I couldn’t resist testing this savory, cheesy Pioneer Woman Tater Tot casserole. And I’m so happy that I did!
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home, Getty Images
Ree Drummon’ds kitchen is always full of family and friends, and she keeps them all happy with comfort food. Like most of her recipes, this Pioneer Woman Tater Tot casserole makes enough to feed the whole family—and then some!
With breakfast sausage and eggs, this hot dish is a great choice for breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner. And of course, it’s loaded with Tater Tots. They make up the base of this savory casserole, soaking up the egg during an overnight chill.
Do I Really Need to Chill This Casserole Overnight?
By chilling the assembled dish overnight, the flavors of the cooked sausage, spices and peppers have a chance to meld and develop before baking. The Tater Tots on the bottom also absorb the milk and egg batter, creating a base that’s browned on the bottom and tender throughout.
That being said, some of the recipe reviewers did confess to successfully baking the casserole as soon as it was assembled. If you’re pressed for time, you can get away with skipping the chilling step. However, putting it together the night before does make for a fantastic make-ahead breakfast. Just pop it in the oven and sip your coffee while it bakes.
How to Make The Pioneer Woman’s Tater Tot Casserole
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
Ree Drummond’s Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole makes 8 servings. Plan enough time to assemble the recipe the night before and chill it overnight in the fridge. Several of the reviewers on Ree’s recipe mentioned using more eggs than she calls for, and I did this too. I increased the amount from four to six eggs, to ensure that the casserole would set up well.
- 16 ounces frozen Tater Tots, plus extra for the top
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound spicy or regular bulk breakfast sausage
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 large eggs
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Step 1: Build a Tater Tot crust
Grease a 13×9-in. baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Arrange the Tater Tots in long, neat rows in the baking dish to completely cover the bottom.
Step 2: Cook the sausage
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl the pan so it coats the bottom. Crumble the breakfast sausage into the hot pan; add in the diced onion as well. Cook the sausage for about 10 minutes until its cooked through, stirring the mixture occasionally and breaking up the sausage. Move the pan off the heat and let the sausage mixture cool.
Step 3: Make the egg batter
Whisk together the milk, half-and-half, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and eggs in a large bowl. Add in the diced red and green pepper, 1 cup of the grated cheddar, 1/2 cup of the grated pepper jack cheese and the salt and pepper. Stir to mix everything together.
Step 4: Assemble the casserole and chill
Spoon the cooled sausage and onion mixture into an even layer over the Tater Tots in the baking dish. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the sausage, then use a spoon to spread out the cheese and peppers evenly. Sprinkle in the remaining grated cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Finally, add 10-12 Tater Tots over the top of the casserole. (This step isn’t in Ree’s original recipe, but I like a crispy top!)
Tightly cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it overnight.
Step 5: Bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the covered casserole in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-35 minutes. You know it’s done when the casserole is set with no liquidy pockets and a knife inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
Cut the Tater Tot casserole into slices and serve them while they’re warm.
Here’s What I Thought
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
All that cheese and all those Tater Tots? Yeah, this is a pretty easy casserole to enjoy!
With sausage, eggs, onions and spice, it checks all the boxes for a delicious, savory breakfast recipe. The Tater Tots on the bottom get browned, but because they soak up the batter overnight, they become a tender base layer for the casserole. We had Tater Tot casserole for Sunday breakfast and then reheated slices the next day for lunch.
Diced, fresh bell peppers keep their crunch in the baked casserole. While they’re fine this way, the next time I make this recipe I plan to saute the peppers first, so they’ll be soft and more flavorful in the finished dish.
How to Make It Your Own
The original Pioneer Woman Tater Tot casserole recipe is easy to riff off of. For example, I added some Tots to the top of the casserole. You can swap out the breakfast sausage for ground beef or turkey cooked with taco seasoning.
You can sneak more veggies into this casserole too, like fire-roasted corn, diced tomatoes and chopped, fresh spinach. Sliced, sauteed mushrooms would also be delicious.
The Best Casseroles to Make with Tater Tots