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Beef Tater tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole is a classic comfort food made with a flavorful beefy base, canned or frozen vegetables, cheese, and crispy tater tots. Make it with or without canned soup!

Beef Tater tot Casserole
Beef Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole is a classic comfort food made with a flavorful beefy base, canned or frozen vegetables, an optional addition of cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and crispy tater tots. It’s easy to make ahead of time, freezer friendly, budget friendly, and a great way to feed a crowd!

When it comes to easy comfort foods, there’s nothing better than tater tot casserole. Especially this recipe. You’ll never taste one quite like this. Check out the ingredients compared to others out there. This can be made completely from scratch, with an optional addition of cream of mushroom soup to keep it traditional.

What is Tater Tot Casserole

  • Tater Tot Casserole originated in the Midwest United States. It’s also referred to as “Tater Tot Hotdish”, or even just  “Hotdish”.
  • “Hotdish” is a combination of starch, meat, canned or frozen vegetables, and canned soup that are all baked together in one dish.
  • “Tater Tot Casserole” specifically includes ground beef, vegetables, canned soup, and tater tots.
  • It’s easy to make, budget friendly, and great for feeding a crowd.

My Tater Tot Casserole

  • I like to make my tater tot casserole a bit differently than most recipes I’ve seen. It’s still super easy, but has much more depth of flavor to it than just ground beef, seasoning, and canned soup. In fact, the canned soup is completely optional in this recipe.
  • I took inspiration from my easy shepherd’s pie, Tex Mex sloppy joe in tortillas, and my brown gravy recipe to create a beefy base that is FULL of flavor. Top it off with corn (or your veggie of choice), cheese, and tater tots.
  • When I say that this beefy base is full of flavor, I’m talking ketchup, mustard, tomato paste, onions, garlic, bell peppers, and a homemade gravy with simple seasonings.
  • This is baked at the perfect temperature to ensure super crispy tater tots on top of this delicious casserole.
Beef Tater tot Casserole
Beef Tater Tot Casserole

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Cook/crumble ground beef and onions until cooked through. Add garlic and bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Drain grease. 
  • Mix in salt/pepper, ketchup, yellow mustard, and tomato paste. Sprinkle in flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the beef broth/seasoning mixture in small splashes and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pot, as this will add more flavor to the sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Let it thicken and reduce for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  • Top with corn, then with cheese. 
  • Add tater tots in an even layer on top. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and add additional ½ cup cheese. Bake 5 more minutes.
  • Optional: Garnish with chives and crispy bacon or bacon bits prior to serving
Beef Tater tot Casserole
Beef Tater Tot Casserole

Make Ahead Method

Refrigerator (up to 2 days ahead):

  • Prepare the filling, add the vegetables, and add the cheese. Don’t add the tater tots. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Cover and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add frozen tater tots.
  • Bake it uncovered for 40 minutes. Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup cheese, bake for 5 more minutes. Serve.

Freezer (up to 3 months ahead):

  • Prepare the filling, add the vegetables, and add the cheese. Don’t add the tater tots. Cover, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Cover and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add frozen tater tots.
  • Bake it uncovered for 40 minutes. Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup cheese, bake for 5 more minutes. Serve.
Beef Tater tot Casserole
Beef Tater Tot Casserole

Pro Tips

  • Don’t bake this any higher than 375°, otherwise the base gets too hot/bubbly and the tater tots sink down into it. (Trust me. 🥴)
  • To control the sodium: Use low sodium broth and soy sauce. The bouillon can be omitted as well, but it does add a nice depth of flavor.
  • Bell Peppers aren’t traditionally included in tater tot casserole but they add a nice flavor and texture to the recipe. Feel free to omit if preferred.
  • Canned or frozen green beans or mixed vegetables can also be used instead of corn.
  • Ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef.
  • A variety of cheeses work well in this recipe. Feel free to experiment. Monterey Jack would be an excellent choice as well as some Parmesan or Mozzarella.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Beef Tater tot Casserole

Beef Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole is a classic comfort food made with a flavorful beefy base, canned or frozen vegetables, cheese, and crispy tater tots. Make it with or without canned soup!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Allfoodrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 cup bell peppers diced- any color
  • 2 teaspoons Ketchup
  • 3 teaspoons Yellow Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 ½ cups Cheddar Cheese separated
  • 32 oz. Tater Tots frozen

For the Gravy/Sauce:

  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Optional

  • 10.5 oz. low sodium cream of mushroom soup

Instructions

Prep Work:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the gravy/sauce ingredients and set aside. (2 c. beef broth, chicken bouillon, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. onion powder, and ½ tsp. garlic powder.) Set aside.

Prepare the Beef Mixture:

  • Cook/crumble the ground beef with the onions over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Add minced garlic and bell peppers. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain grease well.
  • Season lightly with salt/pepper, ketchup, yellow mustard, and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, until you can no longer smell flour.
  • Add the beef broth mixture in small splashes and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pot, as this will add more flavor to the sauce. Don’t add the liquid too quickly in order to keep the base nice and thick.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Let it thicken and reduce for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Optional: Spread cream of mushroom soup over the top of the beef if preferred.

Assemble Casserole/Bake

  • If your skillet isn’t oven safe, transfer to a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with corn, then with 2 cups of the cheese.
  • Top with an even layer of frozen tater tots.
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and add additional ½ cup cheese. Bake 5 more minutes.

Optional: Garnish with chives and crispy bacon or bacon bits prior to serving.

    Notes

    • Don't bake this any higher than 375°, otherwise the base gets too hot/bubbly and the tater tots sink down into it. (Trust me. 🥴)
    • To control the sodium: Use low sodium broth and soy sauce. The bouillon can be omitted as well, but it does add a nice depth of flavor.
    • Bell Peppers aren't traditionally included in tater tot casserole but they add a nice flavor and texture to the recipe. Feel free to omit if preferred.
    • Canned or frozen green beans or mixed vegetables can also be used instead of corn.
    • Ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef.
    • A variety of cheeses work well in this recipe. Feel free to experiment. Monterey Jack would be an excellent choice as well as some Parmesan or Mozzarella.
    Make Ahead Method
    Refrigerator (up to 2 days ahead):
    • Prepare the filling, add the vegetables, and add the cheese. Don't add the tater tots. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
      Cover and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add frozen tater tots.
      Bake it uncovered for 40 minutes. Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup cheese, bake for 5 more minutes. Serve.
    • Freezer (up to 3 months ahead):
    • Prepare the filling, add the vegetables, and add the cheese. Don't add the tater tots. Cover, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
      Let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Cover and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add frozen tater tots.
      Bake it uncovered for 40 minutes. Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup cheese, bake for 5 more minutes. Serve.
     
    Storage
    • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
      Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or baked at 350 in a lightly greased/covered casserole dish until heated through. (Amount of time depends on serving size.)
    • Nutrition
      Calories: 627kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 1412mg, Potassium: 962mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1308IU, Vitamin C: 47mg, Calcium: 384mg, Iron: 4mg
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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