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Chili Tater Tot Casserole

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We can’t get enough of this chili tater tot casserole with cheese! It’s a one-skillet meal loaded with simple but bold homemade ground beef chili. But, then we added creamy melted cheese and crisp potato tots to make it amazing. Make this tasty chili casserole with tater tots as a quick and easy dinner tonight or any weeknight.

a white plate of chili cheese tater tot casserole topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions on a red and white napkin

Why We Love This Recipe

Everyone loves this recipe because it’s a mix of loaded tater tots hotdish and cheesy chili burger. After all, this fun and cheesy chili cheese tater tot casserole recipe is a one-pan dinner that’s sure to please!

This yummy hot dish is similar to our green bean tater tot casserole and chicken tater tot casserole. So, now we’ve turned chili cheese tater tots into a hearty main meal.

This easy chili cheese tater tots casserole is made without soup. Instead, it uses simple pantry ingredients. Serve it tonight as a “stick to your bones” dinner that’s ready in under an hour. Or, make ahead this dish and freeze it for later!

Ingredients

  • Lean ground beef
  • Frozen tater tots
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Tomato paste
  • Spices: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper
ingredients for the recipe: tator tots, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, ground beef, spices, and diced onions

Recipe Variations

  • Use ground turkey or ground chicken for a leaner protein.
  • Add a teaspoon of ground red pepper for a kick of heat.
  • Substitute shredded cheddar cheese for pepper jack cheese. It gives the casserole some serious pep. Or, do half of each for a mix of cheeses!

Equipment Used in this Recipe

  • 10-12″ oven-safe skillet (like a cast-iron skillet), or an oven-safe casserole dish

How to Make Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole

This cheesy tater tots casserole starts with a rich beefy chili with diced onions, tomatoes, and bold spices.

cooked ground beef, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and spices resting on top of a red and white napkin ready to top and bake

Cook the onions and ground beef in a skillet. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, and spices. Then, you’re ready to add the tater topping.

No oven-safe skillet? It’s not a problem! Just transfer the chili to a baking dish and continue with the recipe.

Sprinkle the chili with cheese, and top with frozen shredded potato tots. And, then bake it in the same skillet.

a skillet of tater tot chili casserole ready to go into the oven

Then, just 30 minutes later it’s ready to top with your favorite chili toppings.

a white plate of chili cheese tater tot casserole topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions on a red and white napkin with bowls of grated cheese sour cream and sliced green onions in the background

What Food Goes with tater tot casserole?

This hotdish can be enjoyed on its own as a one-skillet dinner. But, you might want a veggie side dish. Try our favorite griddle or skillet sauteed vegetables. Or, a fresh green salad is also a great idea.

And, anytime that chili is involved you really ought to have thick slices of home made corn bread on the table, too!

Can you prepare this as a make-ahead dish?

You can easily prep ahead and keep the casserole unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just make the recipe as shown in a casserole dish. Then, let cool and cover the dish before putting it in the fridge. When you are ready, bake it at 400° F for about 30 minutes.

How do you make ahead and freeze a tater tot casserole?

Having a ready made dinner in the freezer is a great idea. First, follow steps 2-4 and prepare the chili in the skillet. Then, add it to an aluminum pan, sprinkle on the cheese, and add the frozen tater tots on top. Let it cool completely. To store, wrap the casserole in aluminum foil and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to reheat frozen chili tater tot casserole?

1. Cover with foil and bake from frozen in a preheated 350°F oven for 40-50 minutes.
2. Uncover the tater tots dish for the last 15-20 minutes.

How long do leftovers last?

Left over beefy chili casserole with tater tots will keep well for up to 3 to 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

a white plate of chili cheese tater tot casserole topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions on a red and white napkin

Get the Best Chili Cheese Casserole with tater tots recipe Here:

a white plate of chili tater tot casserole topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions on a red and white napkin with bowls of grated cheese sour cream and sliced green onions in the background
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Chili Tater Tot Casserole

This skillet chili tater tot casserole is absolutely delish! Not only does it combine crispy tater tots and beefy chili, but it's a hearty one-pan dinner the family will love. Whip up this chili cheese tater tots casserole recipe tonight or as a make-ahead dinner for the freezer.
Course Main Course, Dinner, Entree
Cuisine American
Keyword Casserole, tater tots, loaded tater tots, chili cheeseburger, tater tot casserole
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
cooling time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 570kcal

Equipment

  • 11-12" oven-safe skillet (like a cast-iron skillet)
  • OR large baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I prefer 85/15 lean ground beef)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1 package (30 ounces) frozen tater tots

optional (for a bit of heat)

  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If using a casserole dish, spray it with non-stick cooking oil and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until they are translucent.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a hamburger chopper or wooden spoon over medium heat until it is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
  • Add seasonings, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes, mixing together. If your skillet is oven-safe, continue on to the next step. Otherwise, add the mixture to a round or oblong casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly across the top. Then top the casserole with a layer of tater tots.
  • Bake at 400ºF uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the tater tots are golden brown and the edges of the casserole are bubbly.
  • Remove casserole from the oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream, sliced green onion, or parsley.

Notes

Make this a make ahead dish! Follow steps 2-5 in the instructions for a casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate casserole for up to 3 days. When ready, bake at 400º F for 30-35 minutes until the tater tots are golden brown and the edges of the casserole are bubbly. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream, sliced green onion, or parsley. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1382mg | Potassium: 761mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1204IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 326mg | Iron: 4mg

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