Loaded Tater Tots Recipe

This loaded tater tots recipe is perfect for game day or a snack spread and will surely be a big hit! Crispy tater tots are dusted with ranch seasoning, topped with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, and broiled until melty.

A tray of loaded tater tots with cheese, bacon and jalapenos.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

Top with sliced green onions and pickled jalapenos, and serve with ranch sour cream for dipping on the side. It’s loaded with savory flavors and various textures for an appetizer that’s sure to become a favorite.

Why You’ll Love This Loaded Tater Tots Recipe

Variety of savory flavors: With ranch, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions, and jalapenos, you know the flavors are oh-so-good! And put them together? Delicious!

Made with simple ingredients: This simple recipe doesn’t require any specialty ingredients; you should be able to get everything at your local grocery store. I’m sharing options for shortcuts to help make this recipe even easier; check the ingredient list below. 

Easy to make: Simply bake the tots, top the tots with cheese and bacon, and bake again until melty and your tots are ready to enjoy. 

Crowd pleaser: There’s a lot to love about this snack, and with bacon, ranch, and cheesy flavors, it’s always a crowd-pleaser.  


Loaded tater tots ingredients on a counter.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

Note: You can use any measurement you like for this for any of the ingredients.

Tater Tots: Look for frozen tater tots in the potato section of your frozen foods aisle. Since we’re seasoning them with ranch, buy the plain tots instead of seasoned tots. There are a variety of brands to choose from, or you could make your own if you prefer. 

Ranch Seasoning: This is the dry ranch powder. You can buy it in packets, or if you go through a lot of it, they sell it in bulk, too. 

Sour Cream: I use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor, but you can also use low-fat or fat-free if you prefer. 

Cheddar Cheese: For a quick shortcut, buy your cheddar cheese already shredded or shred your own if you prefer. I recommend sharp cheddar for the best flavor. 

Bacon: Use your favorite bacon or use a shortcut and buy your bacon pre-cooked, so you need to crisp it up before crumbling it. You could also use bacon bits for a quick shortcut. 

Green Onions: Use fresh green onions without any browning. Thinly slice, and you can use the onion’s white and green parts. You can also use chives if you prefer. Both will impart a mild onion flavor. 

Pickled Jalapenos: If you like a little heat, you’ll want to include some pickled jalapenos, but I would let everyone add their own as heat tolerance varies a lot. They are pretty mild, but if you love spice, add fresh jalapenos for extra spice.  


You don’t need any special equipment, just a rimmed sheet pan. Aluminum foil is also helpful for quick and easy cleanup. 


Preheat oven to 425°F. Place tater tots on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake tater tots according to package instructions until golden brown and crispy. 

Cooked tater tots on a baking sheet.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

While tater tots are baking, make ranch sour cream. Combine sour cream with two tablespoons of ranch seasoning in a small bowl. Refrigerate sour cream mixture until serving. 

Sour cream and ranch seasoning mixture in a bowl.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

When tater tots are done baking, sprinkle with one tablespoon of ranch seasoning.

Frozen tater tots on a baking sheet.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

Sprinkle shredded cheese and crumbled bacon over tots and broil for 2 to 4 minutes until the cheese is melty. 

A tray of loaded tater tots with cheese, and bacon.
Photo Credit: Pink When.

Top with sliced green onion and pickled jalapenos to taste, and serve with sour cream for dipping.

A tray of loaded tater tots with cheese, bacon and jalapenos.
Photo Credit: Pink When.


Sweet Potato Tater Tots: Swap out the tater tots for sweet potato tater tots, sometimes called sweet potato puffs. You could also make your own sweet potato tater tots. The sweet and salty flavor combination is delicious and would work well. 

Greek Yogurt: Swap out the sour cream for full-fat plain Greek yogurt for a close alternative, or use low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt if you prefer.  

Dairy-Free: Want to make this recipe dairy-free? Swap out the cheddar cheese for your favorite dairy-free alternative that melts well and the sour cream for your favorite dairy-free alternative. 

Vegetarian: To make these tots vegetarian, omit the bacon or use your favorite bacon alternative. 

Clean Eating: Use fresh potatoes and cut them into fries or tots yourself. If you want to use ranch mix, make your own.

Loaded tater tots with sour cream on a plate.
Photo Credit: Pink When.


Taco Tots: Instead of ranch seasoning, use taco seasoning to season the tots and the sour cream. Add some chopped cilantro and swap out the bacon for taco meat. 

Chili Tots: Swap the bacon for your favorite chili or canned chili, top with cheese, and bake until melty. Finish with green onions and pickled jalapenos. 

Poutine Tots: Top your baked tater tots with cheese curds and a heavy drizzle of gravy before serving.

Buffalo Tots: Inspired by buffalo cauliflower bites, drizzle your cooked tots with buffalo sauce right before serving. You could also stir in some buffalo sauce to the sour cream dip if you want to add double the buffalo flavor. 

Kid-Friendly: The easiest way to make these kid-friendly is to let everyone make their own little tray of tater tots, just like I did here with these chicken nachos. Instead of cooking the tots on one large piece of aluminum foil, make little trays that will fit onto the rimmed sheet pan, and then everyone can make their own personalized tray of loaded tater tots. Plus, it’s a great way to get everyone involved in the cooking process. 

A person indulging in a bite of loaded tater tots from a tray.
Photo Credit: Pink When.


To Store: Store any leftover tater tots or ranch sour cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. 

To Reheat: For best results, reheat the tater tots in a 375°F oven until heated and the cheese melts. 

Serving Suggestions 

These loaded tots are a great part of an appetizer or game day spread, so serve it with other appetizers like chips and salsa, veggies and dip, and meatball sliders. 

You can also serve this as a fun movie night meal with fruit and veggies.

A tray of loaded tater tots with cheese, bacon and jalapenos.
Photo Credit: Pink When.


What do you put on tater tots?

There are so many fun ways to add flavor to tater tots. You can keep it as simple as dusting the cooked tater tots with seasoning like ranch, taco, lemon pepper, garlic salt, or truffle salt.

You can also turn these into loaded tater tots like we have here by topping the tots with cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, green onions, and pickled jalapenos.

What is the secret to crispy tater tots?

No one likes soggy tater tots; crispy tots are a must! You can ensure they are crispy in a few different ways. Be sure to spread the tots in a single layer with plenty of room around each tater tot. You can also bump up the cooking temperature to 425°F like we have here. The cooking instructions will vary depending on what brand you use, but 425°F is typically safe enough, even if the package calls for a slightly lower temperature. You can also cook them in the air fryer for a quicker version that crisps them up well.

Are tater tots gluten-free?

Most tater tots are naturally gluten-free as they are made with a combination of potatoes and various oils and seasonings. Still, you’ll want to double-check to be sure. Many homemade tater tot recipes are made with flour as a binder, so they would not be gluten-free.

Related Recipes 

If you love this loaded tater tot recipe, you might also like some of these other tater tot recipes: 

I hope I’ve shown you how easy these delicious loaded tater tots are! Whether you’re making them for a satisfying snack or serving them as part of a game-day spread, I know they will surely be a hit with their savory, cheesy, and bacon ranch flavor. And be sure to try some of the other varieties and topping ideas next time.

This article originally appeared on Pink When.

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