Tater Tot Casserole Recipe (2024)



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Cooking Notes

Jane in Alameda

This is unduly complicated in its effort to avoid using the proper ingredients: the "Lutheran binders", aka undiluted Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken soups. Also, there is no need to layer the meat and soup -- just mix it all together, add a layer of cheese, top with Tater Tots, and bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Top with another layer of cheese and stick it back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts. I made three pans yesterday for a lunch today after church!


For people who truly enjoy cooking, the extra step of making the cream soup from scratch is a labor of love, and the flavor is more than worth it.There's nothing wrong with using highly processed convenience foods if that's what you prefer, but you shouldn't criticize a recipe you haven't actually made.


Jane, Mary, Debra and Randy got it right. The point isn’t to make it cause it’s fancy, it’s because it’s a hot dish—hot and fills a family fast. And don’t knock it till you’ve met a Minnesota winter.


For those of you that want to scream Sodium, Calories, and Heartattack, skip this recipe. For the rest of you, this is a very good comfort food dish. Two caveats - you can complete the casserole assembly, minus the tator tots and keep in the frig until ready to bake. Add the tots in their frozen state, then bake as directed. And, I cheat on some of the time by using a can of condensed cream of celery soup and 1 cup milk or cream for the homemade cream soup. Cuts the time almost by half


Hello, Minnesconsinite here. I am making this ‘bougie version out of curiosity but cannot tell my grandmother or any of my kinfolk about this roux-travesty. The beauty of tatortot *hot dish* is that it’s flavorful, easy, and inexpensive! (Get outta here with “casserole business”. food culture and food history is important and nothing grinds my gears more than when foodies take midwestern food that I saw my grandmother’s hands make and don’t respect it enough to use the proper terms.)


I swapped out the ground beef for ground pork. I subbed the tater tots for silken tofu, removed the carrots, and all milk products. I then sauteed the pork and tofu into some simmering sichuan peppercorns, douchi and doubanjiang and called it mapo tofu.

Vicky Bee

I, for one, am glad to have a recipe that doesn't call for canned cream of something soup. I have yet to find one that is gluten free and tastes decent. I would rather make it from scratch anyway.


The first time I came across a Tater Tot casserole recipe was in a cookbook put together by the residents of a retirement home in central Illinois, by a woman named Opal. Spiral bound, what looks like mimeographed pages. I've made this recipe religiously for around 13 years with add's and sub's along the way. However, if you are using tater tots you also have to use the "cream of" soups with it. It is known (as the Mandalorians say).


@Debra, the whole point of hotdish is convenience. Why not go full on foodie and make the tots from scratch, too?


I enjoyed all the comments. As a transplant to the MN-IA-SD area, I have to speak up for the canned soups. I also love cooking from scratch; but using the cans isn’t just about economy. I lived for six years 15 miles from a town with a grocery, and learned quickly to keep shelf stable items (like cans of condensed soup) on hand, especially in winter. With frozen hamburger and tater tots and a few cans , you and the family will still eat, even if you can’t get to town, or even across the road!


My wife and I enjoyed this tater tot casserole receipe at dinner tonight. We both grew up in Iowa in the 70's and ate many a hot dish. Now we are vegetarians and I substituted vegetarian hamburger. Making one's own cream sauce was so much better than the cream of mushroom soups our mothers used. We both agreed that this receipe was tastier than the tater tot casseroles we remember as kiddos! How often does that happen? Thanks :)

Matthew McAlpin

If you switch every other tot with a half grape tomato, it’s much more delicious.


Hard to believe someone in Minnesota made this recipe so complicated!


Agreed! I grew up on hot dish, and while my diet is 98% Mediterranean and whole foods now, I still throw one of these together occasionally.For a weeknight I'd just do it with condensed soup and frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, whatever) and it really won't be much different than recipe. Amy Klobuchar's recipe works well. Beyond Meat's burger brick or the crumbles work well here.


As a born and raised Midwesterner, reading this recipe was a good laugh. No need to layer the meat/vegetable mixture and the "cream of" soup... just mix it all together and throw it in the casserole, top with cheese and tater tots, and you're ready to go. Also, in my neck of the woods (northeastern Iowa), the overwhelming style is cream of mushroom soup and green beans. I don't think I've ever seen it with any other combination, although peas sounds good. I'll have to try that.

Mo in So Cal

Never made casseroles so this was a delightful surprise. Made as written and ate two spoonfuls of the creamed soup before it ever became part of the whole dish. Really delicious.


Expected to hate this. But it was pretty good and the kids like it.


I expanded this recipe and made the mistake of expanding flour would use less next time to make it more loose. Likely less than called for . Also would throw cheese on last 20 min as they were just dried out on top in an unpleasant way. Some other folks mentioned this but “helpful” comments crowded with people grumpy about this not being their recipe and I missed it till it was too late! Nevertheless it was a hit at our Super Bowl party.

May Hemingway

It’s fine. It’s not flavourful. Shepherd’s pie is better. I ended up covering mine in HP sauce, and can see why ketchup is recommended.


So good! We doubled up and did about 9 oz each frozen roasted corn and peas but other than that were faithful to the recipe. With a green salad it made a perfect dinner for a damp winter night!


@Betsey, Bittman has you covered! https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014464-tater-totsAlways amused by the insanity of this comment section!


I have so enjoyed reading all this controvery! Being from the East Coast I had never heard of this dish....but after reading all the notes, I can't wait to make it. I am usually in favor of making my own, fresh sauce as per the NYT recipe...but, hey, I'm going to do the midwest version with good ol' condensed soup! Some of the old timey convenience recipes are delicious.One more thing.I read these recipes/notes daily and am so annoyed by bashing reviews when the cook has changed the ingredi

Brian J.

I prefer the Cook's Country / America's Test Kitchen Tater Tot Hotdish recipe version. It calls for 1 pound of sliced mushrooms cooked together with onion and ground beef. It also adds garlic and thyme to create a very flavorful base. The liquid is half milk and half chicken broth. Grated Parmesan cheese is added to help bind the base mixture and create a cheesy flavor. Highly recommended!


Make extra tater tota

Ben in San Francisco

Planned to make for church potluck except using Impossible "Beef" & swap cornstarch for flour. Wife was grossed out by the idea of cream sauce over burger. Then had lunch with cold mezze and potato cake. Inspired to make Middle Eastern (instead of Midwest) Tater Tot casserole. Kibbeh seasoned Impossile with pine nuts, baba ganoush, mummarah, ersatz bechemel of ricotta, feta, greek yogurt, eggs, lemon and instant potato granules. Added baked tots then baked at 350. Hit of the potluck.


Cream of celery soup frozen peas and carrots would work well. Consider the tip to cook tater tot first for 25 then together 20 min. Use low fat milk. Very rich.


It was very easy to halve this recipe for dinner for 2 - and it yielded plenty of leftovers. Delicious!

Chandler G

This wasn’t bad at all. But as a native Minnesotan, this is no where near as good as it can be. Skip the work of making your own soup and just buy a couple cans of cream of mushroom/celery. It’ll save you 10 minutes and a whole lot of mess.


This was a big hit with my family, including my parents who are picky eaters. I did add a bit of extra cheese as I layered the meat and soup. I love that the recipe includes instructions for making your own creamy soup instead of using canned soup. It's an extra step, but still very easy. It also gives you room to adapt the recipe a bit. Next time I think I'll add mushrooms to the soup. The recipe is very forgiving - I did not have real butter. I used a mix of margarine and olive oil.

Season Well

I feel like I tasted and seasoned this many times, but still wished I'd added more salt and pepper. So season liberally, I guess.

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Tater Tot Casserole Recipe (2024)
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