BBQ Tater Tot Casserole in the Air Fryer

5 / 5 ( 1 Review )
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This BBQ tater tot casserole is definitely one of a kind. You can make it all right in the air fryer, with a combination of ingredients that you might not have thought of before. 

With the crunch from the tater tots, the creaminess from the cheese and bbq sauce, mixed with the tasty addition of chickpeas, you will have one outstanding dish that is meant to impress!

Ingredients Needed for This Tater Tot Casserole:

  • Tater tots
  • Chickpeas
  • BBQ sauce
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • Red onion diced
  • Bacon

Toppings Add the Final Touches

For this recipe, I love to pair it with some of those delicious Mexican toppings. You might think I am crazy since you are using bbq sauce in the recipe, but I promise you, it is delicious!

Toppings to Use:

  • Pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa

Will This All Fit in the Air Fryer?

It might sound like a lot, but yes, if you have at least a 5.8 quart air fryer like the Cosori 5.8 quart air fryer I use then you will be good to go! However, make sure to follow the steps to bake everything correctly to get the best-tasting dish.

Will Bacon Crisp Up in the Air Fryer?

Yes! That is one of the beautiful things about the air fryer. You can get the wonderful crispiness of cooking the bacon on the stove, without having to dodge all the grease. 

How to Make BBQ Tater Tot Casserole:

Step 1: Bake the Tater Tots

When you are ready to get started, place the frozen tater tots in the air fryer basket and place them in the air fryer. Then set the tots to cook for 10-15 minutes at 400F or 200C or until the tater tots become your desired crispiness. I like mine a light golden brown. 

When they are done cooking, pour them onto a plate and set them off to the side for the time being.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Chickpeas

Next, add the raw bacon to one side of the air fryer basket and the drained can of chickpeas to the other side of the air fryer basket. Once they are set, place the basket in the air fryer and cook them at 350F or 175 C for about 10 minutes. 

After 5 minutes have passed, open up the air fryer and add the ¼-½ cup of BBQ sauce and mix it together with the chickpeas. You can also add the diced red onion at this step too if you liked sauteed onions. If not, you can always add them at the end as well.

Now push the air fryer basket back in and let it finish cooking for the remainder of the time set. 

*Note* If the bacon is not done the way you like, remove the chickpeas and you can cook it for another minute or two. Bacon will cook differently based on the kind you choose.

Once the bacon is done, chop it up and remove everything from the air fryer.

Step 3: Layer the Casserole

Now, take your oven safe dish that fits in the air fryer (I like to use a 1.5 qt or 6 cup pyrex dish)  and begin to layer the casserole ingredients.

Begin by putting the cooked tater tots on the bottom of the dish, and then top them with the chopped bacon and seasoned chickpeas, add the onion here if you did not saute them (you can also omit the onions if you’d prefer) and then top it off with a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Place the casserole dish into the air fryer basket (it might fit perfectly and that’s okay, it really just needs to be able to close) and cook the casserole ingredients together at 380F or 193C for about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Then carefully remove the air fryer basket and serve the tater tot casserole dish with your favorite toppings!

What Goes Well with BBQ Tater Tot Casserole? 

What is nice about this recipe is that it can be used as a delicious appetizer or a side dish! Let me give you a few ideas of entrees that would go great with this as a side dish. 

Great Air Fryer Dishes to Make with BBQ Tater Tot Casserole:

Final Thoughts

Try something out of your comfort zone, like this casserole! This BBQ casserole is truly amazing and is filled with flavor. Everyone loves a good hearty comfort food dish, and this tater tot casserole will satisfy all of those cravings in one bite.

Enjoy More Appetizers Made with Your Air Fryer:

Air fryer tips and tricks

BBQ Tater Tot Casserole in the Air Fryer

For a great appetizer or side dish, you have got to try this BBQ tater tot casserole recipe. It is bursting with flavor and a simple dish to put together using the air fryer.
5 / 5 ( 1 Review )
Print Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3
Adjust Servings: 3



  • 9 oz Frozen tater tots
  • 15 oz can Chickpeas drained
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce to taste
  • ¼ cup Monterey jack cheese to taste
  • ½ cup Red onion diced, to taste or omit if you are using pico de gallo as a topping and don’t like things super onion
  • 2 slices Bacon


  • Place the tater tots in the air fryer basket and cook for 10-15 minutes at 400 °F, or until they are cooked and crispy to your liking. Remove from the air fryer basket once finished.
  • Place the bacon strips on one side of the air fryer basket and the chickpeas on the other side. Cook at 350 °F for 10 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, add ¼ cup of BBQ sauce and mix everything together. You can also add the onions at this point if you like your onions sauteed. Or, you can add it at the end.
  • Continue cooking. Once finished, add more time if the bacon is not cooked to your liking.
  • Remove from the air fryer basket. Chop bacon into bite sized pieces.
  • Take your casserole dish you are using (you can use any oven safe dish that will fit in your air fryer basket and is deep enough to hold all the ingredients). Layer the dish with the tater tots, the bacon and chickpeas, onions if you are using them, and a layer of cheese.
  • Place the dish in the air fryer basket and cook at 380 °F for 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted to your liking
  • Carefully remove from the air fryer basket. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

I used a 1.5 qt (6 cup) pyrex dish that fit in my air fryer to make this casserole. It was roughly 6.5 in by 8 in big. The ingredient amounts may vary depending on the size of dish that you use to make a casserole. My dish didn’t completely fit in the basket, it wasn’t able to sit on the bottom of the basket. But I was able to close the basket. This wasn’t a big deal for me personally because I only needed to reheat the foods together for 2 minutes and melt the cheese.


Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 794mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 16g

Recipe Adapted From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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Ingredients: Bacon, BBQ Sauce, Cheese, Chickpeas, Red Onion, Tater Tots
Meal Type: Appetizers and Snacks, Side Dish, Fall, Winter
Categories: BBQ, Casserole, Air Fryer

Comments & Reviews

  • Trying this tonight…however the printable steps are not accurate. Instructions 1 and 2 are the same and there is no instruction for the bacon, chickpeas, and bbq sauce. I figured it out from the information above. Thought you’d want to correct this.

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