Give Tater Tot Casserole An Upgrade With Burger-Inspired Additions

Melted cheese-topped tater tot casserole
Melted cheese-topped tater tot casserole - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

While french fries are often in the limelight when it comes to cheeseburger sides, tater tots deserve plenty of accolades. Crispy, fluffy, and portable (just ask Napoleon Dynamite), the humble tot is a perfect pairing for burgers — and not just on the side. You can top your burger with tater tots for a crunchy, potato-y delight. But another way to take inspiration from this duo is to elevate your tater tot casserole with burger-inspired additions. Like this Shepherd's Pie-Inspired Tater Tot Hotdish, the popular casserole gets a welcome dose of upgraded flavor and extra texture when familiar ingredient combinations are added.

Think of the elements that make a cheeseburger so beloved: Juicy ground beef, melty cheese, tangy pickles, maybe a bit of bacon. Classic tater tot casseroles typically call for many of those elements, but adding more of your favorite toppings transforms it into something even more special. You've got a meal that brings the best of both worlds together without having to fire up the grill. The combination of taste and texture creates a comforting and unique dish that makes casserole night exciting again.

Read more: 25 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

Customize Your Burger-Inspired Tater Tot Casserole

tater tot casserole with beef
tater tot casserole with beef - Andrea Skjold Mink/Shutterstock

To upgrade your favorite tater tot casserole recipe, consider your favorite popular burger toppings. A typical tot hotdish recipe will call for ground beef, cheese, and seasonings, so you can keep the main elements or swap out for a different cheese or the seasonings you use on your burgers. Then add in other components you love — burger sauce, bacon, jalapeños, or mushrooms. For a tangy kick, try incorporating pickles or relish into the mix. You might also add a layer of crispy fried onions on top for extra crunch. Bake as directed, then add fresh toppings if you'd like.

If you want to dress it up, topping the casserole like a cheeseburger can add some welcome freshness. Add fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, red onion, and avocado — or offer veggies on the side so everyone can top their own. Pickles and relish are great toppings if you didn't add them to the dish (or even if you did and want more!). Your favorite burger sauce, ketchup, aioli, or Thousand Island dressing can also be added on top or served on the side. Like the added casserole ingredients, toppings boost the burger flavor and add textural interest to your standard tater tot casserole, bringing it to new levels of goodness that everyone will love.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.