Try This: How to Make Easy Beef Totchos

When it comes to cooking, I’m out of practice. To be clear, I was never a great cook to begin with. When I began grad school five years ago, my husband took over the meal planning and prep, and we’ve never looked back. I’m very lucky to have a partner who loves cooking dinner for our family.

But lately, I’ve felt an impulse to try my hand at cooking again. When I announced my desire to attempt a meal, my family was skeptical.

“Do you have to make dinner? Why don’t you try a meal with lower stakes first, like lunch or an elaborate snack.”

“Are you sure? Remember what happened when you tried to make that frozen pizza.”

They weren’t wrong for being concerned (see: the aforementioned frozen pizza incident). I knew if I was going to try, I needed to prepare something simple and delicious.

Enter Totchos.

If you’ve never had totchos before, they are basically tater tots smothered with nacho ingredients. And they are amazing. My fondness for totchos began at the Iowa State Fair (because of course). Totchos and funnel cake are my State Fair go-tos. Since I wasn’t able to get my annual totcho fix at the fair this year, I decided to make them at home.

An image of eating totchos

How to Make Easy Beef Totchos

Totchos are great because of their versatility. Just like with regular nachos, there are so many possibilities for topping combinations. Some recipes include beans, others have corn. Because my kitchen skills are rusty, I kept my ingredient list simple.

Here’s the combination I used (I doubled the quantity since I’m feeding seven):

  • 2 pounds of frozen tater tots (I used Ore-Ida)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (if you are vegetarian, Morningstar Crumbles could be substituted, or you can omit the meat altogether)
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I used McCormick original taco seasoning)
  • 1 jar white queso (I used Tostitos brand)
  • 1 jar medium salsa
  • 1 package shredded Mexican cheese
  • 4 oz can pickled jalapenos

The instructions are pretty straightforward. Place the tater tots on baking sheets and heat according to package instructions. While the tots are baking, brown and season the ground beef.

A couple of things to note: the tots should be more on the crispy side. You don’t want them to be too soft, or they’ll be soggy when you add the toppings. And if you’re using meat, you should have an even meat-to-tot ratio (1 pound of beef for 1 bag of tots).

In addition, there are many other ingredients you can add. Onions, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole are all delicious.

I’m pleased to report that even though my kitchen skills are rusty, my totchos were a hit.

So much so that my 15yo son told me to double it next time (even though it was already doubled!)

An image of totchos

Have you tried totchos before? What are your favorite variations of the recipe?

Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


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