The Easy Tater Tot Casserole Your Whole Family Will Ask For

What's just as hearty as a meal of meat and potatoes? How about tater tot casserole? The quintessential meal that represents affordability, taste, and a way to feed an army easily, tater tot casserole is filling and flavorful. Recipe developer and mom of three teenage boys Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska offers a twist on this traditional dish that will leave you returning to the baking dish for a second heaping scoop.

Instead of using tater tots with meat in a soup base with a few veggies tossed in for a healthier balance, Sampson gives this dish a tasty spin with bacon and plenty of cheese. This dish truly is a crowd pleaser that even her teenage boys give a thumbs up to. Whether you use bacon bits or whip your own bacon, this dish will fill you up too. Even better is the fact that it takes just ten minutes to prepare and 50 minutes in the oven.

Get your tater tot casserole cooking

To begin your tater tot casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 7x11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then, brown one pound of lean ground beef over medium heat, mixing in half a cup of chopped onion for flavor. Place in a heat-resistant bowl.

While any ground meat such as turkey or chicken could be substituted in this dish, beef is traditionally the protein source used. Whatever is on sale at the grocery store will work, too.

"If you can get ground beef at an affordable price, then the rest of the ingredients can be pretty budget-friendly," Sampson said.

Use a soup base for your tater tot casserole

Instead of using cream of mushroom soup like the traditional recipe, Sampson uses one 10.5-ounce can of cheddar cheese soup for the cheesy flavor. Add this to the meat, along with one cup of sour cream and one cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

If Sampson's hot dish version of this traditional hearty meal has inspired you so far with its twist, you can also try your own modifications, such as adding ranch seasoning to the tater tot bake or even making cheesy chili tots by adding chili beans to the base. The options truly are endless.

Bacon, bacon, bacon in your tater tot casserole

Sprinkle in six tablespoons of real bacon bits or cooked, minced bacon you prepped yourself. If you're seeking healthier bacon for this recipe, you can fix it yourself by either roasting it on a baking rack in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through or popping the bacon in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate lined with a paper towel.

Try turkey bacon for a leaner option, too. You'd be surprised at how good it tastes.

Line up the tater tots for the ultimate tater tot casserole

Pour the tater tot casserole mixture into the prepared baking dish, then carefully layer the frozen tater tots across the top. While Sampson's finished dish looks simply picture perfect, it isn't that easy to line the tots up so nicely and to get them to be so even. What's her secret?

"Precision and years of practice LOL," she said. "You can scatter them on if you'd rather, but it actually cooks better when they're in rows."

So even though it may take a bit longer, try and line them up as best you can.

Pop the tater tot casserole into the oven

Bake your tater tot casserole uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until bubbling hot. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining half a cup of shredded cheese and the remaining bacon. Place it back in the oven to bake for another five to ten minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Feel free to sprinkle thinly sliced green onions across the top for garnish and add a dollop of sour cream on each served square.

Let the tater tot casserole set, then serve

Be sure to let the easy cheesy bacon tater tot casserole rest for five to ten minutes before serving. That allows the cheesy soup mixture to firm up and helps it become a firmer casserole. That, in turn, makes it easier to serve as well.

Since casseroles bake for a considerable amount of time and hold in a lot of heat, it's important to let them set so they simmer down to a temperature that won't burn your mouth when you take that first incredible bite. It'll still be plenty warm when it's plated as long as you don't wait too long.

The Easy Tater Tot Casserole Your Whole Family Will Ask For
4.9 from 20 ratings
The quintessential meal that represents affordability, taste, and a way to feed an army easily, tater tot casserole is filling and flavorful. Make it yourself!
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
6
servings
Easy cheesy bacon tater tot casserole
Ready in 60 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup real bacon bits
  • 1 pound frozen tater tots
  • green onions for garnish
  • extra sour cream for garnish, if desired
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 7x11-inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Cook and stir the ground beef and chopped onions in a skillet over medium heat until the beef is browned. When the beef is browned, put it in a large heat-proof bowl.
  3. Add the soup, sour cream, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, 6 tablespoons of the bacon bits (about three-fourths of them — you just want to enough left to sprinkle on top) to the beef. When combined, pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Lay the tater tots over the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until it's bubbling hot. Top with the remaining half a cup of shredded cheese and reserved bacon.
  6. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  7. Chop green onions. When the casserole is done, sprinkle with green onions.
  8. Let the casserole rest 5 to 10 minutes. Serve while hot.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 469
Total Fat 38.4 g
Saturated Fat 18.3 g
Trans Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 118.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 1.7 g
Sodium 649.4 mg
Protein 25.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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