Tater Tot Casserole is a quick and easy 30-minute dish. It’s made with ground beef, onions, taco seasoning, white sauce, cheese, and tater tots. It’s then baked until the tots are golden brown and crispy. This cheesy dish will become your go-to weeknight casserole.
What is Tater Tot Casserole?
This tater tot casserole is made with Mexican seasonings and without cream of mushroom soup. Instead, the creaminess comes from jarred bechamel sauce that you can find at the grocery store. These simple ingredients are most likely already in your kitchen pantry which makes this casserole a staple dish. You’ll never need to wonder what to make for dinner again, as long as you’ve got these things in your house.
- 1 medium white onion, chopped: You can use a red or yellow onion here but white is the best for this recipe.
- 1 pound ground beef: Use 90% lean ground beef.
- Salt and pepper to taste: A pinch of salt and pepper is all that’s needed.
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning: You can buy this in a pouch or in the family size at the store.
- 1 1⁄2 cups jarred bechamel sauce: This sauce can usually be found with pesto and alfredo sauces at the store.
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded: You can buy pre-shredded cheese or grate your own from a block.
- 16 ounces tater tots: Use frozen tots straight from the bag. There’s no need to thaw them first.
How to make tater tot casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven.
2. Saute white onion with some olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
3. Add ground beef and break it with a spatula. Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Season with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning.
5. Combine with bechamel sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
6. Spread the meat mixture evenly in the baking dish. Top with tater tots and sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on top.
7. Bake at 180C/350F for 30 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best tater tot casserole you've ever had.
- If you want to try something other than ground beef, try chopped chicken or ground sausage.
- Top with sour cream, diced red or green onions, chives, or parsley.
- Try another cheese or a blend of these: mozzarella, provolone, Havarti, Gruyere, or feta.
How can I make this tater tot casserole vegetarian?
You can easily turn this dish into a vegetarian meal without meat. You may also want to add vegetables like corn, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, green beans, or asparagus.
How can I turn this casserole into a breakfast dish?
Tater tot casserole is mostly eaten for dinner, but if you need a quick and easy meal for breakfast, you can easily adjust this one.
To make this a breakfast casserole, mix in eggs, bacon bits, black beans, or veggies. Also, replace the taco seasoning for herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano.
Can I make this hamburger casserole in a crockpot?
You can cook the ground beef, onions, seasonings, and cheese in the slow cooker on high for four hours. You’ll then need to cook the tater tots in the oven or air fryer and place them on top of the casserole in the crockpot so they’ll be crispy. If you put the tater tots in the slow cooker with the other ingredients, they’ll cook but won’t be crispy.
How to store:
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and then plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. This will help you remember later. Remember that if you cook it from frozen, without thawing first, it will take longer to cook in the oven. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
What other sauces can I use if I don’t have jarred bechamel sauce?
If you can’t find jarred bechamel sauce, try cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, make your own white sauce with butter, flour, and milk, or even use marinara sauce.
How can I make this casserole spicy?
To give this dish a spicy kick try, hot sauce, fresh or pickled jalapenos, or red chili flakes.
Can I use other kinds of potatoes instead of tater tots?
Yes, you can definitely use potatoes in other forms. Here are some options: hashbrowns, roasted and diced potatoes, mashed spread on top.
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 1⁄2 cups jarred bechamel sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 16 ounces tater tots
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Saute white onion with some olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
- Add ground beef and break it with a spatula. Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Season with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning.
- Combine with bechamel sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Spread the meat mixture evenly in the baking dish. Top with tater tots and sprinkle 1cup of cheese on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 608Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 982mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g