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Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos (Totchos)

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Ordinary tater tots get a Tex-Mex makeover in the form of chili cheese nachos! Frozen tater tots are cooked until crispy and then smothered in a chunky chili and cheese. This is comfort food folks!

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos (Totchos)

Ok I know I’ve been bringing you a bunch of healthy recipes lately, but to balance it out–and dive WAY off the deep end–I’m bringing you Tater Tot Nachos.

Because sometimes you’ve just gotta.

My obsession for nachos runs deep and although my corn tortilla chip version is still my number one, this Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nacho (also called Totchos) remix has got me feeling some kind of way. So I just had to share!

They’re super easy to make, comforting to the max, and you’ll have leftover chili for another use!

How to make Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos:

You'll need crispy tater tots to make Tater Tot Nachos

What you’ll need:

  • 32oz bag of frozen tater tots
  • A batch of chili (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) of shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sliced jalapeños (optional)
  • Your favorite nacho toppings: Diced red onion or green onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, fresh jalapeños, avocado, or your favorite guacamole
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream

Ingredients for the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 16 oz of ground turkey, beef, or your favorite plant-based meat crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground chili powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced small
  • 1 cup of diced white or sweet onion (1 small)
  • A 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 packet of prepared chili seasoning (like McCormick)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

To Make the Chili for the Totchos:

Chili for tater tot nachos (totchos)

In the bottom of a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add your ground protein of choice.

Season with the garlic powder and ground chili powder.

Cook until the meat is browned and the pink is cooked out. If using ground beef, drain off the excess fat at this point.

Add in your diced white onion and cook until translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute until the garlic is super fragrant.

Add in the beans and the tomatoes and give a stir, then add your packet of chili seasoning.

Stir until all ingredients are combined and the seasoning is evenly distributed.

The mixture should be drier than a traditional chili, about the consistency of sloppy joes. The longer it cooks, the more liquid will cook out as well, and that’s fine for this recipe.

Season with pepper to taste and cautiously with salt (remember we’re adding cheese and putting this on tater tots, so don’t add too much salt).

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Then once simmering, reduce the heat to low and cover while the tots cook.

Finishing the Tater Tot Nachos:

Chili for the Tater Tot Nacho Totchos

Remove your tots from the freezer and cook on a sheet pan in a single layer, per the instructions on the bag. Make sure to cook them until they are nice and brown and super crispy.

You can also cook these in the air fryer if you have a large capacity model!

Once your tots are done, remove them from the oven, and adjust your oven rack to the top third level. Set your broiler on high.

Top your tots with about 2 cups of chili. Make sure to distribute evenly!

Next, sprinkle on the cheese and the sliced jalapeños.

Pop under the broiler and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly–about 2 minutes. Don’t walk away from it!

Remove your Tater Tot Nachos from the oven and top with your favorite nacho fixings and a generous scoop of sour cream!

Serving Tater Tot Nachos

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos (Totchos)

Serve these Totchos with all the toppings you love for traditional nachos! Since the tots and chili are a little heavy, I like to add a bunch of fresh stuff to the top when they come out of the oven.

My favorite accessories are some crisp and cold diced onions, shreds of fresh green lettuce with cilantro, sweet diced tomato, and creamy chunks of avocado or guacamole!

Make sure to put a scoop of sour cream on the side too and devour! A fork and napkin are definitely required!

Making the best Tater Tot Nachos:

My main requirement for this dish is crispy tots.

So there are a couple of measures we take in order to ensure our tater tots are crisp while still going overboard with toppings and fixings:

  • Cook the tater tots all the way through until they are super crispy! Even though they are baked twice in this recipe–once to cook them through and second to melt the cheese–the first round of cooking is crucial to the crispiness of the tots. No undercooking your tots!
  • Make a dry chili. You’ll notice as you make this chili, it’s a little drier than the traditional chili you’d eat with a bowl and spoon. The reason for this is that we don’t want to make our tater tot nachos soggy from all the soup coming from the chili. By reducing the liquid in the chili recipe, we get a meatier, more concentrated chili flavor, that won’t wet down the tots.
  • Broil the cheese. All the ingredients will be hot once assembled, so there’s no reason to bake the Tater Tot Nachos for an extended period of time. If we did, they’d get soggy–which is not what we want! By assembling all the ingredients while they’re hot, we only have to broil the cheese for less than two minutes to get it golden brown and delicious, while still maintaining the crispness of the tater tots.

Didn’t think Tater Tot Nachos were a science did ya?

Can I use my favorite chili recipe for these tater tot nachos?

Yes!

Just keep in mind, we don’t want a super runny or soupy chili. So if you can, cook out some of the liquid, or use a slotted spoon when adding the chili to the top of the tater tots.

Variations:

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos served with cilantro, sour cream, and jalapenos

While this version is a classic combo of chili cheese and taters, you can really mix and match and use some creative license when it comes to making these nachos. The sky’s the limit for Tater Tot Nachos!

Here are a couple of ideas to try:

  • For vegetarian Tater Tot Nachos, simply melt some cheese over the top, and garnish with fresh pico de gallo, avocado, and cilantro
  • Skip the chili, and season some ground meat or your favorite plant-based protein with taco seasoning, to top your tots with.
  • Make a fajita version and top with thinly sliced steak, peppers and onions, and melted cheese–YUM!
  • Top with your favorite pulled meat like pulled pork, salsa chicken, or shredded beef
  • Make your Tater Tot Nachos with queso and skip melting the cheese under the broiler! Make sure to top with lots of fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños!

Recipe Notes:

  • Make sure you watch the salt in the chili–you can use a low sodium chili seasoning mix or under season the chili when you’re making it from scratch. The tots and the cheese are pretty salty, so you don’t want your chili to be overly salty too.
  • You will have leftover chili if you make the above recipe. Just pop it in the freezer for another time or serve it alongside some tortilla chips for a dip!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

One Pot Chili Mac

Black Bean Burgers

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos (Totchos)

Tater Tot Nachos (Totchos)

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Crispy golden brown and delicious tater tots topped with chili cheese and fixin's for the ultimate Tater Tot Nachos!

Ingredients

  • 32oz bag of frozen tater tots
  • A batch of dry chili (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) of shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sliced jalapeños (optional)
  • Your favorite nacho toppings: Diced red onion or green onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, fresh jalapeños avocado or your favorite guacamole
  • Cilantro leaves 
  • Sour cream

Ingredients for the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 16 oz of ground turkey, beef, or your favorite plant-based meat crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground chili powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced small
  • 1 cup of diced white or sweet onion (1 small)
  • A 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 packet of prepared chili seasoning (like McCormick)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

To Make the Chili for the Totchos:

  1. In the bottom of a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add your ground protein of choice. 
  2. Season with the garlic powder and ground chili powder.
  3. Cook until the meat is browned and the pink is cooked out. If using ground beef, drain off any excess fat at this point.
  4. Add in your diced white onion and cook until translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute until the garlic is super fragrant. 
  5. Add in the beans and the tomatoes and give a stir, then add your packet of chili seasoning.
  6. Stir until all ingredients are combined and the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  7. The mixture should be drier than a traditional chili, about the consistency of sloppy joes. The longer it cooks, the more liquid will cook out as well, and that's fine for this recipe.
  8. Season with pepper to tasted and cautiously with salt (remember we're adding cheese and putting this on tater tots, so don't add too much salt).
  9. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then once simmering, reduce the heat to low and cover while the tots cook.

Finishing the Tater Tot Nachos:

    1. Remove your tots from the freezer and cook on a sheet pan in a single layer, per the instructions on the bag. Make sure to cook them until they are nice and brown and super crispy.
    2. Once your tots are done, remove them from the oven, and adjust your oven rack to the top third level. Set your broiler on high.
    3. Top your tots with about 2 cups of chili. Make sure to distribute evenly!
    4. Next, sprinkle on the cheese and the sliced jalapenos.
    5. Pop under the broiler and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly--about 2 minutes. Don't walk away from it!
    6. Remove your Tater Tot Nachos from the oven and top with your favorite nacho fixings!
    7. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and enjoy these nachos with a generous scoop of sour cream!

Notes

  • Make sure you watch the salt in the chili--you can use a low sodium chili seasoning mix or under season the chili when you're making it from scratch. The tots and the cheese are pretty salty, so you don't want your chili to be overly salty too.
  • You will have leftover chili if you make the above recipe. Just pop it in the freezer for another time or serve it alongside some tortilla chips for a dip!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1230Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 41gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 2111mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 17gSugar: 11gProtein: 66g

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5 Comments

  1. “Totchos”! 🤣 I love it! 🤣 that’s awesome.
    These look like a way fun appetizer food. I will admit, I probably wouldn’t go through the effort of making homemade chili just to add it on top. I’m just too lazy with my finger foods. 😂 I’d probably attempt a thick canned chili. But these look like they’d be a hit!

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