Loaded Baked Tater Tot Dip
The best part of a baked potato isn’t really the potato. It’s the sour cream and cheese that tops it.
This is a bowl of everything fabulous that goes on top of baked potatoes, minus the baked potatoes.
The dip assembly literally takes five minutes, but if you’re making it for a party and have lots to do on the day-of, you can assemble it, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking it off.
You could also make the recipe as written and serve it as a casserole by the slice, but it’s pretty rich and filling. Plus, I am a huge dip fanatic and dipping crackers or bread into that bowl of creamy wonderland is more fun and satisfying than a slice of casserole.
To make the dip, I used tater tots instead of potatoes. I have fond memories of the stubby little tots from elementary school lunches. I ate them slathered in ketchup and decades have gone by and I’ve had very few tater tots since sixth grade. I decided to make up for lost time. Compared to baked potatoes, tater tots have that browned exterior and more texture, perfect for being incorporated into the dip and gives it some dimension.
Allow three cups of frozen tater tots to come to room temperature. I measure about fifteen tater tots to one cup, so you’ll need about 45, give or take. Slice them in half, or place them all on a large cutting board and give the pile a rough chop. Smaller pieces are preferred to large hunks but just don’t go too small and mince them. I imagine that about two heaping cups pre-cooked hash browns could also be used.
Place the chopped tots in a large mixing bowl, and add crumbled pre-cooked sausage or meatballs. I used meatless gluten-free sausage, but precooked shredded chicken, (meatless) chicken nuggets, tofu, tempeh, bacon, or bacon bits will work.
Add the sour cream and if you don’t want to ruin your January resolutions, light, vegan sour cream, or soy-based are fine. Greek yogurt may also work, but I don’t top my baked potatoes with yogurt. I top them with sour cream, which is what I used.
Stir in one cup of shredded cheese. A mixture of colby, jack, mozzerella, Moterrey Jack, vegan cheese, soy-cheese, or whatever your grocery store has on sale that week in a two-cup packet will be just fine. One cup gets stirred in now, and the other cup will be sprinkled over the top before baking.
Season the mixture with your favorite seasoning blend such as Lowry’s, Trader Joe’s 21 Salute or a Mrs. Dash and stir. Optionally, stir in a bit of diced green onion or scallions, a pinch of garlic or onion powder; add a handful of corn or black beans, a dollop of salsa, or other things you enjoy on baked potatoes. There’s no wrong way to load up this dip. If you really load it up, you may need to extend the baking time a bit.
Transfer the mixture into a sprayed nine-inch pie dish, oven-safe baking dish, or an eight or nine-inch square pan will work. Top with the remaining one cup of shredded cheese and bake your loaded dip until golden brown and bubbly, about thirty minutes.
Serve this comfort food extraordinaire with crackers, pita chips or pita bread, tortilla chips, dip tater tots into the tater tot dip, or just eat it with a spoon. Puncturing the thick wall of browned cheese with a sharp cracker corner reveals a soft, creamy, rich potato-filled interior. It was so satisfying to finally bust through the cheese wall.
It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s happy food. White carbs, cream, and cheese tend to have that effect and Scott was oohing and ahhing about it. He’s s a huge potato fan of any kind, from tater tots to hash browns, and he loved the warm, soft tater tots.
He still didn’t realize that the bits of sausage that add extra flavor and protein is actually meatless sausage, but that’s okay. Most anything covered in vast amounts of sour cream and melted cheese are tricky to discern and he loved every vegan bite. What we didn’t eat immediately, I covered and refrigerated. The next day I placed some dip on a bed of tortialla chips and reheated it in the microwave for a taco casserole-like version.
The last time I got this many oohs and ahhs I had to make a Snackadium. This is even easier than that and only takes five minutes to assemble. Perfect for parties, especially football parties, or as an easy appetizer to set out for gatherings.
Or if you’re a dipaholic like me, you can just call it dinner.
My favorite baked potato toppings are loaded into an easy, creamy, and cheesy dip. It's made with tater tots, sour cream, meatless meatballs, and cheese and assembly takes just 5 minutes. It's a gooey, hearty, rich dip with extremely minimal work and effort for a maximum amount of flavorful comfort food. Perfect for parties or any gathering where a fast and easy appetizer is needed.
3 cups tater tots (about 45 whole tater tots), thawed and halved or roughly chopped
1 cup (meatless) meatballs, crumbled (try precooked shredded chicken, (meatless) chicken nuggets, tofu, tempeh, bacon, or bacon bits)
16-ounces sour cream (regular, light, vegan, or soy okay)
2 cups shredded cheese blend, divided (blend of colby, jack, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, vegan, or soy-cheese)
2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend, or to taste (Lowry’s, Trader Joe’s 21 Salute, Mrs. Dash, a pinch of garlic or onion powder)
salt and pepper, optional and to taste
Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9-inch pie dish or similar oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Slice thawed tater tots in half or place a large pile on cutting board and roughly chop them; retain some size and texture and don't chop them too small. Transfer tater tots to a large mixing bowl. Add the meat or protein option, sour cream, add 1 cup cheese, seasoning blend, salt, pepper, and stir to combine.
Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is bubbly and golden browned. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, pita chips or pita bread, tortilla chips, dip tater tots into it, or just eat it with a spoon. Store leftover dip in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I recommend eating leftovers taco casserole-style by setting a piece on top of a mound of crackers or chips and microwaving for about 1 minute. Dip can also be made fresh and served like a casserole, but I prefer it as a dip.
Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole (vegetarian/vegan, GF) – Chips are baked right into this easy and cheesy filling casserole. A hit with kids, busy moms, and football fans alike
Caribbean Citrus Roasted Sweet Potatoes (vegan, gluten-free) Sweet potatoes are jazzed up with fun and fresh citrus seasoning blend
Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip (GF) – Comes together in five minutes in the microwave and it’s extremely addictive. Creamy, cheesy, with just a bit of heat and texture. Some people call it Queso Dip or Ro-Tel Dip
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls - A perfect use for the leftover macaroni that gets cold and stiff in your refrigerator. Bread it, bake it, devour it
Cheesy Taco Casserole (gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan) – Like tacos, but baked into casserole form, complete with rice and beans. Makes planned leftovers that can be frozen for those nights you don’t have time or energy to make something from scratch. This one is a hit with the family
Sweet Potato Graham Cracker “French Toast” Sticks – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They won’t win a beauty contest but they are delicious and the coating is crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon and the potatoes taste like French toast sticks
Corn and Double Cheese Dip (vegan, GF, fat free, serve warm or cold) – A five-minute dip to toss together and full of texture from the corn and peppers. It can also be baked like today’s dip if you have a little extra time to spare
Do you like tater tots? Dip lover?
Feel free to leave links for your favorite recipes. Potatoes and me are whatever, but I love dips and could make a meal out of them. I’m always on the hunt for new, easy, scrumptious dip recipes and this one is perfect for Superbowl parties.
One of my favorites is Spinach & Artichoke Dip (Fat Free, Vegan) that I lighted up because I really can go to town on dip, especially Spinach and Artichoke Dip.