Cowboy Casserole is an easy weeknight family dinner with ground beef, corn, cheddar cheese and sour cream topped with crispy tater tots.
This recipe is a step of from the classic Tater Tot Casserole we have on the site. We love classic comfort food dishes like Easy Chicken Casserole that please even your pickiest of eaters. Check out all of our Dinner Recipes to find your next family favorite.
Casserole dishes are an easy go-to option for any potluck or busy weeknight. They’re super easy recipes to follow with ingredients that are flexible to what you might have on hand in your kitchen. This Cowboy Casserole definitely falls into the totally customizable category. I’ve added a few variations for you to try at the bottom but there are so many more ways to adjust it.
This recipe calls for condensed cream of mushroom soup but if you’re not keen on using the canned version, try my easy Cream of Mushroom Soup to make your own. It only requires a handful of ingredients to make and it’s freezable too. You can also substitute with cream of mushroom soup or whatever condensed soup you have in the pantry.
Want to skip the tots?
Tater tots are the base of the layers in this cheesy casserole but you could use thinly sliced baby potatoes or small red potatoes instead. Tater tots are just an easy choice because all you need to do it pull them from the freezer and you’re all set. Plus, your kids will eat their dinner without any hesitation.
Feel free to add in anything else to layers that your family enjoys. Diced tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, different cheeses. Have fun experimenting and creating a new yummy favorite your whole family will enjoy.
Can you make Cowboy Casserole ahead of time?
This Cowboy Casserole recipe is perfect to prep ahead of time. All you need to do it assemble it, cover and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before baking.
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Can you make Cowboy Casserole in a slow cooker?
There’s nothing better than walking through the door at the end of a day with dinner already waiting for you. This recipe is easily adaptable for a slow cooker. You’ll follow the same recipe instructions and layer in a crockpot instead of a baking dish and cook on low for 5 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
HOW TO MAKE COWBOY CASSEROLE
- Preheat Oven: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the Beef: In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in the corn, soup, ¼ cup cheese, milk, sour cream, onion powder, pepper and crumbled cooked bacon.
- Prepare the Casserole: Add beef mixture and remaining Tater Tots; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Cook the Casserole: Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and golden brown, 40-45 minutes.
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VARIATIONS ON COWBOY CASSEROLE
- Veggies: You can add frozen veggies (carrots, peas, broccoli) and layer them on top of the beef but below the cheese. Make sure to add an additional 10 minutes of cooking time to allow the frozen vegetables to cook through.
- Meats: The casserole works with just about any type of ground meat. Try using ground turkey, chicken, Italian pork sausage or even crumbled extra firm tofu.
- Taco Cowboy Casserole: Flavor the ground beef with a teaspoon of chili powder or a packet of Taco Seasoning. Add beans and canned chilies or jalapeños to the layers and top with salsa or a can of rotel and add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time.
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HOW TO SERVE AND STORE
- Serve: This casserole shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Make sure to store leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Once your casserole has completely cooled, wrap tightly in foil or place in a freezer safe storage container or bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before placing it in the oven to reheat.
- 1/2 pound ground beef , (85/15)
- 1 cup corn
- 2/3 cup Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1 cup cheddar cheese , shredded and divided
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 32 ounces tater tots
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until browned.
- Add the corn, cream of mushroom soup, ½ cup cheese, milk, sour cream, onion powder, black pepper, and bacon to the skillet and mix well.
- In a 9x13 pan layer the beef, then the cheese and finally line up the tater tots before baking for 40-45 minutes uncovered.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5 minutes.