An easy recipe for Tater Tot Casserole, from scratch! Mix ground beef and green beans with creamy homemade soup (made with milk, not cream!), top with frozen hash browns, and bake to crispy, golden perfection.
Where I come from, Tater Tot Casserole is simply known as “hotdish.”
However, the term is not mutually exclusive to Tater Tot Casserole. Hotdish is any casserole that includes meat, a starch, a canned vegetable, and canned soup all in one.
I like to revise the classics so they taste even better than you remember, so my Tater Tot Casserole has homemade cream of soup (made with milk, not cream) and frozen veggies instead of canned.
But, let’s keep the frozen tater tots. Modern food science has yet to improve on those!
How do you make Tater Tot Casserole?
Because the soup is made from scratch, not from a can, make that first.
Sauté mushrooms in butter until softened, then stir in chicken broth and spices. Finally, thicken the soup with a combination of milk and flour.
Meanwhile, brown beef, onions, and celery. Drain the grease, then stir in the soup and green beans.
Note: Frozen at the peak of taste and freshness, frozen vegetables are the most nutritious choice you can make unless you are growing the vegetables yourself or getting them straight off a farm the same day they are picked.
Pour everything into a casserole dish, top with frozen taters, and pop it in the oven.
How long do you cook a Tater Tot Casserole for?
Bake the casserole in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until the tater tots are cooked through and crispy.
How do you make a Cowboy Casserole?
Cowboy Casserole is very similar to Tater Tot Casserole. However, you add corn instead of green beans. It also has cheese and sour cream.
Can you use Cream of Chicken soup instead of Cream of Mushroom?
Yes, absolutely! I have a recipe of Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup which you can swap out from the mushroom version above, if you’d like. Just thicken the sauce with milk as necessary.
Tater Tot Casserole
For the mushroom sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 16 ounces white button mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the casserole:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 cup onion chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup frozen cut green beans thawed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen tater tots
To make the mushroom sauce:
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter until foaming. Add mushrooms and cook until they have released most of their liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in chicken broth, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to simmer. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together milk and flour.
- Stir in milk mixture and cook until soup has thickened, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the casserole:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef, celery, and onions until the beef is cooked thoroughly. Drain.
- Stir in mushroom sauce and green beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole pan. Top the mixture with the frozen potato tots.
- Bake uncovered until the casserole is bubbly and the tots are golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.
- Chicken broth: Buy a box or a can, or use Homemade Chicken Broth in the mushroom sauce to really drive home the from-scratch vibes.
- Ground beef: I prefer 85/15 or 80/20 blends for ground beef casseroles. If you prefer, trade in ground turkey, chicken, or pork.
- Frozen green beans: Frozen at the peak of freshness, frozen vegetables are your best bet unless you have fresh green beans in your garden or can snag some at the farmers market this week.
- Frozen tater tots: Potato tots are traditional, but vegetable-boosted varieties are becoming widely available and are certainly trending. Feel free to use the tots made with sweet potato, broccoli, or cauliflower to sneak in a tiny bit more nutrition.
- Yield: This Tater Tot Casserole makes six dinner-sized portions, ideal for a cozy family meal.
- Storage: XX storage tips here.
- Make ahead: XX make ahead tips here.
- Freezer: XX freezer tips here.
- Switch up the sauce: If your family is used to Tater Tot Casserole with canned cream of chicken soup, consider my homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup instead of the mushroom version explained here, if you'd like. Just thin the soup into a sauce-like consistency with milk as necessary.
- Protect the topping: Everyone’s oven runs a little differently. If yours errs hot, cover the casserole with foil to protect the tots if they're beginning to brown too quickly.
- Adapted from Pillsbury Complete Cookbook.