Tater Tot Taco Casserole

Tater Tot Taco Casserole

So lately dinner has been taking a “surprise” meat, I didn’t label anything in the freezer (oops) and we are in the process of cleaning out the freezer and pantry by eating only from them for a few weeks, no new groceries except for fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and milk; then opening it the next day and searching Pinterest and online for something to make with it.

I hit the jackpot this time!  I had ground beef and needed something to make in about an hour.  I found this recipe for Tater Tot Taco Casserole  from Allrecipes.com on Pinterest and I had all of the ingredients on hand.  Yeah!  The ingredient list looks long but it is mostly things most people always have in their freezer, fridge, pantry and spice rack.

I also took the original recipe one step further and bulked the original recipe up a bit by adding what my family loves on their tacos and making my own taco seasoning with a few extra spices.  The whole pan was gone at the end of dinner.   So no leftovers for lunch but it is definitely a must do again for my family.


  • 1 1/2  lb. ground beef
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  •  1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (omit if your family does not like spicy seasoning)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. bag of frozen corn, thawed in fridge
  • 8 oz. can of sliced olives, drained
  • 2 cups of Mexican Cheese Blend, divided
  • 16 oz. package of frozen tater tots, partially thawed in fridge
  • 1  1/2 cup of medium taco sauce
  • sour cream and salsa for topping


  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with  non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until completely browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. While the meat is cooking add the partially thawed tater tots to a LARGE bowl.
  4. In a small bowl mix the chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika and cumin.  Set aside.
  5. Drain the extra grease from the pan if there is too much.  I used fairly lean meat so only had about a tablespoon so I didn’t need to drain it. 
  6. Add the onion, minced garlic, corn, water and the spice mix from the small bowl over the ground beef;  cook and stir another 5-10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken a bit.   Taste sauce and add salt and pepper and any additional spices to suit your families tastes.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  7. Combine the ground beef mixture in the large bowl with about 1 1/4 cup of the Mexican cheese blend, olives, tomatoes  and the tater tots; stir gently to combine.
  8. Pour about 1/2 cup of the taco sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the tater tot mixture to the baking dish; lightly pat the mixture down into a solid, even layer. Pour the remaining taco sauce over the tater tot mixture.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining Mexican cheese over the casserole and return to oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes more.
  10. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
  11. Serve with salsa, taco sauce and sour cream for toppings.

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