Easy Tater Tot Hotdish - Busy Cooks (2023)

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Why you’ll love this recipe:

Hotdish is another name for a casserole with a protein smothered in a creamy sauce, typically combined with vegetables and a starch. It’s popular in Minnesota and North Dakota, among other states. Tater tot hotdish is my favorite version, with a beefy gravy-esque filling, plenty of melted cheese, and crispy tots to boot. It’s the ultimate comfort food for kids and adults alike.

  • Easy – This hot dish recipe is super simple to make! It’s made all in one pot, then transferred to a baking dish and topped with cheese and frozen tater tots.
  • Elevated – My tater tot hot dish uses sour cream and heavy cream to achieve an irresistibly creamy sauce! No canned soup necessary! Not only is canned soup extra salty but it’s full of processed ingredients.
  • Meal prep – You can make the filling a day ahead of time, then just top with cheese and tots when you’re ready to bake it!

I highly recommend this hotdish for potlucks, holidays, or any weekday night! It’s a one-size-fits-all kind of meal. Everyone loves it, plus it’s easy enough for a Tuesday but tasty enough for Thanksgiving.

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Key Ingredient Notes:

  • Ground beef – I recommend at least 80 percent lean ground beef. Drain the excess fat as needed. For a healthier alternative, try ground turkey or shredded chicken.
  • All-purpose flour – Flour acts as a thickener so the cheese sauce doesn’t separate. It keeps the sauce silky smooth and creamy!
  • Sour cream – Sour cream helps thicken the cheese sauce without the need for condensed soup. Condensed soup is excessively salty and full of processed ingredients! This version tastes better and it’s better for you.
  • Heavy cream – For an ultra creamy cheese sauce.
  • Mixed vegetables – Frozen green beans, corn, peas, and carrots taste delicious in the cheesy sauce. I don’t recommend canned veggies for this one. You can use only frozen peas or green beans if you prefer.
  • Shredded cheese – I used shredded cheddar, but any melting cheese works great. Try Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Mexican, Italian, or a combination.
  • Frozen tater tots – You need one 32 ounce bag. This is a tater tot hotdish after all!
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How to make this casserole recipe:

Before you begin, heat your oven to 400°F. And grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

1. Cook the meat

  • Cook the ground beef and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once all the meat is cooked, drain the excess fat.
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2. Prepare the casserole mixture

  • Stir in the flour and spices to the meat mixture.
  • Add the sour cream and heavy cream and stir until well combined.
  • Add ½ cup of the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Save the remaining cheese for the top!
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables and stir to combine.
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3. Assemble and bake the casserole

  • Carefully pour the cheesy beef and vegetable mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheese evenly over the casserole.
  • Arrange the frozen tater tots on top in a single layer.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. The foil prevents the tater tots from browning too quickly. Carefully remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the tots are golden brown and crispy.
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Make-Ahead Tips:

  • You can assemble this hot dish recipe up to a day ahead of time. Don’t top with shredded cheese or frozen tater tots. Instead, wrap the casserole dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. Top with cheese and tater tots right before you pop it in the oven!
  • You can make the casserole ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months. Just assemble the hotdish as directed, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.
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Storing Tips:

  • To store leftovers, allow the dish to come to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave on a heat-proof plate until hot throughout. Or you can reheat leftovers in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
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Easy Tater Tot Hotdish - Busy Cooks (8)


What is a hotdish?

A hotdish is a type of casserole with protein, veggies, potatoes or a starch, and a creamy irresistible sauce! All hotdishes are casseroles, but not all casseroles are a type of hotdish. Hotdish originated in Minnesota and is a popular meal served in the upper Midwestern states.

What is tater tot hotdish made of?

Tater tot hotdish is made of ground beef and mixed vegetables in a cream sauce topped with shredded cheese and frozen tater tots. The hotdish is baked until the cheese is melty and the tots are golden brown and crisp!

What should I serve with tater tot hotdish?

Hotdish is a meal on its own, but I like to serve it with biscuits or dinner rolls and a big salad with crunchy greens and vegetables. A fruit salad, biscuits, or a mixed green salad would be great too!

Easy Casserole Recipes:

  • Cheeseburger Casserole
  • Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
  • Dorito Taco Casserole
  • Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Easy Tater Tot Hotdish - Busy Cooks (9)

Easy Tater Tot Hotdish

Created by Shinee D.

5 (1 rating)

Servings 8 servings

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins

Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe

This tater tot hotdish is a comfort food classic with a beefy vegetable filling, plenty of cheese, and crispy tater tots! Born in Minnesota, this simple dish is perfect for potlucks and reunions.


  • 9×13-inch casserole dish


  • 1 lb lean ground beef Note 1
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese ½ cup separated, Note 2
  • 1 (32oz) bag frozen tater tots


  • Preheat the oven to 400℉ (204)℃ and prepare a 9×13 baking casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

  • In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and onion. Drain excess fat.

  • Sprinkle the flour, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper over the beef mixture, stirring until it is evenly distributed.

  • Add the sour cream and heavy cream, stir until well combined and thickened.

  • Add ½ cup of the cheddar cheese, stir until melted and smooth.

  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables, stir to combine.

  • Transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to the prepared 9×13 casserole dish.

  • Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheddar cheese over the beef and vegetable mixture.

  • Top with the frozen tater tots, arranging in a single layer.

  • Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

  • Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the tater tots are golden and crispy.

  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving, garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!


Note 1:Use at least 80 percent lean ground beef. You can also use ground turkey if you like.

Note 2: Any kind of melting cheese works great. Try cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Mexican, or Italian.

Storing Tips:
– To store leftovers, allow the dish to come to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
– Reheat in the microwave on a heat-proof plate until hot throughout. Or you can reheat leftovers in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 592kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 26gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 960mgPotassium: 697mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 3068IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 326mgIron: 3mg

* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.

Easy Tater Tot Hotdish - Busy Cooks (10)

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Reader Interactions

Comments + Reviews


What is the difference between a Tater Tot Hotdish and a Tater Tot casserole? ›

Casseroles can contain whatever you want them to, but a hotdish has ingredients that it is required to include. To specify, a hotdish has to have a “cream of something” soup (or a tomato base), veggies, either potato or pasta for a starch, a protein, and some type of crispy topping (chips, breadcrumbs, etc.).

What is the difference between a casserole and a hotdish? ›

Definition: Casserole is the name of the dish used to cook with, whereas hot dish is the meal itself. Ingredients: Casseroles can contain any ingredients under the sun practically, where hot dishes have set ingredients they have to have.

What is a hotdish in Minnesota? ›

A traditional main course, hot dish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers. Hotdish is constructed on a base of canned cream of mushroom soup and canned vegetables. The other ingredients are as varied as the Minnesota landscape.

What are the 3 main parts of a casserole? ›

In the United States, a casserole or hot dish is typically a baked food with three main components: pieces of meat (such as chicken or ground meat) or fish (such as tuna) or other protein (such as beans or tofu), various chopped or canned vegetables (such as green beans or peas), and a starchy binder (such as flour, ...

How do you thicken a tater tot casserole? ›

Whisk together equal parts cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Use one tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of liquid you would like to thicken. Stir out all the lumps. A few minutes before your casserole is done, add it a little at a time until you are happy with the thickness.

What do Midwesterners call casserole? ›

The term hot dish is typically utilized in the upper parts of Minnesota and North Dakota because people up there like to coin their own verbiage, much like “uff da” or “you betcha.” You probably called it a casserole, like this one, and, not to sound like a hot dish snob, but the parameters of hot dish are a bit more ...

Is Dutch oven and casserole the same? ›

Casserole Dish vs Dutch Oven: Differences

Casserole dishes are made from a much greater range of materials, while Dutch ovens are made from cast iron. Depth. Dutch ovens are deeper, allowing you to cook larger quantities of food. Casserole dishes are shallow and relatively flat.

Can I use a pan instead of a casserole dish? ›

Saucepans can be a good choice in your search for the ideal casserole alternative. However, most of these pans will only be a good choice if you don't need to put them inside of the oven, as many will have handles that can melt under high heat.

Why is my tater tot casserole runny? ›

Why is my tater tot casserole dish runny? When you pull it from the oven, it's going to be runny. As it cools down, it will thicken up a bit on its own. Just give it a few minutes to cool down if you're wanting it to be a bit thicker.

What is tater tot casserole called? ›

Tater tot hotdish is a casserole dish that contains starch, meat, cheese, and veggies mixed with soup. The most classic example is ground beef, topped with tater tots and flavored with thick cream of mushroom soup sauce.

What meat goes good with tater tots? ›

Grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches, and turkey cheddar melts, are both even better with tots.

What is the most Minnesotan food? ›

Wild Rice, which is not actually rice at all, but grass seed, is Minnesota's state grain and one that's been lovingly embraced by Minnesotan cooks. You find it in everything from burgers, pancakes, hot dish and of course, the famous Minnesota wild rice soup.

Do you put the lid on a casserole dish in the oven? ›

Generally, casseroles with grains, rice or pasta that will cook during the baking process are usually covered, for at least part of the time. Casseroles made of cooked ingredients are usually baked uncovered. If you like a crisper, browner top, be sure the casserole is uncovered for at least part of the bake time.

What is the key to making a good casserole? ›

  1. Choose the right baking dish. If you're all about the crunchy topping, use a shallow dish. ...
  2. Undercook your pasta. ...
  3. Drain your meat. ...
  4. Beware of mushy vegetables. ...
  5. Know your cheeses. ...
  6. Master the art of casserole assembly. ...
  7. Don't skip the topping. ...
  8. Make it now, but bake it later.
Nov 1, 2021

Should you serve casseroles immediately? ›

Let the casserole sit to let it set

According to Allrecipes, letting your hotdish cool for about 20 minutes before digging in will help any liquids be reabsorbed and help firm up any creamy ingredients like soup, sauce, or melted cheese. This chance to rest helps the casserole set, which makes it also easier to serve.

What is the secret to crispy tater tots? ›

If you want to really ensure you get a crispy end result, coat your tater tots in cooking spray, and you can also sprinkle on a bit of salt. Be certain to flip the basket holding your tots halfway through their cooking time to get both sides evenly crunchy.

How do I get the crispiest tater tots? ›

A slightly longer cook time makes the most delicious difference in both the taste and texture of tater tots. A longer cook time will cause the tots to shrink and dry out a little, which makes them even crispier all around on the outside with a potato-y center that's more dense and creamy.

How to make tater tots extra crispy in the oven? ›

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Add tater tots to a baking sheet. Pour bacon grease over the tater tots. Sprinkle with season salt. ...
  3. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
  4. Turn tater tots over and return to oven for 10- 15 minutes or until crispy and brown.
  5. Serve immediately.
Apr 19, 2016

What is the oldest known casserole? ›

Macaroni and cheese is the oldest written casserole recipe found in 1250.

How do Midwesterners say hello? ›

Perhaps you recognize “Oh, howdy” as one of the myriad of ways we Midwesterners say hello.

Why do Midwesterners say yeah no? ›

The rhythms of Midwestern dialect can be confusing for those who aren't used to them. Unlike the no-nonsense directness of New Yorkers, Midwesterners amble around the point they're trying to make by saying things like "Yeah, no, yeah," to mean "I'm so sorry, but unfortunately the answer is yes."

What is a Dutch oven vulgar? ›

National Lampoon magazine described the current Dutch oven—trapping a fart under the covers of a bed—in 1974 as the kind of stunt a guy might pull on his little brother. Other sources describe Dutch ovening your significant other or even yourself.

What do the English call a Dutch oven? ›

A Dutch oven (US English) or casserole dish (international) is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid.

Can I use a pyrex dish instead of a Dutch oven? ›

Yes you can use pyrex as a Dutch Oven because it has a lid. You do need to be aware that pyrex is not the same as a cast iron Dutch Oven and will not withstand the same temperature ranges.

Is it better to bake in foil or glass pans? ›

The MVP in action. Aluminum is good for cakes, bars, and pies—but also for breads: focaccia, sandwich loaves, and rolls. Because metal heats up faster than glass, it contributes to a better rise and crisper, browner edges.

Is it better to bake a casserole in glass or metal? ›

Metal pans are better heat conductors than glass pans, meaning the food inside cooks more evenly.

Can you use a Pyrex dish as a casserole dish? ›

Since it came on the scene in 1915, Pyrex was designed to be oven-safe. These glass vessels, which range from casserole dishes to pie plates to loaf pans are all safe for baking.

Does a casserole cook faster covered or uncovered? ›

Casseroles. Casseroles with creamy fillings, such as broccoli, cheese and rice, lasagna, or macaroni and cheese should be covered initially while the ingredients heat up. Covering them helps them cook faster and also keeps them moist by holding in steam. You can also use this approach with breaded meats and stews.

Why are my tater tots not getting crispy? ›

Overbake them. I find the time suggested on the bag is not long enough to get them crispy. How do I cook frozen tater tots? The typical package instructions recommend baking them at 425 degrees from anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the brand and amount being baked.

Can you leave a tater tot casserole out overnight? ›

It will be perfectly OK, and probably would be if you left it out all day as well. I wouldn't do that with Chicken (all day I mean) but provided you heat it up properly in the oven, or nuke it in the microwave you would be most unlikely to have a problem. It will still be fine to eat.

What do British people call tater tots? ›

Here in the UK you won't find 'tater tots' in the supermarkets. However you will find hash browns which are basically tater tots formed into a larger, usually triangle shape. In recent years, supermarkets have started stocking mini hash browns. These are almost identical to tater tots and perfect for this recipe.

What is tater short for? ›

noun. a dialectal variant of potato.

What are golden tater tots? ›

All our crispy, golden, Grade A fries are made from 100% real, fresh peeled, American-grown potatoes. We take great care to cut, season, and freeze them in under an hour to lock in all the delicious, freshly cooked flavor.

Are tater tots junk food? ›

Warning: There's absolutely nothing healthy or nutritionally redeeming about “tater tots.” They're straight up junk food, loaded with fat and salt. But they're also crispy, salty and simply irresistible — no matter what your age.

Do they put onions in tater tots? ›

Crispy and golden, these easy TATER TOTS are made from freshly peeled, American grown potatoes that are shredded and seasoned with real diced onions for extra flavor.

Are tater tots healthier then fries? ›

Fries vs Tater Tots

A serving of tater tots (86 grams) has 160 calories and 8 grams of fat, but packs a whopping 420 milligrams of sodium. While fries do have more calories and fat than tater tots, the extraordinary increase in sodium in tots makes fries the healthier choice — barely.

What state is number 1 for food? ›

Hawaii's food is the best in the country, and Nevada's culinary scene is underrated. I found decadent and delicious feasts in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

What is the most eaten thing in the world? ›

Rice is a food staple for more than 3.5 billion people around the world, particularly in Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa. Rice has been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. Scientists believe people first domesticated rice in India or Southeast Asia.

What is the most eaten dish in the world? ›

The 10 most popular (and delicious) dishes around the world
  • Pizza. (c) Seba Tataru / Shutterstock.
  • Ramen. (c) LisaBee Imagery / Shutterstock.
  • Burger. (c) FoodAndPhoto / Shutterstock.
  • Paella. (c) Food Collection / Shutterstock.
  • Moussaka. (c) Timolina / Shutterstock.
  • Beef Bourguignon. ...
  • Pierogi. ...
  • Chicken Tikka Massala.
Apr 25, 2023

What dessert is Minnesota known for? ›

Strawberry Delight

This unusual American dessert salad is especially popular in Minnesota. It consists of cream cheese, graham crackers, milk, strawberries, and strawberry gelatin, although it can be enriched by the addition of canned pineapple, walnuts, or marshmallows.

What sandwich is Minnesota known for? ›

According to local legend, the St. Paul sandwich was invented by Steven Yuen at Park Chop Suey in Lafayette Square, a neighborhood near downtown St. Louis; Yuen named the sandwich after his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.

What is Minnesota's favorite sandwich? ›

It's hotdish, not a casserole. Really, any hotdish is Minnesotan but tater tot hotdish is the most Minnesotan for sure.

What food was invented in Minnesota? ›


According to Wikipedia, John Campbell, a miller in Owatonna, Minnesota invented the hot breakfast cereal.

What food is native to Minnesota? ›

In addition to walleye and wild rice, indigenous Minnesotans have traditionally used ingredients such as bison, sweet potato, and corn. James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Sherman, otherwise known as “The Sioux Chef,” aims to bring Native American food back to the forefront in Minnesota.

What food is the Twin Cities known for? ›

10 Must-Eat Foods In The Twin Cities
  • Bars. One of the most popular desserts in Minnesota is bars. ...
  • Booya. ...
  • Cheese Curds. ...
  • Hot Dish. ...
  • Jell-O Salad. ...
  • Jucy Lucy. ...
  • Lefse. ...
  • Lutefisk.
Mar 24, 2016

What is Tater Tot Hotdish made of? ›

What is tater tot hotdish made of? Tater tot hotdish, like all other hot dish, is made with a protein (ground beef), vegetables (green beans and corn), starch (tater tots), and homemade cream of chicken soup.

What is tater tot casserole made of? ›

Canned soup: A can of condensed cream of mushroom soup adds richness, creaminess, and flavor. Seasonings: This casserole is simply seasoned with salt and black pepper. Tater tots: Of course, you'll need frozen tater tots! Cheese: Shred your own Cheddar cheese for the most delicious results.

What is a fact about Tater Tot Hotdish? ›

7 Tasty Facts About Tater Tots
  • The first Tater Tots were made from French fry scraps. ...
  • Tater Tots are the main ingredient in Hotdish casserole. ...
  • The name Tater Tot is trademarked. ...
  • Tater Tots have different names around the world. ...
  • Homemade tater tot recipes may not be worth it.
Jan 23, 2020

What meat goes with tater tots? ›

Tots add a nice crunch to any sandwich, especially a melty grilled cheese. Change up the meat and cheese depending on what you and your kid's like. Grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches, and turkey cheddar melts, are both even better with tots.

What do Minnesotans call casseroles? ›

Hotdish is common terminology in western Wisconsin and Minnesota, while casserole is the preferred name everywhere else in the country.

What nationality is tater tots? ›

History. Tater tots were invented in 1953 when American frozen food company Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg, Golden Grigg, and Ross Erin Butler Sr. were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes.

Why are tater tots not vegan? ›

So Are Tots Vegan? With the lack of animal products not bearing any weight on making a decent batch of tots, tater tots are usually vegan. Overall, as long as you pay close attention to the oil that the tots are fried in and the seasonings, most tater tots fit vegan criteria.

How long can you keep a tater tot casserole out? ›

What is this? Take note that if you're reheating frozen tater tot casserole, it's highly recommended that you thaw it first in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours. You can also leave it at room temperature for an hour before you plan to reheat them.

Who invented Tater Tot Hotdish? ›

The first published recipe for hotdish was in a 1930s community cookbook published by the Grace Lutheran Ladies Aid from Mankato, Minnesota.

Where was Tater Tot Hotdish invented? ›

Finding its origins in the Upper Midwest in and around Minnesota, the first printed recipe of the hotdish was found in the Grace Lutheran Ladies Aid Cookbook. The cookbook was compiled by the patrons of the Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato, MN and distributed throughout the community.

Who ate the most tater tots? ›

According to Ore-Ida, the world record for one person eating their Tater Tots is 250 in five minutes. It was set on December 30, 2005 by Sonya Thomas, a 46-year-old, 98-pound competitive eater whose nickname is “The Black Widow” because she often defeats men much larger than her.


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