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Confession time: I really love cheese. LOVE. IT.
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.
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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 can actually 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 a brick of 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 adds an extra kick of flavor if that’s how you roll.
(You can also leave out the cheese on some to accommodate those who avoid, too.)
Let’s make some
cheese filled bacon wrapped tots!
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 – because you don’t want that bacon to get away from you.
Yes, thawed tots – 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.
Tip: I use a baker’s cooling rack to elevate the tots from the sheet so that the bacon crisps all the way around.
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.
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.
You can lay it on the cookie sheet as is or spear it with a toothpick to make sure it stays in place.
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 NOW, so ours go in the oven.
Cook for 20 minutes then turn tots and bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is crispy.
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.
What appetizers are your go-to when you entertain?
- 1/2 C. light brown sugar
- 1 TBSP Chili Powder
- 1/2 C your favorite block cheese, diced
- 2 1/2 C Ore-Ida tater tots, THAWED
- 3/4 lb bacon
- Pre-heat oven to 400º. Line baking sheet with foil or a non-stick silicone baking mat, and place a cookie rack on top of sheet, if desired..
- Mix light brown sugar and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Cut cheese in 1/4" dice.
- Cut bacon slices into thirds.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in each tot. CAREFULLY insert a piece of cheese. (The thawed tot will be a bit crumbly.)
- Wrap tot with bacon slice, overlapping ends. Secure with toothpick if needed
- Roll bacon-wrapped tot in the brown sugar/chili powder mixture and place on cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Turn tots and bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is crisped.
- Lining your cookie sheet with foil will make for an easier clean-up.
- Baking them on a low cooling rack will let them crisp up all around!
- We like cheddar or jalepeno cheddar with this recipe, but you can use your favorite!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 15g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.