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If you've been looking for a pantry meal you can whip up quickly, look no further…. this is THE Best Tater Tot Casserole recipe!
Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
If you're like me you are really trying to use things you have in your pantry right now and squeeze out as many meals as you can with what you have on hand.
So, the Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole was born, ha! It is comfort food at its…. most comfortable. It's a meal your hubby and teenagers will probably be excited to have on the meal rotation!
And it just seemed like the perfect time to finally try out this recipe. 🙂
also these have been in my freezer…
ummmmm a really long time…
🍴 Menu Planning Note: This recipe can also be found in the Lunch Menu Plan: Week 4!
Whoops! I forgot the most important ingredient of all – the shredded cheese! – in this pic!
- ground beef or turkey
- cream of mushroom soup (or use this Homemade Cream Soup)
- worcestershire sauce
- frozen tater tots
- shredded cheddar cheese
How to make tater tot casserole
Here's the step by step instructions for how to make tater tot casserole – aka Cowboy Casserole – it's so easy and delicious! The fun thing about this recipe is you can substitute whatever meat you have on hand – ham, sausage, ground beef, smoked sausage… even bacon!
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees, then grab a large skillet.
Cook your ground beef and onion over medium heat until cooked through; drain and return to skillet. Add in your cream soup, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce and mix well.
Pour the meat mixture into a deep pie plate or square baking dish. Top with tater tots and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are done. And that. is. it!
SO good and a family pleaser too 🙂
Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 Tbsps ketchup
- 2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups frozen tater tots
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion over medium heat until cooked through; drain and return to skillet.
- Add cream of mushroom soup, ketchup and Worcestershire to skillet and stir well.
- Pour into a deep pie plate or square baking dish. Top with tater tots and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are done.
So, so easy and my hubby loved, loved, loved it! 💕
That's a winner in my book! 🤗
How Long Do You Cook Tater Tot Casserole?
From start to finish, this meal can take as little as 30 minutes — or it can take a little longer.
For instance, if you have already cooked ground turkey or beef in your fridge or freezer – you're only going to need about 30 minutes.
But if you're starting with raw ground beef or turkey – you have to first cook the meat in a skillet with the onion. (So that will take about 15 minutes.) It takes 5 minutes to dice up 1/2 an onion to yield 1/2 cup of onion for this recipe. (Of course if your family doesn't like onion – just substitute for 1/2 Tablespoon of Onion Powder)
Then as soon as that's cooked, you'll add in the cream soup, ketchup and sauce and stir. Once combined – you'll layer in the baking dish and pop in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
If you are starting with raw meat – then you'll want to plan for more like 45 minutes – an hour.
Wondering if you can use ground turkey in this recipe?
We don't eat a ton of beef so we used ground turkey.
Other alterations and substitutions you could make:
- Another way to change out this recipe is to use ground breakfast sausage (it would give it a more breakfasty spin!)
- If you're cleaning out your freezer and have no fresh meat – you could also probably use frozen meatballs (and just thaw them out in the microwave and cut them up into pieces.)
- Add a layer of corn, green beans or mixed veggies under the cheese layer (seasoned like you normally would)
- Use seasoned Hash Brown potatoes instead of tater tots on the top layer (thaw them first)
Can You Freeze Tater Tot Casserole?
YES! I love making freezer meals. Here's how to turn it into a freezer meal that you can put together now and pull out of the freezer at a later date:
- Prepare EXACTLY as instructed in the recipe above
- Make sure to layer the ingredients in an aluminum pan (like a Hefty pan) that's freezer friendly
**OR line your Pyrex dish with aluminum foil completely. Let it cool completely and then freeze. Once frozen – pull the aluminum foil out of the Pyrex dish and wrap with more foil. That way your Pyrex can stay in rotation 🙂
- When ready to make, take out of the freezer and thaw in the fridge before baking. If it's still a little bit frozen – you can pop it in the oven while it preheats to give it a bit of extra time.
- Use within 2 months for best taste.
What can you serve with tater tot casserole?
Here are some great suggestions for side dishes to serve alongside tater tot casserole…. I served mine with an apple spinach salad and some sliced strawberries.
Of course you don't have to get your greens from a salad – you can have green beans and applesauce if you have little ones, or just cut up some fruit to serve with it for a super easy evening!
- Sweet & Savory Broccoli Salad
- Apple Spinach Salad with Warm Vanilla Bean Dressing
- Roasted Asparagus Fries