Tater tots are topped with sloppy joe meat sauce, then more tater tots are added and cheese, before being baked for the perfect cheesy dinner. Made with onion, green bell pepper, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, and savory sauces, this sloppy joe mix has a sweet and tangy flavor.
why you’ll love this recipe
One of my favorite ways to get the most from a pound of ground beef is to make this easy family-sized Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole. We love it because:
- it’s convenient comfort food and easy to make
- this casserole feeds a large group on the cheap
- is great for potlucks, game days, or weeknight dinners
- and it’s a recipe even picky eaters will love
- Ground beef- I prefer 90% lean for less grease
- Yellow onion – white may be used but not as sweet
- Garlic- fresh or canned is best
- Green bell pepper – or red
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- BBQ sauce
- Brown sugar
- Yellow mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Colby jack cheese – Pepper Jack, Mexican-blend or Cheddar will work too
- Frozen Tater Tots– round or traditional
Who doesn’t love an easy casserole?
- Add cooking spray to a 13×9-inch baking dish and preheat the oven.
- Fry the meat, onion, and garlic in a large skillet until the steak is no longer pink.
- Drain any grease and add the bell pepper, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.
- Over the tater tots, spoon the sloppy joe mixture and top with half the cheese. Top the rest of the tater tots with the mixture.
- Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the tots are golden and crispy, depending on your oven.
- Place the dish back in the oven for an additional five minutes after adding the remaining cheese.
This recipe is inspired by a Tater Tot casserole recipe from the Salty Marshmallow. The great thing about casseroles is you can mix and match to suit your preferences!
- My kids often like me to use extra tater tots.
- Make an extra pan and freeze it for a quick dinner later.
- Regular tater tots or tater tot rounds are both acceptable substitutes.
- Top with a dollop of sour cream and chives for extra flare.
- Add hidden vegetables like peas, carrots, or mushrooms.
How do I make the tots crispy?
To get a crisp top layer, bake for at least 25 minutes or longer, depending on your oven settings.
How to save time
To save time, make the Sloppy Joe sauce mixture in advance and store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a few days.
How to get a crisp cheese layer
Set oven to broil for 3-5 minutes, keeping a close eye to not burn your top layer of cheese. Once you see dark golden, crisp bubbles, it is time to remove from the oven.
Tater tot sloppy Joes are best served right away or re-heated in the oven / air fryer.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- This can be frozen for up to 3 months.
what to serve with sloppy joes
- a vegetable side dish
- as a hot dog topping
- on a hoagie roll
Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 lb lean ground beef 90% lean is best
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- ½ green pepper diced
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 8 oz Colby Jack Cheese
- 32 oz Tater Tots frozen
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat till the beef is no browned, about 10 minutes.
- Drain any grease and add the bell pepper, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Place half the tater tots in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the sloppy joe mixture over the tater tots, then sprinkle with half the cheese.
- Top with the remaining tater tots.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, till the casserole is bubbly and the potatoes get browned and crispy.
- Remove and add the remaining cheese and place back in the oven for 5 minutes.
SIDES TO TRY…
Air Fryer Garlic Bread
Mexican Street Corn
Instant Pot Mac & Cheese
More savory comfort food…..
Korean Sloppy Joes
Chicken Doritos Casserole
Tuna Noodle Casserole