Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole is a hearty dish that features a combination of ground beef, mushrooms, green bell peppers, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and bacon. Topped with crispy tater tots and seasoned salt, it is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner, this casserole recipe is easy to make and packed with flavor. It’s a delicious twist on the classic Tater Tot Hotdish.

Skillet of Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole with Some Removed in a Bowl and a Spoon Resting in the pan.
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Ingredients & Substitutions

Meat: I prefer ground beef in a tater tot casserole. However, you could certainly use ground turkey or ground chicken for leaner options.

Mushrooms: You can use canned or fresh mushrooms in this dish. They complement ground beef, bacon, and vegetables.

Soup: For even more mushroom flavor, I added condensed cream of mushroom soup. You could substitute cream of chicken soup if that is what you have. It may change the flavor profile a bit, but will still add a creamy base.

Vegetables: This hot dish is loaded with vegetables. I added onions, green bell peppers, corn, black beans, and tomatoes.

Hand Placing Tater Tots onto a Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole.

Can I Assemble Tater Tot Casserole Ahead of Time?

Yes! First, prepare all the ingredients such as browning ground beef, sautéing vegetables, and mixing together liquids and seasonings. Next, transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake, within 2-3 days. When it’s time to serve, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Preheat your oven to the specified temperature, top the mixture with tater tots and bake it for the specified time, or until heated through and the tater tots are golden brown and crispy. Enjoy a delicious and easy Tater Tot Hotdish with this make-ahead method.

Bowls of Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole with Forks on a Cutting Board.

Freeze Tater Tot Casserole for Easy Meal Planning

Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole is a perfect dish to prepare and freeze for a later date. Assemble the casserole according to the recipe, layering the tater tots on top. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, ensuring an airtight seal. Label and date the casserole before placing it in the freezer. The casserole can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Follow the original baking instructions and cook the casserole in a preheated oven for a delicious and convenient meal.

Can I Make This Without an Oven-Safe Skillet?

Sure! If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can cook ground beef, vegetables, and other ingredients in a pan. Then, transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Top with tater tots and bake in the oven. Easy-peasy.

Close up of a Bowl of Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole.

How to Store Tater Tot Casserole

Storing leftovers of this cowboy tater tot casserole is easy. Simply let the hotdish come to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave.

More Cowboy Grub

Skillet of Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole with Some Removed in a Bowl and a Spoon Resting in the pan.
4.84 from 6 votes

Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cowboy Tater Tot Casserole is a hearty dish that features a combination of ground beef, mushrooms, green bell peppers, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and bacon.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 ¼ cup)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mushrooms, or 8 ounces freshly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into small pieces
  • ¼ cup (57.5 g) sour cream
  • ½ cup (122.5 g) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package (32 ounces) tater tots, frozen
  • 1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a large, oven-safe skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • To the skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula as you go.
  • Add the onions, mushrooms, and peppers. Cook until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are softened (about 8 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  • Drain any excess grease.
  • Mix in the cream of mushroom soup, corn kernels, black beans, diced tomatoes, bacon, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Top with tater tots and seasoned salt.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and the tater tots are crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was a hit for my family! My husband said this is better then the original tater tot hot dish. My 3 and 1 year old kids loved it and my parents ate over and mentioned hot flavorful and good it was, my Mom asked me for the recipe. Lots of flavor and super easy and a must try if you’re looking to switch things up from the same old original tater tot hot dish! I used the pre cooked bacon for ease which worked well. Thank you for the delicious recipe to add into our rotation. 🙂

  2. 4 stars
    I will definitely try this one. Thanks for sharing. Not a version I have seen before but still looking delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    Haven’t made this yet, but when I do, very very soon, in goes a 4 oz can of diced jalapeños. LOL. Thanks for the recipe. Looks so good and comforting.

4.84 from 6 votes (1 rating without comment)

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