Sloppy joes meets crispy tots for this Turkey Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole everyone will love! This cheesy one-pan meal uses a homemade ground turkey sloppy joe base, then it’s baked with cheddar cheese and tater tots!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 large or 1 small yellow onion, diced
1jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, diced
3–4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey meat(93% lean or less)
2 tablespoonstomato paste
2 tablespoonsbarbecue sauce
2 teaspoonsyellow mustard
1 tablespooncornstarch(or arrowroot powder)
1/2 tablespoonworcestershire sauce
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2/3 cuphalf & half(or plain Nutpods)
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups cheddar blend shredded cheese
16–20 ounces frozen tater tots(about half a bag)
garnish: sliced green onions and hot sauce
Prep & start veggies: Preheat oven to 400F. In a 10-inch oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan, heat butter over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add meat & garlic: Add the ground turkey and garlic to the pan. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat you go, until the meat is completely cooked through and no pink remains. If there’s a lot of grease pooled in the bottom, tilt the pan slightly and use a spoon to remove some into a disposable container, leaving about 1-2 tablespoons of grease behind.
Add condiments & simmer: Reduce heat to low. Add tomato paste, barbecue sauce, yellow mustard, cornstarch, and worcestershire sauce to the pan. Stir well until completely mixed. Next, add tomato sauce, half and half, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir well and bring the sauce to a low simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened up well and reduced slightly.
Assemble & bake: Remove the pan from heat. Add shredded cheese on top of the sloppy joe mixture and spread into an even layer. Next, arrange the frozen tater tots on top of the cheese in circles around the pan, beginning with the outer edge and working inward until you have one flat layer of tater tots completely covering the cheese.
Serve & store: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-27 minutes, plus an optional 3-4 minutes of broiling for an extra crispy top. The casserole is done when the tater tots are browned and crispy, with the sauce bubbling up between. Let the casserole cool for a few minutes, then serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 4 days.
Meat: You can substitute ground beef, but I think it can make the dish too rich, so I prefer this with ground turkey. Do not use ground turkey breast, as it is too lean and will lack flavor. I recommend using either 93% or 90% lean ground turkey.