Easy and kid friendly! This bacon cheeseburger casserole with tater tots starts with lean beef cooked with onions and garlic and mixed with, of course, ketchup and mustard. It gets topped off with layers of crumbled bacon, cheese, and tater tots!
What Does This Taste Like?
Do you need a dinner idea that's fast, kid-friendly, fuss-free, and something the whole family will enjoy? This bacon cheeseburger casserole with tater tots will fix you right up. Kids are notorious for going through phases where their taste buds are less than adventurous. When that happens, I have to get creative when trying new dishes that contain familiar flavors in an attempt to open their minds to new dinners.
My kids like bacon. Well, that's not accurate, they LOVE bacon. They also love cheeseburgers with ketchup and French fries. All of those flavors are present in this casserole, albeit in a slightly unfamiliar form. A bite of this tater tot casserole tastes not unlike biting into a fancy cheeseburger.
You can complete the illusion by serving this recipe topped with some chopped dill or sweet pickles, but that's optional.
How Much Time Do I Need?
The answer to this question is variable. The main time considerations for making bacon cheeseburger casserole with tater tots are: chopping the onions and mincing the garlic, cooking the meat, and baking the casserole.
I'm assuming you have bacon that you've previously cooked or bought pre-cooked, so I did not include that in the time estimates for this dish.
I cast a wide net when estimating the time it takes to prep and cook any of my recipes because I don't want you to get caught in a time pinch, but in general, it will take less than an hour (probably closer to 50 minutes) to fully prep and bake this casserole (remember, that's NOT including cooking the bacon).
How To Make Tater Tot Casserole Healthier
If the nutritional content of this dish has you taking pause, fret not. There are a few simple swaps you can make that will healthy it up a little bit!
- Lean ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Uncured or turkey bacon instead of regular.
- Organic and/or Lower Sodium brands of frozen tater tots
- No sugar added and/or organic brands of ketchup.
While I realize that these swaps don't exactly make something with a name like bacon cheeseburger casserole with tater tots a health food, a little smarter shopping can go a long way!
Fun Variations and Substitutions
- Don't have tater tots? Check your freezer for frozen hash brown potatoes or French fries (the waffle cut will work great!)
- Add Some Zip. Try a little barbecue or Worcestershire sauce added to the meat mixture. Add a little at a time and adjust to taste.
- Try Different Cheeses. I used cheddar, but you can use a Mexican blend, American, or even some pepper Jack if you want some heat.
- Add some burger-friendly veggies. Serve the finished casserole alongside some fresh slices of tomato, on a couple slices of green leaf lettuce, or with some crisp raw sweet onions to really make this taste like a cheeseburger!
How To Reheat Tater Tot Casserole
Microwave: Reheat on high for 30-45 seconds or until desired warmth level. Tater tots will soften in the microwave and won't be as crispy.
Oven: Preheat oven to 350F. Place entire dish of leftovers back into the oven and check every 10 minutes until warmed through. The tater tots will regain some crispness with this method.
Does This Make A Good Freezer Meal?
This is an excellent make ahead meal to store in the freezer! When stored properly, it will retain its quality for 4 months, though will remain safe to eat for longer.
To Freeze Tater Tot Casserole: Use a disposable aluminum baking dish instead of the pie plate indicated in the recipe card below. Follow the recipe through the end of step 3, but allow the meat mixture to cool before layering it with the other ingredients in the aluminum pan. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of foil and freeze.
To Bake From Frozen: Remove casserole from freezer and remove wrappings. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake until the tater tots are golden and crispy and the middle is warm - 40+ minutes (check on them after 35 minutes)Print
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