This Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole is made with ground beef, ketchup, cheese and tater tots for an easy and delicious family-style dinner. It’s quick to assemble and then bakes in the oven, plus it also freezes well!
Easy casseroles are the best thing since sliced bread, if you ask me. Throw in some tater tots, and my kids all go nuts for it! This is definitely a dish I make when I want everyone to eat their dinner without any complaining.
It’s so easy to whip up with just a few ingredients, and requires no chopping of anything at all if you buy your vegetables frozen. A real weeknight winner!
You can easily make this ahead a couple of days if you need, or even freeze it for up to 3 months. I’ve added the instructions for both methods at the end of the post. Enjoy!
Ingredients you’ll need
This is just an overview of the ingredients needed – scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for exact quantities and instructions.
- Beef: I highly recommend using lean or extra-lean ground beef. If all you have is a fattier cut, then make sure to drain the grease REALLY well after browning. Use little to no fat for browning the meat. Otherwise, your casserole will come out too oily and greasy.
- Seasoning blend: You can find this frozen for convenience (which is what I mostly use, so handy!), but if you want to make your own, use 1 cup diced onion, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced green and red pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried parsley. You can also use frozen onions and peppers, or just use peppers and/or celery if you don’t like onion.
- Cheese: I recommend a sharp cheddar here. If you increase the amount of cheese the recipe asks for, please know that this can also result in more grease in the casserole.
- Ketchup: Feel free to use tomato sauce for a more savory taste, or use BBQ sauce for a BBQ Sloppy Joe casserole!
How to make a Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
1. Brown the beef in a large skillet. Drain any extra grease from the pan, then add the seasoning blend, the dried onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Take the pan off the heat and add the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. Stir until evenly combined.
3. Spread the sauce in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Top with 1.5 cups of cheese, then with tater tots. Bake at 400°F until golden, about 30 minutes.
4. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and return to the oven until it has melted, about 5 minutes.
Allow the casserole to rest on a cooling rack on the counter for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Make sure to drain the beef well after browning to keep your casserole from turning out greasy.
- I arrange the taters neatly when I take photos, but if you’re in a hurry you can also just dump them on top and kind of spread them out over the sloppy joe filling.
- I like to serve the casserole with potato chips and pickles for everyone, plus my husband and I love some sliced green onion for our plates. My husband will also add hot sauce and often chili flakes to his serving, so that works well if you want a little heat.
Make ahead and freezer tips
To freeze, let the filling cool in the dish for 30 minutes. Then top with cheese and tater tots. Wrap with plastic wrap, then with aluminium foil. Label with the name and use-by date, then freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, remove both foils and let the casserole sit on the counter for 15 minutes while the oven heats up. Loosely cover the top with fresh aluminium foil and bake for 50 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes uncovered, until the tots are golden and the casserole is heated all the way through.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese has melted.
To make ahead, assemble the casserole without the tater tots. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 3 days. To heat, unwrap the casserole and let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes while the oven heats up. Add the tater tots, then bake and finish as directed in the recipe.
More easy casserole recipes
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- 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 cups frozen seasoning blend (see notes for substitutes)
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1.5 cups ketchup
- 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
- 1 (32-oz) bag frozen tater tots
- Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
- Brown beef in large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain. Add seasoning blend, dried minced onion garlic powder, salt and pepper; cook until onions have softened - about 5 more minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
- Stir ketchup, brown sugar., Worcestershire sauce and mustard through beef mixture. Spread in prepared casserole dish.
- Sprinkle 1.5 cups of cheese over Sloppy Joe mixture, then top with tater tots. Bake casserole at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, until tots are golden and casserole is bubbly. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 5 more minutes, until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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