Big Mac Casserole is a kid friendly dinner of a cheesy burger casserole with special sauce, topped with melty cheese and crispy tater tots!
Thanks to a generous serving of a spot-on Big Mac Special Sauce Copycat, every bite of this tasty casserole is like eating a Big Mac and fries all at once! If you don’t already keep a cup or two on hand, the famous Special Sauce can be made in just minutes for this easy casserole. Don’t forget to make a little extra to upgrade your savory, beefy dishes all week long.
This quick and delicious Big Mac Casserole is one that the whole family will go crazy for and you will love too! It has all the flavor of a junk food feast without any of the preservatives and it’s much more budget friendly. All you need is some ground beef, pantry seasonings, cheese, and a bag of frozen tots, plus a big helping of that amazing special sauce! The meat layer comes together in minutes and the whole dish is ready in under an hour for a hearty, filling one pan dinner that tastes better than any drive-thru burger meal.
Big Mac Tater Tot Casserole makes an easy weeknight meal with kid friendly veggie sides like Roasted Broccoli. Go big with the McDonald’s cheeseburger flavor and serve along with Big Mac Salad. Serve your cheeseburger casserole with favorite burger toppings, like tomato and pickles, and a drizzle of extra Big Mac Sauce. For more Big Mac inspired meals, you gotta try Big Mac and Cheese, Big Mac Sloppy Joes, and Cheeseburger Casserole!
How to Make Big Mac Casserole
- Prep: Preheat your oven. Prepare the Big Mac Sauce if you don’t have any on hand. There is a recipe under the Variations Section in this post.
- Filling: Cook the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the special sauce, chopped American cheese, ½ the cheddar cheese, and seasonings. Mix until the cheese is melted and everything is combined.
- Bake: Spread the beef filling in the bottom of a large casserole dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Cover with the tater tots and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
- Serve: Serve the casserole hot with toppings like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and American cheese and a drizzle of extra sauce.
FAQs for Big Mac Casserole
For this Big Mac Casserole recipe, you should use a 9×13 inch casserole dish. This size will provide ample space for all the ingredients to layer evenly and cook properly.
Big Mac sauce, inspired by McDonald’s, is allegedly made from mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, but the exact amounts of each ingredient are unknown. This recipe uses French dressing and a bit of ketchup to get the spot on flavor without the guess work.
Big Mac Sauce has a distinct, tangy flavor with a slightly sweet undertone similar to Thousand Island Dressing. It’s creamy and rich, thanks to the mayonnaise base, with the tanginess largely coming from the pickle relish and vinegar. The blend of spices gives it a savory depth and a hint of smokiness.
A traditional Big Mac from McDonald’s consists of two beef patties, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickles, minced onions, and the iconic Big Mac Sauce, all sandwiched between a three-part sesame seed bun. The middle bun, known as the “club” layer, is an additional layer of bread placed between the two beef patties.
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- Ground Beef: An 85/15 blend of ground beef is good for baked dishes because it stays moist thanks to the bit of fat. It doesn’t have as much fat as 80/20 beef so you don’t need to drain the meat. If you do use a higher fat beef, drain the meat so your filling isn’t greasy.
- Big Mac Sauce: This signature sauce, inspired by McDonald’s, provides the distinctive “Big Mac” flavor. It’s similar to a Thousand Island dressing but a bit more vinegary and sweet. There is a spot-on copycat recipe for this delicious secret sauce in this post, past the Variations section.
- Seasonings: Cooking the onions in the beef give it a savory, slightly sweet, aromatic flavor. The seasoning blend of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper give the beefy mixture that hamburger taste without overpowering or competing with the special sauce.
- American Cheese: Chopped American cheese adds a creamy, slightly tangy, goodness to the beefy filling. American cheese melts really well so it gives a smooth texture to the meaty casserole filling.
- Cheddar Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese provides a sharp, tangy flavor that contrasts nicely with the milder American cheese. It also melts beautifully, giving it a gooey, melty top layer.
- Tater Tots: These potato bites offer a crispy, golden exterior and soft interior, and make the perfect topping for easy casserole dishes. You don’t want to defrost them beforehand or they will overcook and they won’t have the right texture.
- Toppings: It wouldn’t be a Big Mac dish without some classic Big Mac toppings. You definitely want fresh crisp lettuce and juicy diced tomatoes to break up the savory, rich burger and fries flavors of this heavy casserole. And of course, some extra melty American cheese never hurt anyone!
Can you make Big Mac Casserole ahead of time?
Yes, Big Mac Casserole is a great dinner to make ahead of time! You can either double the recipe by using the slider tool in the recipe card and freeze one pan for later, or divide the original recipe into two smaller foil pans. An 8 × 8 pan of Big Mac Casserole will feed about 4-5 people. Prepare the filling and layer the casserole as usual. Wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then foil, before freezing up to 3 months. It can be baked from frozen. Remove plastic wrap and foil before baking from frozen for about an hour.
- Bacon: Bacon makes everything better! Add 6-8 slices cooked, crumbled bacon to the cooked beef mixture or mix in 2-3 tablespoons bacon bits.
- Meat: Use any ground meat instead of ground beef like ground turkey, ground sausage, or ground chicken. If using a leaner ground meat, add a tablespoon oil to the skillet when browning.
- Big Mac Sauce: The copycat Big Mac Sauce is where it’s at but you can use Thousand Island in a pinch. Add a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish and an extra bit of ketchup to get the dressing closer to the special sauce flavor.
- Potatoes: You can swap the frozen tots for frozen french fries, sweet potato puffs, shredded hash browns, or diced potatoes. If you use thawed potatoes, just reduce the cooking time by 15-20 minutes.
Big Mac Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup creamy French dressing
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
¼ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Mix until combined. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Slow Cooker Big Mac Tater Tot Casserole
- Cook the beef and onions in a skillet until no longer pink and onions are soft.
- Drain the grease and transfer beef mixture to a slow cooker.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except half the shredded cheese and tater tots.
- Cover the meat with the reserved shredded cheese and tots over cheeseburger filling.
- Cover top of crockpot with a paper towels to absorb moisture.
- Secure the lid and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or high for 2 to 3 hours.
How to Store
- Serve: Big Mac Tater Tot Casserole is best served hot and fresh for the crispiest tots. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours before storing.
- Store: Transfer Big Mac Tater Tot Casserole to an airtight container, or cover with foil, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven to crisp the tots back up.
- Freeze: For best results, freeze this casserole in a freezer safe baking dish, covered tightly with plastic wrap and foil, for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen or thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- 2 pounds ground beef , 85/15
- 1 cup Big Mac Sauce , recipe
- 1 cup onion , diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 6 slices American cheese , chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese , divided
- 32 ounces frozen tater tots
- 1 cup iceberg lettuce , shredded
- 1/2 cup tomatoes , diced
- 2-3 slices American cheese , diced into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until browned and onions are translucent.
- Add the Big Mac Sauce, American cheese, ½ cup shredded cheese, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to the skillet and mix well.
- In a 9×13 pan layer the beef, then the remaining cheese and finally line up the tater tots before baking for 45 minutes uncovered.
- Top with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and American cheese to serve.