This easy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole is loaded with flavor from the ranch seasoning and homemade cheese sauce. It’s quick and easy to pull together even though it’s made without soup. If you’re looking for a new potluck dinner to try, this is a great one to bring with you!
Easy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
This dinner has all the things I love – chicken, tater tots, and ranch! Plus, it reminds me of my Grandma’s cooking, and those kinds of meals always make me happy.
This chicken and tater tot casserole is such an easy recipe. Despite how simple it is, the flavors really get your tastebuds singing.
The creamy cheese sauce, the juicy chicken, the soft and crispy tater tots, and the delicious ranch flavor will definitely leave you wanting seconds. I had a garden salad with ranch dressing as a side dish with this casserole recipe.
For this recipe you’ll need olive oil, boneless skinless chicken breasts, butter, garlic, flour, chicken broth, milk, ranch seasoning, salt, pepper, freshly shredded cheddar cheese, and frozen tater tots.
How To Make Chicken Tater Tot Casserole In The Oven
Start by cooking the 1 inch chicken pieces in the olive oil. Once those are cooked, set them to the side. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the garlic and sauté until aromatic. Sprinkle the flour over the butter, and whisk together to make a roux. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Mix the chicken broth and milk together, then slowly pour that into the roux while whisking constantly. Once the liquids are totally incorporated into the roux and everything is an even consistency, mix in the ranch seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Bring it to a gentle boil for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Once it has thickened, remove the skillet from the heat. Add in the freshly shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it has melted into the sauce.
Mix in the cooked chicken pieces, then transfer the cheesy chicken mixture to a greased casserole dish.
Top the casserole with frozen tater tots, then bake uncovered in a preheated oven until the tater tots are cooked through and the edges are getting crispy and golden brown. Carefully remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving it. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
Can I Make This In A Slow Cooker?
There are lots of chicken tater tot casserole recipes in the slow cooker, but I wouldn’t recommend using this recipe in a slow cooker.
My favorite part about this hotdish is that the tater tot edges get crispy in the oven, whereas a slow cooker version of this would almost melt the tater tots into a shredded potato mash.
I also don’t think that the ratio of liquids would be right in a slow cooker, but I haven’t tested it, so I can’t say for sure.
It really is the best baked tater tot casserole though!
This is a really forgiving casserole, so feel free to play with it a bit. I’d personally leave the sauce as-is, and then test out different add-ins.
If you really want to try a different sauce, the one I’d most recommend is Alfredo sauce.
The two ways you can most easily adapt the flavor to your preference is with either meat or vegetables.
The main thing to keep in mind with any vegetables that you add in is that it’s really important to cook them in a skillet before adding them to the cheese sauce. The point of doing that is to get rid of as much water as possible, so that they don’t release water into the casserole while it’s baking.
Meat: Try adding in some cooked bacon pieces or browned sausage crumbles. You could also substitute the chicken breast with leftover chicken if that’s what you have on hand (shredded rotisserie chicken is great here).
Vegetables: Some vegetables that would taste great in this dish are broccoli, mushrooms, corn, and frozen mixed vegetables.
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If you’re looking for church potluck recipes, be sure to check out these casserole recipes, they all make great potluck dishes!
- Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie
- Baked Beans with Ground Beef
- Jiffy Corn Casserole
- Hamburger Potato Casserole
- Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
What To Serve With Tater Tot Casserole With Chicken
I love sauces with pretty much everything, so I normally top this with a bit of buffalo hot sauce or Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce. It’s also amazing drizzled with Spicy Ranch Dressing, BBQ sauce, or honey mustard.
If you’re looking for a side to serve it with, check out our side dish recipes section! We have tons of options to choose from that I’m sure you’ll love. Some popular ones that would pair well with this casserole are:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes, about 3 large chicken breasts)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 packet ranch seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
- 1 (32 ounce or 2 pound) bag frozen tater tots
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Lightly grease a 13 x 9 casserole dish.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high-heat. Once it’s hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about 6 - 7 minutes, or until all sides are opaque (to lock the juices in). Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Turn the heat down to medium.
- Add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the minced garlic and saute it for 1 - 2 minutes (or until it’s aromatic).
- Sprinkle the flour over the butter, and mix it together to create a roux. Combine the chicken broth and milk together, then slowly pour it into the pan, whisking constantly until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency.
- Once the sauce is smooth, whisk in the ranch seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring it to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened (about 2 - 3 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and add shredded cheese, then stir until the cheese is melted. Mix in the cooked chicken.
- Pour the chicken and sauce into the greased casserole dish. Place the frozen tater tots all over the top (making them fit where they can). Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, then broil for 2 - 3 minutes (or until the edges of the tater tots are turning crispy and golden brown). Carefully remove the casserole from the oven, and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.
It’s important to use freshly shredded cheese because the pre-shredded kinds are coated in a starch that stops them from melting as well.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 32.5gCarbohydrates: 36.7gFiber: 2.8gSugar: 3.2gProtein: 30.5g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This was calculated assuming 8 servings.
This tater tot casserole with chicken is one of the best ever potluck foods!