If you like easy dinners, consider making Cowboy Casserole for your next meal. It’s creamy, cheesy, hearty and covered in crispy tater tots. Your family will ask you to make it again and again!
Cowboy Casserole with Tater Tots
This cowboy casserole recipe is so good, you’ll forget it has veggies in it! It is packed with flavor and is incredibly easy to prepare, you’ll even want to make it on a weeknight. This kind of meal is the kind that sticks to your ribs – it’s hearty and filling.
I find that I struggle to come up with new and creative meals that involve ground beef. We are a taco-loving family but after a while, it can get boring. Believe it or not, my picky kiddos love cowboy casserole! I think it’s likely because of the tater tots. The only ingredient I was really skeptical about was the cream of mushroom soup since most of us aren’t fans of mushrooms. You can swap it out for another creamy soup but we all actually like the flavor it adds to the casserole. Salisbury Steak is another family favorite because the gravy makes you forget about the mushrooms.
What You’ll Need
All of the ingredients needed for this cowboy casserole with tater tots are inexpensive, which makes this the perfect budget meal. You will find the exact measurements on the recipe card below.
- Ground Beef: I like to use 80% lean to reduce the amount of grease.
- Cream of Mushroom Soup: You can substitute homemade if you prefer it over the canned variety.
- Sour Cream
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Frozen Corn
- Cheddar Cheese: Buy it prepackaged or shred it yourself.
- Bacon: Cooked and chopped.
- Tater Tots
How to Make Cowboy Casserole
After cooking the ground beef, all of the ingredients get mixed, layered, and baked. It’s so very simple to execute a cowboy tater tot casserole.
- Step 1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Non-stick cooking spray works great.
- Step 2. While the oven is preheating, heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain all of the grease.
- Step 3. Whisk cream of mushroom soup, milk, and sour cream in a large bowl until smooth.
- Step 4. Add onion powder, salt, and black pepper to the creamy mixture and stir until well combined.
- Step 5. Stir in ground beef, corn, ½ cup of cheese, and bacon. I use a wooden spoon for this.
- Step 6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish then layer with another ½ cup of cheese and tater tots.
- Step 7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the tots are browned. Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Step 8. Serve and enjoy!
How to Store Leftovers
Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can reheat it in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate. Throw it in the oven to make the tater tots crispy again.
You can freeze this cowboy casserole, too! Cover it well and it will last in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake it according to the recipe directions the next day. It’s so easy and perfect for a night when you don’t feel like cooking.
Tips and Tricks
- Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.
- Instead of cream of mushroom soup, you can use any other kind including cream of potato, cream of celery or cream of chicken soup.
- You can use a different cheese like pepper jack or mozzarella.
- Make this casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.
- I sometimes like to use frozen mixed veggies or frozen peas instead of frozen corn.
- Tater rounds can be substituted for tater tots.
- Add a can of black beans or pinto beans for extra protein.
- Green chiles are a nice addition for a kick.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, chives, or green onions.
More Casserole Recipes
- Hashbrown Casserole
- Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Cinnamon Roll Casserole
- Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 10.75 ounce cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup bacon cooked and chopped
- 28 ounces tater tots frozen
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
- In a skillet, cook ground beef breaking into small pieces; until no longer pink. Drain grease.
- In a large bowl, whisk cream of mushroom soup, milk, and sour cream until smooth.
- Add onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix until combined.
- With a wooden spoon stir in ground beef, corn, ½ cup of cheese, and bacon until well mixed.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Layer ½ cup cheese and tater tots on top.
- Bake for 40 minutes; until bubbly and tots are browned. Then top with remaining ½ cup cheese and bake until melted; about 5 minutes.
- Serve with an additional sprinkle of bacon, if desired.