How to Make Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole

Updated: Feb. 17, 2024

This cheeseburger Tater Tot casserole is a two-pot, crowd-pleasing dish that will make even picky eaters smile.

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Have you ever had trouble deciding between a decadent plate of loaded Tater Tots or a juicy burger? This recipe for cheeseburger Tater Tot casserole has the best of both worlds. Bonus: It only takes a few minutes to prep before you pop this simple dish in the oven!

Easy Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

This crowd-pleasing recipe was developed by Taste of Home Community Cook Tami Kuehl, who says that the pickiest eaters in her family line up for seconds when this dish is on the dinner table!

Ingredients

Cheeseburger Tater Tot ingredientsTMB Studio

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 cup sliced sweet pickles, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups Thousand Island salad dressing, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (32 ounces) frozen Tater Tots
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Editor’s Tip: Don’t have beef? You could make this recipe with ground pork, chicken or turkey.

Tools You’ll Need

Editor’s Tip: Want to make this a one-pot meal? You can bake the casserole in your Dutch oven, though the finished dish might stick to the sides a bit.

Directions

Step 1: Prep your pan

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 13×9-in. baking dish. If you have a pretty baking dish that will look nice on the table, that’s the one to use! I like to grease pans with softened butter, but you could also use olive oil or a neutral oil such as grape seed, sunflower or canola. Here, find out if you can eat sunflower seed shells.

Step 2: Cook the beef

Cheeseburger Tater Tot casserole cook the beefTMB Studio

Place your Dutch oven over medium heat and add the ground beef, pickles, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions have softened and the beef is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes. While you’re stirring, make sure to break up bigger hunks of ground beef into smaller crumbles.

Step 3: Season it up

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole SeasoningTMB Studio

Remove the beef mixture from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the salad dressing and the salt and pepper. Then, add the frozen Tater Tots and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese. Mix everything together and pour the combo into the greased baking dish.

Step 4: Bake it

 Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole Step 4TMB Studio

Bake, uncovered, until the Tots are hot, around 35-40 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted, an additional 5 minutes. Drizzle the top of the casserole with the extra 1/2 cup dressing, garnish with extra pickles if desired, and serve. Be sure to try our favorite Tater Tot hot dish.

Tater Tot Casserole Recipe Variations

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole With Cheese Sauce DrizzleTMB Studio

For a crispy Tater Tot casserole

Instead of mixing in the tots, place them in a layer on top of the cooked beef mixture. If you do this, start checking the casserole after 30 minutes, as the tots may be cooked through at that point.

For a spicy Tater Tot casserole

You could add chipotle powder, hot smoked paprika, a small amount of cayenne pepper or some hot sauce. Any of these could be added when you’re cooking the beef or mixed into the salad dressing in Step 3.

For a healthy Tater Tot casserole

Stir in a bag of baby spinach just before adding the Tater Tots.

Tater Tot Casserole FAQs

What goes with Tater Tot casserole?

Coleslaw is a natural pairing with this dinner. I like a tangy Kentucky coleslaw, classic creamy coleslaw or crunchy broccoli slaw. Another great side option: snappy fresh green beans.

Or, try a crisp, refreshing dish of cucumber salad with red onions.

Can you freeze Tater Tot casserole?

If you freeze this casserole before baking, I recommend not adding the Tater Tots until you’re ready to bake.

Prepare the casserole through Step 3, where you add the salad dressing, and salt and pepper, and also add the first 2 cups cheese. Transfer the meat mixture to a freezer-to-oven-safe baking dish, then let cool, cover and freeze.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the freezer and put the frozen Tater Tots on top. Place the casserole dish into a cold oven, and turn the temp to 350º. Bake until the casserole is heated through, and the Tots on top are golden and crispy, between 40 and 50 minutes.

Do you cover Tater Tot casserole with foil?

The Tater Tots are mixed into this dish, but you do want the ones that are on the surface of the casserole to get crispy, so don’t use foil!

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