How to Make Hotdish Like a Minnesotan

This Midwest specialty is beloved for a reason.

If you’ve ever been to the Midwest, you likely know that we have special twists on familiar foods. In Iowa, skip the sloppy joes—you’ll be having a loose meat sandwich. Venture to Wisconsin and you’ll find an Old Fashioned made with brandy, not whiskey. And in Minnesota, that pan filled to the brim with gooey, melty goodness is not a casserole, but hotdish.

To make hotdish, you’ll need three key ingredients: meat, canned soup and a starch. Now some Minnesotans will insist that it’s only hotdish if it’s topped with frozen tater tots, but others allow pasta, rice or chow mein noodles to fill in. Additional mix-ins include cheese, vegetables, French-fried onions and even potato chips. The exact combo is up to you (and whatever’s in your fridge). You can find some of our favorite hotdish recipes here.

Today we’ll walk you through the process of making a traditional tater tot hotdish. Ready to get started?

Get more must-try recipes from Minnesota.

How to Make a Classic Hotdish


  • 3/4 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 package (32 ounces) frozen tater tots

Here’s the reason Midwesterners love hotdish so much!

Step 1: Prep the Pans

This hotdish recipe makes two big pans, so it’s perfect for a potluck, family gathering or church supper. The first thing you’ll want to do is grease two 11×7-in. baking dishes with a little butter or cooking spray. Then, preheat the oven to 350°.

You can make these other recipes in your 11×7-in. pan, too.

Step 2: Cook the Meat

Next, we’re going to cook the meat. In a Dutch oven, combine the sausage, beef and onion. Place over medium heat and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease, then return the meat to the pan.

Step 3: Combine the Ingredients

Now that the meat is cooked, we’re going to add the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven.

Add the soup, beans, corn, half the cheese, milk, garlic powder, seasoned salt and cayenne to the meat. Stir until the mixture is well-combined.

Step 4: Top With Tots

Divide the hotdish between your greased baking dishes. Top each pan with tater tots and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover pans with aluminum foil.

You can top all sorts of things with tater tots.

Step 5: Bake It Up

Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for 5-10 minutes longer or until the cheese is bubbly and the tots are brown.

Editor’s Tip: If desired, you can freeze this hotdish, unbaked, for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake covered for 50 minutes, and uncovered for 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly.

And there you have it! Hotdish just like you’d find in Minnesota. You betcha this dish is the perfect comfort food.

Find More Hotdish Recipes From the Midwest

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Post Author: MNS Master

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