Classic Minnesotan Tater Tot Hotdish

Hotdish is classic Minnesotan fare, composed of a few thrifty ingredients all baked up together in one dish. There are several versions, but this one comes directly from my friend Mandu in Minneapolis. Topped with crisp, golden tater tots and held together with cream of mushroom soup, it’s the perfect cold weather potluck dish.

Origins of Hotdish

From what I could find out, hotdish may have come out of the Great Depression as it used common, relatively cheap ingredients to feed quite a few people. It seems, however, that the tater tot version was not popularized until the 1950s.

Hotdish is essentially a casserole, usually consisting of canned vegetables such as green beans and/or corn, some kind of canned soup like cream of celery or mushroom, and some kind of protein (in this case ground beef.) The starch could be noodles or, like in this version, tater tots.

Apparently, every year the senators from Minnesota have a hotdish competition where they put aside politics for a moment, get in the kitchen, and have a little friendly cook-off making hotdish. I guess that’s what known as “Minnesota nice!”

Putting It All Together

One of the nice things about this recipe is that it takes hardly any time at all to put together. You fry up an onion and some ground beef with spices, and then you start layering it in your casserole dish. 

First you put down the ground beef and spices, then the canned soup, some frozen or canned green beans and some canned corn. To make the dish really hold together and come alive, the last thing you’ll do will to be to add the tater tots. Yum!

I arranged them prettily by starting in the middle and creating radiating patterns out to the edges, but if you’re pressed for time you can simply dump the tots on — your hotdish will still be delicious!

Now all that’s left to do is pop it into a 400 ℉ oven. You can find detailed recipe instructions below. Happy baking!

A hotdish casserole topped with tater tots with a scoop taken out of it.

Tater Tot Casserole

I got the gist of this recipe from a text message sent from my Minnesotan-born buddy Mandu. I hope it does her proud.
4.31 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, easy meals, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 375 kcal


  • oven
  • stove top
  • casserole dish
  • skillet


  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 C. yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper freshly cracked
  • 22 oz. cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken
  • 11 oz. canned corn
  • 8 oz. frozen sliced green beans
  • 20 oz. frozen tater tots


  • Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.
  • In a skillet heat oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 1-2 minutes or until they become translucent.
  • Add the ground beef to the onions. Use a spatula to crumble up the beef and cook until no longer pink.
  • Turn off the heat. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper.
  • Add the cream of mushroom soup, canned corn, and green beans. Stir to combine.
  • Pour into a buttered casserole dish.
  • Top with a layer of tater tots. If you're feeling fancy arrange them in an artful pattern.
  • Place the casserole into the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown. Serve hot.


Calories: 375kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 17gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 967mgPotassium: 603mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 201IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 3mg
Keyword casserole, easy meals, hot dish, pot luck, tater tots
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

6 thoughts on “Classic Minnesotan Tater Tot Hotdish”

  1. 5 stars
    This is my family recipe as well. I make this for my family and they love it. I do bake my tater tots in the oven first then I top the casserole after it’s been cooked. That way all the tater tots are completely crispy all the way around. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This was soo good, added to my recipe book. Made it multiple times, we don’t have the green beans and still delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve meant to look for a Hotdish recipe after reading a cozy mysteries series that mentioned it in every book! This seems super easy and ready to feed a bunch of folks – very cool! I just started Noom a week ago so will hold this recipe to give it a go a bit down my journey.

  4. 3 stars
    Try the Hamburger pulled apart and loosely layered on the bottom of the pan. Put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to start browning. Take out of oven, Pour bag of frozen peas (corn or mixed veggies work too, we love peas), over the Hamburger, 80/20 works best, any leaner and it’s like dry mini hockey picks, we’ve tried it! Sprinkle a packet of knoor onion soup mix evenly over the top of the peas. Then spread the Cream of Mushroom Soup over the top of the peas/onion soup, the 2 soups cook together and make the best sauce!! Top with the tater tots then cook in 400°-425° oven until its happily bubbling and the tots are a beautiful brown color,we like ours really crunchy. You can go a little higher on the oven temp because you already started cooking the ground beef. We even go further and make more tots in the air fryer to add to our meal. That also works really good for leftovers (I make a giant pan of this ,3-4 lbs of meat, adjusting the other ingredients to reflect how many recipes you make at one time. you could also put peas in one section, corn in another, mixed veggies in the other),when the tots aren’t crunchy anymore. I also freeze this in Snapwear rectangle containers for my husband to take for dinners while out on the road driving his truck.

  5. 5 stars
    I love you and your recipes and can’t get enough of your videos. You’re so sweet and earnest and open-minded. This dish looks delicious. Just a point: Hot dish (two words; the one-word spelling is a novelty that didn’t originate in Minnesota, where the first known appearance was in a 1930 cookbook in Mankato with a recipe for Hot Dish) may contain canned cream soups and canned veggies but also may contain cream sauce or tomato-based pasta sauce and fresh or frozen veggies (if veggies are used). The most common hot dish around me (I live in northern Minnesota with all the Scandinavians and pockets of the French) is a simple one made from hamburger, pasta and tomato-based pasta sauce, versions of which are commonly found in the pasta section of restaurant menus, often with cheese. Tater Tot hot dish is common, as is wild rice hot dish and many others. Hot dish is really just another term for casserole. My family makes a macaroni salad we just call “cold dish,” though we don’t expect other people even in Minnesota to use that term. 🙂 It contains pasta (usually elbow macaroni but sometimes shells or other pasta), mayo, tuna and frozen peas, and sometimes diced onion, celery and/or green pepper.

4.31 from 13 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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