Cowboy Casserole is a simple to make, creamy, delicious dinner made with ground beef, cream of mushroom soup and topped with crispy tater tots and cheese! This easy dinner will will keep the whole family happy on those busy and chaotic nights!
Cowboy Casserole with Tater Tots
I am a huge fan of casseroles, especially when it comes to busy nights around the house, where it seems I don’t have an extra second to make something delicious for dinner. Cowboy casserole has become a staple in our house, because the family loves it, and I love how easy it is to make.
It can easily be made solo, and doesn’t need any sided dishes to accompany it. Which makes my life even easier. If you’re looking for a new dinner dish to add to the mix, look no further! You are going to love this cowboy casserole recipe.
What is Cowboy Casserole?
Cowboy casserole is an easy to make hotdish with beef, corn, cheese, and sour cream all topped off with crispy tater tots. I like to think of it kind of like a Mexican twist on tater tot hotdish. It’s one of those classic, comfort food dishes that just hits the spot every single time!
OPTIONAL Why We Love This Casserole Recipe
- Quick and easy to make
- Makes enough for leftovers (great lunch or dinner the next night)
- My entire family loves it
- A quick weeknight dinner that can be made ahead or as a freezer meal
Ingredients / Shopping List
- Ground beef
- Yellow onion
- Rotel tomatoes
- Kernel corn
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
- Sour cream
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- Tater tots
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How to Make the Recipe
Cook the onions and ground beef until beef is no longer pink and onions are tender.
Add Rotel tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Cook until the liquid has reduced, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, drained corn, ½ cup of cheese.
Stir until the cheese is melted.
Pour the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and spread evenly.
Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over the top of the casserole. Layer the tater tots on top.
Pro-Tip: It is not absolutely necessary that you bake the tater tots before putting them in the casserole. As long as they are thawed out, they will cook in the oven regardless. However, I highly recommend if you have the time, adding this easy step because they will turn out so much better! They will be far crunchier and crispier.
Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese over the top of the tater tots.
Sprinkle the chopped chives over the cheese. Cover and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve.
Variations / Options / Add-In’s
Meat: I like this recipe best when using ground beef, but a super easy substitution would be to use ground turkey or chicken instead!
Tomatoes: I really recommend that you use Rotel in this recipe because it adds so much more flavor! However, it does have just a little bit of a spice to it. So, if you hate spicy, you could choose to sub out this ingredient. If doing so, I would recommend just to use regular diced tomatoes. Remember, don’t drain them when adding to the recipe.
Cheese: I like to use Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses in my recipe, but you can definitely switch this up in yours. Cheddar or provolone cheese work well, too. If you would like to add a hint of spice you could even try doing Pepper Jack! Just make sure whichever cheese you choose to use, that it’s shredded.
How to Store Leftover Cowboy Casserole
As this makes quite a large serving, it’s likely that you will have leftovers. This is great, because it means that often it will provide two nights worth of dinner. Score!
I like to make my casserole in a dish that comes with a lid. That way, when we have leftovers I can pop the lid on and put it in the fridge. It makes clean up super easy! Just make sure to store this in an airtight container in the fridge in between servings.
It can also be stored in the freezer to keep longer. If doing this make sure to put it in a freezer bag and thaw it out before reheating.
There you have it, the newest addition to your dinner recipe book! I am sure that your family is going to love this one. It is so easy to make, and so full of flavor. It’s a hearty comfort food that hits the spot every time.
More Great Casserole Recipes
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ medium yellow onion diced
- 1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes not drained
- 1 15.25- ounce can whole kernel corn drained
- 1 10.5-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup undiluted
- 1½ cups Colby and Monterey Jack cheese shredded, divided
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp chives chopped
- 1 32-ounce bag tater tots
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Place the tater tots in the dish and pre-bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl.
- Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
- In a large skillet cook your onions and ground beef until beef is no longer pink and onions are tender.
- Pour in the Rotel tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Cook until the liquid has reduced, about 8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, drained corn, ½ cup of cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- Pour the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over the top of the casserole.
- Layer the tater tots on top pressing them down into the mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese over the top of the tater tots.
- Sprinkle the chopped chives over the cheese.
- Cover and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve.
- Pay super close attention to the ingredients above whether or not you should drain or not drain any of the canned ingredients! If you accidentally do the opposite, it will change the overall consistency and end product of your casserole!
- Pro-Tip: It is not absolutely necessary that you bake the tater tots before putting them in the casserole. As long as they are thawed out, they will cook in the oven regardless. However, I highly recommend if you have the time, adding this easy step because they will turn out so much better! They will be far crunchier and crispier.
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