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Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole

Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole is such a kid-friendly take on taco night! Try yours with ALDI’s crispy potato circles, as I did here.

We’re going semi-homemade today, because ongoing gray and rainy weather has inspired some simple comfort food. Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole ticks all the boxes: Easy, kid-pleasy, and comfort food cheesy.

I used ALDI’s “crispy potato circles” rather than traditional tater tots in today’s recipe, and they worked quite nicely with their higher crisp exterior to soft interior ratio. (As I did here, you can also cook up the rest of the bag of potatoes at the same time to add even crispier extra potato-ness to individual servings.) Hearty taco-spiced ground beef & black beans and crispy potato topping go well with cooling sour cream and cream cheese, while the corn provides a welcome pop of sweetness and crunch.

plate of taco tater tot casserole with toppings

Since I’m not a huge fan of “cream of” soups (and the kids aren’t always a fan of mushier textures), traditional tater tot casserole has honestly never been a favorite around here. But at ALDI yesterday, I picked up a clearanced pack of ground beef — and also impulse bought a bag of seasonal crispy potato circles. These purchases inspired me to take that old classic in a different direction, which proved a tasty choice.

Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole

tater tot taco casserole ingredients

Ingredients

1-1.25 lbs ground beef
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic (about 4 small cloves)
3 Tbsp taco seasoning mix (or one packet)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 cup salsa
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
30 oz bag frozen potato circles
Optional toppings for serving, such as: Additional salsa, sour cream, chopped green onion, avocado, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and take the cream cheese out to soften. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Chop the onion and garlic (if not using minced),

Brown the ground beef together with the onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as you go. Drain the ground beef.

While the beef is browning, drain the beans and corn. Chop the softened cream cheese into chunks.

pan of ground beef with salsa corn and cream cheese

Turn the heat under the pan to medium. Add taco seasoning mix, salsa, beans, corn, and cream cheese to the skillet with the browned ground beef.

ground beef with cream cheese in the skillet

Stir the beef mixture until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated.

top the casserole with potato circles

Move the ground beef mixture to your prepared casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Top the beef with 1.5 cups shredded cheese, then arrange frozen potato circles in a single layer on top.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then increase heat to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, and toss the rest of the bag of potato circles onto a separate rimmed sheet pan.

browned taco tater tot casserole

Move both the casserole and the sheet pan back into the oven and cook at 425 degrees for another 18-20 minutes, or until cheese is browned and potatoes are crispy. (Flip over the potato circles on the baking sheet after 10 minutes, then return them to the oven to brown the other side.)

Serve your taco casserole with sour cream and the rest of the bag of crispy potato circles, along with any other taco toppings of choice.

Note: This kid-friendly casserole is quite mild, and the recommended sour cream topping cools it down even further. To spice things up more, throw in a can of chopped green chiles and/or use hotter salsa.

Top things off with sour cream, and enjoy!

taco style tater tot casserole with assorted toppings

Tater Tot Casserole: But make it taco style! Don’t mind if I do, really: This meal is both easy and kid friendly. Plus, it makes a ton, which is always welcome in a house containing teenagers. A little sour cream sets off the flavors so nicely, and I also topped my own serving of casserole with avocado, chopped green onion, chopped tomato, and extra salsa.

Just for my own taste, I’d make this taco casserole a bit spicier next time by using hotter salsa, adding in diced green chiles, and/or topping it with jalapeño. Sometimes, though, I tone things down a bit for the kids. 🙂

Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole, printable recipe

Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole

Taco Style Tater Tot Casserole is a kid-friendly take on taco night! Try yours with ALDI’s crispy potato circles, as I did here.
Course dinner
Cuisine casserole
Keyword casserole, ground beef, taco casserole, tater tot casserole
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8

Equipment

1 9×13 baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1-1.25 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic about 4 small cloves
  • 3 Tbsp taco seasoning mix or one packet
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn drained
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 30 oz bag frozen potato circles
  • Optional toppings for serving such as: Additional salsa, sour cream, chopped green onion, avocado, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and take the cream cheese out to soften. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Chop the onion and garlic (if not using minced),
  • Brown the ground beef together with the onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as you go. Drain the ground beef.
  • While the beef is browning, drain the beans and corn. Chop the softened cream cheese into chunks.
  • Turn the heat under the pan to medium. Add taco seasoning mix, salsa, beans, corn, and cream cheese to the skillet with the browned ground beef.
  • Stir the beef mixture until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated.
  • Move the ground beef mixture to your prepared casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Top the beef with 1.5 cups shredded cheese, then arrange frozen potato circles in a single layer on top.
  • Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then increase heat to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, and toss the rest of the bag of potato circles onto a separate rimmed sheet pan.
  • Move both the casserole and the sheet pan back into the oven and cook at 425 degrees for another 18-20 minutes, or until cheese is browned and potatoes are crispy. (Flip over the potato circles on the baking sheet after 10 minutes, then return them to the oven to brown the other side.)
  • Serve your taco casserole with sour cream and the rest of the bag of crispy potato circles, along with any other taco toppings of choice.

Notes

This kid-friendly casserole is quite mild, and the recommended sour cream topping cools it down even further. To spice things up more, throw in a can of chopped green chiles and/or use hotter salsa.

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Recipe Rating




Julie

Thursday 7th of April 2022

So yummy! Will make again :)

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