Cowboy Casserole

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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.

Cowboy Casserole


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.

White Baking Dish of Cowboy Casserole

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. 


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. 


  • 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, 1/4 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.

Tray of Cowboy Casserole

Save Recipes
Create An Account & Save Recipes


  • 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.



  • 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.

Square of Beefy Cowboy Casserole on white plate with ketchup on top

Pin This

Like this recipe? Save it to your Pinterest board now!




Cowboy Casserole

5 from 7 votes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Course: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Cowboy Casserole is an easy weeknight family dinner with ground beef, corn, cheddar cheese and sour cream topped with crispy tater tots.


  • 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
  • 1/2 cup bacon , cooked and crumbled
  • 32 ounces tater tots


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until browned.

  3. Add the corn, cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup cheese, milk, sour cream, onion powder, black pepper, and bacon to the skillet and mix well.

  4. In a 9x13 pan layer the beef, then the cheese and finally line up the tater tots before baking for 40-45 minutes uncovered.

  5. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings, Amount per serving: 148 calories, Calories: 148g, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 355mg, Potassium: 231mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 109g, Vitamin C: 2g, Calcium: 73g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole collage

Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hi in the paragraph explaining the casserole (above the actual recipe card) it says back 20-25 min then in the recipe card it says 40-45? How long should I actually cook it for? Thanks!

    1. 40-45 minutes is the correct time. Thanks for letting me know it wasn’t showing up correctly. I hope you enjoy it!

    1. The recipe card didn’t update, sorry about that. It should be fixed now. The correct time is 40-45 minutes. Thanks for your patience.

  2. I’ve made this twice recently, first time using corn and this time using green beans as the vegetable due to avoiding the grocery store in the midst of everything going on. I used onion soup mix to flavor the meat, and we used ground venison. This is excellent comfort food, so easy to make. Thanks so much for the recipe. Take care.

  3. This looks delicious! But there is no way 1/2 pound of ground beef is going to feed 8 people. At least not in my home. I will try it with 1.5 pounds and can’t wait to dig in to this dish.

    1. Ooh, nice catch! It’s actually cooked and crumbled bacon. Wish this comment wouldn’t have been caught in my spam folder. I’ve edited it to read correctly now. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Can you please clarify for me. Do you later tater tots in the bottom of the casserole dish, or just on top? In the description at the top, it says to put them in the bottom, but in the actual recipe, it says the beef mixture is the bottom layer. Also, is it 1/2 pound or 1 pound of meat? Excited to try this tonight! Thanks so much!

    1. Sorry for the confusion. There shouldn’t be any tater tots on the bottom. The recipe card is correct. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. I’m confused on the recipe. It says mix 1/2 cup cheese with soup corn and beef in skillet. Then it says to layer beef, then cheese, then tots. Then sprinkle remaining cheese on top at the end.

    So we mix 1/2 cup cheese with meat mixture, then sprinkle 1/2 cup more on top of that? Then more at the end?

    1. You’ll mix 1/2 cup of cheese with soup mixture and then when you’re layering it, you use some of the cheese in the layer and the rest on top. You can always add the cheese to your liking for the top. Hope this helps clear things up.

  6. Something screwed up here. Calls for a later of tots in a 3 CUP pan then later a 9X13. Photos do not show bottom layer of tots. Beef in photos is obviously more than 1/2 lb.

  7. This casserole recipe sounds filling, delicious and …. so cheesy! Just love it! I am gonna make it tonight. I hope to get the same result as yours:)

  8. I made this for dinner last night and it was incredible! It will definitely be on our regular dinner rotation from here on out!