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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!
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 Tater Tot Hotdish
- 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
- 2½ 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!
– 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.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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