Napoleon Dynamite Cracked Out Chicken Casserole is a creamy, cheesy chicken casserole with crispy crunchy tater tots on top. You can make this casserole in the oven or in your Instant Pot with an air fryer lid.
Napoleon Dynamite Cracked Out Chicken Casserole
I don’t know about you but I am a huge fan of Napoleon Dynamite! If you haven’t seen it it’s a low budget movie from 2004 that has become a cult classic. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in an accident, his life is made even worse when his strangely nostalgic uncle, Rico (Jon Gries), shows up to keep an eye on him. With no safe haven at home or at school, Napoleon befriends the new kid, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), a morose Hispanic boy who speaks little English. Together the two launch a campaign to run for class president.”
Because my mom grew up in Franklin, Idaho which is only a few miles from Preston, Idaho I have a lot of connections to the movie. Remember the scene at the chicken farm? (“That’s like a dollar an hour!”) That’s my extended family’s farm. There are a lot of comical truisms in this movie and it’s just the best.
Greg’s favorite part of the movie is the scene where Napoleon is sitting in class and eating tater tots that were leftover from lunch out of his pants pocket. The bully next to him says, “Napoleon! Give me some of your tots!”
We can’t eat tater tots at our house without saying that line, “Give me some of your tots!!” It’s just the gift that keeps on giving.
And that takes us to today’s recipe. It’s a tater tot chicken casserole. It’s so fun with those tots on top. (Make sure to save some of the tots for later in your zip up cargo pants pocket 😆). Tots take crack chicken to a whole new level. You’re going to love the creamy, cheese chicken mixture with the crispy browned tots on top!
This recipe can be made in your Instant Pot (if you have an air fryer lid) or your oven. It can also be made in your slow cooker (with a little help from your oven). However you decide to cook the casserole I know you’ll love it!
Ingredients for tater tot chicken casserole
- Chopped cooked chicken–You can cook Instant Pot Seasoned Shredded Chicken and use it for this recipe. It is the best and easiest chicken for recipes like this. Another option is to cook a whole chicken and use some of the meat from that. I love the Instant Pot Dolly Parton Stampede Chicken. You can also hit up Costco and buy their delicious rotisserie chicken (fresh or the packaged meat) for ultimate convenience.
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Ranch dressing mix–this is the dry powder. I like buying the big Hidden Valley container from Costco for recipes like this one and ranch cauliflower and bacon ranch chicken.
- Bacon crumbles–you can find bacon crumbles next to the salad dressings and croutons. You can also cook bacon yourself and crumble it.
- Cheddar cheese–I shred mine right off the block instead of buying pre-shredded cheese
- Tater tots–I buy the Ore-Ida brand…they are so much better than the store brand
How to make the cracked out chicken casserole in the Instant Pot
If you have the chicken cooked and ready to go this recipe comes together so quickly. There are only a handful of ingredients and a few steps.
- Stir together the ingredients
- Add mixture to pot-in-pot dish
- Lower dish into Instant Pot (we are using the pot-in-pot method)
- Pressure cook
- Bake the tater tots on top with the air fryer lid. Add in the rest of the cheese and let it melt.
- Serve and enjoy!
Equipment I used
- Duo Crisp 6 Quart Instant Pot*
- OXO sling trivet* to lower the pan in and out of the pot
- 3 quart Instant Pot liner* for the pot-in-pot cooking method (you use the 3 quart liner inside a 6 quart liner). You can also use a 7×3 inch pan*.
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A creamy, cheesy chicken casserole with crispy crunchy tater tots on top. You can make this casserole in the oven or in your Instant Pot with an air fryer lid.
- 2–3 cups chopped cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken (see note)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 cup bacon crumbles
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 12 ounces tater tots
- In a bowl mix the sour cream and cream cheese together until creamy and smooth. Stir in the chicken, ranch dressing mix, bacon crumbles and half of the cheese.
- If cooking in your Instant Pot add the mixture into a 7×3 inch pan* or a 3 quart Instant Pot liner*.
- Pour 1 ½ cups water into bottom of Instant Pot. Place the pan on top of a trivet/sling* and lower into the 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot*.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 10 minutes. When time is up move valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Sprinkle the tater tots on top of the casserole. Place the air fryer lid on top of the pot and air fry for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then sprinkle the cheese on top and air fry for another 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can cook Instant Pot Seasoned Shredded Chicken and use it for this recipe. It is the best and easiest chicken for recipes like this. Another option is to cook a whole chicken and use some of the meat from that. I love the Instant Pot Dolly Parton Stampede Chicken. You can also hit up Costco and buy their delicious rotisserie chicken (fresh or the packaged meat) for ultimate convenience.
Oven directions: If cooking in your oven add the mixture from step 1 into an 8×8 inch square baking dish and top with the tater tots. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 5 more minutes.
Slow cooker directions: Add the mixture from step 1 into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Cook tater tots according to package directions and toss on the top of the casserole. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and let melt.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot/Oven
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.