4-Ingredient Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole Recipe: A Quick & Easy Budget Recipe by Ann Marie Patitucci

4-Ingredient Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole Recipe: A Quick & Easy Budget Recipe

I’d never heard of tater tot casserole until I moved to Virginia. However, the dish was created in the Midwest and was originally referred to as hotdish. This tater tot casserole recipe is quick and easy, and will surely please even your pickest of eaters. 

This variation of the recipe is based on the classic casserole recipe but skips the frozen vegetables, focusing more on the crispy tots and the flavorful ground beef and melted cheese. With just four ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, it 's a kid-approved meal perfect for busy weeknights.

To make the budget casserole, brown the ground beef in a skillet. Stir in the cream of mushroom soup and pour into a 13x9-inch baking pan. Evenly layer the tater tots on top of the meat mixture, then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Pop it into the oven for about 30 minutes and you're done. 

Serve this cheesy four-ingredient casserole with a vegetable and a salad for a comforting dinner. 

Cuisine: American (Midwestern)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen tater tots

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink and completely browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Stir soup into the cooked ground beef.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer the tater tots evenly over ground beef mixture and top with cheese.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until tater tots are hot and golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes (ovens vary).

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Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
My husband is from Minnesota, home of the hotdish! He will love this. Thanks for sharing the yum! Dieter Schmitz
Ann Marie Patitucci
You're welcome. Hope he enjoys!
Never met a tater tot I didn't devour.
Ann Marie Patitucci
Ha! You sound like my boys!
Tara Jenner
So do I make the soup with the water first and add it or just put in the condensed soup straight in with the beef?
Ann Marie Patitucci
Just put it right in w/ the beef!
Tamara Banks Byrd
Tara Jenner, You just add the can of soup directly into the beef, do not add water.
Linda Rackley Walton
I add lb of roll sausage like jimmy deal to beef
Mark Strong
Add a bag of frozen corn and black beans for vegetables. Delicious
Tamara Banks Byrd
This dish is delicious as is but you can also add a lot of other ingredients to enhance the flavor of it and bulk it up a bit.

For instance, I like to use half ground beef and half ground Italian sausage and I generally always like to add diced green bell pepper, onion and minced garlic to most dishes like this, or you can use whatever color of bell pepper you prefer or even add jalapeño pepper, and/or you can add a standard mirapoix of diced celery, carrots and onions. You can also add fresh or canned sliced mushrooms.

If you or anyone you're feeding doesn't like mushrooms, which is the case in my family, you can use cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, or any other "cream of soup" such as cream of potato soup or even creamy cheese soup, if you prefer, or just make your own white sauce from a roux of butter, flour and milk to use as the sauce instead of the soup.

Or to make it into an easy delicious breakfast casserole, use breakfast sausage instead of the ground beef, omit the soup and pour beaten eggs over the mixture before baking. And I know it's not a popular opinion but I like to use Velveeta cheese because it melts so well and I love the creamy texture of it and yes I know it isn't "real cheese" but I've eaten it all my life and it hasn't hurt me yet.

Anyway, I didn't mean to write a book, Sorry! I guess my point is you can add or subtract whatever you like or don't like and just make this dish your own creation and/or any other dish for that matter.
Ann Marie Patitucci
Thanks for sharing with us!
Paul Mannion
Thanks for sharing!
Danielle Middlekauff
If you cook the tater tots before it makes a difference. It taste so much better as well. Also if you can make a taco one as well. Same way but instead of cream of mushroom use taco sauce and add taco seasoning to the hamburger meat.

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