Introducing a delightful comfort food classic: Chicken Tater Tot Casserole. This hearty and satisfying dish combines tender, shredded chicken with a creamy sauce, topped with a crispy layer of golden tater tots, cheddar cheese, and smoky bacon. It's a crowd-pleasing favorite that brings together the savory flavors of chicken and potatoes in a single, mouthwatering bite.
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This oven-baked Chicken Tater Tot Casserole is a true testament to the joys of home-cooked meals, offering a harmonious blend of tender chicken, a creamy sauce, and the irresistible crunch of golden tater tots. Whether you're a seasoned home chef looking to whip up a crowd-pleasing dinner or a novice in the kitchen seeking a straightforward yet delicious recipe, this casserole promises to deliver.
At its heart, this Chicken Tater Tot Casserole is a celebration of simplicity and flavor. The succulent pieces of chicken are infused with a medley of spices and then bathed in a velvety sauce that's both comforting and rich in taste. But what truly sets this dish apart is the genius addition of tater tots as the crowning glory. These crispy, golden nuggets transform the casserole into a textural wonderland, providing a delightful contrast to the creamy base below.
Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s also quick and easy to make. So, let's dive into the details of this easy-to-follow recipe, and get ready to create a memorable meal that's bound to become a cherished favorite in your kitchen.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Prepare to delight your taste buds and simplify your mealtime routine with our Chicken Tater Tot Casserole. This classic comfort food dish offers a medley of flavors and textures that will make it an instant favorite in your kitchen. Here are a few reasons why you're sure to love this recipe:
Easy Preparation: With straightforward steps and readily available ingredients, this easy recipe is a breeze to put together, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you need a no-fuss meal.
Irresistible Comfort Food: The combination of tender chicken and a creamy sauce, crowned with crispy tater tots, provides the ultimate comfort food experience that's both soothing and satisfying.
Family-Friendly: This easy tater tot casserole is a hit with all ages. Whether you're cooking for kids, teens, or adults, its universal appeal ensures that everyone at the table will be asking for seconds.
Versatile Delight: Customize this recipe with your favorite seasonings, veggies, or cheese to suit your taste preferences. It's a versatile canvas for culinary creativity, allowing you to tailor it to your family's unique flavor profiles.
What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Olive oil: Used to sauté the sweet onion and garlic, adding a subtle depth of flavor. Can be substituted with vegetable oil or butter.
Sweet Onion: Provides a mild, sweet flavor and pleasant texture to the casserole. You can substitute it with yellow or white onions if needed.
Garlic: I like to use minced fresh garlic for this recipe. It adds aromatic depth and savory notes to the dish. You can use garlic powder as a substitute (1 clove = ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder).
Cream of chicken soup: Offers creaminess and a rich, chicken-flavored base for the casserole. You can substitute with cream of celery or cream of broccoli soup for variation.
Cream of mushroom soup: Enhances the overall umami flavor and creamy texture. If you prefer, you can use cream of potato or cream of celery soup as an alternative.
Sour cream: Adds creaminess, tanginess, and richness to the sauce. Greek yogurt can be substituted for a healthier option.
Onion powder: Boosts the onion flavor in the casserole. You can omit it if you want to reduce the onion intensity.
Garlic powder: Provides additional garlic flavor. You can adjust the quantity to suit your taste.
Dried parsley flakes: Adds a touch of color and a mild herbal note. Fresh parsley can be used as a substitute for a more vibrant flavor.
Dried dill: Imparts a subtle, earthy aroma and complements the other flavors. Fresh dill or dried thyme can be alternatives.
Cooked shredded chicken: Adds protein and a meaty component to the casserole. Rotisserie chicken is convenient, but you can use leftover roasted or grilled chicken too or cook and shred a few chicken breasts from scratch. If you don’t want to use shredded chicken, you can substitute ground beef or ground chicken
Bacon: Infuses a smoky, savory element to the casserole, enhancing overall flavor. Turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon bits can be used as substitutes.
Frozen mixed vegetables: Provide color, texture, and nutrients. You can use your favorite frozen vegetables or fresh ones if you prefer.
Shredded cheddar cheese: Offers gooey, melty goodness and a rich, cheesy flavor. Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or a cheese blend can be substituted.
Frozen tater tots: The star of the show, they provide a crispy, golden top layer to the casserole. Hash browns or diced potatoes can be used as alternatives in a pinch, but the tater tots really are the star of the show so I’d recommend sticking with them.
Fresh chopped parsley or green onions (optional): Adds a fresh, herbal garnish for a pop of color and flavor. These can be omitted if you don't have them on hand.
Feel free to adapt this recipe to your preferences and dietary needs by making substitutions as necessary. Enjoy your delicious Chicken Tater Tot Casserole!
Indulge in the ultimate comfort food experience with this easy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole recipe. A hearty combination of tender chicken, creamy sauce, and crispy tater tots awaits you. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to create a mouthwatering meal that will become a family favorite:
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Step 2: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Step 3: In a mixing bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley flakes, and dried dill. Mix until well combined.
Step 4: Next, stir in the shredded chicken, mixed vegetables, crumbled bacon (reserve a few tablespoons to sprinkle on top of the casserole, and 2 cups of shredded cheese.
Step 5: Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
Step 6: Top the chicken mixture with a single layer of the frozen tater tots.
Step 7: Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown and the casserole is bubbling around the edges.
Step 8: Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese and bacon over the top. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty.
Step 9: Remove the casserole from the oven. If desired, garnish the finished casserole with fresh chopped parsley or green onions for a burst of color and freshness.
Step 10: Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your homemade Chicken Tater Tot Casserole with family and friends!
Tips To Make The Best Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Creating the best Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole involves a delicate balance of flavors, textures, and techniques. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, these expert tips and tricks will help you elevate your casserole game to perfection.
Seasoning Matters: Season each component generously with salt, pepper, and any other preferred seasonings to ensure a well-rounded taste in every bite.
Saute Onions and Garlic: Sautéing sweet onions and garlic before adding them to the casserole enhances their flavors and eliminates any harsh raw onion taste.
Balance the Creamy Sauce: Adjust the amount of sour cream and condensed soups to achieve your desired level of creaminess. For a lighter option, you can use low-fat or Greek yogurt. For a creamier casserole, you can add ¼ cup milk to the sauce.
Customize the Vegetables: Experiment with your favorite vegetables or those in season. Bell peppers, peas, or spinach are excellent additions that can bring variety and color to your casserole.
Precook the Bacon: Cook the bacon until it's crispy before crumbling it over the casserole. This ensures a smoky and savory flavor in every bite.
Shred Chicken Evenly: When shredding chicken, make sure to achieve uniform, bite-sized pieces. This ensures that every forkful contains a perfect balance of ingredients.
Choose the Right Cheese: While cheddar is a popular choice, feel free to explore other cheese varieties like Monterey Jack, Swiss, or even a blend for a unique flavor profile.
Don't Overcrowd the Tater Tots: Arrange the frozen tater tots in a single layer on top of the casserole. Overcrowding can make them less crispy.
Swap Out the Seasoning: If you'd prefer a quicker option, you can swap out the onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill, and parsley for ranch mix. Use a 1 ounce packet of ranch seasoning in place of the seasonings.
By following these tips and tricks, you'll create a Chicken Tater Tot Casserole that's not just delicious but also tailored to your taste preferences. Enjoy!
Here are some serving suggestions to complement your Chicken Tater Tot Casserole and turn it into a well-rounded meal:
Side Salad: Serve the casserole with a fresh, crisp salad on the side. A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette or a classic Caesar salad pairs wonderfully with the creamy and savory casserole.
Steamed Vegetables: Steam some additional vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or green beans to serve alongside the casserole. These veggies add color, nutrition, and a touch of freshness to the plate.
Garlic Bread: Warm, buttery garlic bread or garlic knots make for a delightful accompaniment. The garlic flavors complement the casserole's richness.
Roasted Potatoes: If you can't get enough of potatoes, consider roasting some potato wedges or baby potatoes with herbs and olive oil. It's a potato lover's dream! Air fryer diced potatoes or smashed potatoes are a quick and easy option.
Fruit Salad: A bowl of fresh fruit salad provides a refreshing contrast to the indulgent casserole. Try a mix of seasonal fruits for a burst of sweetness.
Dipping Sauces: Offer condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing for dipping the tater tots, adding extra layers of flavor.
How To Store Leftovers
Storing leftover Chicken Tater Tot Casserole properly is essential to maintain its freshness. Here are steps on how to store it:
Cooling: Allow the leftover casserole to cool to room temperature before refrigerating it. Leaving it at room temperature for an extended period can promote bacterial growth.
Portioning: If you have a large amount of leftover casserole, consider dividing it into smaller portions. This makes it easier to reheat only what you need, preventing unnecessary reheating.
Airtight Container: Transfer the leftover casserole into an airtight container. Ensure that the container has a well-fitting lid to prevent air from entering, which can cause drying and spoilage.
Refrigeration: Place the airtight container in the refrigerator. Store it on a shelf, not in the refrigerator door, as temperatures are more consistent on the shelves.
Consume Within 3-4 Days: Leftover Chicken Tater Tot Casserole can typically be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To reheat the leftover casserole:
Oven Method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the portion you want to reheat in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
Microwave Method: If you're in a hurry, you can reheat a single serving in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat in 1-minute increments until hot, stirring occasionally.
Always make sure the internal temperature of the casserole reaches at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it's safe to eat.
Avoid reheating the entire casserole if you don't plan to consume it all, as reheating multiple times can affect the quality and safety of the dish. Instead, reheat only the portions you intend to eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can definitely use fresh vegetables in your casserole. Simply chop them into bite-sized pieces and lightly blanch or sauté them before adding them to the casserole. Fresh vegetables can add a crisp texture and vibrant flavor to the dish.
Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few hours or even overnight before baking. Just cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. When you're ready to bake, remove it from the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes, and then bake as directed in your recipe. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time to ensure it's heated through.
Yes, you can freeze this casserole for future meals. Assemble it in a freezer-safe dish but skip the baking step. Cover it well with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake as per your original recipe instructions, adding a bit more time if necessary to ensure it's thoroughly heated.
While it's possible to use a slow cooker for Chicken Tater Tot Casserole, it's important to note that slow cooking may not achieve the same crispy texture as baking. I much prefer baking this dish to ensure the desired crunchiness of the tater tots and even cooking throughout.
Tools And Equipment For This Recipe
9x13-inch Baking Dish: A sturdy 9-13-inch baking dish is a staple for most kitchens. It’s the perfect size for making many casseroles, including this chicken tater tot casserole, and this one looks beautiful as a serving dish too.
Glass Mixing Bowls: These glass mixing bowls are super versatile. You can use them for mixing, storing, and serving. In this recipe, they can be used for mixing the ingredients together to make the filling.
Silicone Spatula: These colorful silicone spatulas are great for mixing the ingredients together for chicken tater tot casserole.
Easy Cheesy Loaded Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium sweet onion diced
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced
- 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
- 8 ounces sour cream
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 10 bacon slices cooked and crumbled, divided
- 12 ounce frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 32 ounce bag frozen tater tots
- fresh chopped parsley or green onions for garnish optional
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ medium sweet onion, 1-2 garlic cloves
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley flakes, and dried dill. Mix until well combined.10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup, 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup, 8 ounces sour cream, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes, ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- Next, stir in the shredded chicken, mixed vegetables, crumbled bacon (reserve a few tablespoons to sprinkle on top of the casserole, and 2 cups of shredded cheese.4 cups cooked shredded chicken, 10 bacon slices, 12 ounce frozen mixed vegetables, 2 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
- Top the chicken mixture with a single layer of the frozen tater tots.32 ounce bag frozen tater tots
- Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown and the casserole is bubbling around the edges.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese and bacon over the top. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty.
- Remove the casserole from the oven. If desired, garnish the finished casserole with fresh chopped parsley or green onions for a burst of color and freshness.fresh chopped parsley or green onions for garnish
- Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your homemade Chicken Tater Tot Casserole with family and friends!
* Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content may vary based on brands of ingredients used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.