Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is a winner for busy mornings, entertaining or holidays, because it’s prep ahead friendly, feeds a crowd, easy to make and incredibly delicious!

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is an easy, hearty, family favorite that will have kids AND adults coming back for seconds and thirds!  It can be prepped in less than 20 minutes and baked immediately OR refrigerated until ready to serve.  This breakfast casserole is made with crispy tater tots, eggs, juicy sausage, onions, bell peppers, sharp cheddar and pepper Jack cheese all baked together to create a mountain of creamy, cheesy, potato goodness.  It’s the epitome of comfort food, and the epitome of YUM.  You don’t want to miss this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole!

Breakfast casseroles are without a doubt the easiest and one of the most delicious ways to feed a crowd (or just your family) for breakfast or breakfast for dinner.  Some of our favorite breakfast casseroles and bakes include: sausage breakfast casserole, berry croissant breakfast casserole, breakfast enchiladas, crème brûlée French toast, eggnog French toast casseroleeggs Benedict casserolepecan praline French toast bake and now I’m excited to bring you this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole! 

tater tot breakfast casserole video

tater tot breakfast casserole covered with cheese and crispy tater tots

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BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

This breakfast casserole is a game changer – just in time for Father’s Day!  Most Tater Tot Breakfast Casseroles either use tater tots in the filling so they bake up soft or they add tater tots to the top of the casserole – so the filling is lacking.  To remedy this problem, this recipe uses tater tots in both the filling AND the topping!  Now you are rewarded with soft, pillowy tater tots in the filling and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside tater tots on the top.  The level of textural pleasure this creates cannot be overrated.  Once you sink your teeth into this breakfast casserole, you won’t be able to stop!

REASONS TO LOVE THIS BREAKFAST CASSEROLE RECIPE:

  • Delicious!  This breakfast casserole is bursting with tender tater tots, juicy sausage, bell peppers and melty, gooey cheese all swaddled in luscious eggs topped with crispy, pillowy tater tots and more cheese for a rich and gooey bite. It’s warm, creamy, cheesy, crispy and the best way to start your day!
  • Easy.  This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is simple to make and easy to clean up after, which means you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with those you love.  You’ll brown the sausage, throw all the ingredients together in a baking dish and let the oven do the rest. You don’t even have to thaw the tater tots first!
  • Hearty and filling.  Unlike the sweet breakfast options, this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is a meal-in-one that bakes in one pan.  You get double the protein with the sausage end eggs so it’s deeply satisfying with staying power to get you – and everyone – through the festivities with smiles on their faces.  
  • Winner, winner, breakfast casserole for dinner!  Because this breakfast casserole is so satisfying, it also makes a great dinner.  You can even prep it in the morning and bake at dinner time.
  • Make ahead.  This easy breakfast casserole is a hearty, savory option that can be mostly prepared the night before.  When you’re ready to bake, just add the tater tots on top and you’re ready to pop it in the oven.
  • Meal prep.  I also love this breakfast casserole for meal prep during the week – just warm a slice for a delectable, satisfying breakfast that will give you and your kids far more brain power than cereal.
  • Versatile. I’m sharing my favorite version today but this casserole is infinitely adaptable.  It can also be made with ham, bacon, turkey as well as different cheeses, veggies, and seasonings.
  • Feeds a crowd. This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole makes 12 satisfying servings and is even easy to double if needed!

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE recipe INGREDIENTS

This easy Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients.  Just keep a package of tater tots and sausage in your freezer, and you should have everything else on hand.  You will need: 

  • Tater tots:  everyone’s favorite potato puff is the star of this breakfast casserole. You’ll want to use one 32-ounce package of tater tots found in the freezer section.  DON’T thaw them first or they won’t bake up as crispy.
  • Sausage:  use bulk sausage, which is simply sausage that that has not been put into a natural casing, so it’s easy to cook and crumble.  Jimmy Dean is an example of bulk sausage.  I recommend hot bulk sausage for the best flavor.  It will not make your Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole hot, but will add a little kick to wake things up a bit.  If you use plain sausage, you’ll want to add some red pepper flakes.
  • Aromatics: one yellow onion and a few garlic cloves build the flavor base. 
  • Bell peppers:  one red bell pepper for sweetness and one green bell pepper for earthiness. You may also substitute with other vegetables.  If they are a longer cooking vegetable, you will want to cook them longer with the sausage to soften.
  • Cheese:  always two cheeses please!  I use sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack but you may also use sharp and either Monterrey Jack or mozzarella.  Sharp cheese boasts enough flavor to cut through the richness of the casserole and pepper Jack melts beautifully to add delightful creaminess with a sassy kick.  
  • Eggs:   8 eggs!  We need a significant number of eggs to envelop all of the ingredients and bind them together.
  • Half and half: is crucial to create a luscious and creamy egg mixture that won’t dry out once baked.  You can combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk to make half and half if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Green chiles:  you will need one 4 oz. can mild diced green chiles.  They are not spicy, just add tangy flavor, just take care you get the MILD vs HOT.  I have mistakenly purchased the hot diced green chiles before and they will knock your socks off!
  • Seasonings:  parsley, paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper round out the flavor profile – no bland breakfast casserole here!
up close of a slice of tater tot breakfast casserole with sausage

Is this recipe gluten free?

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole can be gluten free if you double check the ingredient labels.  Some ingredients you think are gluten free may not be. 

The sausage doesn’t contain any gluten but not all manufacturers meet USDA standards for “gluten-free” because they are cross contaminated by either using shared equipment or by being made in the same facility as gluten grains.  Some sausages even contain rusk made from wheat.  Jimmy Dean Sausage is an example of sausage that is not gluten free.   You can check out this Gluten Free Sausage Brand list or double check the packaging to ensure your sausage is certified gluten free.

The tater tots are another ingredient to look out for.  You would think they would all be gluten free, but some actually contain gluten!  Look for certified gluten free tater tots which should be easy to find and clearly labeled.

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE recipe variations

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is really a formula with a creamy egg base – you can customize the veggies, meat, cheeses and even the tater tots to make it differently every time!  Here are some ways to mix it up: 

  • Make it vegetarian: if you are vegetarian, then omit the sausage and replace it with an equal number of vegetables or your favorite non-meat substitute.  Season with some salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.
  • Choose meat:  I love hot bulk sausage but you can use breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, turkey sausage, bacon, turkey bacon or ham.  You will want to cook any raw protein first before adding it to the egg mixture.   I suggest adding a dash of red pepper flakes if not using hot sausage.  You can also use chorizo without any additional seasonings. 
  • Choose vegetables:  the possibilities are endless!  You may swap the red and green bell peppers for sautéed corn, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, roasted bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.  There are 2 important factors to keep in mind when customizing veggies:  1) sauté the vegetables first – don’t add raw vegetables to the casserole or they will remain raw when baked; 2) keep the ratios the same.  You don’t want to add additional vegetables without subtracting vegetables or tater tots or there won’t be enough creamy eggs to envelop the veggies.
  • Choose cheese:  use the suggested sharp cheddar and pepper Jack or swap the pepper Jack for another cheese that melts well such as Mozzarella, Gruyere, Swiss, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Fontina, or Gouda.  You can also add some other non-melting cheeses in addition just for flavor such as Parmesan or feta. 
  • Choose add-ins:  in additional to different vegetables, you can also add jarred jalapenos, olives and additional fresh herbs such as fresh chives, basil, parsley, oregano, etc.

HOW TO MAKE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

  • Step 1:  Cook sausage and veggies.  It’s important to cook the sausage first to render the fat.  We also cook the onions and peppers with the sausage to save time and to infuse them with flavor.  If you decide to use other veggies, add them with the sausage as well. Transfer the sausage mixture to a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish and allow to cool slightly – otherwise if you stir in the cheese immediately, you’ll end up with a clumpy mess.
showing how to make breakfast casserole by cooking sausage, onions and bell peppers in a skillet
  • Step 2:  Whisk egg mixture.  Whisk together eggs, half and half, and seasonings.  I like to whisk them together in a large liquid measuring cup so it is easy to pour.
a collage showing how to make tater tot breakfast casserole by whisking half and half, eggs, and seasonings together in a liquid measuring cup
  • Step 3:  Assemble. Add half of the tater tots to the baking dish with the sausage and half of both cheeses – ¾ cup cheddar and ¾ pepper Jack.  You’ll use the rest of the cheese to top the casserole later.  Stir everything to evenly combine then spread into an even layer.  Pour Egg Mixture over the sausage mixture, then sprinkle remaining tater tots over top. 
a collage showing how to make tater tot breakfast casserole by adding tater tots, sausage and cheese to a 9x13 baking dish, covering with egg mixture then topping with tater tots
  • Step 4:  Bake.  Bake the Tater Tot Casserole uncovered at 350 degrees F until the eggs are set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese.
a collage showing how to make tater tot breakfast casserole by baking until tater tots are golden then adding cheese and baking until melted
top view of tater tot casserole in a 9x13 baking dish

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BAKE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE?

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is a hearty, thick casserole, so it requires about 75-90 minutes to bake. There are several factors that affect baking time such as the type of casserole dish (glass, ceramic, cast iron, etc.), actual oven temperature and actual ingredients, so you will want to check for doneness at the beginning of the cooking window. 

To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the breakfast casserole. A clean toothpick means the casserole is ready.  You can also use an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pan to check if it has reached 160-170 degrees F.

cooking TIPS FOR BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

  • Don’t thaw the tater tots. The tater tots will have the best texture if they aren’t thawed first.  If you are making ahead, keep the half of the tater tots for the topping in the freezer until ready to pop the casserole in the oven.
  • Freshly grated cheese please. Use only freshly grated cheeses as packaged cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which inhibits their melting ability.  
  • Keep proportions.  Although you can swap out the meat and vegetables in this breakfast casserole recipe, you will want to keep the proportions the same so there is enough egg mixture to envelop the filling.  
  • Bake uncovered.  This will allow the tater tots to brown and get crispy!
  • Don’t overcook.  Keep an eye on the Tater Tot Casserole and don’t overbake.  The casserole is forgiving but it won’t be as creamy if overbaked. 
  • Make ahead or freeze. You can make the breakfast casserole ahead of time and just pop in the oven in the morning or freeze before or after baking.  Instructions to follow.

WHAT TOPPINGS FOR tater tot BREAKFAST CASSEROLE?

This breakfast casserole is fabulous as is, or serve it with ketchup, salsa, salsa verde, hot sauce, sour cream and/or avocado slices.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH BREAKFAST CASSEROLE recipe?

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is a meal-in-one – all it needs is fruit!  Just add some orange slices or cantaloupe and call it a day or pair it with any of the following for a more elaborate feast:  

tater tot casserole in slices in a 9x13 baking dish with  a few pieces missing showing how creamy it is

MAKE AHEAD BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

You can prep this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole in steps if you prefer.  This is helpful if you want to prep more than 24 hours in advance:

  • Sausage:  brown the sausage, bell peppers and onions, cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
  • Cheese:  shred and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Egg mixture: whisk the egg mixture together, cover, and store in an airtight container for up to 48 hours. Give the mixture a whisk before using.

Now all that’s left to do is mix the sausage mixture with the tater tots/cheese and then stir in the egg mixture. Easy peasy!

OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is a make ahead dream!  You can assemble it a day ahead of time or freeze it for later use.

To make ahead and serve later:

  • Assemble the breakfast casserole according to recipe instructions but DON’T add the tater tops on top.  Keep this half of the tater tots frozen until ready to use.
  • Tightly cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate unbaked casserole a few hours up to 24.
  • When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. 
  • Add the remaining half of frozen tater tots and bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes as needed.

HOW LONG IS BREAKFAST CASSEROLE GOOD FOR?

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole should be covered tightly or transferred to an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When stored correctly, it is good for up to 5 days. 

HOW TO REHEAT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

To reheat breakfast casserole:

  • Microwave:  warm individual servings on a microwave safe plate in the microwave for about a minute or until warmed though.  I like to cut my slice in half before microwaving so it warms evenly.
  • Oven:  you can reheat the entire pan by covering with foil and baking at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through (will depend on number of servings left).

CAN I FREEZE tater tot BREAKFAST CASSEROLE?

You can freeze this breakfast casserole recipe either before baking or after baking. 

To freeze breakfast casserole before baking:

  • Assemble the breakfast casserole according to recipe instructions but DON’T add the tater tops on top.  Keep this half of the tater tots frozen until ready to use, otherwise they will thaw with the casserole and won’t bake up crispy.
  • Cover the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 
  • When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. 
  • Add the remaining half of frozen tater tots and bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes as needed.

To freeze breakfast casserole after baking:

Note, the tater tots won’t be as crispy, but still tasty once thawed.

  • Let casserole cool completely.  It is best to let it chill overnight in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Freeze the entire baking dish by covering the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil OR portion the casserole into small servings and transfer slices to sealable plastic bags or small airtight containers.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.  
  • You can reheat individual servings straight from frozen on a microwave safe plate.
  • To reheat the entire casserole, allow it to thaw completely overnight.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees F until heated through, approximately 20 minutes.
up close of a slice of tater tot breakfast casserole with  bite taken out, showing how creamy and cheesy it is
top view of tater tot casserole in a 9x13 baking dish

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

This Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole is an easy, hearty, family favorite that will have kids AND adults coming back for seconds and thirds!  It can be prepped in less than 20 minutes and baked immediately OR refrigerated until ready to serve.  This breakfast casserole is made with crispy tater tots, eggs, juicy sausage, onions, bell peppers, sharp cheddar and pepper Jack cheese all baked together to create a mountain of creamy, cheesy, potato goodness.  It’s the epitome of comfort food, and the epitome of YUM.  You don’t want to miss this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce bag frozen Tater Tots®, divided (DON'T THAW)
  • 1 pound hot bulk pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cup freshly grated pepper Jack cheese

EGG MIXTURE

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 ounces diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp EACH paprika, ground mustard, dried oregano, salt, pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onions and bell peppers and cook while crumbling the sausage until the sausage is cooked through and onions are softened. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Drain grease and add the mixture to the baking dish. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In large bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together all of the Egg Mixture ingredients; set aside
  • Add half of the tater tots to the baking dish with the sausage and half of both cheeses (¾ cup each cheese). Stir everything to combine then spread into an even layer.
  • Pour Egg Mixture over the sausage mixture, then sprinkle remaining tater tots over top.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 75-90 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped chives or green onions if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Cheese:  use the suggested sharp cheddar and pepper Jack or swap the pepper Jack for another cheese that melts well such as Mozzarella, Gruyere, Swiss, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Fontina, or Gouda.  Use only freshly grated cheeses as packaged cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which inhibits their melting ability.  
  • Variations:  you can swap out the meat and vegetables for your favorites but keep the proportions the same so there is enough egg mixture to envelop the filling.  
  • Storage: cover tightly or transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Store  for up to 5 days. 

HOW TO REHEAT

  • Microwave:  warm individual servings on a microwave safe plate in the microwave for about a minute or until warmed though.  I like to cut my slice in half before microwaving so it warms evenly.
  • Oven:  you can reheat the entire pan by covering with foil and baking at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through (will depend on number of servings left).

OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

  • Assemble the breakfast casserole according to recipe instructions but DON’T add the tater tops on top.  Keep this half of the tater tots frozen until ready to use.
  • Tightly cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate unbaked casserole a few hours up to 24.
  • When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. 
  • Add the remaining half of frozen tater tots and bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes as needed.

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2 Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    Made this for the family breakfast for my son’s 13th birthday, along with some waffles/strawberries & whipped cream in case they didn’t like it, haha. It was absolutely delicious! I’ve seen so many tater tot casserole recipes but have never made one before. The hot sausage was a great choice for this casserole, gave it great flavor with just the most subtle heat that even the kids love. Thanks for another yummy recipe Jen!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Stephanie, thanks for making them! I’m so glad this recipe wasn’t a bust but your entire breakfast spread with the sweet and savory sounds wonderful! Please tell your son happy birthday from me!

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