The Best Baked Tater Tot Casserole is comfort food reminiscent of your childhood. Creamy beef topped with crisp tater tots and lots of cheese. It’s a family dinner hit!
Tater Tot Casserole, a Retro Family Favorite
Anytime Tater Tot Casserole comes up in conversation (and believe me, it actually comes up more than you’d think) it sparks childhood memories. My friend told me every time her mom was out of town, her dad would make a big batch and they’d eat on it all week. Another friend remembers forgoing any sort of vegetables in their recipe and piling her plate high with cheese, beef and that kid-friendly favorite: tater tots! But if this one-dish wonder never graced your childhood dinner table, it’s time to introduce your family to the very best Baked Tater Tot Casserole.
Ingredients in Tater Tot Casserole
The most wonderful thing about casseroles are their versatility. Many of the ingredients in this Tater Tot Casserole recipe are interchangeable, except of course for those tender taters it’s named for. Traditionally, this recipe calls for the following:
- Ground beef
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Any kind of veggies you like. Green beans, corn, frozen mixed veggies or peas are favorites around here.
- Piles of delicious crispy tater tots.
- Cheese. Lots and lots of gooey cheese.
Tater Tot Casserole Without Cream of Mushroom Soup
Many of the classic Tater Tot Casserole recipes call for a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup. But did you know it’s just as easy to make your own creamy mushroom sauce from scratch as it is to crack open a can of soup? Read the recipe below to find out how!
Is Tater Tot Casserole Gluten Free?
YES! But here’s the catch. It’s gluten free if, and only if, you use cornstarch as the thickener for the sauce instead of flour AND you make sure you’re using a gluten free bouillon powder. It’s available next to regular bouillon at most grocery stores. Just be sure to check those labels! When using cornstarch as the thickener you can use half the amount– so about 3 tablespoons should be all you will need to make your sauce.
Can Tater Tot Casserole Be Frozen?
You bet! You can actually do this a couple of ways.
- Assemble the casserole with everything except the cheese. Then, bake as instructed and let it cool. Refrigerate until completely cold and then pop it into the freezer (in a freezer safe container).
- Or you can assemble the casserole, again leaving off the cheese, but don’t bake it. Freeze instead until you’re ready to bake. Either option should keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
How to Reheat Tater Tot Casserole
Reheating Tater Tot Casserole is simple and it tastes delicious! Take the frozen dish out of the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Then bake as directed.
Leftovers taste even better the next day (or several days, as my friend can attest from her childhood). Tater Tot Casserole reheats in the microwave beautifully. You could also pop it under the broiler to crisp up your tots again.
Tater Tot Casserole Variations
This delicious family dinner staple can be dressed up a million different ways. Your kids will beg for all the casserole all the time! Try these favorite variations on the traditional Tater Tot Casserole:
- Chili Tater Tot Casserole- Add chili, corn, and olives to the base and top with tater tots and cheese
- Mexican Tater Tot Casserole- Green chiles, corn, diced tomatoes and pepper jack cheese gives this recipe a spicy kick
- Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole- Who says dinnertime is the only time for tater tots? Layer those gorgeous potato nuggets with eggs, crumbled sausage and cheese.
More Quick Casseroles
You can never have too many casserole recipes on hand for those busy weeknights. Here are some delicious comfort classics:
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
- California Breakfast Casserole
- Southwestern Chili Casserole with Fritos
- Easy Chicken Casserole
- Cheesy Enchilada Casserole
- Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole
How to Make Tater Tot Casserole
The Best Baked Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 onion diced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup flour (or 3 tablespoons cornstarch)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons beef bouillon
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 (12-14 oz.) can cut green beans drained, optional
- 1 (12-16 oz.) package frozen tater tots
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion and ground beef until beef JUST browned. Add mushrooms and cook until beef is cooked through and onion is translucent. Drain excess grease.
- Sprinkle flour over beef/mushroom mixture and stir until flour coats the beef.
- Slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly until you reach your desired thickness (you want the sauce to have the consistency of a thick gravy). You may or may not need all the milk.
- Season with beef bouillon and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in green beans (optional).
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and pour beef mixture into the bottom of the dish, spreading evenly.
- Evenly layer tater tots over the beef mixture.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tater tots become golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from oven, top with cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.