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This tater tot casserole recipe is a cozy classic with crispy tater tots, tender ground beef, and plenty of cheddar cheese! It has just 10 minutes of prep time for a hassle-free family meal.

Try this Cowboy Casserole, my Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie, or Sloppy Joe Casserole next.

a spatula serving tater tot casserole

Why you’ll love it

If you didn’t grow up eating casseroles, this tater tot casserole will really make you wish that you did. There’s hardly any prep, it’s hot and cheesy, and tater tots give it the ideal crunch. Maybe my favorite part is how affordable to make it is. A few pantry ingredients come together to create something magical!

The heart of this recipe really lies in the Midwest. They perfected casseroles like this for economical meals that are perfect for bringing along to events where you need to feed a crowd like potlucks and family reunions. It’s a kid-friendly recipe as well.

Is this the same as a tater tot hotdish?

  • Honestly, it depends who you ask! You’ll find casseroles like this across the Midwest, especially in Minnesota. A hotdish generally has a starch, meat, canned or frozen veggie, and canned soup, so this fits the bill, but specific recipes of course vary from family to family, which is totally ok.
  • I’m not here to relitigate what a hotdish is; I’m just here to bring you a really delicious casserole with my own spin, whatever you call it!
ingredients in bowls for tater tot casserole

What you’ll need

  • Ground beef – I like to use at least 90% lean
  • Onion and garlic – our tasty aromatic base. I used Vidalia (sweet) onion, but yellow works. And use more garlic if you wish!
  • Worcestershire sauce – it adds a savory quality that’s delicious and you won’t want to skip
  • Italian seasoning – it’s a dried herb blend that you’ll find in the spice aisle of your grocery store in a single convenient jar
  • Sour cream – for a slight tang and creaminess
  • Condensed mushroom soup – it’s a tried and true shortcut to bind everything and add flavor. Add it as-is to the dish.
  • Corn – I use canned corn for convenience
  • Cheddar cheese – grate your own cheddar for best results. I love this grater.
  • Tater tots – use a package of your favorite brand

Pro tip

Tater tot package sizes vary, and depending on the exact size/shape of your baking dish, you may not use them all (or if you decide to space them out more than I did), so be sure to keep the original packaging and pop the rest back in the freezer to use another day.

How to make tater tot casserole

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

skillet with ground beef mixture for tater tot casserole

Preheat the oven. Sauté the onion and beef until browned. Add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat and stir in the sour cream, mushroom soup, corn, and a 1/2 cup of the cheddar.

adding beef mixture to a casserole dish

Stir well, and let it heat through for a minute or two. Transfer the skillet mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish and smooth in a uniform layer.

adding cheese and tater tots to tater tot casserole in a baking dish

Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheddar cheese, then add the tater tots. Bake, uncovered, until the tater tots are golden. Garnish with scallions if desired. That’s it!

Can I make it ahead?

  • You bet! I’d prepare everything up until adding the tater tots.
  • Refrigerate overnight, and add them just before baking so they don’t get soggy. Bake for a few more minutes if it’s coming straight from the fridge.
  • You can also make ahead and freeze for up to three months, but again I’d add the tater tots when you’re ready to cook it.

Substitutions and variations

  • Cream of mushroom soup is typically used, but you can swap it with cream of chicken if you prefer or any “cream of” soup.
  • I’ve seen similar recipes use canned green beans either instead of or in addition to the canned corn, so feel free to add/swap a can of those here if you like.
  • Frozen mixed veggies work as well, the kind that are chopped small. If using, I recommend thawing them first, and you may need to add additional baking time.
  • You could swap the ground beef with ground turkey or even ground pork. Or go all-out and use ground sausage meat.
  • Switch up the cheese if you like. Monterey Jack or a Tex-Mex blend would work great for a twist!

What to serve with this recipe

  • Tater tot casserole is often enjoyed with some ketchup on the side/over top.
  • I like sprinkling chopped scallions on top when it’s hot out of the oven.
  • This dish is fairly rich, so serving it with a side salad is never a bad idea. Try mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumber with Homemade Ranch Dressing!

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Keep in mind that the tater tots will soften up, so you may want to reheat in the oven vs. the microwave to crisp them up. You could even use an air fryer.
  • Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months, and simply thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat.
a baking dish with tater tot casserole

Did you make this simple casserole? Have any questions? Let me hear from you in the comments below!

a spatula serving tater tot casserole
4.93 from 39 votes

Tater Tot Casserole

This tater tot casserole recipe is a cozy classic with crispy tater tots, tender ground beef, and plenty of cheddar cheese! It has just 10 minutes of prep time for a hassle-free family meal.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (12 ounce) can corn drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar divided
  • 32 ounces frozen tater tots see note
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped scallions for serving (optional, to taste)

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
  • Add the beef and onions to a skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking the beef up with your spoon, until it's browned and the onions have softened (about 7-8 minutes). If there's a lot of excess fat, spoon most of it out.
  • Add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning to the skillet and cook for about a minute.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sour cream, condensed soup, corn, and about a 1/2 cup of the cheddar. Stir well and let it heat through for a minute or two.
  • Transfer the skillet mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish and smooth in an even layer. Optional: if you have a large oven-safe skillet, feel free to make the casserole entirely in the skillet.
  • Sprinkle the casserole with the rest of the cheese, and then top it with the tater tots.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the tater tots are nicely browned and the cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve with chopped scallions and salt & pepper if needed.

Notes

  • Tater tot package sizes vary, so anything in the 32 oz. ballpark will work (you may use a bit less depending how you space/arrange them in your baking dish).
  • Some of the ingredients in this dish can be quite salty, so use low-sodium options wherever possible if sensitive to salt.
  • Serves 6-8 depending on how much people eat.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 1064mg, Potassium: 674mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 381IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 250mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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107 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a pretty bland cook ( I hear) so when I doubled the meat and didn’t adjust the other ingredient amounts, my family was still pumped about the flavor! Ah! Thank you for spicing things up over here! πŸŽ‰

  2. Loved this recipe! It’s great for a night when you need quick and easy. Very tasty! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Judy! I’m not sure as I have never tried baking this one from frozen – I would just ensure it’s properly heated all the way through. I’d probably start it covered with foil for at least 30 minutes and then uncover and bake until the tater tots are crispy/it’s hot and bubbly.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner. It was so yummy! My son said it was bomb 🀣 I didn’t use corn instead I added a can of green beans and a small can of sliced carrots. I added more cheese. I’ll be making this more often.

  4. 5 stars
    Made this the first time, the family said corn? With a wrinkled nose, but all cleaned their plates and my son had seconds!