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Revamping Recipes: Tator Tot Hotdish

School has got me craving some major comfort food.  What is more comforting than tator tot hotdish (or casserole as all you non-Minnesotans probably say)?  With such few ingredients and so much deliciousness, I really couldn’t go wrong.  I got the recipe from San, who tweaked a recipe my mom gave him.  I tried to get San to write the post, but he wouldn’t – maybe you could encourage him by mentioning it in the comments! 

I love this dish because it is so easy to play around with.  Try experimenting!

DSC_0475 Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (I substituted ground turkey breast)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bag of tator tots
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used cheddar cheese soup for a cheeseburger spin off and used a can full of milk to make the soup cover everything)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic powder (to taste)

Other optional items: green peppers, ketchup & mustard (for a true cheeseburger taste), one can of corn, shredded cheese (which I added but didn’t include in the picture), etc.  You really can’t go wrong – just add anything that sounds tasty!

DSC_0477Not only does every recipe I make include an onion, but I always start by chopping it.  This is no different!

DSC_0479 DSC_0482


Brown the ground beef or turkey and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

DSC_0493 Add the diced onion to the meat mixture and let it cook a little bit.


Empty the cheese soup into a bowl.  Fill the empty can with milk and pour that into the soup bowl.  Mix until mostly blended.  I did this to make it creamier and to allow the cheese soup to cover the entire dish.  If you use a smaller dish than a 9”x13” baking dish, you can probably skip the milk.  If you use cream of mushroom soup, you can also add milk to it for the same reason.


Now take whatever dish you are using, and pour the entire meat/onion mixture in.

DSC_0499Pour the cheese soup over that.

DSC_0501 If you would like, add a bit of shredded cheese to liven things up even more.


Then dump out the bag of frozen tator tots and spread along the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the tator tots begin to firm up.

DSC_0509 And there you have it!  The easiest and tastiest recipe in the world.  It is perhaps also the most versatile!  I love it with the cheese soup.  Thanks San for the idea!  I would have added ketchup and mustard if I had any in the apartment, but it tastes great without it, too.  Definitely make this whenever you don’t feel like cooking but want something hearty (if you don’t already).

This recipe serves around 6 people (or feeds me for 6 days – yay).

Now, I want to know – have you ever met someone who calls casseroles hotdishes.  I really want to get to the bottom of how far the word “hotdish” reaches in the United States.  My roommates are from Iowa and come from towns only about an hour or two from where grew up, but they call these casseroles.  It’s strange!  What do you call it?

This post is a part of Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

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5 comments to Revamping Recipes: Tator Tot Hotdish

  • That looks yummy! We say “casserole” in Virginia. :)

  • Thanks for the early birthday wishes!! :)

  • I have lived in Illinois, Indiana and Florida. I never heard a casserole called “hotdish.”

    My family won’t touch tater tots but I like them. I think I’ll make your recipe for the next church fellowship and see if I can get someone to help me eat it. I love the idea of using cheddar cheese soup.

  • Sarah


    I’m pretty sure hotdish stays only within the Minnesota lines, so I’m not surprised you’ve never heard it.

    I can’t believe your family won’t touch tator tots! They are so good! I’m glad you’ll be able to make the recipe for someone else, though!


  • Casey

    I like to have a can of pop with my hotdish, while my friend from Iowa likes a soda with his casserole!!

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