Chow mein noodle hotdish recipe, a classic Minnesotan recipe!

Did you know that a true Minnesotan doesn’t accept food until the third offer?

Take it from me – a born and bred Minnesotan – that would be much too forward and verging on rude. Here’s how a scene may play out at a Sunday evening get-together among friends or neighbors:

  • Host: Do you want some more dessert?
  • Minnesotan: Oh no, I really shouldn’t.
  • Host: Oh come on now. Are you sure?
  • Minnesotan: Ya – I think I should pass.
  • Host: There’s still a lot left and I really don’t want to bother with leftovers. Are you sure?
  • Minnesotan: Oh, well, I really shouldn’t. But if you insist…

Back in college, I had a speech communication professor from Thailand. In our intercultural communication class, he showed us a video called “How to Speak Minnesotan”.

It gave a comical but realistic look at some common Minnesotanisms: The long goodbye; waving to the driver of an oncoming vehicle; extreme modesty. Things that make so much sense to us, but may seem a little peculiar from the outside.

Lesson #5 was my favorite: Eating in Minnesota.

What Is Hotdish? (From How To Talk Minnesotan)

  • Hotdish is served hot
  • Hotdish is served in a dish
  • Hotdish typically appears at church suppers, weddings, 4H meetings, and funerals

Chow mein noodle hotdish

Generic Recipe For Hotdish (from How to Talk Minnesotan)

Mix together 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 pound of cooked pulverized meat, 2 cans of pale vegetables. Stir. Salt to taste. Pour in baking dish. Bake between 400 and 700 degrees, until a crust forms. (See below for real recipe).

Want to learn how to talk Minnesotan yourself? Watch this amusing and slightly esoteric video – and prepare to be entertained:

All jokes aside, hotdish is a much loved meal in Minnesota and throughout the upper Midwest. It can be prepared so many different ways (here are 30+ ideas) – with ground beef, tuna, chicken, canned or frozen vegetables, and a variety of crunchy toppings.

And every family here seems to have a favorite hotdish recipe. Here are some of my family’s favorites.

More Minnesota Hotdish Recipes

Chow mein noodle hotdish recipe

Chow Mein Noodle Hotdish

Yield: Serves 5 or 6 hungry Minnesotans
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This hotdish recipe is hearty and filling. Make a night out of it and watch your favorite Minnesota-themed movie like Fargo, New in Town, or Juno.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 package frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Brown ground beef and onion. Place in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Mix in soups, frozen vegetables, half of the green onions, seasonings, and 1 cup of chow mein noodles.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining chow mein noodles. Return to oven and bake for additional 15 minutes or so, until hotdish is hot and bubbly, and chow mein noodles are browned.
  3. Top with remaining chopped green onions and serve.

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