Take Frozen Tater Tots To Another Level With A Cheesy Breakfast Bake

A warm breakfast is a thing of beauty. When cold cereal won't do, there's nothing quite like eggs, potatoes, and some cheese to start the day. You may be thinking of a full English breakfast-style plate, and that's well and good. But what if you could also take it a step further and put your favorite breakfast components together in a casserole? With this in mind, we're taking inspiration from one of our perennial potluck favorites—the Upper Midwest hotdish—and creating a breakfast bake that's perfect for a crowd.

The constituent parts of a hotdish are debatable, though they generally contain ground meat and processed vegetables. The most familiar component seems to be its topping of tater tots, adding a textural layer of starch. To make this casserole idea work for breakfast, we suggest pulling back on the quantities of meat and vegetables, and increasing the amount of eggs and dairy, the hallmarks of what many usually eat for breakfast. This results in a casserole that holds together well for easy cleanup afterward and is simple to eat for those who are less bright-eyed in the mornings.

How to make your own tater tot breakfast casserole

So how does one make themselves a tater tot breakfast bake? You'll need tater tots, of course, and a 32 oz bag straight from the freezer is perfect for the job. The next step is the custard that will bind these tots together. We recommend a ratio of about six eggs to a quarter cup of milk, as a higher proportion of eggs will result in a firmer hold so you can slice and serve this casserole much more easily. For said 32 oz bag of tots, about 12 eggs to half a cup of milk is ideal. Then, the cheese.

A generous portion of shredded cheese (at least 1 cup) will bring it right into crave-able territory, and the meltier, the better—think cheddar or jack for a good cheese pull and a mildly salty bite. Add enough salt and pepper to all of that, stick it into a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes, and you'll have yourself a delicious breakfast bake.

From this basic recipe, you can take it in many different directions. Want to add some breakfast meats in? Crumbled cooked bacon or sausage over the top. Want to amp up the vegetable content? Stir in hardy greens like kale or chard before baking, or par-cooked broccoli or cauliflower florets for a substantial bite.

More ideas for breakfast bakes

One of the best things about tater tot breakfast bakes is that they can be assembled the night before, only needing you to pop them in the oven the next morning. This is a fantastic way to get a wholesome breakfast on the table if you have a bunch of people over (say, during holiday season). And if it's just you at home, leftovers of this breakfast bake keep well in the fridge and even better in the freezer. If freezing, we suggest dividing it into single portions for easy storage and reheating.

Other make-ahead breakfast ideas include creative bread pudding recipes (either savory or sweet will do), and a flavorful strata, the wonderfully eggy breakfast bake made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker's character in "The Family Stone." Whether to feed a crowd or just yourself, breakfast casseroles are definitely the way to go for a meal that's easy to prep, eat, and store.