Tater Tot Casserole Recipe That’s Fast

Tater tot casserole is pretty popular in the heartland states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s filling and works for feeding a big group of people. I’m keeping things pretty basic with this one, but feel free to throw other stuff in like chopped onions or rosemary. The calorie info below is an estimate based on everything that’s in the ingredients. It’s probably not perfect but should be close.

Servings12
Serving size140 grams
Calories per serving258

Click Here to Jump to Notecard Version of Recipe

What You’ll Need to Make This Tater Tot Casserole

What It IsNameWhere to Buy
CookwareCast iron skilletAmazon
CookwareSpatulaAmazon
Cookware7×11 baking dishAmazon
CookwareMeasuring cup (1 cup)Amazon
CookwareOven mittAmazon
CookwareButter knifeAmazon
CookwareCan opener (maybe)Amazon
Ingredient2 Cups Kraft Sharp Cheddar CheeseStore
IngredientOre-Ida Extra Crispy Tater Tots, frozen 1 lb 12 ouncesStore
Ingredient1/2 tablespoon butterStore
Ingredient1 pound 90% lean/10% fat ground beefStore
Ingredient10.5 oz can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom SoupStore
IngredientPepper (to taste)Store
IngredientSalt (to taste)Store

Let’s make this tater tot casserole. To start off, grab your skillet.

skillet for tater tot casserole

Put that on medium heat.

medium heat for skillet

Grab the spatula. I really like using a metal one because plastic tends to melt over time.

spatula

Grab 1/2 tablespoon of butter for making this part of the tater tot casserole. You might not need it because of the ground beef fat, but I felt like it would add to the flavor.

1/2 tbsp butter for tater tot casserole

Following that, throw your butter in the skillet and move it around a little bit.

butter in skillet for tater tot casserole

Then, grab your ground beef. You can get away with using 85 or 80% lean instead, although the fat content in the meal overall will get pretty high if you do.

beef

Throw that into the skillet.

ground beef in skillet for tater tot casserole recipe

Break it up with the spatula. Ideally, the meat will be in pretty small pieces once you’re putting it in the baking dish for the tater tot casserole.

breaking up ground beef with spatula

Keep working it around in the pan and continue to do that so it gets evenly browned. You don’t need to cook the meat all the way through, but at least browning it is important. It will have plenty of time to get completely cooked in the oven. Then, grab some pepper.

pepper

Add a little bit of pepper to the tater tot casserole meat, just enough to taste.

pepper in skillet

Stir that around a bit and then grab the salt.

salt

Throw in a pinch of salt and move the meat around some more.

salting meat for tater tot casserole recipe

Move the ground beef around in the skillet. I probably cooked mine another 1-2 minutes after the picture below was taken for the tater tot casserole.

ground beef in skillet

Once the burner for your meat is off, grab some Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup.

campbell's cream of mushroom soup

You might need a can opener if yours doesn’t have a tab on top, but, mine did so I could just open it by hand. Once it’s open, dump all of that into the ground beef. This is what gives the tater tot casserole its creamy flavor.

I know that not everybody’s a fan of condensed, but I personally like it.

dumping cream of mushroom soup into ground beef

Make sure you get everything out of the can. I used a butter knife to really scrape it out of there.

cream of mushroom soup in meat

Take the spatula and make sure to move things around pretty well in there.

stirring cream of mushroom soup and meat

Make sure it really spreads out for this tater tot casserole.

Then, preheat your oven to 400 F

preheat oven to 400

It’ll take about the time to preheat as it will for you to get the tater tot casserole ready to go in the oven.

Grab a glass baking dish so you can pour the skillet mixture into it.

glass baking dish for tater tot casserole recipe

Grab the skillet

dumping meat and soup mixture into glass baking dish for tater tot casserole

Spread that out really well, it’s the base for this tater tot casserole.

making tater tot casserole

I used my spatula to press it down around the dish so it got evenly spread out.

pressing tater tot casserole mixture down

Once that’s taken care of, grab the sharp cheddar.

sharp cheddar cheese

Get your measuring cup, too.

measuring cheese for tater tot casserole

Measure out two cups of sharp cheddar cheese – here’s number one:

sharp cheddar in 1 cup

Dump that in for the tater tot casserole. The cheese really helps to hold the tots down.

dumping cheese into tater tot casserole

Get the second one measured out, too.

measure a cup of cheese

Dump it in. One interesting thing that I noticed was that my specific bag of cheese was actually 2 cups exactly (weight wise) but both the cups I measured looked pretty full. You may want to consider using a kitchen scale.

Make sure it gets spread around evenly.

dumping cheese into baking dish for tater tot casserole

Now that all your cheese is in, grab the most important thing for making tater tot casserole.

tater tots for tater tot casserole

I went with extra crispy and it turned out really good that way.

lining tater tots on glass baking dish for tater tot casserole

You may or may not have enough tots to completely cover the cheese. Sorry about the blurry picture right here, not sure what happened.

tater tot casserole

Put those in the oven once it’s preheated to 400F.

tater tot casserole

Bake the tater tot casserole for 30 minutes at 450 F

30 minute oven timer

Once it’s done, grab an oven mitt.

oven mitt

Carefully take it out of the oven.

tater tot casserole coming out of the oven

There you have it! A finished tater tot casserole. Give it a little while to cool down and definitely don’t reach in and start trying to eat any.

tater tot casserole

Notecard Version

1. Brown your 1 LB of 90% lean ground beef in a cast iron skillet. It doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through but try and get rid of any pink.
2. Dump the can of cream of mushroom soup into the skillet and mix it around with the ground beef. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 400F
3. Pour the skillet mixture into a glass baking dish and flatten it out in there with a spatula.
4. Evenly pour two cups of cheese on top of the tater tot casserole mixture in the dish. Line the top of the cheese with all of your tater tots, ideally covering all of it.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 400F. Carefully remove after and let it cool.

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Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley writes about food and business.