The absolute best Tater Tot Hotdish!! Made completely from scratch without canned soup! Full of flavor and loaded with seasoned ground beef, vegetables, lots of homemade cream sauce, crispy tater tots, and cheddar cheese! Cozy and easy dinner that's loved by all!
Like most Minnesotans, growing up I ate my fair share of Tater Tot Hotdish! It’s simple to make and my whole family loves it, so it was always one of my mom’s go-to dinners, which I was 100% happy with. This recipe is based on my mom's, but with some upgrades like homemade sauce!
Unlike most Tater Tot Hotdish recipes, mine is made without cream of soup from a can! The extra effort to make homemade sauce is so worth it! This hotdish is full of flavor and loaded with beef, veggies, homemade sauce, lots of tots and cheddar cheese. It's the perfect easy weeknight dinner for a hungry family!
What is Tater Tot Hotdish?
Tater Tot Hotdish is my favorite hotdish of all, made with ground beef, vegetables, cream sauce, cheddar cheese, and best of all, tater tots! It's a hearty, comfort food that is loved by so many, especially in Minnesota! The same as a casserole, everything is baked together in just one baking dish until hot and bubbly!
- Ground beef
- Yellow onion
- Dry onion soup mix
- Frozen green beans
- Frozen corn
- Tater tots
- Cheddar cheese
- Chicken broth
- All-purpose flour
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Soy sauce
How to make tater tot hotdish
Making Tater Tot Hotdish is simple and doesn't require a lot of prep time! Instead of using cream of soup from a can like most Tater Tot Hotdish recipes call for, I make my own sauce from scratch, adding in a little extra prep time, but it tastes SO much better. Here's an overview on how to make From-Scratch Tater Tot Hotdish.
- Brown the ground beef. Start by cooking the ground beef until no longer pink, then season with Worcestershire, soy sauce, and dry onion soup mix. It might sound a little weird, but trust me, the flavor is on point! Transfer the ground beef to a baking dish.
- Add the vegetables. Top the ground beef with frozen corn and green beans, or you can use your favorite frozen vegetables!
- Make the cream sauce. A simple mixture of chicken broth, milk and spices come together to create a delicious creamy sauce that's poured right over the ground beef and vegetables.
- Top with tater tots. Spread frozen tater tots over the sauce. The best part!
- Bake. Bake until hot and bubbly around the edges, then sprinkle with lots of cheddar cheese and continue to bake until melted.
- Serve. Enjoy while it's warm and the cheese is melty.
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions.
Frequently asked questions
Is tater tot hotdish a midwest thing?
Hotdish is most definitely a midwest thing, primarily Minnesota. There are many types of hotdish, but they're always made with at least one scratch, protein, vegetable, and cream sauce.
What is considered hotdish?
Hotdish is always made with meat, vegetables, starch (such as potatoes, pasta or rice), cream sauce and usually cheese. It's all made in one dish and baked until hot and bubbly.
Most often, hotdish is made using cream of soup, but I always like to make my own homemade sauce!
What is the difference between hotdish and casserole?
Hotdish and casserole are actually the same thing. The word "hotdish" is commonly used in the Midwest, and more specifically in Minnesota.
What is tater tot hotdish made of?
Tater tot hotdish, like all other hot dish, is made with a protein (ground beef), vegetables (green beans and corn), starch (tater tots), and homemade cream of chicken soup. What really sets my tater tot hotdish apart from the others is my insanely delicious homemade sauce and lots of cheddar cheese!
Why do Minnesotans call it hotdish?
Hotdish has always been a staple for church basement potlucks in Minnesota. The story has it, the term "hotdish" first appeared in a cookbook in 1930 by a Mankato, Minnesota church group.
What sides go with tater tot hotdish?
One thing that I love about Tater Tot Hotdish it covers all the food groups! It has ground beef for protein, vegetables, and tater tots for some carbs! That said, most times I don't serve Tater Tot Hotdish with any sides, but sometimes I'll pair it with a side salad or freshly baked bread if I'm serving it to guests!
Tater Tot Hotdish stores incredibly well. Cover & store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Reheat Tater Tot Hotdish uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through and bubbly around the edges, about 20-30 minutes. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave.
To freeze leftovers, transfer to a freezer container (or divide it up between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions). Freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze the entire hotdish, see the instructions below under "Make Ahead."
Tater Tot Hotdish is best served freshly made! As the hotdish sits, the tater tots absorb some of the sauce, making it less saucy. But, you there are a few ways to make it ahead of time and avoid this problem.
Make ahead 1-2 days in advance: Brown the ground beef and add the seasoning, then make the cream sauce. Store both in separate containers in the fridge. When you're ready to bake, assemble the hotdish by starting with the ground beef, add the frozen vegetables, top with the cream sauce and finish with frozen tater tots. You'll need to add an extra 10-15 minutes onto the bake time.
Make ahead for freezing: Using a disposable aluminum baking dish, prepare the recipe in full, but instead of baking the hotdish, cover tightly with plastic wrap then tinfoil and freeze for up to 3-4 months. Bake the hotdish from frozen. You may need to cover with tinfoil if the tater tots are cooking too fast. As well, you will need to adjust the bake time and add on an extra 20-30 minutes. When the hotdish is hot and bubbly around the edges, top with cheddar cheese and bake until melty.
Variations & substitutions
- Meat: You can try using ground pork or ground chicken in place of the beef! I also have a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Tater Tot Hotdish that you'll love!
- Vegetables: Add your favorite frozen vegetables in place of or in addition to the green beans and corn.
- Cream sauce. I highly recommend making homemade cream sauce, but if you're in a pinch, you can use two 10.5 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup and mix with about ¼-1/2 cup of milk to thin it out before pouring over the meat and vegetables.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below! I'd love to hear from you! If you’re on Instagram, share a picture of the food you created and tag me at Modern Farmhouse Eats! I enjoy seeing all the pictures! 😊
From-Scratch Tater Tot Hotdish
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 packet dry onion soup and dip mix
- 12 ounces frozen green beans
- 12 ounces frozen corn
- 32 ounces frozen tater tots
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8 ounce block)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups milk (whole or 2%)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- To a skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the beef is no longer pink. Mix in the Worcestershire, soy sauce, and dry onion soup mix. Evenly spread the beef into a 9x13 inch baking dish
- Add the frozen green beans and corn over the beef in an even layer.
- Using the same skillet or small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a light boil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, flour salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire, and soy sauce until combined. While whisking, slowly pour the mixture into the boiling chicken broth until combined and thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the vegetables in baking dish, and lighlty mix together the beef, vegetables and sauce. You want to mostly keep the layers, but help some of the sauce reach the meat layer.
- Spread frozen tater tots over the top of the sauce.
- Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 45 minutes, until bubbling around the edges. Remove the tinfoil and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted and tater tots are crispy.