Southwest Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Southwest Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish

15 reviews / 4.7 average
This post is sponsored by Lodge Cast Iron

How to love yourself in November: put sautéed garlic, poblanos, mushrooms, peppers, black beans, and corn in a skillet with a cheesy queso-fundido base and top with a layer of sweet potato tater tots. Me, blanket, sweatpants, this skillet.

It's called a Southwest Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish.

Oh, yes. You heard me correctly.

This is everything we love about Tex-Mex food meeting up with our meatless goals and taking the shape and form of a beloved comfort food of Minnesota winter: the tater tot hotdish. But made new.

How To Make Our Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish:

sweet potato tater tot hotdish with a wooden spoon

I grew up eating the occasional non-ironic tater tot hotdish (#proud), so I feel justified to give you the 411 on this staple midwestern casserole: tater tot hotdish usually has a ground beef and veggie mixture, made with some gravy (and by gravy I mean likely a can of condensed soup) and is topped with tater tots and ketchup. I know I know I KNOW, but for surely you need ketchup if you want to eat your tater tot hotdish like a true midwesterner.

Tater tot hotdish is one of those foods that actually so strange and borderline gross that somewhere along the way it becomes, in fact, really really good. I do not know how this works, but I embrace it.

Today, though? Tots be getting a modern makeover.

We're swapping the ground beef for meaty portabella mushrooms, and trading peas and carrots for the spicy crunch of poblanos and bell peppers and corn. The gravy is getting replaced by a pepperjacky-queso-esque situation that is every bit as magical as you might image, and those sweet potato tots? YASSSS. Just the right amount of salty-sweetness to offset the heat.

Important things to consider: Will you swish Tabasco over the top? Sprinkle with more cheese? Decorate with colorful herbs and fresh jalapeños? These things that are up to you, my friend.

sweet potato tater tot hotdish ingredients in a bowl
sweet potato tater tot hotdish in a skillet with a wooden spoon

One of the keys to this recipe is the cast iron pan, which is why we use (and love) Lodge cast iron for all our heavy-duty, stovetop-to-oven recipes.

I've had a love affair with the enameled Dutch oven for as long as I can remember (um, how about that one time I wrote a post called 10 EASY RECIPES YOU CAN MAKE IN A DUTCH OVEN). Now might be a good time to mention that these make EXCELLENT Christmas gifts for the foodies in your life. One in every color? I'm not opposed.

It also is worth mentioning that the true cast iron star here is the standard 10.25-inch cast iron skillet - we got this as a wedding gift seven years ago, and while it took me an embarrassingly long time to get over my fears of cast iron usage and maintenance (which were all just completely in my head), now that I've found my stride with it, I am totally hooked. For people who are trying to clean-and-green their home life a little bit, this is an amazing natural alternative to nonstick. Plus, like the Dutch oven, it's versatile enough to go in the oven. Boom! No more worrying about plastic pan handles melting off.

I have two rules for cleaning my beloved cast iron skillet:

  1. Rinse and dry.
  2. (If you're ambitious) Rub with an oil-soaked paper towel.

Here's the official guide. (My Go-To, Everyday Method)

The end. Nothing fancy. Natural nonstick and affordable high quality cookware is WITHIN REACH for the normals!

sweet potato tater tot hotdish in a skillet with a wooden spoon

And so is a sweet potato tater tot hotdish that will make you win at life. 🏆 I'm so happy for you.

sweet potato tater tot hotdish with a wooden spoon
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Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish in a skillet before baking.

Southwest Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish


This sweet potato tater tot hotdish is a spicy twist on the original - loaded with peppers, corn, black beans, homemade queso sauce, and tots! YUM!


Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 red/yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound pepperjack cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 bags sweet potato tater tots
  • red peppers, corn, cilantro, jalapeño for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the butter over medium high heat in a 10.25-inch cast iron skillet. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers; saute until soft. Add the spices and stir to mix.
  3. Add the flour and stir to coat until everything gets sticky. Add the milk slowly, stirring after each addition, until you get a smooth mixture. Add the cheese cubes and stir until melted.
  4. Stir in the black beans and corn. Taste and adjust - this is a good time to add your salt!
  5. Top the whole thing with tater tots (I did mine in a circle formation).
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. BEWARE THE BUBBLING OVER - put a pan underneath to catch any drips. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.


REALLY good with a hit of Tabasco or something acidic/spicy.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: sweet potato tater tots, tater tots sweet potato, sweet potato tater tot hot dish

Shout out to our fave Lodge Cast Iron for sponsoring this post!

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our coziest comfort food recipes page. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay , I’ve been so curious. I’ve been following you for a couple years now and it popped in my head today how did you come up with pinch of yum! It’s actually really clever haha

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Did you catch the post where Bjork and Lindsay posted some of their very few P.O.Y. posts? I loved that! I just remember them saying something about how they got 50 hits to their website and celebrating by going out to eat. Too cute! Anyhow, I love the presentation of this recipe. Those tater tots on top, very nice.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Grace! Thanks for the nice comment. Honestly, it was just one of a few blog names that we brainstormed, and the URL was available, so that’s how we decided. 🙂 I wish there was a more fun backstory but it was pretty much decided on a whim!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh my goodness!!! I am overly excited to try this dish. I was born and raised in MN and tator tot hot dish was a staple, now I live on the east coast and whenever my husband and I miss the Midwest we whip up a tator tot hot dish. We will be definitely trying this version soon 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This one is traditional enough for me. Don’t need meat with tater tots… it wouldn’t add any awesomeness to this dish.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    All preggo mommies UNITE! This’ll definitely be added to the list of dishes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night craving <3 THANK YOU

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    For the cast iron skillet, you simply rinse it out? No soap or anything? I’ve been trying to get more use out of my skillet (same one as yours!) but feel intimidated about not understanding proper care.


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yep – I just rinse with water (unless it’s REALLY coated with something gross in which case I’ll use soap and a scrubber) but the idea behind rinsing is that it builds up a natural nonstick surface. When you use soap, it washes out all the natural oils and you’re having to add more oil back to the pan in order to keep it nice and smooth. So I just scrub/rinse very gently, then wipe clean with paper towels, then rub the inside with a little oil. If I’m being really good about it, I’ll put it back over heat for a few minutes to dry it out – it will absorb the oil back in a little better that way! 🙂 There are tons of tutorials out there so it’s probably worth doing a quick google search for the best ways to care for it!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I know what you mean about tater tot dishes being a borderline dish. We make, and love, fully loaded breakfast tot-chos and people sometime turn their nose up……until they try them 😉 I need to give these a try since you mixed my fave, Mexican flavors, with my guilty pleasure, tater tots!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      TOTCHOS! Yes yes yes. I need to make those! There’s a restaurant here in Minneapolis / St. Paul that does Buffalo Totchos. WHAAAA!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay! Being a Food and Nutrition Blogger myself (but in the german language), for me it is amazing to see how creative you are and how many different ideas you have. Also kudos on your photography skills, very nice! I love, how you really want to entertain your audience and not just post recipes.

    You are doing a very good job. Keep up the good work.

    Manuel Jeffrey

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Omg! This looks so hearty and tasty. I usually won’t touch casseroles because I always think that they’ll be uni-textured/flavored. But this looks like the kind of thing that I would dive into and not emerge until I was in a food/carb coma.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so in for anything involving tater tots of any kind. And tex mex. So this was a big winner for me. I have never heard of anything called a “hot dish” but I think I grew up in the wrong part of the country haha.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    very creative recipe, haven’t tried the original but this looks wonderful since it’s sweet potatoes and not tater tots! thanks for sharing this!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Terrific. When I saw the post, I immediately thought “Thanksgiving!”. It’s so hard to find recipes I can get creative with, especially because I am a vegetarian so turkey is a no-go for me. I like to impress my guests, and this looks like it will be the way to go this year!

    Just a quick question though, for the cast-iron skillet would you recommend a particular type? And beside it being heavy duty, is there an actual health benefit for using it? I’ve read online about the cast iron actually being good for you, but not sure if it’s real or a myth.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration, can’t wait to try this one out!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love it. When I saw this, I immediately thought “Thanksgiving!”. Being a vegetarian, Turkey is a no-go for me, so I love to get creative with what I can for my guests 🙂

    One question though, I’ve never used a cast iron skillet. Beside the benefit of being good for heavy duty cooking, is there any health advantage? I’ve read stuff online about the actual material being better than teflon for our bodies. Hoping you can shed some light on this, but thank you so much for this inspiration! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m torn. I haven’t had classic tater tot hot dish in FOREVER. But grew up on it as my parents were from Minnesota…I want both now though! Traditional and this delicious looking one you made!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Are the sweet potatoe tater tots easy to find? I’ve never seen them before but LOVE the idea of them! I’m in Canada so maybe we don’t have them🙁

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Good flavors, but it wasn’t very saucy:(. I think It needed more milk & less cheese? Never thought I would suggest less cheese in a dish, but here I am. My husband loved it though & thought it was a great, heart dish on a cold winter night!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    As a fellow Minneapolitan (Minneapolite – jury’s still out), where can I find the sweet potato tater tots? This sounds like the perfect antidote to these polar vortex days!