It’s hard to go wrong with bacon wrapped anything, but when that bacon wrapped anything is a bacon wrapped tater tot, you know you’ve really got something. These little guys are absolutely decadent and totally bad for you – that’s why I save these appetizers for very special occasions, like New Year’s Eve, right before everyone starts in on those New Year’s Resolutions.
1 pound of bacon (I like to use relatively thin cut)
1 bag/package of tater tots (I find Ore-Ida are the best)
1 7 oz. can of jalapenos
Ranch Dressing (I like the buttermilk ranch from the refrigerated section)
3/4 cup of grated jack and cheddar cheese (I think the light cheese melts better and leaves less grease and I buy already grated)
*This recipe can easily be reduced or increased depending upon the number of tater tots you want to make, but the above recipe typically makes about 30 tots, depending upon the number of bacon slices in the package.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a broiler pan (or some pan with a grate/rack that allows the bacon grease to drain) with foil.
Each tater tot will require half a slice of bacon, so cut the bacon slices in half. I like to use culinary shears/scissors to cut the bacon rather than using a knife because it’s easier and you can cut multiple slices of bacon at once. Simply fold the bacon in half over your finger and cut at the fold.
Next lay the bacon flat on a cutting board to begin assembly. Place the frozen tater tot at the end of the bacon strip, then place a slice of jalapeno next to the tater tot and begin rolling up the tot tightly in the bacon. I recommend tasting your jalapenos first because I find that the spiciness varies from can to can so you might need to put a smaller or larger slice of jalapeno in the wrap depending upon the spiciness and your personal preference (I’m kind of a spice wuss). Also, note that the spiciness will mellow out slightly once cooked, so plan accordingly. Once the tater tot is all rolled up, place it on the rack in the pan with the loose end of the bacon down so the tater tot doesn’t come unraveled during baking. Repeat the steps above until all the bacon is used up.
Place the tater tots in the oven and cook them for 30-40 minutes, until the bacon is a nice golden brown color and crispy. Be careful to not overdo the bacon though – you want it to be slightly crispy, but not crunchy. Once done, take the tater tots out of the oven, stick a toothpick into the top of each so they hold together and remove them with tongs to an oven safe serving dish. Arrange the tater tots on the dish, leaving a spot in the middle of the dish for a ramekin that holds the ranch dressing. Sprinkle the tater tots with the cheese and place them back in the oven for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Once the cheese is melted, remove the tater tots from the oven and place a ramekin filled with the ranch dressing in the middle of the serving dish.
Ok, now wow your guests with an amazingly simple and delicious appetizer! Blink and they might be gone!