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Tater Tot Casserole on a blue metal plate with a cast iron skillet full of casserole blurred in the background

Easy Tater Tot Casserole

Growing up in the heart of the midwest, Tater Tot Casserole was a go-to option for many Nebraskan families. Especially during the winter months. Not only can this easy tater tot casserole recipe feed an entire family, but at a very low cost!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a meat and potatoes guy through and through. So it’s only natural that one of my favorite meals growing up would be made with beef and tater tots. Then add green beans and top it off with cream of mushroom soup and Worcestershire sauce. You’ve got a delicious dinner winner!

Where Did Tater Tot Casserole Originate?

According to any search, you’ll find that this deliciousness originated in the upper midwest states of Minnesota & North Dakota.

However, it’s more commonly known as Tater Tot Hotdish in that area.

Hotdish dates back to the ’30s during the great depression. At that time, meat was high-priced and hard to come by, making this an easy and affordable meal for families. They would include ground beef, pasta or potatoes, and canned veggies like peas, corn, tomatoes, etc.

Now, I could sit and talk about “Hotdish,” its history, and all the variations all day long.

But I’m here for Tater Tot Casserole. This is where things start gettin’ fancy!

Steaming hot Tater Tot Casserole served on a blue metal plate with a cast iron full of casserole blurred in the background

In 1956 there was a game changer. The invention of pre-made frozen tater tots. Who doesn’t love these tasty little golden gems?

If I wore cargo pants, I’d carry them around like I was Mr. Dynamite himself! But I’m not, so I put them on my ‘hotdish’ and call it a tater tot casserole!

With that being said…

LET’S GET TO COOKIN’!

A Cast Iron Skillet full of Tater Tot Casserole with Tater Tots spiralled over the entire skillet full.

This recipe doesn’t take long to prep, so go ahead and get the oven preheating to 375°f. At the same time, the range is preheating start by browning the ground beef in a 12″ Cast Iron Skillet. Once the meat has browned, strain the fat and set it aside.

Place the diced Onion in the same Skillet and cook until they begin to brown, then add the garlic. Sauté the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Next, return the ground beef to the Skillet and stir to combine.

Now add the Worcestershire Sauce and Tallow, stirring and cooking until the tallow has melted down. The tallow is entirely optional, but I will say this. Because I use regular ole lean ground beef and strain the meat, it loses some beefy flavor. I like the beefy flavor, but only the GOOD beef flavor. By adding tallow, you’re getting the taste of beef from a higher-end source. But again, unlike making a Philly at home, the tallow isn’t necessary for this recipe.

Season the meat mixture with a bit of salt and Pepper. Then using a spatula, evenly spread it around the cast iron skillet, making it flat and compact. Top the meat mixture with cream of mushroom soup, then the green beans.

Salt and Pepper again.

Now top the whole thing evenly with frozen tater tots. Bake the entire Skillet for 35 minutes at 375°f on the bottom rack.

Lastly, set your oven to broil at 400°f, move the Skillet up and broil until the Tater Tots are golden brown.

Serve this with generous amounts of Worcestershire sauce, and ENJOY!

In Conclusion

This is it if you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to feed the whole family. An easy tater tot casserole recipe like this in your playbook guarantees you a win with the family and the pocketbook alike.

If you like easy and cost-effective recipes just like this one then check these out!

Let me know in the comment section below how your Tater Tot Casserole turned out! I love hearing from readers about your cooking!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

-Jeremy

Easy Tater Tot Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Chicken Fried Kitchen Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: American, MidwesternDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes
Calories

575

kcal
Total time

50

minutes

This easy tater tot casserole recipe is a classic midwesterner that’s amazingly easy on the family cook and their bank account. A simple one-dish meat and potatoes dinner at its finest!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. 2 Lean Ground Beef

  • 1 1 Yellow Onion, diced

  • 2 Tbsp. 2 Minced Garlic

  • 2 Tbsp. 2 Worcestershire Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. 2 Tallow (Optional – See Note)

  • 15 OZ 15 Canned Green Beans

  • 2 – 10.75 OZ 2 – 10.75 Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Bag 1 Frozen Tater Tots

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°f.
  • Brown ground beef in a 10″ Cast Iron Skillet and drain excess fat.
  • Place onions in a Cast Iron Skillet and brown over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Return ground beef to Skillet and stir to combine.
  • Add Worcestershire Sauce and Tallow, stirring until melted.
  • Season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Top with Cream of Mushroom Soup.
  • Add a layer of Green Beans and season with a little more pepper.
  • Lastly, top the whole Skillet with Tater Tots and season with salt and Pepper.
  • Bake for 35 minutes on the bottom rack.
  • Move Skillet to the top rack and broil at 400°f until Tots are golden brown.
  • Serve with a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce, and ENJOY!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Tallow is beef lard found at most large chain grocery stores. It adds a high-quality beefy flavor but in no way is a necessity for this recipe.

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3 Comments

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