Tater Tot Taco Casserole

8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Taco Tater Tot Casserole is a weeknight dinner the whole family will love! Taco meat casserole with crispy tater tots and smothered with cheddar cheese.

Easy one dish casseroles are among the most popular Dinner Recipes on the internet because of their ease to make and their easy cleanup. This recipe puts a delicious southwestern spin on Tater Tot Casserole that your kids won’t be able to resist!

Taco Tater Tot Casserole on plate


If you are craving Mexican food but want the simplicity of a casserole dish, this Taco Tater Tot Casserole is the easy recipe for you! In the oven in minutes and with flavors your family loves, this Mexican food inspired main dish is sure to be a favorite weeknight meal you’ll be making all the time.

The best part about Tater Tot Casseroles, besides the crispy tots, is that you can easily change ingredients up for whatever you are in the mood for. You can use other ground meat instead of ground beef, load it with your favorite toppings, or even swap tater tots for hash browns.

This Taco Tater Tot Casserole is such an easy recipe with just ground beef, Homemade Taco Seasoning, frozen crispy tater tots, and shredded cheddar cheese. You can top it with all your favorite taco toppings like Guacamole, diced jalapeños, Salsa, and sour cream.

Make this dish for potlucks, weeknight dinners, or freeze ahead for a casserole whenever you need a quick meal. This is an easy recipe to double, or make one version like the recipe and a second with one of the many variations below. It freezes really well or can be store in the refrigerator a few days before you need to bake it.

For a full Mexican dinner feast, serve your Taco Tater Tot Casserole with a side of Black Beans and Spanish Rice. To make a saucier version of this casserole mix in a cup of Enchilada Sauce to your ground beef mixture and serve a little extra sauce on the side.



  • Tater Tots: You can do one layer or two, we use one as the bottom layer will get mushy. Toss your tots with a bit of oil and seasoning to add extra flavor too!
  • Beef Filling: You can add extra bulk here with beans or other vegetables if you’d like. Just be sure to keep the filling saucy so it doesn’t dry out in the oven.
  • Toppings: Don’t add your toppings until you’re ready to serve or the tots will become soggy.

Cheesy Taco Tater Tor Casserole cross section in baking dish


  • Meat: Instead of ground beef, you can use other meat like ground turkey or ground chicken. For a healthier taco casserole, try grilled chicken simmered in the taco seasoning.
  • Potatoes: This recipe uses frozen tater tots, but you can also use hash browns or veggie tater tots. You can top it with chopped corn tortillas or corn chips, just bake the taco meat for about 20 minutes before adding the tortillas or chips so they don’t burn.
  • Cheese: Use your favorite shredded cheeses like Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend. For more cheesy goodness, drizzle with melted Nacho Cheese when serving.
  • Veggies: Add a layer of canned Mexican corn or your favorite sautéed fajita veggies like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes before adding the tater tots.
  • Beans: Make this a vegetarian Mexican casserole by using black beans and corn instead of ground beef. Or spread a thin layer of black beans on bottom of the casserole dish before adding beef mixture for a heartier meal.
  • Spicy: There are a few ways to bring heat to this Taco Tater Tot Casserole. Add diced green chiles, cayenne pepper, or fresh diced jalapeños to the beef mixture to really give it a kick.

Can you make Taco Tater Tot Casserole Ahead?

To make this dish ahead of time, cook the taco meat per the recipe instructions and spread in the casserole dish. Cover with tater tots and shredded cheddar cheese. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 months, tightly sealed with plastic wrap and foil. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes longer than recipe calls for. 



  • Serve: This dish can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Cool your Taco Tater Tot Casserole completely before storing.
  • Store: Keep your tater tot casserole in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze: Freeze Taco Tater Tot Casserole for up to 2 months wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and covered with foil.

Taco Tater Tot Casserole top down in baking dish with taco meat and cheddar cheese

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Taco Tater Tot Casserole

Taco Tater Tot Casserole is your newest weeknight dinner the whole family loves. Taco meat casserole with crispy tater tots and shredded cheddar cheese.
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons taco seasoning , or 2 packets taco seasoning mix
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese , shredded
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package frozen tater tots , 16 ounces


  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until completely browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Whisk the water and 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning together and add to the pan, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes until most of the water is gone.
  • Put the meat mixture into the bottom of your casserole dish.
  • Toss the tater tots with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and the remaining taco seasoning sprinkled over them evenly.
  • Cover with the meat mixture with cheese, then line up the tater tots on top in rows.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 212mg | Iron: 1mg

Tater Tot Taco Casserole collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. I have made many tater tot casseroles and this is one of the very best. Freezes and reheats perfectly, too. Thank you.

  2. Love this tater tot casserole – my kids all LOVED it too! So easy to make and really delicious. On this one, I did not make any modifications – definitely adding the dollop of sour cream and some chives at the end is a game changer!

    1. I love when a meal is loved by the entire family. That’s what I call a winner! Thanks for coming back to let me know, Kate.

      1. You don’t precooked the tater tots? They do not get brown abs crispy as siren in the picture unless you do

        1. Tater Tots: You can do one layer or two, we use one as the bottom layer will get mushy. Toss your tots with a bit of oil and seasoning to add extra flavor too!

  3. This looks so good. and better then Tatter Tot Cassarol I just might try this for Sunday dinner. I did the hot dog and chili meal the other day and that went over great.

  4. OMG this was sooooo good. Everybody went back for seconds and we didn’t have any leftovers! Definitely adding this to our regular meal rotation! Yum!