Out of all the hotdishes that are popular in Minnesota, one stands out among the rest:

Tater tot hotdish.

Tator tot hotdish: The classic recipe that defines Minnesota cuisine! Click through for recipe.

What Is Hotdish?

You may call it casserole where you are from, but here in the Minnesota, we proudly call it hotdish.

What’s the difference? 

Not a lot, but hotdishes are more likely to contain condensed soup as an ingredient, like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken , or cream of celery soup.

Hotdishes typically follow this formula:

  • Meat (often ground beef or chicken)
  • Condensed soup (cream of mushroom or chicken)
  • Vegetables (often frozen)
  • Noodles or rice
  • A crunchy topping

Hotdishes are a staple in so many Minnesota households, especially in the colder months. They are hearty, affordable, and heat up the kitchen on the chilliest of winter nights. I have a lot of fond memories of hotdish meals my mom would make growing up. 

Hotdishes are typically a complete meal – no side dishes necessary.

Tator tot hotdish: Get the basic, classic recipe that's been around for decades in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest!

This Is A Traditional Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe, With One Small Twist

Most tater tot hotdish recipes you find on the internet are similar. And that’s fine. There’s really no reason to reinvent the wheel, unless you’re looking for diet-specific variations.

However, the one improvement most tater tot hotdishe recipes could benefit from is the crunchiness factor.

Learn how to make Minnesota's quintessential dish: Tator tot hotdish!

When you place frozen tater tots on top of the hotdish and proceed with baking, the tater tots never get too crispy.

However, when you start heating the tater tots up prior to putting them on top of the dish – when you par cook them – they will get extra crispy once the dish has finished baking.

You’re welcome.

Tator tot hotdish: The classic hotdish recipe that Minnesotans call their own.

For this homemade hotdish recipe, you’ll want to use the tater tots you find in the freezer section of the grocery store. Ore-Ida, for example.

And don’t forget to crisp them up in the oven before placing on top of the casserole dish!

Tater tot hotdish is so iconic in Minnesota, it was named the most iconic dish of the state!

More Great Hotdish Recipes

I’m a born-and-raised Minnesotan with a lot of great hotdish recipes up my sleeve. I grew up going to a lot of church potlucks where hotdish was the star of the event.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Tator tot hotdish: Minnesota's most iconic recipe!

Tator tot hotdish: The classic recipe that defines Minnesota cuisine! Click through for recipe.

Tater Tot Hotdish

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Par-baking the tater tots makes them EXTRA crispy. No more soggy tater tots on your tater tot hotdish!

You may not need to use a whole 28-ounce bag of tater tots to fully cover the hotdish surface. I like this hotdish generously topped with tater tots, but never in a double layer. Use what you need, and freeze the rest for another time.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 to 12 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots and corn)
  • 2 10-ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 28-ounce package frozen tater tots


  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Place tater tots on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until tater tots begin to brown but don't cook completely. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion. Break up the meat as it cooks. Once browned, remove from heat. Mix in garlic powder and season with salt and pepper. Add cream of mushroom soup and frozen vegetables
  3. Reduce oven heat to 375F.
  4. Place ground beef mixture in a 9 x 13-inch cake pan or casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese and partially cooked tater tots in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and tater tots are nicely browned.

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