Cowboy Casserole (Tater Tot Casserole)

Creamy corn and beef casserole mixed with crispy tator tots makes for a wonderful family dinner. All of the kids will be going crazy over this Cowboy Casserole!


I had never had “Cowboy Casserole” (aka Tater Tot Casserole) until after I met my husband. Whenever he is in charge of the meal, this is his go-to dish.

He asked why I hadn’t put it on the blog yet, so I decided to share this easy “comfort” food with you.

Finding a recipe that EVERYONE will eat is not an easy feat. Especially when you have kids and really picky eaters. Well, this cowboy casserole recipe will be one you can make over and over again and they will LOVE it!

This dish is also very affordable and comes together in minutes!

You can throw it together super quick on those super busy weekday nights when you are running all over the place. It even makes for great leftovers. Add a side salad and dinner is good to go!

Cowboy casserole is one of our most popular recipes! But we have even more recipes for dinner that everyone loves, like our Chicken Zucchini Casserole, and the delicious Million Dollar Casserole, and of course our Easy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.

Ingredients in Cowboy casserole with tatertots:

  1. Ground beef
  2. Diced onion
  3. Corn
  4. Cream of mushroom soup *
  5. Cheddar cheese
  6. Milk
  7. Sour cream
  8. Garlic powder
  9. Onion powder
  10. Salt
  11. Pepper
  12. Frozen tator tots

*If you aren’t a fan of condensed cream of mushroom soup, you should try out this recipe for a quick cream of mushroom soup from Taste of Home.

If you or someone in your family doesn’t like mushrooms, you could also substitute it with cream of chicken or celery, but it will change the overall taste a bit. 

Cowboy casserole recipe tools:

  • Large skillet
  • Can opener (this automatic can opener is my FAVORITE!)
  • Turner spatula (like THIS one)
  • Colander
  • 9×13 baking pan

how to make this easy dinner cowboy casserole:

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Then, in a large skillet add in the ground beef and diced onion. Heat it all the way through until the beef is no longer pink and onions are transparent and soft.

Once the beef is cooked pour it into the colander to drain the grease from the meat. Then return the meat back into the skillet and pour in the can of corn (drained), cheese, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.

After everything has been added to the skillet, stir it all together until everything is well combined. Then, pour the beef and corn mixture into the 9×13 baking pan and spread it out evenly.

Next, pull out the frozen tater tots and place them on top of the beef mixture. Try as best as you can to keep the tator tots to one layer so that everything bakes evenly.

Then just sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top of the tater tots until it is covered.

Now that cowboy casserole is put together, put the 9x 13 pan in the oven uncovered for about 25-30 minutes or until you see the cheese start to bubble. But be sure to check the tater tots and see if they are cooked all the way through.


If you want to add some extra tastes and maybe hid in some veggies, you can always throw in a can of green beans or a bag of frozen veggies. Add what you know your family will like!


how to make cowboy casserole into a freezer meal:

If you are looking for a freezer meal that you want to make and bake later, or even bring to another family, this is a great meal to freeze! Instead of popping it in the oven, after everything is made up and mixed together place the casserole in the freezer.

You will want to be sure that you place the casserole in an aluminum pan that is freezer-friendly. Then be sure to cover it tightly in aluminum foil.

When you are ready to bake it just take it out and thaw it completely before cooking. If it doesn’t thaw the whole way while by the time you are ready to cook it, add on a few more minutes for it to bake to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

Use the casserole within 2 months to avoid freezer burn.


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Try more of our delicious casserole recipes:

Serves: 6

Cowboy Casserole

Creamy corn and beef casserole mixed with the crispy tator tots makes for a wonderful family dinner. All of the kids will be going crazy over this Cowboy Casserole.

12 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

42 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn (drained)
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (20 ounce) bag frozen tater tots


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink.
  3. Drain grease, then stir in the corn, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, milk, sour cream, and seasonings.
  4. Pour beef mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  5. Top with frozen tater tots (try to keep them in a single layer) and then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and tater tots are thoroughly cooked.


egg free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free

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Quick and easy dinners at your fingertips!

Our most popular cookbook – Dinner Made Easy –  is all about quick, easy, and delicious family dinner entrees. We did all the organization, all the taste-testing with picky kids, and all the hacks to cut the prep time so that you can focus on spending more time with your family.

Every recipe has a beautiful mouth-watering photo and has been picky-eater approved. The directions are simple, easy to follow, and do not require any strange ingredients.

The complete family meal game plan in this cookbook is arranged in seven popular categories:

  1. 30 Minutes or Less including recipes for: Skillet Pork Lo Mein, Parmesan Pork Chops, and Ham and Pineapple Pizza Roll-ups.

2. 5 Ingredients or Less including recipes for: Easy Gnocchi Casserole, Sweet and Tangy Meatballs, and Baked Sloppy Joes.

3. Pantry Essentials including recipes for: Seven-Can Tortilla Soup, Crispy Coconut Strips with Pina Colada Dipping Sauce and French Dip Crescents.

4. Slow Cooker including recipes for: Honey Garlic Chicken, Tuscan Soup, and Mongolian Beef.

5. Freezer Meals including recipes for: Kung Pao Chicken, Country-Style BBQ Spareribs, and Beef and Mushrooms.

6. One Pan, One Pot including recipes for: One-Dish Baked Fajitas, Sunrise Skillet, and Mushroom Asparagus Chicken Stir Fry.

7. Casseroles including recipes for: Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole, Country Breakfast Casserole, and John Wayne Casserole.


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Comment on this Recipe

56 Responses to “Cowboy Casserole (Tater Tot Casserole)”

  1. Hi ladies! Love the simplicity and deliciousness of how this recipe looks, but before I make it, I want to confirm a step: I do drain the meat once browned, right? I know that's "a given", but I always ask because I *have* had a few that said No, because there was a purpose for not doing so. Thanks!
    • Grape salad is quick and perfect for summer - Cheddar Bay Biscuits are easy - Baked Zucchini Bites - Fresh Veggies and Spinach Dip - Lunch Lady Brownies -
  2. This has become my family's favorite dish. However, since we don't eat beef, I make it with ground turkey and it's just great. Also, we don't do dairy for the most part, so I've substituted Tofu sour cream, almond milk and non-dairy (Dayia) shredded cheddar cheese. All work perfectly. I've always made it with Cream of Mushroom soup (I know it has some dairy in it) but I'll try it with Cream of Chicken soup next time. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
  3. Angelica Romero
    I made this casserole with the assumption that my kids (picky teens) might not like it. They loved it! Even the hubby was lovin it! They asked if I could make it at least once a week. Big win! It's so easy to make. Wouldn't change a thing in the recipe.
  4. Great taste, very easy. I used turkey instead of hamburger and it was amazing. I also precook my tater tots while the meat is cooking. I've made this several times and it's always a hit. I also used a large can of cream of mushroom with 1 cup of milk. We like it creamy. Reheats well in the microwave.
  5. Ashley
    If I made this up earlier today and put in the fridge (did not put on tator tots yet) to cook tonight, but plans changed and need to make it tomorrow is it okay to just keep in the fridge? Or do I need to go ahead and put in the freezer for tomorrow. Thanks
  6. While your recipe calls for the canned soup, and tells when to add it, your comments about making it before the actual recipe don’t mention it. It confused the hell out of me at first, since I just got done watching the video where you make it. “Once the beef is cooked pour it into the colander to drain the grease from the meat. Then return the meat back into the skillet and pour in the can of corn (drained), cheese, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.”
  7. Melissa Tylinski
    I want to know if you've used this recipe in your instant pot? I'm traveling with mine and don't have access to an oven. I have prepped for it and have it ready to dump in the pot...but not sure what I would use for the settings/or the slow cook option. Help? I love your videos and your tips btw...I use your youtube channel and another lady all the time for getting to know my instant pot (DUO). It's been so helpful. Thank you!
    • Hi Melissa. We have not made this cowboy casserole in the instant pot. But we have a post on converting recipes to the instant pot. Here is the link -
      • Melissa Tylinski
        Thank you, I saw your post late and unfortunately I tried it in the instant pot the night I wrote the post and got my first "burn" notice on my instant pot. I will use your link you posted. I was hoping your comment would post in my email so I'd see it show up there. This is the first time I'm posting to a website blog. :)

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