If you’re not from Minnesota or North Dakota, you may think that “hotdish” is just another word for casserole. And while you wouldn’t be completely wrong in that thinking, you’re not 100 percent right either. You see, all hotdishes are casseroles, but not all casseroles are hotdishes (still with me?). For a recipe to be considered a hotdish it must have a starch, a meat, a vegetable, and a soup base. It’s the main dish and served warm. Many variations have popped up over the years, but none as infamous as the Tater Tot Hotdish.
I’d been hearing about this midwestern staple for long enough, it was time I tried making one myself. Since I am not from Minnesota, I consulted a friend who grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes to get the most authentic recipe possible. He sent over a copy-and-pasted recipe that someone had clearly written out from memory, with just a few sentences of instructions. All the ingredients looked predictable enough, but I was assured that the magic happened when everything was baked together. About that, he was right!
The final results were all but bubbling out the dish with perfectly crispy tots topping it all off. It takes no stretch of the imagination to see why this would be the ultimate comfort food during a cold Minnesota winter. If you’ve never had the pleasure of digging into an authentic Tater Tot Hotdish then I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It truly warms you up from the inside out!
Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish
15m prep time
45m cook time
- 1 lb ground beef
- 8oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 (10 oz) can condensed cheddar soup
- 1 (10 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- ½ cup milk
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (1 lb) bag frozen tater tots
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- In a large skillet, saute garlic and onion for 2-3 minutes, then add ground beef, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until fully browned.
- As beef browns, combine corn, peas, both condensed soups, milk, and half the cheese in a large bowl.
- Mix the browned beef into the cream mixture and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Top with the remaining cheese and then the tater tots.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until tots are golden brown.