So we call this classic comfort food Tater Tot Hotdish while many of you may call it Tater Tot Casserole. Whatever the name you use, this is a family favorite and a classic comfort food here in Minnesota!
Like chili or chocolate chip cookies, every family has its "BEST" Tater Tot HotDish version. Today, I'm going to stick with the standard, BEST recipe and you can mix and match as you like!
Is Tater Tot Hotdish a Minnesota thing?
Not to brag, but Tater Tot Hotdish was invented in Minnesota. At least, that’s what we claim and no one has tried to wrestle that prize from our hotdish-loving hands. But we’re happy to share this warm, comfort food with anyone and everyone wherever they live (even if you call it casserole) because, well, because we’re Minnesotans.
Is Tater Tot Hotdish or Casserole?
All hotdishes are casseroles, but not every casserole is hotdish. Need me to break it down for you? You betcha! A casserole can be anything cooked in a casserole dish and be served as a side, main dish, or even dessert. But a hot dish is always the main dish and must have a creamy soup base (or occasionally tomato), bite-sized veggies, a starch (think potatoes or pasta), a crispy topping, and often some cheese.
Can you freeze Tater Tot HotDish?
Yes! You can freeze Tater Tot HotDish. Prepare it in a freezer to the oven-safe pan (disposable aluminum pans work great, too!) and wrap it in aluminum foil after it is prepared (don't bake it!). Simply thaw and bake when you are ready. Expect it to take an extra 30 minutes or so to bake.
How to reheat leftover tater tot hotdish?
When I have the time, I like to reheat the tater tot hotdish in the oven in its original pan. I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of water around the edges to keep it from drying, then cover and bake for about 20 minutes (until it’s heated through). When I’m short on time, I reheat individual portions in the microwave or the air fryer to get a little bit extra crispy.
TaterTot HotDish without soup?
You can also substitute cream of celery, cream of corn, or another cream of soup for the cream of mushroom or make homemade mushroom soup. Making the homemade soup is quite simple and tastes soooo good!
How can I make this a Cheesy Tater Tot Hotdish?
You may add about a cup of cheddar cheese in with the cream of mushroom soup if you would prefer, whether it is for another binder or simply because you like cheese (for good reason). The cheese can also go on top of the tater tots, just sprinkle it on about 5 minutes before the hotdish is done, giving it enough time to melt but not burn. You don't even need to use cheddar cheese if you'd prefer! Pepper Jack, Colby, or other cheeses would also be delicious.
Though our Tater Tot Hotdish recipe calls for ground beef, substitutes like turkey, venison, or other similar types may be used instead. It depends on your preference.
For fun, you can substitute the tater tots for other similar products. For example, smiley fries can be great for kids (it might even make up for the veggies they will be eating!), sweet potato tater tots for a little more vitamin A, or just fun flavored tots like onion or cheddar to spice up your dish.
What to serve it with?
Technically, Tater Tot Hotdish is a one-pot meal, so you don’t have to serve it with a side dish Dontcha know. Unless ketchup counts as a side dish… But it does taste great with a side salad and some cornbread. Or a broccoli salad!
Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup peas and carrots mixed veggies
- 1 pkg tater tots
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup cheddar cheese optional
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Put the diced onion in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and saute until ground beef is cooked and onions are translucent.
- Grease a 9x13 pan.
- Pour the cooked meat and onions into the 9x13 pan. Spread the veggies evenly over the top. Add the cheddar cheese. Spread the cream of mushroom soup over the veggies. Some people mix it here, some people don't. It's up to you.
- Place the tater tots evenly on top of the mixture in straight lines. (It's okay if you're lazy and don't put them in straight lines, just make sure they're pretty even or they won't cook properly)
- Bake for 1 hour. Check. If tater tots are not golden brown and the veggies are still crunchy, put in over for another 20 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy!