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Tater Tot Cowboy Casserole is a perfectly family-friendly, easy dinner recipe for busy nights! The cozy one dish meal is full of ground beef, green beans and corn, and then finished off with a layer of melted cheddar cheese and a crispy potato topping.

Close up front shot of cowboy casserole with ground beef tater tots and green beans on a blue and white plate

You can’t beat the convenience of this Tater Tot Casserole with green beans for a simple and hearty meal that the whole family will actually enjoy! You get protein, veggies, and starch in one pan — which means that you don’t even have to worry about the sides. It’s a perfect solution for a chilly weeknight!

What is Cowboy Casserole?

The “cowboy” moniker is a great way to describe hearty stick-to-your-ribs meals that utilize a few simple ingredients for easy and delicious dinners! These are the suppers that my active boys and my hardworking husband love to see on the table at the end of the day…total comfort food!

Cowboy Casserole can take a variety of forms, but typically involves either a ground beef or chicken filling that’s topped with Tater Tots, mashed potatoes, or cornbread. The term “Cowboy Casserole” is often used interchangeably with “Tater Tot Casserole” to describe a hotdish that includes Tater Tots — a food made from grated and deep-fried potato. That’s exactly what we’ve got here!

Overhead shot of plate of Cowboy Casserole on a blue and white plate

How to make Cowboy Casserole:

You only need about 10 minutes of prep and a handful of simple ingredients for this easy casserole recipe.

Ingredients for Tater Tot Casserole:

  • Ground beef
  • Onion
  • Condensed cream of celery and cream of mushroom soups
  • Milk
  • Canned corn and canned green beans
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Frozen Tater Tots (I use the Extra Crispy version from Ore-Ida, but any similar brand will work)

First, cook the ground beef and the diced onion in a large skillet until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off any fat from the pan.

Ground beef and onion in a cast iron skillet

In a separate bowl, whisk together the condensed soups and the milk until smooth.

Two cans of cream of celery and cream of mushroom soup

Add the soup mixture, corn and green beans to the cooked beef, and then stir to combine. I use small cans of the vegetables, simply because they’re not my kids’ favorite part of the casserole — and therefore the smaller amount doesn’t overwhelm the dish. If you prefer more veggies in your casserole, you can use the larger cans of corn and green beans.

Cans of corn and green beans

Transfer the ground beef mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Filling for Tater Tot Cowboy Casserole in a baking dish

Next, sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over top.

Sprinkling cheese on top of tater tot casserole

Finally, finish with a layer of frozen Tater Tots.

Frozen tater tots on top of cowboy casserole before baking

Bake the casserole, uncovered, in a 375 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes (or until the topping is crispy and golden brown).

Overhead shot of Tater Tot Cowboy Casserole in a blue and white baking dish

Bonus tip! For even more added flavor on top of your casserole, try sprinkling a can of fried onions over the Tater Tots during the final 15 minutes of baking.

Can of French Fried Onions on a wooden surface

What to serve with Cowboy Casserole:

As I mentioned above, this is a one-dish meal that includes protein, vegetables and a starch. That said, here are a few sides that go with Tater Tot Casserole (in case you’d like to offer additional options):

Close up shot of Cowboy Casserole topped with tater tots on a blue and white plate

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • For a filling that includes even more vegetables, use larger cans of corn and green beans.
  • There’s no need to thaw the Tater Tots before adding them to the top of your casserole.
  • You can use ground turkey or ground chicken in lieu of the ground beef if you prefer.
  • Just about any condensed soup flavors will work. You can use two cans of cream of celery, two cans of cream of mushroom, two cans of cream of chicken, or any combination of the above!
  • Instead of the Tater Tots, make the Cowboy Casserole with mashed potatoes. Simply spread a layer of store-bought refrigerated mashed potatoes on top, and bake according to recipe instructions.
  • Can you freeze Cowboy Casserole? Yes! To freeze the Tater Tot hotdish, assemble as instructed, and then wrap tightly with foil before baking. The casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Leftover casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat a baked casserole, warm it in a 325 degree F oven (uncovered) until heated through.
  • Prepare the Cowboy Casserole in a slow cooker! The Tater Tots will not have the same crispy exterior, but the dish will still taste delicious. Place the ground beef filling into the bottom of a Crock Pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours. Instead of adding the cheese before the Tater Tots, wait to sprinkle the cheese over the Tater Tots during the final 30 minutes of cooking time.
Image of Tater Tot Casserole on a wooden surface with text overlay

More easy casserole recipes that you might enjoy:

Close up front shot of cowboy casserole with ground beef tater tots and green beans on a blue and white plate

Tater Tot Cowboy Casserole

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 390.3 kcal
Tater Tot Cowboy Casserole is an easy dinner recipe for busy nights! The cozy one dish meal is full of ground beef, green beans and potatoes.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, NOT diluted
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of celery soup, NOT diluted
  • 1 soup can milk (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 1 (11 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (8 oz) can cut green beans, drained
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups (about 16 ounces) frozen Tater Tots
  • Optional topping: 1 (3 ounce) can French-fried onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Cook beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until meat is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Drain.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together condensed soups and milk.
  • Add soup mixture, corn, and green beans to the cooked beef; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste (I used ½ teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper). Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top. Finish with a layer of Tater Tots.
  • Bake casserole, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes (or until the inside is hot and bubbly and the Tater Tots are crispy and golden brown). If using French-fried onions, add them to the top of your casserole during the final 15 minutes (this will allow them to get browned and crispy without burning).
  • Allow the casserole to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • For a filling that includes even more vegetables, use larger cans of corn and green beans.
  • There’s no need to thaw the Tater Tots before adding them to the top of your casserole.
  • You can use ground turkey or ground chicken in lieu of the ground beef if you prefer.
  • Just about any condensed soup flavors will work. You can use two cans of cream of celery, two cans of cream of mushroom, two cans of cream of chicken, or any combination of the above!
  • Instead of the Tater Tots, make the Cowboy Casserole with mashed potatoes. Simply spread a layer of store-bought refrigerated mashed potatoes on top, and bake according to recipe instructions.
  • Can you freeze Cowboy Casserole? Yes! To freeze the Tater Tot hotdish, assemble as instructed, and then wrap tightly with foil before baking. The casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Leftover casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat a baked casserole, warm it in a 325 degree F oven (uncovered) until heated through.
  • Prepare the Cowboy Casserole in a slow cooker! The Tater Tots will not have the same crispy exterior, but the dish will still taste delicious. Place the ground beef filling into the bottom of a Crock Pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours. Instead of adding the cheese before the Tater Tots, wait to sprinkle the cheese over the Tater Tots during the final 30 minutes of cooking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 390.3kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 18.1gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 57.5mgSodium: 928.6mgPotassium: 662.3mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 4.9g
Keyword: Cowboy Casserole, ground beef casserole, Tater Tot Casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Love the recipe! I use onion and garlic powder when I brown the meat instead of having chunks of onion, which I don’t like. Also I use a small bag of mixed veggies, frozen, instead of canned corn and green beans.

  2. 5 stars
    The flavor in this short list of ingredients is amazing! this one is another Home run in my book. Next time I make it I had a request to swap out the green beans for Peas and small diced carrots. I love this site. I have found so many cool things to make and so easy to put my own spin on them as well. Thank you Blair.

    1. Perfect! It makes me so happy to know that you’re enjoying the recipes and, most importantly, that you’re figuring out how to tweak them to suit your preferences. That’s what cooking is all about — the recipe is just inspiration! 🙂