Cheese-stuffed Spiced Bacon Tots, Oh My!

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cheese-stuffed-tots

Confession time:  I really love cheese. LOVE. It’s one of my favorite snack foods and it goes with everything.  (Or very nearly.) Sliced with apples, alone on crackers, melted over anything – it’s an easy snack and a perfect appetizer.

I used to cringe when I had to bring appetizers to a party – give me a dessert and I was all over it, but finding something easy that was served hot and not a dip challenged me. Until I started making cheese-stuffed spiced bacon tots.

Salty bacon. Melty cheesy goodness. Crispy tater tots (doesn’t saying ‘tater’ just make you happy?) Sweet and spicy flavors. This has it all!

It’s so easy, the kids help me make it. And because you need to work with fully thawed tater tots, it’s a lovely treat for entertaining because you can prep them ahead and then just pop them in the oven at the last-minute so they are hot and ready to serve to your guests!

These little guys are super simple to make and you can easily control the amount of heat you give them. I make mine with Kraft Natural Cheese Chunk Cheese because I can cut right to the size that I need and easily control the amount of cheese in each tot. For this recipe I like the Medium Cheddar – although a Jalapeño cheddar added an extra kick of flavor.

Preheat your oven to 400º F.

To start, you need bacon, THAWED tater tots, and an 8 ounce block of cheese. You’ll also need brown sugar and chili powder. Toothpicks, if desired.

TaterTots

Yes, thawed – and I nearly always forget this, no matter how many times I make them, so I’m left waiting for them to thaw. I usually spread them out on a cookie sheet and place them in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, to thaw.  For this recipe I used 2-1/2 cups worth (but this recipe EASILY adjusts if you want to use an entire 2-lb bag for a party.)

In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup of light brown sugar with a tablespoon of chili powder, adjusting as needed for more or less heat.

spicy-sweet-tots

Starting with a shallow baking tray or rimmed cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil (to keep clean up easy).

Dice your cheese, keeping in mind the size of your tater tots. If you’re like me and have helpers, go ahead and cut a few extra slices, because you know it’s a better-for-you snack anyway.

Cheese-collage

With a sharp knife, carefully cut a slit into the side of a tot.

Take a piece of cheese and stuff it into the tot. Go ahead, stuff ALL the tots, going carefully. If your tot starts to split, no worries – the bacon wrapped around the tot will hold it together, and a toothpick can secure it in place.

Now, onto the bacon. Taking a slice of bacon, cut it in thirds.  (My cheat: the kitchen scissors in my knife block are for food use only; these make cutting the bacon to size a breeze.)

Taking a piece of bacon, wrap it around the tot like a label on a soup can.   Roll that tot in your brown sugar/chili powder mix.

Spice-on-tots

You can lay it on the cookie sheet as is or spear it with a toothpick to make sure it stays in place.
Tip: use a baker’s cooling rack to elevate the tots from the sheet

ready-to-cook-tater-tots

Now, at this point, you can cook them or you can cover the sheet up with plastic wrap and pop it back in the fridge, and it’s ready to go in the oven when your guests arrive. Of course, we want to eat them, so ours go in the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes then turn tots and bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is crispy.

Tots

Take them out, plate them up, and serve!

Since I usually have all these ingredients in my fridge, it is really easy to make a smaller portion of these for just the four of us, too.

I grabbed all the ingredients for these little delights on my last trip to Walmart – they had everything I needed to make the cheesy bacon tots and put together all the other appetizers for my holiday entertaining. The Kraft Natural Chunks works perfectly for both my recipe and my cheese tray, so I picked up several varieties of cheddar using a coupon to save $1 off two 8 oz. Kraft Natural Cheese Chunk Cheeses. (It’s also good on 8 oz. Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese).

What are you serving up when you entertain this holiday? If you are looking for more ideas, you can find great recipes – and savings on Kraft Heinz products – here!

The Recipe

Cheese-Stuffed Spiced Bacon Tots

Cheese-Stuffed Spiced Bacon Tots

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C. light brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1/2 C Kraft Natural Cheese Chunk Cheese, diced
  • 2-1/2 C tater tots, thawed
  • 3/4 lb bacon

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º.
  2. Mix light brown sugar and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut cheese in 1/4" dice.
  4. Cut bacon slices into thirds.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in each tot. CAREFULLY insert a piece of cheese.
  6. Wrap tot with bacon slice, overlapping ends. Secure with toothpick if needed
  7. Roll bacon wrapped tot in the brown sugar/chili powder mixture and place on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn tots and bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is crisped.
  9. Serve immediately!
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Comments

  1. Wow! You had me at cheesy bacon! I love that you can make these ahead of time and they travel well. Pinned!

  2. Oh wow! This looks amazing! Bacon, Tater Tots… CHEESE??!! Delicious! (client)

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