Pie Iron Cheesy Tots

cheesy tots baked in a pie iron

I’m not exactly sure why or when we started making these cheesy tots in the pie iron.

But even when we are grilling at home if I have the ingredients, I want to add them to the meal. They are quick to prep and quick to cook so they make a quick addition to any meal. If you are looking for a side dish to go with your hot dogs and burgers that isn’t a bag of chips, you will definitely want to try our pie iron cheesy tots.

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Who doesn’t love food cooked over a campfire? Actually we know a lot of people who don’t and we just have to feel sorry for them. Because we love to cook over a campfire, especially in a pie iron. These are sometimes called camp cookers, pudgy pies, or even hobo pies, but we use the term pie iron. Whatever you choose to call it, know that these trusty tools make extremely delicious food cooked over the campfire.

What we love about Pie Iron Cheesy Tots:

  • These cheesy potato bites are a delicious treat
  • They make a quick side dish
  • Who doesn’t love cheese on potatoes

The Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray (don’t want those tots to stick to the iron!)
  • Tator Tots (potato goodness)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic powder (optional, but delicious)
  • Peppers and Onions (if you are in a hurry buy the prepared ones in the freezer section)
  • Shredded Cheese (we use a blend of cheeses for ours)
double pie iron sprayed with cooking spray
tator tots lined up in pie iron on grill
tator tots with peppers and onions in pie iron on grill

The Process:

  1. (Optional) Preheat your pie irons over the fire while getting your supplies ready.
  2. Spray both sides of your pie iron with cooking spray.
  3. Arrange a layer of tator tots in the bottom of the pie iron. We can fit 27 tots in a double pie iron.
  4. Season tots with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then add peppers and onions. Close lid and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping midway.
cooked tator tots with peppers and onions in pie iron on grill
cheese covering cooked tator tots with peppers and onions in pie iron on a grill
finished cheesy tots in pie iron
  1. Add cheese and close lid. Place over fire again and cook for five more minutes, cheese side up, until cheese is melted.
  2. Slide onto plate and enjoy.

FAQ and How to Customize:

Q. What cheese do you recommend?

A. We enjoy our shredded blend of Mexican blend but not everyone likes preshredded cheese. You can take your own block of cheese and grate your own or use sliced cheese of your preference.

Q. What are some other ingredients we could use?

A. Instead of using tator tots we have also used French fries to great success. The kid prefers his with just cheese and possibly some mustard. We have been known to add bacon bits, minced green onions, and sour cream to ours.

Q. What can I use instead of a pie iron?

A. We have not tried this, but it seems like you could possibly use your cast iron skillet or you could try wrapping your tots in heavy duty foil similar to cooking a foil packet on the fire. Neither one would have the same crispy exterior as the pie iron, but we think they would still be tasty!

Q. How long should we cook the pie iron cheesy tots?

A. This will depend on how hot your fire is and if you preheated your pie irons. We like to preheat our irons so the food will cook faster. However, then you are at risk of burning yourself while assembling the tots. Which is why we state that step is optional and leave that to your discretion.

Q. How do I know if my pie iron temperature is hot enough?

A. You can tell if your pie iron is hot enough by simply throwing a few drops of water in it and seeing how they sizzle. Again, we want to reiterate that preheating the pie iron is optional. When kids are involved in the creation, we tend to leave the irons cold and just cook our items longer.

Q. How do I clean my pie iron after cooking?

A. The best way to clean your cast iron pie iron is to allow it to cool off. Then, while it is still warm, use a damp paper towel or rag to wipe it clean. Do not use soap as you will need to reseason the cooker. The easiest way to clean a Teflon coated cooker is to use a little bit of camping safe soap and water. Make sure to get all the soap off before cooking with it again.

Q.  What type of fire is best for cooking pie iron cheesy tots?

A. We have experimented with all different kinds of cooking our pie iron goodies and prefer a campfire. But if a fire is not an option, we have used charcoal grills, gas grills, even our oven during a torrential downpour. That was interesting because we couldn’t shut the oven door due to the poles. We would NOT recommend repeating that experiment.

Q. How do I prevent a burnt or stuck meal?

A. First, you will want to ensure that you are using something to coat your irons. Depending on what we are cooking we use butter, oil, or spray. With these tator tots, we use cooking spray in our irons. These will keep them from getting stuck.

Now, to prevent them from burning, you will need to flip frequently and keep an eye on them. Unfortunately, because we don’t have exact temperatures on the fire, we can’t give a definite “cook for X minutes” in the recipe. Which is why we open ours up to do a visual check on a regular basis.

Suggested Main Dish:

This dish is how we up our hot dog/hamburger/grilled brats game. However, we think they would be tasty alongside any sort of sandwich (such as our Pie Iron Philly Cheesesteaks) or grilled meat. They can be a nice base to a bowl of chili. And we have even been known to make these the entire meal if we overindulged earlier in the day while eating out.

Suggested Dessert:

This meal just calls for the classic s’mores in our eyes. Roast your marshmallows and plop them on some graham crackers with chocolate. However, if you want to up your game a bit, make some S’mores Dip or even some Campfire Cones. If you are looking for something in-between, may we suggest some of the recipes in our article on Campfire Cones as a twist on the classic s’mores?

Equipment needed:

More Cheesy Potato Recipes to Enjoy:

Pie Iron Cheesy Tots are a great way to add some oomph to your basic hot dogs and hamburgers.

They can be customized in all sorts of ways, and we love how they can be made over the fire or on the grill. What sort of toppings would you put on yours? Tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and show us your creations!

Pie Iron Cheesy Tots

a quick side dish to enjoy with hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: camping, pie iron, potato, snack
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • Pie Irons

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 100 tator tots thawed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1 cup assorted bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Instructions

  • (Optional) Preheat your pie irons over the fire while getting your supplies ready.
  • Spray both sides of your pie iron with cooking spray.
  • Arrange a layer of tator tots in the bottom of the pie iron. We can fit 27 tots in a double pie iron.
  • Season tots with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then add peppers and onions. Close lid and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping midway.
  • Add cheese and close lid. Place over fire again and cook for five more minutes, cheese side up, until cheese is melted.
  • Slide onto plate and enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Pie Iron Cheesy Tots”

  1. Pingback: 23 Pie Iron Recipes Perfect for Campfires - Insanely Good

  2. Pingback: Duluth Pack: The Pack Report

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