The 48-year-old Adams steps up from Under-18s coach, charged with keeping the Canaries out of the bottom three in a final month of the campaign which will see them face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in succession.
Before then, Norwich travel to Fulham next Saturday, an opportunity to increase their cushion over the bottom three to eight points or a match which could see it shrink to two to leave them on the brink.
Adams was named first team manager by Norwich after they sacked Hughton and his backroom staff on the back of consecutive defeats, the latter a particularly disappointing 1-0 home loss to fellow strugglers West Brom on Saturday.
The club said in a statement on their website: "Norwich City can confirm Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and Paul Trollope have parted company with the club with immediate effect - and former Canary winger and FA Youth Cup-winning coach Neil Adams has been appointed as first team manager."
The statement added: "Chris's achievement in guiding City to an 11th-place finish in the Premier League last season was an excellent one and he has represented the club with dignity throughout his tenure.
"However the recent run of four defeats in our last six Premier League games and six consecutive away league defeats, left the club with no choice but to act, with five games still to play in the current campaign."
Adams, a title winner with Everton in 1987, spent six years as a player at Carrow Road and joined the Norwich coaching staff after finishing his playing career at Oldham.
Adams said: "To say that I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity of managing Norwich City Football Club would be a massive understatement.
"People know what this club means to me, and so it goes without saying that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our top-flight status for next season.
"These final five games will be a huge test for us, and everyone must step up to the mark. But with the full backing of these magnificent Norwich supporters we will have every chance of achieving our objective."