If you're not from the northern Midwest, you might not have heard of tater tot hotdish until recently. It's commonly served at potlucks, funeral lunches, and church picnics, but after you try this iconic American recipe, you will want it on the daily. It's creamy, salty, crunchy, and oh-so-craveable.
The formula for a tater tot hotdish—which can be made entirely in a cast-iron skillet—is actually quite simple. It contains a variation of the following:
- Meat (usually ground beef, but you can also use chicken, pork, or a blend)
- Condensed soup (usually cream of mushroom)
- Vegetables (often a blend, like a pea, corn, and carrot mix)
- And, of course, tater tots
This tater tot hotdish has a classic base with a spicy kick. You can leave out the ingredients with a kick by replacing the peppers with other veggies and swapping pepper jack with cheddar, but it really takes the casserole up a notch.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound chorizo sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped, reserve some for topping
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped, reserve some for topping
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, divided
- 1 (32-ounce) bag frozen tater tots
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cilantro, minced
- Sliced jalapeños, optional
Gather the ingredients.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on high. Add the ground beef and chorizo and brown the meat until completely cooked through. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Drain the meat from the pan and place it in a bowl. Leave some of the excess fat in the pan. Add the diced onion, minced garlic, chopped peppers, seasoned salt, and ground black pepper to the pan and sauté on medium-low heat until the vegetables are slightly softened. Do not overcook them—you want them to retain their shape and some of their texture.
Add the heavy cream, whole milk, and cream of mushroom soup to the pot. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the hot sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sour cream, and cream cheese to the pot and stir until combined completely. It should be thick and creamy. Add the meat and stir. Cook for another minute or two, then remove from the heat.
Add the mixture to a large cast-iron skillet or casserole dish.
Sprinkle half of the shredded pepper jack over the top of the casserole dish and begin arranging the tater tots on top of the casserole. You can make a pretty pattern or just cover the top of the casserole as best as you can.
Add the rest of the cheese to the top of the casserole and place it in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown and the casserole is heated through.
Top the casserole with more diced bell peppers, chopped cilantro, and sliced jalapeños if you wish to make it extra spicy.
Serve and enjoy.
- Taco Tater Tot Hotdish: Fill the casserole dish with prepared taco meat mixed with cheddar cheese soup mix. Top with tater tots and pepper jack cheese. When it's done baking, drizzle with sour cream, salsa, chopped olives, and chopped scallions.
- Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Hotdish: Cook up the ground beef as directed and add in bacon. Keep the cream of mushroom soup, but change the veggies to just corn (or you can leave them out). Top with tater tots and cheese and bake!
- Ham and Broccoli Tater Tot Hotdish: Use a pound of chopped ham, cream of mushroom soup, and chopped broccoli. Top with tots and bake away. Add some cheddar if you want this creamy and cheesy.
- Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Hotdish: Replace the beef with shredded chicken and the soup with cheddar cheese soup. Add a packet of ranch seasoning and a veggie of your choice. Top with tots and cheese.