This super-cozy Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is SO GOOD! I get asked for the recipe every time I make it. Tot-style hashbrowns with a delicious seasoned egg mixture and lots of cheese, baked until bubbly. So satisfying and totally craveable.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite breakfast recipes. It’s perfect for brunch and it is easy to take to a potluck, but my family loves it most when I make a batch on the weekend just to have leftovers for weekday mornings.
Gather Your Ingredients to Make This Easy Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole Recipe
Before you dive into the recipe, it’s good to know what each ingredient does. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Oil: Helps sauté the onion and contributes to a more flavorful base.
- Onion: Adds natural sweetness and depth of flavor to the dish.
- Kosher Salt: Used for seasoning and to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Whole Milk: Creates a creamy texture in the egg mixture.
- Cream: Adds richness to the egg mixture.
- Eggs: The binder that holds everything together and provides structure.
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (12 ounces by weight): Adds sharpness and a cheesy flavor; also creates a beautiful melted layer on top.
- Tater Tots (Hashbrowns): The potato base that provides yummy flavor and texture. Be sure to thaw them first!
- Fresh Parsley or Chives: Offers a pop of color and fresh flavor as a garnish. Feel free to swap in minced green onions.
Variations and Substitutions
Feel like shaking things up? Here are some ideas:
- Replace Tater Tots: Use hash browns or even cooked and diced potatoes for a different texture.
- Cheese Swap: Try gruyere or pepper jack cheese for a different flavor profile.
- Add Veggies: Saute some diced bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and/or spinach for extra veggies and color.
- Protein Punch: Add diced ham or cooked crumbled sausage for a meaty version.
- Dairy-Free: Use a dairy-free milk and cream substitute, and a plant-based cheese if needed.
- Amp up the Flavor: Add a teaspoon of onion powder, a little garlic powder, a sprinkle of black pepper and/or cayenne to the egg mixture if you like. (It tastes delicious as-is, though, trust me!)
To make a sausage version:
After cooking the onion, return skillet to heat. Cook 12 oz breakfast sausage (casings removed), breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. When sausage is no longer pink, transfer to bowl with onion. You could alternatively use turkey sausage.
To make a bacon version
After cooking the onion, return skillet to heat. Cook 8 slices of bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel. Chop it into bite-sized piece and transfer it to bowl with onion.
Grab these Tools
You don’t need a fancy kitchen to whip this up. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Large Skillet: For sautéing the onion.
- Large Bowl: To combine the milk, eggs, and cheese.
- Whisk: For thoroughly mixing the eggs and dairy.
- 8-Cup Baking Dish: Where all the ingredients come together.
- Meat Thermometer (optional): To ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
What size baking dish is that?
An 8-cup baking dish roughly equates to a 2-quart dish. The dimensions can vary depending on the shape, but here are some common ones:
– Rectangular: About 11×7 inches
– Square: Around 8×8 inches or 9×9 inches
– Oval: Around 12×8 inches
– Round: Typically about 9-10 inches in diameter
How to make Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole: Easy Step-by-Step Directions
Let’s break down the steps to make this dish a hit:
- Sauté onion: Building the flavor foundation by caramelizing the onions.
- Whisk wet mixture: Combining milk, eggs, and cheese to form a luscious base.
- Layer tater tots: Creating the hearty bottom layer that’ll soak up the goodness.
- Pour egg mixture: Making sure every tater tot gets a dip in the creamy blend.
- Top with cheese: Because more cheese equals more joy.
- Bake: Locking in all the flavors and textures.
- Check internal temperature: Ensuring it’s cooked perfectly for safe eating.
- Cool and garnish: Giving it a moment to set while adding a sprinkle of finesse.
Make Ahead and Storage
Who said you can’t have convenience and deliciousness in the same meal?
- Freeze it: Pop individual portions in paper-lined muffin cups in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. On busy mornings, grab one to microwave for a quick heat-and-eat breakfast option. Kids love this!
- Refrigerate: This dish stores well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Perfect for weekday breakfasts!
- Reheat: A few minutes in the oven or microwave, and it’s as good as fresh.
How to Make It as an Overnight Breakfast Casserole
- Prep the Base: Follow the original recipe until you pour the egg mixture over the tater tots in the baking dish.
- Seal and Chill: Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil or a lid and place in the fridge.
- Morning Oven Prep: Take the dish out 30 minutes before baking to let it reach room temperature.
- Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F and bake as per the original recipe, adding 5-10 minutes if needed.
- Cool and Serve: Allow to cool briefly before garnishing and serving.
How to Serve This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole Recipe
- Personalize it: Serve with a variety of optional toppings like salsa, hot sauce, avocado, or a dollop of sour cream.
- Pair it up: A fresh green salad or fruit bowl works wonders to lighten the meal.
- Go fancy: Serving for brunch? A glass of mimosa or freshly squeezed orange juice is the perfect complement.
- Family style: Lay the casserole dish in the center of the table and let everyone dig in. I love adding a side of pan fried asparagus.
Notes, Pro Tips and Science-Based Secrets
Unlock the secrets to elevating this breakfast casserole into something special.
- Cheese choices: Opt for cheeses with good meltability and flavor, like cheddar, Gruyère or Monterey Jack. This time, I used a bacon cheese blend (which was super yummy)
- Cook down the onions: Sautéing the onions until they’re golden helps draw out their sweetness, adding depth and concentrating their flavor.
- Fresh herbs: Don’t skip the garnish. Fresh parsley or chives don’t just add color; they offer a pop of bright flavor that balances the richness.
- Use foil if needed: Cover the casserole with foil if the cheese is getting too brown before the filling is set.
- Temperature check: Make sure the internal temperature hits 165°F for safe eating, but also to ensure all the ingredients set perfectly.
- Let it rest: Allow the casserole to sit for at least 10 minutes after baking. This makes it easier to slice.
5 Common Mistakes People Make with Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Not thawing the tots: Using still-frozen tater tots will result in a casserole that doesn’t cook evenly.
- Skipping the seasoning: Forgetting to season the egg mixture or the sautéed onions can result in a bland dish.
- Rushing the rest time: Cutting into the casserole immediately after taking it out of the oven can cause it to fall apart.
- Soggy casserole: See below
- Dry casserole: See below.
Why is my Tater Tot Casserole soggy?
If your tater tot casserole is soggy, there could be a few reasons:
- Excess Moisture: Not cooking down the onions or using frozen tater tots may cause extra moisture to be released as it cooks, making the casserole soggy.
- Inadequate Baking Time: Not baking the casserole long enough can leave it with a soggy texture. A thermometer is your best bet, or jiggle the dish and make sure it isn’t liquidy in the center.
- Overcrowding: If the tater tots and other ingredients are packed too tightly, they may steam rather than bake, leading to sogginess.
- Temperature: Cooking at too low a temperature may not allow the casserole to firm up, resulting in a soggy texture.
Why is my Tater Tot Casserole dry?
If your tater tot casserole is dry:
- Insufficient Liquid: Not enough milk, cream, or eggs can result in a dry casserole. As long as you measure, that won’t be an issue here.
- Overbaking: Cooking the casserole for too long can dry it out.
- Baking Dish Size: If the baking dish is too large, the ingredients may spread out and become dry as they cook.
Other Yummy Brunch Recipes to Try:
FAQ about Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Yes, you can, but the texture will vary slightly.
Yes, you can use your preferred type of unsweetened, unflavored milk, but it may alter the richness of the casserole.
Feel free to use any melting cheese like Monterey Jack or Gruyère.
It should keep for up to 3-4 days when stored properly.
Yes, you can freeze it either before or after baking, but the texture might be slightly different when reheated.
Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided use
- 1.5 lbs tater tots thawed (feel free to sub in hashbrown patties or shredded/diced hashbrowns)
- 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley or chives to serve
- Sauté minced onion with ½ tsp salt in oil until golden; transfer to a bowl.
- In the same bowl, whisk milk, cream, eggs, and 2 cups of the cheese. Add ½ tsp more salt.
- Spread thawed hashbrowns in an 8-cup baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over hashbrowns and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes, or until set (no longer liquidy in the center when you jiggle the dish). Ensure internal temp reaches 165°F.
- Cool for 10 minutes and garnish with parsley or chives before serving.
Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD