Tater Tot Casserole is a classic comfort food made with ground beef, tater tots, cheesy and a creamy beef sauce topped with cheese.
We love comfort food and this tater tot casserole is a classic comfort food favorite with no canned soups. Looking for more classic recipes we love Ultimate Sloppy Joes and Classic Beef Meatloaf.
BEST Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tots may not be the most reached for dinner item out of your freezer but this tater tot casserole is so easy it just may change that! We have almost a dozen tater tot casserole recipes on the site to choose from, so make the original, then get playful. Try a Big Mac Tater Tot Casserole or a Chicken Bacon Ranch one! See all of them here: Tater Tot Casserole Recipes.
Where did Tater Tot casserole come from?
Originally the dish was created in the midwest and was referred to as a hotdish. This version skips the frozen vegetables that the classic recipe calls for and sticks to just crisped tater tots and melted cheese and flavorful beef.
Tater Tot Casserole is a quick and easy casserole that is classically made using cream of chicken/cream of mushroom soups. While I could’ve used our homemade versions for chicken and mushroom, I went with an easy béchamel sauce with beef broth.
Tater Tot Casserole with Cream of Chicken Soup is an old classic option. You can certainly use cream of chicken soup but with just the oil in the pan from the beef, some flour, beef broth and milk you can make a significantly more delicious homemade version.
FAQs and Cooking Alternatives:
Can you freeze Tater Tot casserole?
This recipe is so easy to make, and you can meal prep it for later with no adjustments! Just assemble as you would before putting it in the oven but wrap it and put it in the freezer. Add an additional 15 minutes of cook time and you’re good to go!
Can you prep the casserole ahead of time?
Assemble the casserole, bring to room temperature then cover and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before baking.
MORE TATER TOT CASSEROLE RECIPES:
Can you swap for other ground meats?
Absolutely you can swap ground chicken, turkey, pork or crumbled extra firm tofu. If you’d like to use another protein you can also swap it for a bean mixture (which is delicious with chili seasoning).
How long do you cook a Tater Tot casserole for?
The beef mixture is cooked first before baking, but once in the oven the casserole is in the oven for 45 minutes.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Add the ingredients as directed in the recipe.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
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Tater Tot Casserole Flavor Variations:
- Tater Tot Casserole with Veggies: If you’d like to add vegetables you can use frozen corn, carrots and peas and layer them on top of the beef but below the cheese. Add an additional 10 minutes of cooking time to account for the frozen vegetables.
- Tater Tot Casserole with Corn: An easy addition, add the corn to the onions in the final couple of minutes to warm them through and bake the casserole as directed with no additional cooking time.
- Mexican Tater Tot Casserole: Flavor the ground beef with a packet of Taco Seasoning. Add corn, beans, canned chilis and salsa to the top of the beef (quantities as desired) and bake for an additional 10 minutes of cooking time to account for the increased volume of food. For an even more flavorful swap use pepper jack instead of or in addition to cheddar cheese.
- Tater Tot Casserole with Bacon: Cook the bacon separately and chop into pieces. Add the bacon to the beef mixture. Swap the milk for ketchup for a sweet and salty option or you can keep the milk if you prefer a more classic flavor.
- Tater Tot Casserole Breakfast: Instead of beef and onions, mix 8 eggs and a ½ cup of milk to the 9×13 pan. Cover with bacon or sausage crumbles, cheese and tater tots and bake for 45 minutes.
MORE GROUND BEEF CASSEROLES
HOW TO STORE TATER TOT CASSEROLE
- Serve: Don’t leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Once cooled, you can store it in the fridge. Kept in an airtight container it will stay good for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: This recipe can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- 2 pounds ground beef , (80/20)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese , shredded
- 32 ounces frozen tater tots
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the ground beef, salt and pepper to a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the ground beef and add in the onions, cooking for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
- Add in the flour and whisk for 15 seconds before adding in the beef broth, whole milk and Worcestershire sauce.
- Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until thickened, add the beef back in and stir until combined.
- In a 9x13 pan layer the beef, then the cheese and finally line up the tater tots before baking for 45 minutes.
Winner – hubby approved and wants to try it w sausage sometime. 1.5lbs hamb, added garlic granules + a crushed dried pepper to meat mixture in slightly smaller pan, otherwise followed recipe. (Well, subbed vegan “cheese” noone has been eating for half, cooked onions extra long to avoid veg complaints – nobody noticed either…) Stuck tots on tray while preheating oven, about half what I needed in the end, and we agree the pre-cooked were better.
My family loved this! I did pre cook the tater tots to make sure the bottoms were crisp, I’m a tater tot snob lol followed all just it says. I just change it to ground turkey and ground pork. Used chicken broth and since turkey is pretty bland added 1 tbsp of A1 with the Worcestershire sauce. All the steps the same. Cut the time down to 20 mins since the tots were par done. Yum!!!
I make this all the time, my family just loves it. They always ask what day are we having the tater tot casserole they never want to miss it. We have it 1 time a week and never any left overs Thanks again
This was so delicious!!! Trying not to have thirds. Made kitchen smell so good
All four kids asked for seconds – first time ever!
Now, that’s what I like to see! A total win!
This is the only tater tot Casserole i will use!!!! It’s the absolute best!
This looks delicious. Its cooking in the oven right now. I added fresh parsley, garlic powder and a little paprika. I made my own sauce using roux, beef broth and a little half and half.
Want to try cuttinhalf for two
Lost my recipe from the past
I did the Mexican variation. I was wondering if this could be pre-made and frozen for a friend of mine who is expecting a baby soon. I want to load up her freezer with casseroles.
How sweet of you!
Can you omit the onion
This is our third time of making this. I left my 12 year old grandson do it this time. He loves it and enjoyed doing most of the work. Thanks for great recipes.
I’m glad to know you love it so much! Thanks for the 5 stars, Stacy.
This was really enjoyable. Made as written but may try the Mexican version as suggested sometime. The family loved it. I didn’t have the larger tater tots but I did have the smaller potato coins. Pre cooked those for 10 min on their own and then topped the casserole and baked for another 35. Yum!
It really is delicious so many different ways. Thanks for the 5 stars.
Does anyone know if this is still good without worcestershire sauce?
Didn’t have onions OR beef broth.. challenge accepted! Instead, I saved the liquid after browning the beef. Put the heat on simmer with the liquid in the pan and added onion powder and minced garlic, let the garlic cook. I added the flour and stirred until it formed a paste and then added amounts of half and half and the Worcestershire sauce in until it made a sauce. I turned the heat to medium for a few seconds just to let the sauce thicken. I followed the recipe after that point. It turned out super yummy. Great for a quick dinner once in a while, as its not the healthiest.
Nice job, Amy!!
does bread flour work the same as just regular flour
Yes, you’ll be fine using it.
Came here for the sauce… I didn’t have two can’s of Cream of Mushroom soup so I wanted to see how others did it. This is the only one that did’t ask for mushrooms so this is the one I am using.
I like the traditional Tator tot hotdish so we use beans or a veggie mix in the ground beef.
Glad it worked out for you and was a good replacement!
Family really enjoyed this meal. It was fairly easy to put together and made enough for yummy leftovers. I added peas to mine before putting in the oven to add veggies.
Glad your family enjoyed! Next time, I would add the veggies between the beef and cheese layer so they can soak up that yummy sauce and flavor 🙂
made the tater tot casserole tonight for dinner for my family they really seem to enjoy it thank you for a great recipe
I followed your recipe almost exactly except I had Tater Tot Crowns in my freezer, so I used those. That cut the carbs a lot. Plus, I tasted the beef mix before I put it into the bigger pan and thought it was a bit bland, so I added about a tsp of beef base. I loved that the recipe didn’t have cream soups and it tasted great!
So glad you were comfortable tweaking it to your liking. Thanks for the 5 stars, Stacy.
The best one I’ve tried yet. When EVERYONE in the family asks for seconds (including the SUPER picky eaters) – you know it’s a keeper!
Yay!! Thanks so much for the 5 star rating, Kelly.
This is my second time making this recipe. It comes out really good! I don’t usually buy whole milk so I use half & half instead. I also add frozen mixed vegetables. And sub venison for beef. Easy to prepare and very tasty! This is like a much easier/quicker shepherds pie.
Thanks for dropping by to let me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Me and my boyfriend made this together! We had fun and it tasted great!!
I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
Awesome recipe. Yes I did add a few extras (mushrooms, bacon and some herbs and spices). Very easy recipe to cook and family would of had seconds and thirds if I let them. Serviced with mixed veges.
Sounds amazing! So glad everyone enjoyed it!
Made this tonight – delicious!!! I used ground chicken and chicken broth. I browned the chicken and onions together then added the flour and other ingredients. It was delicious! It disappeared in minutes! It is definitely going into my regular rotation. Quick, easy, tasty. Thanks.
The beef is not drained! You are making a gravy with the flour and liquids. You need a fat to stir the flour into. That is what I surmised please correct me if wrong (to the creator of recipe)
I’ve made this recipe twice now! It is sooo much better than recipes that use canned soups. It’s a hit for everyone and makes great leftovers 🙂
I’m glad you love it so much!
I like my tots very crunchy. I toast them in the oven before starting the dish and add them in top before baking the whole dish.
Thanks for the suggestion!
This was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! I looked for a tater tot casserole recipe and chose yours because you didn’t use canned soup. The blend of favors is just right! I added 1/2 of lite sour cream and tossed in a beef bouillion cube, too. (though it didn’t need it.) This is so YUMMY!!! Thank you! Can’t wait to check out the rest of your blog. PS I also cooked the onion along with the beef, then added the flour then the liquid. Worked out great
Awww, that’s so sweet! You totally made my day! ! I look forward to seeing you around the site, Roz!
I make this often. The only things I do different, is fully cook the tater tots first. Before you do the layering. May God’s a little bit of a crunch and keeps the tater tot taste. Otherwise it becomes mushy and mashed potato like. This alteration merely changes the texture, not the taste!
Thanks for your suggestion!
Great recipe I knew to drain the fat from the hamburger but some may not. This may need to be added for reference. Thank you!
Depending on the fat content of the ground beef, you may not need to. I’m glad you noticed yours was fattier and drained it. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
I am so glad you added this. Because I am one of those who almost added without draining. ?????
I made this today, and cut recipe in half as there are only 2 of us. I used almond flour, and skipped the milk. Added peas as suggested. This dish came out so good. I will plan to make again.
Thanks for dropping by to let me know! I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it!
This is a great weeknight dinner – we loved that it doesn’t have the canned soup!
Thank you, Tamie!
Fabulous comfort food. Nostalgic of poutine and shepherds pie but one of the easiest recipes I have tried ever. Made ahead and refrigerated before cooking which worked great. This one is a new regular.
So glad you enjoyed it, Adrienne!
So good. My son loved it. I cooked the onions with the beef. I drained the fat and sprinkled flour on top and added the milk and thickened. This will be a staple dinner in my house. Thank you.
I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
I’m baking it in the oven right now,smells delicious and was pretty easy to put together, I want to eat it now but need it for a funeral tomorrow morning . I won’t have time to cook tomorrow so hoping it’ll reheat well. What temp should I use? 350… time? Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ll share pics and taste tests later ?
Yes, I’d reheat in the oven at 350 for around 20-25 minutes. I hope you enjoy it and my condolences for your loss.
I made this for dinner tonight. It was outstanding! The creamy beef sauce is so much better than a canned soup! Quick, easy, and delicious.
Thanks for dropping by to let me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
This was the first tater tot casserole I have made. It was delicious. I used venison and added drained corn and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
Leaving a comment because it didn’t appear that anyone had actually made it. Lots of opinions, “this sounds great, I need to make it” and a five star rating. I will be the first to admit I’m not a fan of these kind of casseroles but this one really delivered. I needed something quick and simple on a busy night and this did the trick. I made the basic recipe and added a can of drained corn. It was really good, pure comfort food. I’ll make this again.
I’m so glad you decided to give it a try and enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
I agree….i want to try it but none of these comments are actual reviews. Glad to see at least someone make it and tried it. Did you find the tater tots to be dry? That is the one thing i don’t like about them.
A great classic and such yummy comfort food!
This looks good will have to make it. Need to only do half or spoon half in another dish and freeze. There is only 3 of us, most dishes are more than we need for one time.
This looks absolutely delicious! Yummy!
This should be on my must-make list!! Looks SO good!
Oh, my kids will surely love this!! Can’t wait to give this a try!
Yum! My family will love this!
I love a good tater tot casserole!
They’re so good!!
I’m sure you thought of this, but I’d cook the onion with the hamburger. When it’s done, sprinkle the mixture with flour until coated then add the broth, milk & Worcestershire sauce. It would be a bit easier & there would be one less dish to wash.
Great dish! To make it a one pot meal I cooked the ground beef with peppers and onions in a large Dutch oven, added the flour, beef broth and Worcester sauce, then just topped it with cheese and tater tots and popped it in the oven. Less dishes is always a good thing! Thank you for a great recipe without condensed soup!