Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

This hearty tater tot casserole is a classic comfort food that's perfect for weeknight dinners. It's an easy to prepare recipe that features a golden crust of tater tots, layered over a savory mix of ground beef and cheese. This dish will satisfy your cravings for something warm and filling.

Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
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Most of the ingredients for this recipe are likely already in your kitchen. The one star player that you might need to pick up from the supermarket is the frozen tater tots. Make sure they are classic tater tots for that traditional casserole feel. Cheddar cheese, another key ingredient, is also a common staple in many households but do check if you have enough because this recipe calls for a generous amount.

Hearty Tater Tot Casserole Ingredients

Ground beef: A popular choice for meat-based dishes, ground beef forms the hearty base of this casserole.

Kosher salt: This helps enhance the flavors of the ground beef.

Ground black pepper: This gives the beef a hint of warmth and spice.

Yellow onion: Adds a touch of sweetness and texture.

Flour: This is used to thicken the sauce.

Beef broth: This adds depth and savory notes to the dish.

Whole milk: Adds creaminess to the sauce.

Worcestershire sauce: This sauce gives the casserole a complex, savory flavor.

Cheddar cheese: This is used for its excellent melting properties and rich, tangy flavor.

Frozen tater tots: These create the crispy, golden top layer of the casserole.

One reader, Ashlan Alcaraz says:

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This hearty tater tot casserole recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and comforting, and it's so easy to make. The combination of beef, cheese, and crispy tater tots is pure comfort food. It's become a family favorite in our house, and I love how versatile it is. Highly recommended!

Ashlan Alcaraz

Techniques Required for Making a Hearty Tater Tot Casserole

How to brown ground beef: In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Cook until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

How to make the beef gravy: After removing the browned ground beef, add the onions to the skillet and cook until soft. Then, add the flour and whisk thoroughly for 15 seconds before adding in the beef broth, whole milk, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until thickened.

How to assemble the casserole: In a 9x13-inch pan, layer the beef gravy, followed by the cheddar cheese, and finally line up the tater tots in an even layer on top before baking for 45 minutes.

How To Make Tater Tot Casserole

If you want to have a sinful dish, this tater tot casserole is for you. Mix the creamy Cheddar cheese to the ground beef for a simple, flavorful meal.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 2 lbsground beef
  • ½tspkosher salt
  • ¼tspground black pepper
  • 1pcyellow onion
  • 2tbspflour
  • 1cupbeef broth
  • ¼cupwhole milk
  • 1tbspWorcestershire sauce
  • 2cupscheddar cheese
  • 32ozfrozen tater tots

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper to a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat and cook until browned for about 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Remove the ground beef and add in the onions and cook until soft.

  4. Add in the flour and whisk thoroughly for 15 seonds before adding in the beef broth, whole milk, and Worcestershire sauce.

  5. Cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until thickened, add the beef back in, and stir until combined.

  6. In a 9×13-inch pan, layer the beef, then the cheese, and finally line up the tater tots before baking for 45 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 1309.85kcal
  • Fat: 102.19g
  • Saturated Fat: 40.94g
  • Trans Fat: 5.74g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 42.99g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.86g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.57g
  • Fiber: 0.34g
  • Sugar: 1.52g
  • Protein: 87.03g
  • Cholesterol: 356.47mg
  • Sodium: 713.66mg
  • Calcium: 321.96mg
  • Potassium: 1358.23mg
  • Iron: 9.11mg
  • Vitamin A: 108.57µg
  • Vitamin C: 1.43mg

Helpful Technique for Preparing a Hearty Tater Tot Casserole

When preparing your tater tot casserole, it's crucial to layer the ingredients in the correct order. Starting with the ground beef ensures that it will be thoroughly cooked and will infuse the rest of the dish with its savory flavor. The cheese should be next, as it will melt and seep down into the beef, creating a deliciously gooey layer. Finally, the tater tots go on top, where they will become perfectly crispy in the oven. This layering technique not only ensures each component is cooked to perfection, but also creates a variety of textures in your casserole, making each bite interesting and satisfying.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Casserole

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and brown the ground beef in advance to save time during the actual cooking process.

Use pre-shredded cheese: Skip the shredding and use pre-shredded cheese to save time on meal prep.

One-pan cooking: Opt for recipes that allow you to cook everything in one pan to minimize cleanup time.

Follow the recipe: Stick to the recipe to avoid mistakes that can lead to time-consuming fixes.

Organize ingredients: Gather and organize all ingredients and utensils before starting to streamline the cooking process.

Multi-task: While one component is cooking, use that time to prep other ingredients to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Substitute Ingredients For Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner option and can be used as a healthier alternative to ground beef. It also has a milder flavor, making it a versatile substitute in various recipes.

  • cheddar cheese - Substitute with mozzarella cheese: Mozzarella cheese has a mild and creamy flavor, and it melts beautifully, making it a great substitute for cheddar cheese in casseroles. It will add a gooey, stretchy texture to the dish.

  • frozen tater tots - Substitute with frozen hash browns: Frozen hash browns can be used as a substitute for tater tots in a casserole. They provide a similar potato base and texture, making them a suitable replacement.

Essential Tools for Making a Tater Tot Casserole

  • Chef's knife: A versatile tool used for chopping, slicing, and dicing various ingredients.

  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.

  • Cast-iron skillet: Ideal for browning meats and creating a delicious sear on ingredients.

  • Whisk: Used for blending and mixing ingredients together, ensuring a smooth and consistent texture.

  • 9x13-inch baking pan: Perfect for baking casseroles and other dishes, providing ample space for layering ingredients.

  • Oven: Essential for baking and cooking the tater tot casserole to perfection.

  • Mixing bowl: Used for combining and mixing various ingredients together before layering in the baking pan.

  • Spatula: Helpful for spreading and smoothing out the layers of the casserole.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Essential for accurately measuring out ingredients for the recipe.

Storing and Freezing Your Tater Tot Casserole

  • Let the tater tot casserole cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the dish soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, cover the casserole tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge.

  • For longer storage, freeze the casserole. Wrap the dish securely in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Label the package with the date and contents.

  • When ready to reheat, thaw the frozen casserole overnight in the refrigerator.

  • To reheat, remove the plastic wrap and cover the dish with foil. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. If the casserole is still frozen, it may take up to 45 minutes to reheat thoroughly.

  • For best results, avoid freezing the casserole for more than 2 months, as the quality of the tater tots may deteriorate over time.

  • If you plan on making the casserole ahead of time for freezing, slightly undercook the tater tots to prevent them from becoming mushy when reheated.

How To Reheat Tater Tot Casserole Leftovers

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover tater tot casserole in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the tater tots are crispy on top. This method ensures even heating and helps maintain the original texture of the casserole.

  • If you prefer a quicker reheating method, you can use the microwave. Place a portion of the leftover casserole on a microwave-safe plate and heat it on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until it's heated through. However, keep in mind that the microwave may cause the tater tots to become slightly soggy.

  • For a crispy top layer, you can also reheat the casserole under the broiler. Preheat your broiler to high, place the leftover casserole in an oven-safe dish, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Keep a close eye on the casserole to prevent burning.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat individual portions of the casserole. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), place a portion of the leftover casserole in the basket, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it's heated through and the tater tots are crispy.

  • For a stovetop method, place a portion of the leftover casserole in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through. This method works well for individual portions and helps maintain the crispiness of the tater tots.

Interesting Trivia About Tater Tot Casseroles

Tater tot casserole is a popular comfort food in the United States, often served as a hearty and filling dish for family gatherings and potlucks.

Is Making a Tater Tot Casserole Economical for Home Cooking?

This hearty tater tot casserole recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. Ground beef and tater tots are affordable, and the other ingredients are commonly found in most kitchens. The total cost for a household of 4 people is approximately $20. This hearty dish offers a satisfying and flavorful meal, making it a great option for a budget-friendly family dinner. I would rate this recipe an 8 out of 10 for its affordability and delicious taste.

Is This Hearty Casserole Healthy or Unhealthy?

This hearty tater tot casserole recipe, while undeniably comforting and delicious, is not particularly healthy. The main concerns are:

  • High saturated fat content from the ground beef and cheddar cheese
  • Excessive sodium from the salt, cheese, and potentially the tater tots
  • Refined carbohydrates from the flour and tater tots
  • Limited vegetable content, which means fewer essential vitamins and minerals

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace half of the ground beef with lean ground turkey or plant-based crumbles to reduce saturated fat
  • Use low-fat cheddar cheese or a smaller amount of regular cheddar to decrease the overall fat and sodium content
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the casserole, such as diced carrots, peas, or green beans, to boost the nutrient profile
  • Opt for low-sodium beef broth and tater tots to help control the salt content
  • Replace half of the tater tots with a nutrient-dense alternative like sweet potato tots or cauliflower tots
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour for added fiber and nutrients

By making these adjustments, you can transform this comforting casserole into a more balanced and nutritious meal without sacrificing too much of its hearty, satisfying flavor. Remember, moderation is key, and enjoying this dish occasionally as part of a varied diet can still be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Editor's Opinion on This Hearty Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

The hearty tater tot casserole recipe is a comforting and satisfying dish. The combination of seasoned ground beef, savory gravy, and crispy tater tots creates a deliciously indulgent meal. The layers of flavors and textures make it a crowd-pleaser, perfect for a cozy family dinner or a casual gathering. The recipe is easy to follow and allows for personalization with additional ingredients like vegetables or herbs. Overall, it's a hearty and comforting dish that is sure to become a favorite in any home.

Enhance Your Tater Tot Casserole Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears roasted to perfection with a crispy garlic parmesan topping.
Bacon Wrapped Green Beans: Fresh green beans wrapped in savory bacon and baked until crispy and delicious.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tender carrots glazed with honey and a hint of cinnamon for the perfect side dish.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes: Velvety smooth mashed potatoes made with butter, cream, and a touch of garlic for extra flavor.

Similar Casserole Recipes to Try

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is packed with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich and flavorful broth. Perfect for a cozy night in.
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole: A creamy and cheesy casserole featuring tender broccoli florets, a rich cheese sauce, and a crispy breadcrumb topping. A delicious side dish for any meal.
Apple Crisp: Sliced apples tossed in cinnamon and sugar, topped with a buttery oat crumble, and baked until golden and bubbly. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect dessert.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Your Casserole

Appetizers:
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these delectable stuffed mushrooms, filled with a savory mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: These crispy zucchini fritters are a delightful way to start any gathering. The combination of shredded zucchini, Parmesan cheese, and herbs creates a flavorful and satisfying appetizer that will leave your guests wanting more.
Desserts:
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the rich and decadent flavors of this warm, gooey dessert. The outer layer is perfectly baked, while the inside oozes with a molten chocolate center. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert experience.
Apple Crisp: Savor the comforting taste of tender, cinnamon-spiced apples topped with a crispy oat and brown sugar crumble. This dessert is best served warm, and the aroma of baked apples and spices will fill your kitchen with a cozy, inviting fragrance.

Why trust this Tater Tot Casserole Recipe:

This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, featuring ground beef for a hearty base and cheddar cheese for a rich, indulgent flavor. The addition of tater tots brings a satisfying crunch to every bite. With the perfect blend of Worcestershire sauce and onions, this casserole promises a symphony of savory, mouthwatering flavors. Trust the combination of beef broth and whole milk to create a lusciously creamy texture that will leave everyone coming back for seconds.

Want to share your own tater tot casserole recipe or discuss tips and tricks for making this classic dish? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum section!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of meat instead of ground beef?
Yes, you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken, or even vegetarian ground meat for a different flavor and dietary preference.
Can I use fresh potatoes instead of frozen tater tots?
Absolutely! You can use thinly sliced fresh potatoes instead of frozen tater tots. Simply layer them evenly over the casserole for a delicious homemade twist.
Can I prepare the casserole ahead of time and bake it later?
Of course! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. This is a great time-saving option for busy days.
Can I add vegetables to the casserole?
Definitely! You can add vegetables such as green peas, diced bell peppers, or corn to the ground beef mixture for added color, flavor, and nutrients.
Can I use a different type of cheese?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese such as mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or a blend of cheeses to customize the flavor of the casserole to your liking.

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