Enjoy this classic breakfast casserole even when you’re only cooking for a few people. This small-batch tater tot breakfast casserole is perfectly scaled to feed 2, 4, or 6!
First of all, did you know some people call a tater tot breakfast casserole a breakfast hot dish? I was this year years old when I learned the term hot dish! It’s an American upper-midwestern way of referring to a one-dish meal casserole. Dialects in the United States are fascinating, darlings. We can chat over this recipe.
Anyway, my fascination with regional linguistics aside, this is a really good breakfast casserole!
I’m from the Southeast, every recipe like this is a casserole. Let’s go with it.
What is a tater tot breakfast casserole?
I actually first heard about this from my baby sister. She was at her in-laws some years ago and they were making a tater tot casserole for breakfast. I saw the dish over FaceTime. Then she gave me a general breakdown of the recipe.
Did I run to the kitchen and make one? No. Because, like many breakfast casserole recipes, they’re designed to feed a crowd!
I had 3 people in my house that year. There was no way I was going to make a 9×13-inch breakfast casserole for the Godfather, a toddler, and myself.
But ideas have a way of sticking around, and it’s always fun to play with scaling recipes. Hooray for a small batch tater tot breakfast casserole!
This is an easy to assemble breakfast dish that consists of frozen tater tots, eggs, cheese, and a protein. There are a few other things in there, but these are the main components. You have so much room for variation, AND can even assemble in advance and bake later.
How many people does this breakfast casserole serve?
Surprisingly, this was a challenging question for me to answer. In theory, it feeds 6. Only, I wouldn’t serve this as a stand-alone dish to 6 older children/adults and expect everyone to be satisfied.
Since scaling the recipe, we have made it several times, and here are my natural observations on serving sizes. These are based on my family, whom I consider moderate/standard in terms of portion sizes served. We have 2 adults and 2 younger children.
When I make this dish, we end up with about 2 meals. We all eat the first time, usually just the casserole. Then, the leftovers are split between the Godfather and myself for the second meal. I take a smaller portion to pair with a salad as a “side” rather than a main.
I’d say this recipe is perfect for 4 adults with a little leftover. For 2 adults, you’ll get about 2ish meals out of it. It reheats well. If you are feeding a group that involves teenagers, or those who eat like teenagers, add some fruit to round out the meal!
Either way, this is a perfect comfort food breakfast casserole for just a few people!
Recipe notes and customizations…
One of the best things about this recipe – and any good breakfast casserole – is the flexibility to customize! Because let’s be real, the last thing you want is to find yourself out of an ingredient at night or first thing in the morning.
The eggs aren’t really an option, but you know what I mean.
First, let’s talk about dairy. I feel like a lot of my friends are going dairy-free. We also have family members with dairy intolerance. So, you can substitute a dairy free milk and your favorite dairy-free cheese. Just make sure you use unsweetened and unflavored milk.
Second, the protein. Use what you want! We have made this recipe with bacon, sausage, and vegetarian soy crumbles. All have been delicious! You may choose to cook the bacon, sausage, whatever. But if you’re short on time and want to keep things super simple, buy precooked!
This is actually a great place to use leftover ham from a holiday meal. Another good recipe is my deviled ham spread.
If you buy precooked, we need to chat about the onion. I usually sauté my onions for a few minutes in the same skillet where I cook my bacon or sausage. But I can’t do that when using pre-cooked or if I use ham!
So, you have a choice to make. If you want a little texture, keep the finely diced raw onion. It will soften slightly as the casserole bakes, but won’t disappear entirely.
We have tried this recipe with and without the not-softened onion, and we like it with the onion. This is especially true when I prepare the casserole the night before and bake in the morning. The tater tots dissolve and so the onion provides a bit of texture.
When I made the casserole I used for photos, I cooked bacon for it and sautéed the onion for a few minutes before adding to the egg mixture. In the video, I used diced ham. Since that didn’t need cooking, I just stirred in a bit of onion.
It’s fun to enjoy classic comfort food, even if you are sharing with just a few people. I hope you enjoy this small-batch breakfast casserole, darlings!
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 8 ounces bacon, sausage, or diced ham (see notes)
- 1 cup shredded cheese, divided
- 16 ounces frozen tater tots
- If your protein isn't cooked, cook it, then set it aside to cool a bit. Cook the onion in the same skillet for 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Preheat your oven to 375 F and spray a 9 1/2-inch pie dish with nonstick spray (see notes). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in the protein, onion, and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.
- You may either add the tater tots to the prepared baking dish and then pour the egg mixture over *or* pour in the egg mixture and arrange the tater tots in a decorative pattern on top of the egg mixture.
- Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes until the eggs are cooked through, the tater tots are nice and hot, and the shredded cheese topping is lightly browned.
- You may choose to use whatever protein you'd like here. Leftover diced ham is great, as is bacon or sausage. If you'd like to make a vegetarian casserole, use your favorite meat substitute like soy-rizo or soy crumbles. As an alternative, you can substitute the protein with sauteed mushrooms or an 8-ounce package of frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
- If your protein doesn't need to be cooked, you don't need to saute the onion! Just stir the finely diced onion right into your egg mixture. Sweet onion or red onion are our favorites.
- If you don't have a large enough pie dish, use an 8 or 9-inch square pan.
- If you'd like to prepare the casserole the night before for baking later, follow the instructions up to just before baking. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next morning. You might need to add 5 minutes to the baking time.