Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole: A Comforting Family Favorite

Bring back family dinner time with this Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole. Easy, cheesy, and absolutely delicious!

Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole

When it comes to hearty, comforting meals that bring the family together, nothing quite compares to a casserole. The Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole is a delightful twist on classic meatloaf, combining savory beef, crunchy tater tots, and gooey cheese into a dish that’s sure to please everyone at the table. Whether you’re looking for a new weeknight dinner idea or a dish to impress at a potluck, this recipe will quickly become a favorite in your household.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole has everything you could want in a comfort food dish:

  • Savory and Sweet Flavors: The combination of ketchup and Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce creates a rich, tangy, and slightly sweet topping that perfectly complements the savory meatloaf.
  • Crunchy and Cheesy Goodness: The layer of crispy tater tots topped with melted mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend, finished off with real bacon bits, provides a delightful texture contrast and an extra layer of flavor.
  • Easy and Convenient: Using simple, readily available ingredients, this casserole is quick to prepare and requires minimal hands-on time, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you want a no-fuss meal.

Ingredients

To make this delicious casserole, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 30 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 2 oz Lipton onion soup mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 24 oz frozen tater tots
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup real bacon bits

Prep Time, Cook Time, Total Time, and Servings

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Servings: 8

Step-by-Step Directions

1. Preheat Your Oven

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This will ensure that the casserole cooks evenly.

2. Prepare the Sauce

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of ketchup and 1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce. Stir the mixture well until it is smooth and set it aside.

3. Mix the Meatloaf Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 lbs of lean ground beef, 30 crushed Ritz crackers, 2 oz of Lipton onion soup mix, 2 large eggs, and 1/2 cup of the ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture. Using your hands, mix the ingredients thoroughly until everything is well combined.

4. Shape the Meatloaf

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish to prevent the meatloaf from sticking. Press the meatloaf mixture into the dish, spreading it out evenly to cover the entire bottom.

5. Add the Sauce

Take the remaining ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture and spread it evenly over the top of the meatloaf. This will create a delicious glaze as it bakes.

6. Arrange the Tater Tots

Place the frozen tater tots in a single layer on top of the sauce-covered meatloaf. This will ensure that they cook evenly and become nice and crispy.

7. Add the Cheese and Bacon

Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend over the tater tots. Then, add 1/4 cup of real bacon bits for an extra burst of flavor.

8. Bake the Casserole

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to prevent the cheese from burning. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes, or until the ground beef is thoroughly cooked.

9. Let It Rest

Once the casserole is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. This will make it easier to slice and serve.

10. Serve and Enjoy

Slice the Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole into portions and serve it hot. Enjoy the delicious combination of flavors and textures with your family and friends.

Tips for Making the Perfect Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole

  • Use Lean Ground Beef: Opt for lean ground beef to reduce excess grease in your casserole.
  • Crush the Crackers Well: Make sure the Ritz crackers are finely crushed to help bind the meatloaf mixture together.
  • Evenly Spread the Tater Tots: Arrange the tater tots in a single layer for even cooking and maximum crispiness.
  • Cheese Variations: Feel free to experiment with different cheese blends, such as Colby Jack or Pepper Jack, for a different flavor profile.
  • Add Veggies: For a nutritional boost, you can add finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms to the meatloaf mixture.

Serving Suggestions

This Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole is a meal in itself, but it pairs wonderfully with a few side dishes to round out your dinner:

  • Green Salad: A fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance out the richness of the casserole.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Simple steamed broccoli, green beans, or carrots make a great addition.
  • Garlic Bread: Serve with warm garlic bread or dinner rolls to soak up any extra sauce.

Storing and Reheating

If you have leftovers, this casserole stores beautifully:

  • Refrigerate: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, you can freeze the casserole. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: To reheat, thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Then, cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through. Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave.

FAQs

1. Can I use a different type of meat? Absolutely! Ground turkey or chicken can be used as a substitute for ground beef if you prefer a lighter option.

2. What can I use instead of Ritz crackers? If you don’t have Ritz crackers, you can use crushed saltine crackers, breadcrumbs, or even oats as a binder.

3. Can I make this casserole ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the casserole up to the point of baking, then cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking.

4. How can I make this dish gluten-free? To make this casserole gluten-free, use gluten-free crackers and ensure that the barbecue sauce and onion soup mix are also gluten-free.

Conclusion

The Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole is a surefire hit for any occasion. With its delightful combination of flavors and textures, it’s a dish that brings warmth and comfort to the dinner table. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just looking for a new family favorite, this casserole is a must-try. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a meal that’s as easy to make as it is delicious to eat. Happy cooking!

Discover the ultimate comfort food with this Cheesy Tater Tot Meatloaf Casserole recipe! Easy to make, family-friendly, and incredibly delicious. Perfect for busy weeknights and family gatherings. Pin now to save for later!

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