Forget boring casseroles and spice up your dinnertime with this Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole instead! Can be made in the slow cooker OR the oven for the tastiest dinner you'll have all week!
Tater tot casserole is a staple in our house and may I argue that it should be in yours also.
I love casseroles like this because it's easy to keep all the ingredients on hand for a quick last minute meal plus it's always a hit with the whole family, especially the kids.
Tater tot casserole is a midwest dish also known as "hot dish" in some places. Either way, it has evolved into a fun, creative meal that is simple and easy to make. It's my go-to for busy days or for taking to a family in need.
Instead of using canned soups as would be traditional when making dishes like this, I like to go a little healthier and make a homemade sauce instead. It's much easier than you think and the flavor can't be beat.
Ground Chicken - you could use a lean ground turkey if you can't find any ground chicken
Flour, chicken broth and heavy cream - this will be used to make the sauce instead of cream of chicken soup
Ranch seasoning - I like to use my own homemade blend, but you could also use the store bought packets if you needed to
Frozen tater tots - the most important part!! You could make them from scratch but this would no longer be quick and easy to make so I buy these instead
Buffalo sauce and butter - whisked together to form the perfect sauce
Cheese - a must have topping
optional - you can add grated carrots and celery and even blue cheese crumbles
How to make the filling
Making your own cream sauce might seem intimidating, but it's actually quite simple.
- cook the chicken as you would any other ground meat
- sprinkle in the flour and stir to evenly combine
- slowly stir in the broth while stirring to let it start thickening
- stir in the cream and seasonings and let it all simmer and thicken while stirring
How to make tater tot casserole in the slow cooker
I like to use a 2.5 quart mini casserole slow cooker to make this casserole.
You can also use a regular oval slow cooker as well, but you may want to use a 5 quart so that you have enough room to spread out the tater tots. If you layer them too much they will get soggy.
To layer it up for best results:
- spray the bottom and edges with non-stick spray
- add the meat mixture
- top with tater tots
- drizzle with the buffalo sauce mixture
- top with cheese
Let cook until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly hot.
Take this Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole on the road! This family friendly meal is perfect for:
- Potluck Dinners
- Church Gatherings
- Dinner with Friends/Family
- Birthday Parties
You could also make this in the oven if you wanted the tater tots to be crispier and heating up the oven is not an issue. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until tater tots are crispy and cheese is melted and the filling starts to bubble.
Leftovers keep and reheat well for up to 3 days, this is one of my families favorite meals to have leftovers.
You can use gluten-free flour and dairy-free milk and cheese if desired to accommodate allergens.
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup heavy cream buttermilk, or milk
- 1.5 tablespoons homemade ranch seasoning
- 16 oz frozen tater tots
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup buffalo wing sauce
- ½ cup shredded carrots optional
- ¼ cup chopped celery optional
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese I used sharp cheddar
- ½ cup blue cheese optional, depending on taste
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat
- Add ground chicken and cook (breaking up with spatula) until no longer pink
- Sprinkle in flour and stir to coat cooked chicken
- Slowly stir in chicken broth and bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken and reduce sauce
- Stir in cream (or buttermilk or regular milk)
- Add dried seasonings and salt and pepper and stir all to combine
- Let cook an additional 2-3 minutes until sauce is nice and thickened up
- Melt butter in microwave in large microwave safe mug or cup
- Add buffalo sauce and stir to combine
- Spray crock well with nonstick spray
- Add the meat mixture
- Top with carrots, celery and blue cheese if desired
- Add tater tots and drizzle with remaining buffalo sauce
- Top with shredded cheddar cheese
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours
Sarah J says
Hi, do you have the old amounts of the seasonings from the recipe? It was perfect and I’m having a hard time converting back (math isn’t my forte!). Thanks!
I'm going to dig around and see if I can find it!
Another winner! Thank you!
Do you think it would work to use pre-cooked shredded chicken instead of ground chicken?
Yes! I do think that would work.
Erica Davis says
Is there any way to convert this to an instant pot recipe?? This is one of our FAVORITES but my slow cooker broke this week 🙁
I haven't tested it, but my initial thought would be that it wouldn't work well unless you just use it to make the filling. I'd suggest popping it in the oven instead.
What would the cooking time/I strive fit the oven?
I haven't tested it on this recipe, but my guess based on similar recipes I've make would be 375 degrees for 20-30 mins. You'll have to keep a close eye on it!
I use my Instant Pot! High pressure for about 20 minutes works just right !
I would like to know if this can be made without the chicken? I'm looking for a side dish for Christmas Eve and like the idea of buffalo sauce, but we only eat seafood (no meat) on Christmas Eve. Just wondering if anyone has tried making it with buffalo sauce and no chicken?
I haven't tested it, but I think it could work well to sub out white beans for the chicken if that helps?