Tater Tot Casserole is a hot dish that’ll have everyone asking for seconds! Pantry basics, tater tots, and ground beef make this casserole a family favorite!
You guys! Get ready to dig in because this is a crazy good casserole recipe! I’m not saying it’s the best tater tot casserole on the planet – because I totally know your mom’s probably is. I get it.
However, this tater tot casserole is my husband’s absolute favorite and comes right from the mid-west for the discerning hot dish lover. Seven basic ingredients, 30 minutes in the oven, and you’re got a dinner everyone will have everyone asking for seconds.
We love going to our friends Rob and Treena’s house. We end up over there at some point for pretty much every major holiday and for football games some weekends.
Hanging out at their house reminds me of the way I always felt neighbors and communities should be. As the day goes on people come and go, but always stay long enough for a good chat. Everyone knows each other and we all help to look out for the smaller kids. It’s a blast.
Most of the time we end up doing a potluck meal. Everyone bringing a little something something, but other times Treena makes everything herself.
A few years ago, Treena made this yummy ground beef and tater tot dish. Pure comfort food you guys. I had to get the recipe from her since Mike had three – count them, THREE – helpings.
Her tater tot casserole recipe was so easy to make and my boys love it! Just throw it together and then you can sit back and have a glass of wine while everything cooks.
Freakshow cabernet sauvignon? Don’t mind if I do!
What’s the difference between a casserole and a hot dish?
Casseroles and hots dishes are two types of basked dishes. Both have a mixture of starch, vegetables, meat, and a crunchy crust or topping.
Casseroles are usually made with lighter proteins like chicken or tuna. They are baked uncovered and usually use noodles for the starch.
Hot dishes are a regional variation of a casserole found in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. They’re typically made with ground beef and usually have a potato for the starch – such as tater tots or hash browns. Hot dishes also use cream of mushroom soup as a binder and are cooked uncovered.
All that being said, outside of the Dakotas and Minnesota most any all-inclusive dish baked in a shallow rectangular pan is called a casserole. Says the girl from California that grew up in Arizona.
Remember it this way – all hot dishes are casseroles, but not all casseroles are hot dishes.
What is a hot dish in Minnesota?
Per our friend Phil (who’s from Minnesota), a hot dish is any one-dish meal that gets baked in the oven. It usually has canned cream of something soup (usually mushroom), canned vegetables, meat, and potatoes.
Hot dishes are the unofficial state cuisine of Minnesota, and I can totally see why.
Ingredients for Hot Dish with Tater Tots
- Ground beef
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Whole corn kernels
- Worcestershire sauce
- Frozen tater tots
- Shredded cheddar cheese
Super simple pantry basics. Love it! I always have these items on hand. I’m pretty sure more of you do too.
How to Make Tater Tot Casserole
This recipe is so easy to make even the kids can help! Older kids can cook the ground beef, and younger kids can mix everything up and add the tots.
- Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Next, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Be sure to use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the beef as it cooks. Then drain off any excess grease in the pan.
- While the meat is cooking, mix up the cream of mushroom soup, corn, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup in a large mixing bowl.
- Once the beef is cooked and drained, add it to the corn mixture. Then stir everything together until well combined.
- After that, pour the beef mixture into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Spread it out into an even layer. You don’t need to pack it down or anything, just spread.
- Now it’s time for the tots! I use most of a 32-ounce bag. You can dump the bag over the ground beef mixture and then spread out the tater tots into a single layer. Or grab a couple of handfuls of tots at a time and arrange them over the top of the beef. Just be sure you have a single layer of tater tots when you’re done.
- Take the casserole dish and place it in your hot oven. Bake the hot dish for 25 minutes, until the tater tots get crispy.
- Then, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle cheese all over the top. Bake the casserole for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Carefully take the baking dish out of the oven. Cut the casserole into 6 to 8 portions and serve warm.
What sides go with tater tot casserole?
This easy tater tot casserole is a stand-alone dish at our house, but if you want to round out your meal these are some good options!
- Bourbon Bacon Slaw
- Sauteed Green Beans
- Cheesy Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- Cowboy Beans
- Zesty Tomato Cucumber Salad
Can you freeze tater tot casserole?
You sure can!
Once the casserole is prepped and ready to go into the oven, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, place the casserole in your fridge the day or morning before to let it thaw out. Then bake as directed. And don’t forget the cheese!
My family loves these easy casseroles! I think you will too!!
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- 2 pounds ground beef
- 10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup
- 15.25 ounces whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 32 ounces frozen tater tots
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook ground beef until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess grease from the pan.
- While the beef is cooking, stir together the cream of mushroom soup, corn, Worcestershire soup, and ketchup in a medium mixing bowl. Add ground beef to the bowl and mix again to combine.
- Pour the ground beef mixture into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer.
- Dump the tater tots onto the ground beef and spread into an even layer. You want all the tater tots showing so they get crispy.
- Bake the casserole for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cheese all over the top. Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Take the casserole out of the oven and serve warm.