Tater Tot Casserole is a classic weeknight dinner that kids and adults both love. Tasty browned ground beef mixed with fresh green peppers, onions and simmered in my homemade sloppy Joe sauce. It’s then topped with a layer of cheddar cheese followed by tots and another layer of gooey cheddar – for a hearty dinner-time feast!
Who doesn’t love a good sloppy joe? They’re easy to make and great for a quick dinner. But what if you could get all the flavor of your favorite sloppy joe in an even easier, cheesy casserole with tater tots? AND what if I told you can make this a one-pot/skillet meal by using a cast-iron skillet to do all your cooking and baking for easy cleanup! Well, you can have it all with this recipe!
This tater tot casserole recipe is great for those nights when you want to make something quick and easy but don’t have a lot of time. It’s also perfect if you are looking for an easy dinner idea that your kids will love! The recipe involves making sloppy joe sauce from scratch, which might seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple.
The sloppy joe sauce has all the flavor of your favorite canned sauce, but BETTER and without the preservatives and chemicals found in store-bought sauces. Depending on what you have available at home, you can use ground beef or turkey with this recipe, so it’s great for using up any leftover meat!
Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole Ingredients
- Frozen tater tots
- Ground beef
- Unsalted butter
- Green bell pepper – diced
- Yellow onion – diced
- Garlic cloves – minced
- Tomato sauce
- Brown sugar – you can you light or dark (I prefer light)
- Yellow mustard
- Chili powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- Ground black pepper
- Onion powder
- Cheddar cheese
How To Make Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside. Then, in a large skillet heat butter over medium-high heat. Add diced green bell pepper and yellow onion. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add, ground beef and garlic to skillet and brown. While cooking break apart ground beef. Cook 5-6 minutes then drain excess fat.
Add, tomato sauce, ketchup, water, brown sugar, yellow mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, ground black pepper and onion powder. Stir well until combined. Cook for 5 minutes to thicken up sauce.
Add, ground beef to prepared baking dish. Spread evenly to coat entire pan. Sprinkle a layer of half of the cheddar cheese. Add tater tops on top of cheese evenly. Then sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
Then bake for 40-45 minutes or until tater tots are golden brown and cheese and sauce are bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!
What To Serve With Your Sloppy Tots
The great thing about this tater tot casserole is that you’ve got your protein and starch in one, but it is missing a side of veggies. A great way to round out your meal is with a simple side salad with cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes, or add some roasted broccoli, green beans, or carrots to the oven while baking your casserole!
How To Store And Reheat Any Leftover Casserole
If you have any leftover sloppy tots, store it in an airtight container (if you used a cast iron skillet) or the baking dish wrapped with tin foil on top and keep it in the fridge for up to five days.
For reheating, the oven method is best. Just take the leftover casserole out of your fridge about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook to let the baking dish come to room temp. Put it in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes, or until nice ‘n’ hot!
Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole FAQs
Can You Make This Sloppy Tot Casserole Ahead Of Time?
Yes, you can! If you plan on making it within a day or two, follow all the steps above minus adding the tater tots to the top, cover with tinfoil, and store in your fridge unit you’re ready to bake.
Can You Freeze Tater Tot Casserole?
Absolutely! If you are into make-ahead freezer meals, this recipe is perfect! Make your sloppy Joe filling and add it to a freezer and oven-safe dish, like an aluminum baking tray. Let it cool completely, add a layer of cheese, then the frozen tater tots on top, followed by the second layer of cheese, cover, and freezer for up to 3 months!
Take the casserole directly from the freezer and bake in the oven! Depending on how much sloppy Joe meat you put in your pan, you may need to add some time to it.
Is There A Way I Can Lighten Up This Recipe Up A Bit?
Yes! You can use ground turkey and low-fat cheese and substitute the potato tots with cauliflower ones! You can also skip a layer of cheese.
Can I Use Manwich Instead Of Making My Own Sloppy Joe Sauce?
If you prefer to use a store-bought sauce, you can substitute Manwich for the homemade sloppy joe. Use 1 and a half cans of sloppy joe sauce to make sure your meat is nice and coated.
Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 28 ounce bag frozen tater tots
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup green bell pepper (diced)
- ⅓ cup yellow onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¾ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2¼ cups cheddar cheese (grated)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside.
- In a large skillet heat butter over medium-high heat. Add diced green bell pepper and yellow onion. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add ground beef and garlic to skillet and brown. While cooking break apart ground beef. Cook 5-6 minutes then drain excess fat.
- Add tomato sauce, ketchup, water, brown sugar, yellow mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, ground black pepper and onion powder. Stir well until combined. Cook for 5 minutes to thicken up sauce.
- Add ground beef to prepared baking dish. Spread evenly to coat entire pan. Sprinkle a layer of half of the cheddar cheese. Add tater tops on top of cheese evenly. Then sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tater tots are golden brown and cheese and sauce are bubbling.
- Remove from oven and let cool 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
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