A simple beef casserole recipe for busy nights, Beef Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole is full of the same classic flavors with a layer of potatoes and cheese!
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I am a big fan of potatoes and the idea for tater tot casseroles came to me randomly one day. I figured, why not layer some favorite foods and flavors with a bunch of delicious, golden, tater tots?! A cheesy beef casserole seemed like a great variation. You can find more tater tot casseroles here!
I remember eating sloppy joes when I was a kid, and I love them still to this day. This is a great way to get the same flavors, with a little less mess.
There is a trade off to make when determining how saucy you want the casserole to be. If you want it pretty saucey, you can increase the water by an additional 1/2 cup. The trade off is that the moisture absorbs into the tater tots and makes them fall apart more, and less likely to hold their tot structure. You can also easily make the Beef Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole in advance, but for the same reason as above, wait to add the tater tot layer until you are about to bake so they do not absorb all the sauce and fall apart too much.
I also use a smaller baking dish that is approximately 6×9 inches instead of the larger, “typical” size. This is because the meat to tot ratio would be very different. You can use a larger dish and double up the beef part of the recipe to keep the ratio, or bake in any other smaller dishes like a square dish or loaf pans. Or just use a larger dish but don’t pack the tots in as much.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- Cook the ground beef until cooked through, approximately 7-10 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- Add the garlic, onion powder, and chili powder to the meat. Stir until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, water, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes for flavors to combine. If it gets thick, add a little more water. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Pour the meat mixture into a 6x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar across the top of the meat.
- Layer the tater tots in rows across the top, using approximately 1 pound of tater tots (1/2 standard bag). Sprinkle the remaining cheese across the top of the tater tots.
- Bake the casserole until the tots are cooked through when inserting a fork and the cheese is melted, approximately 15 minutes. Serve immediately.