Today, we’re going to dive into hotdish, the beloved Upper Midwestern staple.

I grew up in rural Minnesota, attending a Lutheran church in the country that loved its potluck dinners. My mom would make hotdish at least once a week.

All in all, I’d say I have some major hotdish credibility.

30+ hotdish recipes your family will love. Click through for great Midwestern hotdish/casserole recipes!

Which is why I’m devoting an entire post to this most beloved dish.

Hotdish Or Casserole?

People in different parts of the U.S. may call it casserole, but us Upper Midwesterners know it as hotdish (I’m looking at you, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin!)

And we, perhaps, have more versions of it than anyone else.

From How To Talk Minnesotan:

“As of the November 1986 State Hotdish Survey, there were 3,732 hotdish recipes in Minnesota. Up 12 from the previous November.”

So, What Is Hotdish?

Hotdish typically has a base of noodles, rice, or frozen or canned vegetables. It’s mixed with canned soup (like cream of mushroom or cream of chicken), browned meat (usually hamburger, sometimes ham, chicken or turkey), and is sometimes topped with crushed Corn Flakes, chow mein noodles, French fried onions or something else crunchy. 

But there are a million different variations on this, and these rules may not always apply.

Casserole, on the other hand, is less likely to have canned soup as an ingredient, and is more broad of a culinary term. 

Why Is Hotdish So Popular In The Upper Midwest?

Because it’s cheap, easy to make, and feeds a crowd.

Many recipes can be prepared a day in advance. Many can be frozen.

I’d go as far to say that hotdish is the most iconic dish in Minnesota.

Hamburger-Based Hotdish Recipes

A lot of hotdish recipes are hamburger-based. Here are some favorites:

Cheesy sour cream hamburger hotdish

Hamburger hotdish

Simple hamburger hotdish with tomato, corn, and cheese

Old-fashioned goulash

Minnesota hotdish recipe (with rice and hamburger)

Three bean potluck hotdish

Three bean hotdish recipe, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Spicy lasagna hotdish

Spaghetti hotdish with garlic bread crumb topping

Unstuffed cabbage hotdish

Tater tot hotdish

Chow mein noodle hotdish

Chow mein noodle hotdish recipe

Chicken And Turkey Hotdish Recipes

Chicken cheese hotdish

Cheesy chicken hotdish with broccoli and bacon

Chicken broccoli hotdish

Wild rice hotdish

Buffalo chicken hotdish

Leftover turkey tater tot hotdish

Other Meat And Seafood Hotdish Recipes

There are lots of protein options when it comes to hotdish:

Ham and spinach hotdish

Pizza hotdish

Ring bologna hotdish (a personal favorite!)

Oyster casserole

Tuna noodle hotdish

Tuna noodle hotdish: A classic casserole recipe. Click through for recipe!

Meatless Hotdish Recipes

Vegetarians don’t have to miss out on the goodness of hotdish:

Vegetarian chili tater tot hotdish

Sauerkraut apple casserole

Roasted veggie enchilada hotdish

Broccoli-cheese hotdish

Cheesy corn hotdish (a personal favorite!)Cheesy corn hotdish: SO EASY to make, and one of the most delicious Minnesota hotdish recipes I've had.

Modern Hotdish Recipes

The classics are great – but check out these recipes if you’re looking for something new to try:

Paleo cauliflower casserole

Southwest sweet potato tater tot hotdish

Skinny Mexican casserole

Tuna casserole with dill and potato chips

Polenta breakfast hotdish

Harissa chickpea hotdish

Butternut bacon and apple hotdish

Crab rangoon hotdish

Crab rangoon hotdish: Pasta, crab, cream cheese - does it get any better?

More Hotdish Information & Inspiration

  • Share a meal: Friend have a baby? Neighbor feeling under the weather? Bring them a hotdish! Many hotdish recipes travel and freeze well.
  • Congressional hotdish recipes: Hotdish is so big in Minnesota, that every year our Congressional delegation participate in a hotdish contest! Get their recipes here.
  • Hotdish is perfect for a potluck. To keep it warm after baking, simply transfer to a slow cooker and set it to warm.

A Minnesota/South Dakota church potluck dinner