Skip to main content

An Easy, Hearty Midwestern Dish from 'Cook's Country'

Daniel Hautzinger
Tater Tot Hotdish from Cook's Country
Tater Tot Hotdish is perfect for families or potlucks during the colder months. Photo: Cook's Country

Get more recipes and food news by signing up for our Deep Dish newsletter.

Unless you're from the upper Midwest, you may never have heard of hotdish, although the budget-stretching dish had a brief moment in the spotlight during the 2020 Presidential campaign, when Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar hosted "Hotdish House Parties" featuring her recipe. (Minnesota's congressional delegation even competes in an annual hotdish competition.) But the baked dish, typically comprised of protein and vegetables bound in a creamy sauce with a starch, is a great representative of the Midwest perfect for families or potlucks during the colder months. 

Try Cook's Country's version, topped with frozen tater tots, next time you need a homey, crowd-pleasing meal.

Tater Tot Hotdish

Be sure to buy cylinder-shaped frozen tater tots (not crispy crowns or coins). Do not thaw the tots or the vegetables; they go into the hotdish frozen. Serve with ketchup.


1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsps minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
3 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 (2-pound) bag frozen tater tots


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, 1 1/2 tsps salt, and 1 1/2 tsps pepper in Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 25 to 28 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat with spoon.

2. Stir in flour until fully incorporated and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

3. Sprinkle peas and corn evenly over beef mixture. Lightly arrange tater tots in even layer over top, but do not press into mixture (you may have extra tater tots). Bake until tater tots are deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 38 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

TO MAKE AHEAD: At end of step 2, let beef mixture cool completely, then cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, bake beef mixture, covered, until hot in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil, stir beef mixture, sprinkle with peas and corn, arrange tater tots on top, and bake as directed in step 3.