Are you ready to add a zesty twist to your family dinners? Look no further than this mouth-watering Mexican tater tot casserole! At my house, tater tots are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and we've been enjoying our beloved tater tot casserole for years. Inspired to infuse some creative flair into this classic, much like I did with my tater tot chicken pot pie, I decided to blend our love for tater tots with the vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine. And let me tell you, this Mexican tater tot casserole might just be our new family favorite!
Packed with the bold Southwest flavors of chili peppers, black beans, and perfectly seasoned chicken, all topped off with a layer of crunchy tater tots and melted cheese. It's a dish that your family will be asking for again and again
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Why You 'll Love This Recipe
- Flavor - This easy casserole is packed with Southwest flavors that your whole family will love.
- Allergen Friendly - This dish is both gluten free and dairy free (with dairy free cheese).
- Easy - This all in one dinner is easy enough to make for a busy weeknight meal.
- Save for Later - This casserole makes great leftovers, so it can be made ahead of time and served throughout the week.
- Olive Oil - I use light flavored olive oil for all of my cooking, but any light flavored oil will work here. Vegetable oil or avocado oil would both be suitable to use.
- Onion - A diced yellow onion will add a nice base flavor to this dish.
- Jalapeno - My family likes things spicy, so I've used a diced fresh jalapeno. If you like less heat, you can omit it or replace with something like diced green pepper or even a can of mild green chilis.
- Garlic - Another ingredient added to build a base flavor profile.
- Cooked Chicken - You can prepared a few chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe or to make things easier, use leftover roasted chicken or even a rotisserie chicken. If you're following a gluten free diet, make sure the rotisserie chicken is gluten free.
- Taco Seasoning - You can use one packet taco seasoning or a homemade taco seasoning blend. Again, if you're following a gluten free diet use a gf product here as this is an ingredient which can contain hidden gluten.
- Black Beans - I always use Bush's brand of canned beans, as they are gluten free. If you don't like black beans, feel free to substitute with kidney beans, chili beans or even pinto beans.
- Salsa - Use your favorite brand. The spicier the salsa you choose, the spicier the dish will be.
- Tater Tots - Ore-Ida brand of tater tots are gluten free. I personally prefer the mini tater tots because they get extra crunchy when baked, but the full sized tots will work too.
- Cheese - If you're dairy free, use a vegan cheese alternative like Violife (they have a nice Mexican blend cheese) or Daiya shredded cheese. If you're not dairy free, I'd recommend shredded cheddar cheese or a Mexican blend.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use regular shredded cheese - either cheddar or a Mexican blend.
- Make it Vegan - Use vegan chicken pieces in place of the cooked chicken.
- Meat Variations - replace the cooked chicken with lean ground beef for a more traditional taco flavor.
- Milder Version - Reduce or omit the jalapeños for less heat. Alternatively, use bell peppers for no spice but added flavor.
- Spicier Version - Add more jalapeños or include diced habaneros for extra heat. Incorporating a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper can also elevate the spice level.
- Different Beans - Swap black beans with pinto beans or kidney beans
- More Veggies - Add corn or diced tomatoes for more texture and flavor.
- Cilantro and Sour Cream - Garnish with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream before serving.
- Enchilada Sauce - Substitute salsa with enchilada sauce for a deeper flavor.
How to make Mexican tater tot casserole
This recipe just takes a few minutes of hands on time to cook the vegetables. If you use an oven safe skillet, you can transfer it right from the stovetop to the oven and only have one dish to wash later.
STEP 1: Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the diced onion and saute them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
STEP 2: Add the jalapeno and garlic to the onions and cook for another minute stirring constantly.
STEP 3: Add the cooked chicken, taco seasoning and water to the skillet. Stir well to mix and cook for about 2 minutes until the water evaporates.
STEP 4: Stir in the salsa and black beans.
STEP 5: Transfer the filling to a 9x9 baking dish, then top with tater tots and bake.
Store leftover tater taco casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat to 165 degrees before serving.
This casserole can also be frozen before the baking step. Make the filling and top with tater tots. Cool down to room temperature, then wrap tightly with several layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
Yes. I recommend freezing it before the baking step. Cook the filling and top with tater tots. Once cooled, wrap the dish with several layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Once you're ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed. You may need to add additional baking time to ensure the filling is warmed through.
For less spicy, you can replace the jalapeno with diced green pepper and use a mild salsa. For a spicier version, add more peppers, use spicy salsa or even add a pinch of cayenne or hot sauce.
Yes. This recipe will reheat well. It works great for meal prep too!
Other dinner recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Mexican Tater Tot Casserole
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using, spray a 9x9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat.2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until softened.½ Cup Yellow Onion
- Add the jalapeno and garlic to the cooked onion and continue to cook for 1 minutes more, stirring constantly.3 Tablespoons Jalapeno, 2 cloves Garlic
- Add the cooked chicken, taco seasoning and water. Stir well until mixed and cook for about 2 minutes until the water evaporates.1 pound Cooked Chicken, 3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning, ½ Cup Water
- Stir in the beans and salsa.15 ounce Black Beans, 1 Cup Salsa
- Transfer the filling to the prepared casserole dish. Top with rows of frozen tater tots.14 ounces Tater Tots
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Add the cheese 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time so it can melt on top.1 Cup Vegan Shredded Cheese
- Serve immediately.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.