Are you looking to jazz up your favorite crispy potato tater tots? While tater tots may be considered a childish cafeteria food, with a few genius ideas they can be transformed to serve to a grown-up audience (while also satisfying your inner child). 

And of course, when you think tater tots can’t get any better, may I remind you they are the perfect vessel for cheese? Here are some crispy, gooey, cheesy tater tot recipes to change how you think about tots.

1. Tater Tot & Bacon Grilled Cheese in a Waffle Iron

chicken, meat, mozzarella, dough, sauce, crust, cheese, pizza
Arden Sarner

Four words: tots, bacon, jalapeños, and cheese. Stick all that in a waffle iron and you’re golden. Literally.

If you don’t have a waffle iron, you can also use a panini press and still get a masterpiece. Also add anything you like, whether that be bacon and jalapeños, different cheeses, ham, tomato — the possibilities are endless.

2. Cheesy Bacon, Sausage, and Tater Tot Breakfast Bake

vegetable, meat
Tiare Brown

This recipe reminds me of the casserole my mom always makes on Christmas, but with two addictive additions: tots and bacon. If you want a runnier, gooey bake follow these instructions for the recipe.

If you prefer a more set egg, I suggest baking the casserole without the tots for the first 20 minutes and then add them on for the last 15 minutes.

3. Tater Tot Nachos

tofu, chicken
Allison Martin

Tater tot nachos. Genius. Why not combine two of America’s favorite foods? Add whatever toppings you want. I added cheddar, jalapeños, shallots, corn salsa, grilled chicken, and cilantro, and it was super yummy.

4. Buffalo Tater Tot Bake

carrot, sweet
Divneet Dhillon

I love buffalo chicken. Substitute chicken for tots and add cheese and you have an amazing dish for a football game or when that spicy craving comes along. If you’re not into blue cheese, add goat cheese or feta to give a similar tang.

5. Loaded Baked Tater Tot Dip

nut, gnocchi, cereal, garbanzo, chickpeas, sweet, meat, vegetable, legume
Isabelle Langheim

Here's another cheesy dip for game day (or any day). You can never have enough dip options! This one calls for cheese, sour cream, crumbled meatballs and of course, tots. 

6. Cheesy Garlic Tater Tot Bake

Allison Martin

This is like garlic bread for tater tots. Heaven. If you, like me, don’t have a Bundt pan lying around like the recipe calls for, use a muffin tin and get cute little servings that are just as delicious (just start checking them at 20 minutes) or use a loaf pan.

7. Jalapeño Popper Tater Tot Casserole

This dish is a new twist on the classic jalapeño popper. Cheesy, spicy, and overall divine. I'm here for it!

8. Loaded Tater Tot Skewers

They're like a potato skin, but on a skewer. And that's fancy. Load these bad boys up with cheese and bacon bits and you'll be sure to impress your friends at the tailgate. 

9. Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots

And finally we have my personal favorite, sure to please everyone: bacon-wrapped tots. Bacon, similar to tater tots, makes everything better.

These recipes are fool-proof ways to upgrade your tots, whether you're making them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. So, go forth and enjoy, my fellow tot lovers.