Our Best Tater Tot Casserole

We’ve been in love with tater tot casserole for ages, and we finally found the best recipe for this classic American casserole.

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With layers of incredible flavor and tons of cheesiness, this tater tot casserole will have your family clamoring for seconds and asking you to cook it every week.

A scoop getting taken out of a fresh pan of tater tot hot dish, shot from above on a wooden table.

The Best Tater Tot Casserole Recipe Ever

When it comes to the best cheesy tater tot casserole, there are several different tater tot recipes floating around, so how do you know which one is the best?

Some tater tot casserole recipes call for onion soup mix or even taco seasoning. Mostly, it comes down to two things: which your family likes and which ingredients you have in the kitchen.

The easy tater tot casserole recipe we are sharing here is similar to cowboy casserole.

With simple ingredients like ground beef, onion, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, canned green beans, and condensed cream of mushroom soup, and of course, frozen tater tots, you can have a hearty meal on the table in no time at all.

Tater Tot Casserole Ingredients

Lean ground beef

In terms of your protein (beef), this amazing hamburger tater tot casserole recipe calls for lean ground beef. However, you can easily substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or even ground sausage if you don’t eat beef.

Be sure to brown your ground beef well before tossing in the garlic and diced onion.

Condensed cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup makes this tater tot casserole exceptional. However, you can use cream of chicken soup if you don’t have any cream of mushroom soup.

Feel free to use the regular condensed cream soup or the healthier versions of canned soup, such as lower-fat soup or low-sodium soup.

Green beans

Green beans

For veggies, this tater tot hot dish recipe calls for green beans. Tater tot casserole with green beans is great, but some other good veggies to try are canned corn, green peas, asparagus.

Also, you can use frozen green beans or fresh green beans for this casserole. If you use fresh green beans, be sure to steam them before adding them to the casserole.

Organic Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese on a Cutting Board

Shredded cheddar cheese

To top off all of this gloriousness, you need gobs of shredded cheddar cheese. One thing we like to recommend is that you shred your own cheese instead of buying it pre-shredded. The reason is that store-bought shredded cheese has a flour coating that keeps it from sticking together.

This same flour coating can cause the cheese to not be as melty as we like.

Can you use other types of shredded cheese? Sure, you can. We believe that cheddar cheese gives the best flavor, but you can experiment to find what your family really enjoys.

One cheese that we know tastes just as wonderful in tater tot casserole as cheddar cheese is American cheese. However, be sure you buy real American cheese, not the imitation stuff. Real American cheese will say just “American cheese” on the label, not “cheese food” and similar language.

Another viable substitute for cheese is cheddar cheese soup.

Want a Mexican tater tot casserole or taco tater tot casserole? Try a fiesta or Mexican flavored cheese. Also, you can use taco seasoning to season your ground beef.

Frozen tater tots

The last thing you need for this tater tot casserole recipe is the star of the show: frozen tater tots. And crispy tater tots are the best.

Tips for Making the Best Tater Tot Casserole with Beef

A tater tot casserole is so easy to make, but there are some best practices you can follow to make sure your casserole turns out to be perfect and delicious.

  • Season every layer. For example, add some salt and pepper to the green bean layer, too. You don’t want any bland patches in your tater tot casserole.
  • Put the frozen tater tots on top. Some people top off their tater tot casserole with the cheddar cheese, but putting the frozen tater tots on top will ensure that your casserole has crispy tater tots. Having the tater tots on top is what makes the texture of this tater tot casserole recipe so perfect. Also, be sure to add some salt and pepper to the tater tot layer.
  • Use the right-sized pan. For this casserole to be just as you want it, you need an 8-inch or 9-inch pan that is at least two inches deep. The shape doesn’t matter.
  • Use minced garlic. It’s not ideal to have huge chunks of garlic in this casserole, so we recommend using minced garlic or using a garlic press. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder.
  • Grate your own cheddar cheese. As we mentioned above, store-bought grated cheese comes with an unsavory flour coating. While this is convenient, it also affects the melt-ability of the cheddar cheese.
  • Spray your baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. To make clean-up a breeze, be sure to spray your pan down with a high-quality non-stick cooking spray before you assemble your casserole. It really does make all the difference and won’t affect the taste of your casserole. Besides being easier to clean, your casserole will come out of the pan prettier, too.
  • Serve tater tot casserole as a tater tot breakfast casserole. This is a great idea, and you can use breakfast sausage instead of ground beef if you want.
  • Make a chicken tater tot casserole. You can easily substitute chicken or turkey for ground beef.
  • Use your crock pot. You can make this tater tot casserole in your slow cooker, but you won’t have crunchy tater tots.
  • Use cooked bacon. Want to up your cheesy tater tot casserole game? Sprinkle some cooked bacon into your casserole.

Casserole made of tater tots, cheddar cheese, ground beef, peas, and onions.

How to Make Tater Tot Casserole with Ground Beef

Cuisine: American

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Calories: 420kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 diced onion (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 10.75 ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 15 ounce can green beans
  • 2 cups frozen tater tots
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan with high-quality cooking spray and set it aside.
  3. Brown your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. If there is any excess fat, drain it in a colander.
  4. Add the onions to the beef in the skillet and sauté for 4-5 minutes, just until they’re translucent.
  5. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for about one minute, stirring frequently.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
  8. Pour or spoon the ground beef mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Spread it out evenly.
  9. Top the ground beef mixture with the condensed cream of mushroom soup and spread it evenly. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  10. Top the cream of mushroom soup layer with the canned green beans. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  11. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese liberally over the mushroom soup layer.
  12. Layer the frozen tater tots on top of the cheddar cheese layer. Be sure to line them up evenly so that you have crispy tots.
  13. Bake for 35-40 minutes or just until the tater tots are a beautiful golden brown and the cheddar cheese is fully melted.
  14. Serve and enjoy this hot dish.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Calories: 420kcal

Fat: 25g

Saturated Fat: 12g

Sodium: 859mg

Fiber: 2g

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 29g

Carbohydrates: 20g

Calcium: 321mg

Vitamin C: 13.2mg

Vitamin A: 865IU

Potassium: 642mg

Cholesterol: 91mg

Iron: 3.4mg

Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions on how to make the best tater tot casserole.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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