easy one pan dinner
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One Pan Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

This one pan tater tot casserole is for nights when you need cheesy, beefy potato goodness. For those nights when you don’t have a lot of time. Or when all the other dishes are dirty. One skillet and a few key ingredients will have this on the table ready to eat.


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One Pan, Lots of Flavor

I don’t do the dishes very often. My wonderful husband takes care of them most nights. He loves this tater tot casserole because there’s only a skillet and a spatula to clean. And he’s definitely a meat & potatoes guy. Because everything cooks in the same pan, there’s layers of flavor. Meat browns in the skillet, then the cheese sauce is made with the meat still in the pan. Top it with tater tots and bake.


You can’t pull this off as a one pan dinner without an oven safe skillet. I love our skillet from DaTerra Cucina! It’s made in Italy with nonstick ceramic and has held up beautifully to almost daily use for years. I’ve scorched food in it a few times (it happens to the best of us). After washing and reconditioning with a little oil, it’s good as new again.



Adjust for Your Tastes

The great thing about meat, cheese, and potatoes is that they’re excellent vehicles for flavor, as all of them can handle a fair amount of seasoning. I use a scoop of chili garlic sauce to add more flavor. If its not an ingredient you keep on hand, skip it! You could try a little chili sauce, some BBQ sauce or tomato sauce instead.

To make some bigger flavor changes swap out ground turkey for chorizo (be sure to drain after browning) and add in some spicy jalapenos. Or use ground chicken and a little buffalo sauce. Try breakfast sausage to make this into a brunch dish. Get creative and do what tastes good to you!


OTHER EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE RECIPES: Mac & Cheese 6 Ways | Chicken Pot Pie Casserole | Sausage & Hashbrown Casserole


Tips for One Pan Tater Tot Casserole

  • thaw frozen meat ahead of time – I’m terrible at this and get frustrated that making dinner takes longer. I often use ground turkey (Aldi’s is 1.25 lbs), but a pound of any ground meat will work.
  • make it pretty – Take an extra minute or two to make a pattern with the tater tots. It’ll make you feel fancy.
  • keep an eye on the oven – Watch those edges while trying to get crispier tots. When the edges of the cheese/sauce meat mixture get some color, it’s time to pull it.

One Pan Tater Tot Casserole

An family pleasing one pan casserole made with ground meat, cheese sauce, and tater tots.

Course Breakfast, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Casserole, Ground Turkey
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 485 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ lbs ground turkey or 1 lb of ground beef
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce optional
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ bag tater tots

Instructions

  1. Brown ground turkey. Preheat oven to 450°.

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour, stir, and cook for a minute or so.

  3. Add milk, stir, and cook until sauce starts to thicken.

  4. Stir in cheese until it melts. Turn off stove heat.

  5. Top skillet with tater tots. Bake for 25 minutes.


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