Make-Ahead Overnight Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

This make-ahead overnight tater tot breakfast casserole is honestly one of the best things I’ve eaten for breakfast in the history of ever. All of breakfast’s favorites in one delicious casserole.

Baked make-ahead overnight tater tot breakfast casserole.

Looking for perhaps the newest, bestest, most amazingest breakfast casserole to wow everyone who happens to be lingering around your house waiting for you to feed them in the AM? 

I think I have the answer (other than sending one of the lingerers out for a donut run). 

I kid you not, this make-ahead overnight tater tot breakfast casserole is easily one of the most delicious things I’ve EVER eaten for breakfast (or just possibly ever). It’s a mishmash of all the good breakfast things: potatoes, eggs, sausage and cheese. 

Every time I make this, I shamelessly hoard all the leftovers, because come to find out, it’s equally delicious as a warmed up (or yes, cold, don’t cringe) lunch or next-day breakfast.

Square of tater tot breakfast casserole scooped on metal spatula.

What makes it so good

There is a lot to love about this tater tot breakfast casserole. 

Because it’s made the day before and popped in the oven less than an hour before you want a warm breakfast, it is perfect for busy holidays and/or when you are entertaining company. Won’t they be ecstatic when they wake up to the savory aroma of this breakfast casserole wafting throughout the house! 

Bonus: you didn’t have to get up at 4 a.m. to make it happen. 

The tater tots, after sitting overnight and then being baked, meld into this delicious compact layer of tender potatoes surrounded by the eggs, sausage and cheese.

Two squares of tater tot breakfast casserole stacked on each other on white plate with sour cream and salsa.

Are tater tots created equal?

I don’t have a strong brand preference on tater tots. I mean, they’re tater tots. Is there a standout? Please inform me if there is.

I try to pick up a bag or two from Trader Joe’s when I’m there, but otherwise, any frozen tater tot is going to do fine. 

Scatter the tater tots in a single layer in the bottom of a 9X13-inch pan. It’s ok if there’s a few gaps and holes. No one is going to notice you’re carefully arranged pattern after it all bakes, so just toss them in.

Tater tots scattered in bottom of 9X13-inch baking pan.

The browned sausage and veggies (onions and peppers) scatter across the top of the taters followed by the cheese.

Substitutions

Meat: You can use chopped ham or bacon in place of, or in addition to, the sausage. I also think you could easily make this meatless (I’d add more vegetables for some bulk and texture if doing so).

The simple addition of onions and peppers add great flavor to the casserole. As in, I don’t think you should leave them out. Even my resident pepper-haters gobble this up.

Vegetables: You could change up the vegetables or add to them based on preference. Some other ideas: lightly steamed broccoli or carrots, mushrooms, zucchini. 

Cheese: I like to use a combination of grated sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. But I think the cheese is wildly adaptable. Maybe Swiss? Gruyere? Pepper Jack? Remember: grate your own cheese for maximum melty creaminess. 

Adding sausage, veggies and cheese on top of tater tots.

The simple egg + milk + sour cream mixture gets poured all over the top. 

Pouring egg mixture on top of tater tot breakfast casserole.

The egg mixture isn’t going to soak in as much as a breakfast casserole made with bread, but don’t be worried. I promise it’s all going to work out. 

Just cover with some greased foil, pop in the fridge, walk away, and try not to stress. UPDATE: many of you have reported back that you can also just bake this right away, too! The tater tots won’t break down quite as much, but it still works AND it is delicious.

Tater tot breakfast casserole with egg mixture poured on top.

The next morning when you go to bake this amazing casserole, don’t uncover.

You’ll pop it right in the preheated oven covered. It’ll bake for 20 minutes or so and then you can uncover to let it bake to its full golden, bubbly potential. 

You can tell the casserole is done baking when it’s puffy and set and the middle isn’t gooey and wet (the eggs will be fully cooked).

I like to toss some fresh chopped chives or green onions on top because it’s pretty, but that’s totally optional. 

Top down view of the baked make-ahead overnight tater tot breakfast casserole.

This make-ahead overnight tater tot breakfast casserole cuts beautifully into squares. Another point in its favor!

Could it stop being such a teacher’s pet. Seriously. It’s pretty much perfect in every way. 

And as I mentioned above, it’s delicious served warm for an amazing, hearty breakfast, but it also makes great leftovers. 

Pan of tater tot breakfast casserole with one piece removed.

Flavor Combinations

I like to eat it with sour cream and salsa. It gives the tater tot breakfast casserole a Mexican-flavored food vibe which could be even more amped up by using pepper jack cheese in place of the Monterey Jack. 

I think there are a lot of other flavors that could be championed in this casserole. I haven’t thought through all the details but a few ideas that come to mind are:

  • ham and Swiss version 
  • broccoli cheese version 
  • cheesy taco version 
  • maple bacon version
  • what else? 

I’m excited to see where this make-ahead breakfast casserole takes you. It is 100% the breakfast casserole of choice happening here over the holidays. 

It’s one of those recipes that’s going to be a staple for years and years to come. 

Two squares of tater tot breakfast casserole stacked on each other on white plate with sour cream and salsa and fork taking a bite

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Make-Ahead Overnight Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes
Square of tater tot breakfast casserole scooped on metal spatula.

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces breakfast sausage (see note)
  • 1 cup small diced bell peppers (any color)
  • 1/2 cup small diced onion
  • 6 large eggs (see note)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped green onion or chives, for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream and salsa, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, peppers and onions, crumbling the sausage into small pieces as it cooks, until it is no longer pink and cooked through and the veggies are tender. Drain the grease (you can let the sausage/veggies hang out in the skillet for a minute or remove them to a plate).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper until smooth.
  3. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan. Place the tater tots in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. (Use only as many tater tots as will fit in a single layer).
  4. Sprinkle sausage over the tater tots followed by the veggies. Sprinkle cheese evenly across the top.
  5. Pour the egg mixture evenly over and across the top. Cover the dish with lightly greased foil and refrigerate (overnight, up to 18 hours). OR you can bake it right away. The tater tots won't break down quite as much, but it is still delicious.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes longer until golden, bubbly, and set. Sprinkle with green onions or chives, if using. Serve warm.

Notes

Sausage/Meat: this recipe is super adaptable to changing what kind of meat you use OR it can easily be left meatless. Chopped ham or cooked bacon would work great, too, in place of the sausage or in addition to.

Eggs: I continue to make this over and over (since posting) and it's easily adaptable to more eggs if you want to increase the quantity (I've done up to 10 large eggs).

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe