This easy chicken tater tot casserole is so creamy and comforting! This simple recipe uses NO cream of chicken or mushroom soups. Instead, it's thickened with flour and sour cream, for the most delicious homemade taste. Yet, by using rotisserie (or leftover) chicken and frozen veggies, you can make this casserole in only 1 hour!
Note: this post was originally published in 2022 and updated in 2023 with improved instructions.
Craving something hearty and comforting, but don't want to spend a ton of time and energy in the kitchen? Then this chicken tater tot casserole is just what you need!
Right off the bat, anything topped with tater tots is an automatic win in my book. And, when added to a base of shredded chicken, peas, carrots, and onions in a creamy sauce, you have comfort food perfection!
Why you'll love this casserole recipe:
- This chicken tater tot casserole recipe is the perfect crossover between homemade comfort food and easy, convenient prep!
- The creamy base is made from scratch, without any condensed cream of chicken/cream of mushroom canned soup.
- But, by using rotisserie or leftover chicken, and frozen peas and carrots, you can make the casserole in only 1 hour!
- So, you get a wonderfully fresh, homemade taste, without all the extra effort. The perfect Sunday dinner food!
- Rotisserie chicken: if you don't want to use rotisserie chicken, you can use any leftover chicken you have. You will need a total of 4 cups shredded chicken.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter, but if you only have salted butter, that's ok to use too. Just start out with adding less salt to the base and increase the seasoning to taste.
- Chicken broth/stock: you can use either homemade or store-bought chicken broth or stock. If you don't have chicken, you can also substitute beef or vegetable broth.
- Onion: I prefer using a regular yellow onion for cooking, but if you don't have that you can use any kind of onion you have in your kitchen.
Step by step photos
Here is a step by step breakdown on how to make this tater tot chicken casserole. If you would like to see a brief slideshow of these steps, be sure to check out my web story for this recipe!
1. Before you do anything else, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Then, chop the onion. Set aside for now.
2. Next, prep the rotisserie chicken. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Set the shredded chicken aside for now.
3. Now, set a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
4. When the butter is melted, add in the onion and seasonings.
5. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, for about 3 - 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
6. Now add in the frozen peas and carrots. You don't even need to thaw them, just toss them in straight from the freezer.
7. Continue to cook the peas, carrots and onions, stirring frequently, for an additional 3 - 4 minutes, just enough to bring up the temp of the peas and carrots.
8. Next, sprinkle in the flour. Stir the flour into the veggies and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
9. Now you can pour in the chicken broth. Stir the broth into the vegetables, and make sure to scrape up any stuck bits on the bottom of the pan.
10. Turn the heat up and bring the stock to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil. A gentle boil should look like constant small bubbles with some wisps of steam. (Check out this article on simmer vs. boil for a helpful visual.)
11. Continue cooking the casserole base, stirring occasionally, for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened and reduced some. It should look something like this:
12. Once the liquid has reduced, turn the stove off and remove the pot from the heat. Mix in the chicken that you shredded earlier.
13. Finally, mix in the sour cream. Taste the casserole, and if it needs it, you can mix in a little more salt and/or black pepper.
14. Pour the chicken casserole mixture into a 9 x 13 inch (33 x 23 cm) casserole dish. Spread it out so the chicken is distributed evenly across the dish. It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure the chicken isn't all piled up on one side.
15. Now add the frozen tater tots on top of the chicken casserole base. Just like for the peas and carrots, you don't have to thaw them first. Just add them on top straight from the freezer.
16. Bake the chicken tater tot casserole uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the tater tots are a nice deep golden brown.
Tips and tricks
- Because both rotisserie chicken and store-bought broth tend to be salty, and because the amount of sodium in these products can vary, the recipe only calls for a small amount of kosher salt to start. So, just make sure to taste the casserole base before adding it to the casserole dish, and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- This tater tot casserole recipe calls for room temperature sour cream; the reason for this is to help prevent the sour cream from curdling when it hits the hot liquid. This is also why the recipe says to remove the pot from the hot burner before adding in the sour cream. I usually just measure out the sour cream before I start any of the other prep, and I find that is long enough.
- When you first remove it from the oven, the casserole will seem like it's not very thick. Don't worry, the casserole will thicken up significantly as it cools down.
- For an even more indulgent casserole experience, sprinkle some shredded cheese overtop the casserole during the last 5 minutes in the oven!
Storage and reheating
- You can store any leftover chicken tater tot casserole in the fridge, tightly covered, for 3 - 4 days.
- To reheat, you can place the leftover tater tot chicken casserole in an oven-safe baking dish, covered with foil. Heat in a 350 degree F oven for 10 - 20 minutes, or until heated through (to at least 165 degrees F).
- If you're reheating the casserole in a glass baking dish straight from the fridge, allow it to come to room temp (or close to room temp) before placing in the oven to ensure the dish won't crack.
- If you like, you can freeze the leftovers, but just be aware that because this casserole contains sour cream, the texture won't be as creamy and smooth once it's thawed and reheated.
Make ahead instructions
You can easily save yourself some time by prepping the chicken casserole base the day before! Here's how:
- Once you have added the sour cream to the chicken casserole base, spread it out in the casserole dish as instructed in the recipe. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then cover the dish and place it in the fridge.
- When you're ready to bake the chicken tater tot casserole, remove the casserole dish from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 - 60 minutes to allow the casserole to come up close to room temperature. This is to protect the casserole dish from potentially cracking in the oven due to thermal shock. (If using a metal pan, this won't be an issue.)
- Meanwhile, you can preheat the oven. When you're ready to bake, uncover the casserole and place the frozen tater tots on top. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven, keeping in mind you may need to add more time because the casserole will not be warm like it would be when made fresh.
- If the tater tots are getting too browned before the casserole is bubbly, you can place a piece of aluminum foil overtop the casserole while it finishes baking.
This chicken tater tot casserole is pretty rich, so I would pair it with something a little lighter. Here are some ideas of what would pair well with this casserole:
- Green salad, bean salad, or grain salad (like couscous or quinoa salad)
- Grilled or roasted veggies
- Cornbread or dinner rolls
- Try it with my recipes for lemon herb roasted asparagus, microwave butternut squash, or brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and goat cheese!
No, you don't have to thaw either the veggies or tater tots before adding them to the casserole. For the veggies, you can just add them directly to the creamy casserole base. And the tater tots should be added directly from the freezer to the top of the casserole before baking.
Yes, you can use canned veggies instead of frozen if you like. To use canned veggies, drain them very well and add them at the very end, at the same time as the chicken and sour cream.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
This creamy and comforting dish is like a hybrid of chicken pot pie and tater tot casserole! This recipe uses frozen veggies and rotisserie chicken to save time on prep; you can make the whole casserole in about 1 hour!
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: main course, entree
- Method: stove top, bake
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
- 4 cups (500 g) shredded rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded (from about 1 medium rotisserie chicken) (see note 1)
- 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see note 2)
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 16 ounces (454 g) frozen peas & carrots
- 2 ½ cups (590 ml) chicken broth/stock
- 1 ¼ cups (300 g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature (see note 3)
- 24 ounces (680 g) frozen tater tots (about 5 ½ cups)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Chop the onion, set aside.
- Shred the rotisserie chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Set aside.
- Set a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the butter and allow to melt.
- When the butter is completely melted, add the chopped onion, dried thyme, black pepper, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 - 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
- Add in the frozen peas and carrots (no need to thaw first). Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 3 - 4 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour overtop the vegetables. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the chicken broth or stock. Stir well to combine, using the wooden spoon to scrape up any bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil. Gently boil the mixture for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the broth/stock is thickened and has reduced slightly.
- Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the hot burner. Add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Stir in the sour cream. Taste the mixture and stir in more salt and/or pepper if needed.
- Pour the casserole mixture into a 9 x 13 inch (33 x 23 cm) oven-safe pan or casserole dish. Use the wooden spoon to spread out the ingredients evenly.
- Cover the top of the casserole with the frozen tater tots. Bake the casserole, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the tater tots are golden brown.
- For a thicker consistency, let the casserole rest for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
If you don’t want to use rotisserie chicken, you can use any boneless, skinless leftover chicken (white and/or dark meat) or cook your own. You will need 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. If you are cooking your own chicken, make sure to season it with salt and pepper!
I used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for this recipe, which is lighter and flakier than Morton Kosher salt. To substitute Morton Kosher salt or regular table salt, start with adding only ¼ teaspoon in with the onion and other seasonings. Then, be sure to taste the casserole mixture before adding it to the casserole dish, adding in more salt and/or pepper if needed.
I recommend bringing the sour cream up to room temperature to help prevent the sour cream from curdling when being added to the hot liquid. It doesn't mean if you add it in cold it will necessarily curdle, but I like the extra insurance just in case! I usually just measure out the sour cream before I start any of the other prep for the recipe, and I find that is long enough.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator; the nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brand and exact amounts of ingredients used. This nutrition estimate should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1/12 recipe
- Calories: 303
- Sugar: 2.8 g
- Sodium: 510 mg
- Fat: 16.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 24.7 g
- Fiber: 3.1 g
- Protein: 13.9 g
- Cholesterol: 61 mg
Keywords: chicken tater tot casserole, chicken casserole, tater tot casserole