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Overhead image of a baked tater tot casserole with single serving scooped from the middle.
5 from 3 votes

Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

The very BEST Tater Tot Casserole Recipe! Creamy, comforting, and packed with yummy ground meat, green beans, corn, cheese, and crispy tater tots! Learn how to make this family favorite two ways - with and without soup!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Tater Tot Casserole, Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 744kcal

Ingredients

Recipe 1 - Tater Tot Casserole with Homemade Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 tbsp butter divided
  • 2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp hot sauce such as Frank's RedHot
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 16 ounces green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (see notes)
  • 2 (15.25 ounce) cans corn drained
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 (32 ounce) bags frozen tater tots

Recipe 2 - Tater Tot Casserole with Canned Soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tbsp hot sauce such as Frank's RedHot
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans canned cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 16 ounces green beans frozen or fresh (see instructions for blanching in notes)
  • 2 (15.25 ounce) cans corn drained
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 (32 ounce) bags frozen tater tots

Instructions

Recipe 1 - Tater Tot Casserole with Homemade Sauce

  • Brown the Ground Meat - Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or saucepot set over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to season. Once cooked, transfer beef to a clean plate and set aside.
  • Caramelize the Onions (optional) - Set a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and heat until shimmering and hot. Add the onions, mixing well to coat in oil. Allow your onions to cook, stirring occasionally. If your onions start to brown, reduce heat to medium-low (remember: we're cooking these onions low and slow). After approximately 10 minutes, sprinkle with salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon) and stir to combine. By now, your onions should be softening and lightly golden. If your onions start to dry out and brown/burn prematurely, as a result, (assuming your heat is set to medium-low), add a few teaspoons of water to the pan.
  • Continue to cook your onions for an additional 30 minutes or so, stirring every 2-3 minutes to prevent burning. You don't want to stir continuously, but just often enough that the onions have enough time to cook and stick to the bottom of your skillet, browning just slightly - but not burning.
  • After the first 30 minutes, your onions should be a nice and deep golden color. You may stop now, or continue. If you continue, every minute or so, use a metal spatula to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of your skillet. Continue to cook, stir, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan until your onions are a rich golden brown color.
  • Remove onions from the pot and transfer to a clean cutting board. Roughly chop into smaller pieces using a sharp knife.
  • Prepare Sauce - Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, caramelized onions, and chopped mushrooms to the pot. Stir well to combine. Cook, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened.
  • Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and fresh garlic. Continue to cook, stirring often, for an additional minute. IF your mixture appears dry, mix an additional 1-2 tablespoons of butter with the onions and mushrooms.
  • Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle with the all-purpose flour, and immediately mix to combine. Continue mixing for 1 minute, taking extra care not to let the flour burn.
  • Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce with the onions and mushrooms. Combine. Stirring continuously, slowly add the milk (I used 2%). Stir until fully combined and heated through - but not boiling. Finally, whisk in the Greek yogurt.
  • Optional - If you prefer a less chunky sauce or you have little kids who you're worried may not like the bits of onion or mushroom (this would be my kid), simply blend part, or all of, your sauce. I blended HALF with great results.
  • Assemble - Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a large 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Add the corn, green beans, and browned ground meat to the sauce. Mix well to combine. Remove from heat and stir in half of the cheese. Transfer the sauce and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with tater tots and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until tater tots are golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately or enjoy leftovers for up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe 2 - Tater Tot Casserole with Canned Soup

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a large 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Add the oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and starting to brown -approximately 10-15 minutes. Add the ground beef and ground turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to season. Cook, scraping up any brown bit stuck to the bottom of the pan until meat is cooked. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and mix in the fresh minced garlic. Mix well to combine.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, canned cream of mushroom soup, and condensed cheddar cheese soup. Mix well. Add the green beans and corn and mix again.
  • Transfer the beef and onion mixture to the prepared 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer the top with freshly shredded cheddar cheese and top with frozen tater tots.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until tater tots are golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately or enjoy leftovers for up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Feel free to use your favorite ground meat to make this recipe. Ground beef, ground pork, lamb, chicken and ground turkey are all great options. If you can't pick one (like me) use a mix of two (or even three!).
  • Save time (approximately 10 minutes) by cooking the ground beef and caramelized onions at the same time, but in separate pans. Otherise, cook the ground meat first, clean out the pan, and reuse to cook the onions.
  • You do not have to caramelize your onions. If you're short on time, simply cook your onions for as much time as you've got (at least 5 minutes), stirring often to prevent burning.  With that said, caramelized onions offer SO MUCH extra flavor, so if you have the time, I highly recommend it.
  • I used 2% cow milk. For a richer sauce, feel free to use whole milk. While I have not tried this recipe with dairy alternatives, I imagine it would taste great with any plant-based alternative that is somewhat creamier (plain, unsweetened walnut milk, oat milk, or soy milk, for example).
  • Green Beans - I used fresh green beans to make this recipe (personal preference). Should you choose to use fresh green beans, you will want to blanch them before adding to the sauce. To do this, simply boil a medium pot of water. Add your trimmed and chopped green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes maximum. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking then drain again. If you prefer not to do this step, simply substitute with frozen green beans.
  • The cheese - Sprinkle the cheese on top of the beef mixture (and under the tater tots) to prevent it from crisping. I like this, but if you prefer gooier cheese, keep it protected and under those tater tots. Add more cheese for an extra cheesy recipe!
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • To freeze before baking, top with frozen tater tots and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and transfer to freezer. Best if enjoyed within 3 months.
  • To freeze after baking, allow casserole to cool completely before covering with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and transfer to the freezer. Best if enjoyed within 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 744kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 1003mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 865IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 315mg | Iron: 3mg
Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Tater Tot Casserole, Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
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