EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE

EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE.

A Tater Tot Casserole is a comforting and hearty dish that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or a cozy night in. It’s a versatile recipe that can be customized with various ingredients. Here’s a classic Tater Tot Casserole recipe:

Why you’ll love it ?

If you didn’t grow up eating casseroles, this tater tot casserole will really make you wish that you did. There’s hardly any prep, it’s hot and cheesy, and tater tots give it the ideal crunch. Maybe my favorite part is how affordable to make it is. A few pantry ingredients come together to create something magical!

The heart of this recipe really lies in the Midwest. They perfected casseroles like this for economical meals that are perfect for bringing along to events where you need to feed a crowd like potlucks and family reunions. It’s a kid-friendly recipe as well.

EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE
                                EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey, chicken, or plant-based meat substitute)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups frozen tater tots
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (for greasing the baking dish)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley or green onions
 Ingredients:
Ingredients:

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or butter.
  2. Cook the Meat:
    • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef (or meat substitute) until it’s no longer pink, breaking it apart with a spatula.
    • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Drain any excess fat from the skillet.
  3. Combine the Ingredients:
    • In a large bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup and milk until smooth.
    • Add the cooked meat mixture and frozen mixed vegetables to the bowl. Stir until everything is well combined.
    • Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Assemble the Casserole:
    • Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the meat and vegetable mixture.
    • Arrange the frozen tater tots in a single layer on top of the cheese.
  5. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the tater tots are golden brown and crispy.
    • Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the top.
    • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serve:
    • Let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving.
    • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or green onions if desired.
    • Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips:

  • Vegetarian Version: Use a plant-based meat substitute and cream of mushroom soup made with vegetable broth.
  • Customizable Vegetables: Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, or zucchini.
  • Spice It Up: Add some heat with diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce in the meat mixture.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole ahead of time, cover, and refrigerate. Bake it when you’re ready to serve.

Pro tip

Tater tot package sizes vary, and depending on the exact size/shape of your baking dish, you may not use them all (or if you decide to space them out more than I did), so be sure to keep the original packaging and pop the rest back in the freezer to use another day.

Substitutions and variations

  • Cream of mushroom soup is typically used, but you can swap it with cream of chicken if you prefer or any “cream of” soup.
  • I’ve seen similar recipes use canned green beans either instead of or in addition to the canned corn, so feel free to add/swap a can of those here if you like.
  • Frozen mixed veggies work as well, the kind that are chopped small. If using, I recommend thawing them first, and you may need to add additional baking time.
  • You could swap the ground beef with ground turkey or even ground pork. Or go all-out and use ground sausage meat.
  • Switch up the cheese if you like. Monterey Jack or a Tex-Mex blend would work great for a twist!

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Keep in mind that the tater tots will soften up, so you may want to reheat in the oven vs. the microwave to crisp them up. You could even use an air fryer.
  • Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months, and simply thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat.

What is Tater Tot Casserole?

Tater Tot Casserole is a classic American comfort dish that typically consists of ground meat, vegetables, a creamy sauce, shredded cheese, and a topping of crispy tater tots. It’s baked until bubbly and golden, offering a hearty and satisfying meal that’s easy to make and loved by both kids and adults.

What ingredients are needed for Tater Tot Casserole?

The basic ingredients for Tater Tot Casserole include:

  • Ground Meat: Beef, turkey, chicken, or a plant-based substitute.
  • Vegetables: Often a mix of frozen vegetables like peas, carrots, corn, and green beans.
  • Creamy Base: Typically a can of cream of mushroom soup, although variations like cream of chicken or cream of celery soup can be used.
  • Milk: To thin out the soup and create a creamier texture.
  • Cheese: Shredded cheddar is common, but any melty cheese works.
  • Tater Tots: The signature topping that becomes crispy and golden when baked.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic, and onions are often used for added flavor.

How do you make Tater Tot Casserole?

  1. Prepare the Oven and Pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the Meat: Brown the ground meat with onions and garlic, then drain excess fat.
  3. Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the cooked meat, cream of mushroom soup, milk, and vegetables. Season to taste.
  4. Assemble: Spread the mixture into the baking dish, top with cheese, and arrange the tater tots in a single layer on top.
  5. Bake: Bake for 40-45 minutes until the tater tots are golden and the casserole is bubbly. Add more cheese on top and bake until melted.
EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE
EASY TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPE

Can I make Tater Tot Casserole ahead of time?

Yes, Tater Tot Casserole can be made ahead of time. Assemble the casserole as instructed but do not bake it. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking as directed.

Can I freeze Tater Tot Casserole?

Absolutely! To freeze, assemble the casserole in a freezer-safe baking dish. Instead of baking, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as usual. You might need to add extra baking time if it’s still partially frozen.

What variations can I try with Tater Tot Casserole?

Tater Tot Casserole is highly versatile. Here are some popular variations:

  • Mexican Tater Tot Casserole: Add taco seasoning to the meat and include ingredients like black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Top with a mix of cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
  • Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole: Use breakfast sausage instead of ground meat, and include scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. Serve with a side of salsa or hot sauce.
  • Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole: Use shredded chicken mixed with buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and a mix of mozzarella and blue cheese.
  • Vegetarian Tater Tot Casserole: Use plant-based meat and add more vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers. Use a cream of mushroom soup made with vegetable broth.

Can I make a healthier version of Tater Tot Casserole?

Yes, to make a healthier version:

  • Use lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
  • Opt for reduced-fat cheese and soups.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables.
  • Use sweet potato tater tots for added nutrients and fiber.
  • Substitute some or all of the cream of soup with Greek yogurt or a homemade béchamel sauce.

What should I serve with Tater Tot Casserole?

Tater Tot Casserole is a complete meal on its own, but you can pair it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for added freshness and balance. A simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing or steamed broccoli, green beans, or asparagus are great options.

How do I store leftover Tater Tot Casserole?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through.

Why is my Tater Tot Casserole watery?

A watery casserole can result from excess moisture in the vegetables or the cream of soup. To prevent this:

  • Make sure to drain any excess fat from the cooked meat.
  • If using frozen vegetables, thaw and drain them before adding to the casserole.
  • Reduce the amount of milk slightly to account for moisture content.

Can I use fresh vegetables instead of frozen?

Yes, you can use fresh vegetables. Cut them into small, uniform pieces and consider lightly steaming or sautéing them before adding to the casserole to ensure they cook through properly.

What kind of cheese works best for Tater Tot Casserole?

Cheddar cheese is a popular choice for its sharp flavor and meltability, but other good options include Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Colby Jack, or a blend of your favorites. Use a cheese that melts well and complements the other flavors in the dish.

By following these guidelines and experimenting with variations, you can create a delicious and satisfying Tater Tot Casserole that’s perfect for any occasion. Enjoy the comforting flavors and versatility of this beloved dish.

Conclusion: Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole is a quintessential comfort food that combines the simplicity of preparation with a burst of satisfying flavors. It’s a versatile dish that can be customized to fit a variety of dietary preferences and ingredient availability. Whether you’re feeding a crowd, looking for a cozy family dinner, or needing a make-ahead meal, Tater Tot Casserole fits the bill perfectly.

Leave a Comment