture and top with 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Add a tortilla and gently push down to remove any pockets of air.

Continue laying until you place the fifth tortilla on top to end the pattern. I like to add an extra thin layer of shredded cheese to the top of my last tortilla, but that’s your call.

Bake the southwest tortilla pie in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve warm or hot.

I use my pie slicer and server to get nice clean cuts. Like any pie though, that first slice just never comes out perfect! Fortunately, it’s how it tastes, right?

Easy tortilla pie dinner

You’ll notice that I have this served with my Spanish Rice. That’s another super easy recipe that is soooo much better than any of the boxed rices that you’ll find and really easy to make.

I start the pie with the beans and chicken, move to the rice, finish the pie and start it baking while I finish up the rice. It pretty much finishes at the same time which works out nicely.

Have you ever heard of a southwest tortilla pie?

Enjoy more Mexican inspired recipes:

Slice of southwest tortilla pie

Southwest Tortilla Pie

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This simple recipe is fully of flavor and makes a delicious and fun main dish. Forget Taco Tuesday!


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 c black beans
  • 3 c frozen corn
  • 12 oz salsa
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 5 flour tortillas
  • 2 c Mexican blend shredded cheese


  1. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Poach and shred chicken if you don't have leftover chicken to use.
  3. Chop cilantro. Add cilantro, shredded chicken, corn, and salsa to a bowl.
  4. Drain the beans and rinse well, then add to the bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Layer a tortilla in the bottom of the dish. Add 1/4 of the chicken mixture and top with 1/2 cup cheese.
  6. Add a tortilla and continue laying until you place the fifth tortilla on top to end the pattern. Top with extra cheese if you choose.
  7. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve warm or hot.


  • You can use canned or dried black beans, depending on your preference. Definitely rinse the black beans well if you use canned beans.
  • To poach chicken, add it to a pot of simmering water with a bay leave, a quartered onion, and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes, then shred.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 659mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 9gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe above and save it on Pinterest so you can find it to make again and again. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think about it, too!

Tortilla stacker slice

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[…] it. This version is way faster, and I love that I can get it started, make the enchiladas (or my mile high tortilla pie or individual tamale pies) and have everything be done at the same time. No babysitting the stove. […]

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Tuesday 20th of January 2009

Brooke - This is a good one for black beans (black bean and corn salsa is another favorite of mine!). Good luck, and I hope you like this one!


Tuesday 20th of January 2009

i'm trying to introduce more and more black bean recipes into our diet (its the only bean i like) so i'll have to give this one a try.


Friday 16th of January 2009

Angela - I'm with you on not liking turkey that much. Definitely try this one out and let me know what you think!

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