This Cowboy Casserole Recipe is a family favorite. We love this easy weeknight meal because it is loaded with ground beef, corn, cheese and tator tots.

Close up image of cowboy casserole in a baking dish.

Easy Cowboy Casserole Recipe:

Cowboy casserole recipe is the perfect weeknight meal. It is also a great meal to bring to pot locks or to serve to a crowd. We love that the ingredients are flexible and can be thrown together quickly and easily.

This hearty and creamy casserole is easily on our meal plan weekly. It is the best comfort food as it is packed with so much flavor and the melty cheese. The crispy tator tots top this casserole, bringing all the flavors together.

This family-friendly dish can be made with pantry ingredients for an easy dinner any day of the week.

Close up image of cowboy casserole in a baking dish with a serving on a wooden spoon.

What is Cowboy Casserole?

Cowboy Casserole is family favorite meal. The ingredients are layered to make an amazing casserole. We love that this casserole can be made with items that we already have.

You can easily add in beans and tomato sauce. The options are endless on what to add. This cowboy casserole is also called tator tot casserole.

Casserole Dish Recommendation:

Now before you start, make sure you have a nice 9×13 casserole dish. You can always make it in a smaller pan and freeze the other half.

Or if you want to make clean up a breeze try using disposable pans. They are great because you just throw them away when you are done. We use them often so help out on those crazy busy nights.

Ingredients needed - ground beef, onions, garlic, corn, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper, frozen tator tots.

Ingredients for Easy Tator Tot Casserole: 

  • Lean Ground Beef 
  • Diced Onions
  • Minced Garlic – You can also Garlic Powder.
  • Corn 
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup – You can also use Cream of Chicken Soup.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Milk 
  • Sour Cream
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Frozen Tater Tots 

How to make Cowboy Casserole: 

  • Prepare the Oven – Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Brown the Beef – In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion over medium high heat until the beef is no longer pink. 
  • Drain – Drain off any excess grease. 
  • Add Garlic – Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. 
  • Mix in other Ingredients – Then stir in the corn, soup, ½ cup of the shredded cheese, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper.  
Close up image of the process of making cowboy casserole.
  • Pour into Pan – Then pour this beef mixture into the bottom of 9X13 baking pan. 
  • Top with Tator Tots – Top the beef mixture with the tater tots.  Make sure to keep the tater tots in a single layer on top. 
  • Bake – Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the tater tots are cooked through.
  • Top with Cheese – Then top with the remaining shredded cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes or to cheese melts. 
  • Serve warm and enjoy! 
Close up image image of cowboy casserole in a baking dish.

Easy Tater Tot Casserole Recipe Variation Ideas:

  • Add in Different Vegetables – Add in frozen vegetables such as peas or carrots. Place the vegetables on the beef mixture prior to adding the cheese.
  • Change the Meats – You can use ground turkey or do a mixture of beef and turkey.
  • Use Different Seasoning – Add in taco seasoning with some canned beans and jalapeno’s for taco tator to casserole.
  • Add Worcestershire Sauce – We like to add in Worcestershire Sauce as it adds in a lot of flavor to the meat.

What to serve with Cowboy Casserole?

Cowboy casserole is usually doesn’t include a vegetable so I will usually plan on serving one with this casserole dish.

  • Big Green Salad always pairs well with this casserole.
  • A side of steam broccoli is one of my family favorites
  • Warm rolls is perfect addition to this casserole.
Close up image of cowboy casserole in a baking dish with a serving on a wooden spoon.

How to Store:

Store the leftover in an air tight containers in the refrigerator. This casserole will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Make sure to store promptly in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t set it out longer than 2 hours at room temperature.

We like to store in individual containers for a great lunch the next day.

Close up image of cowboy casserole.

How to Freeze:

This cowboy casserole can be frozen. Before casserole can be frozen, make sure that it has cooled completely. Wrap casserole tightly or place in a freezer safe container. If store properly, the casserole will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

When you are ready to serve, thaw casserole the refrigerator overnight.

Close up image of cowboy casserole on a white plate with a fork.

Can you make Cowboy Casserole ahead of time?

If you plan on making cowboy casserole ahead of time, place in the slow cooker. There is nothing better than coming home to dinner done. You will layer the ingredients in the crock pot instead of the baking dish.

Cook in the crock pot on low for about 5 hours. During this time, try not to lift the lid on the crock pot. This keeps the tator tots from getting soggy.

Cowboy Casserole is a crowd pleaser!

Cowboy casserole is a great meal when you have family over. Everyone loves it and this casserole is hearty and filling. Since the ingredients are simple, I usually have everything on hand to feed unexpected guest.

Double the recipe and make one for a friend that is having surgery.

Close up image of cowboy casserole on a white plate with a fork.

Print recipe here for Cowboy Casserole:

Cowboy Casserole

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 540
Author Eating on a Dime

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 small Onion diced into small pieces
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup 10.75 oz
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 bag frozen Tater Tots 32 oz bag

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion over medium high heat until the beef is no longer pink.
  • Drain off any excess grease.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Then stir in the corn, soup, ½ cup of the shredded cheese, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper.
  • Then pour this beef mixture into the bottom of 9X13 baking pan.
  • Top the beef mixture with the tater tots.  Make sure to keep the tater tots in a single layer on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tater tots are cooked through.
  • Then top with the remaining shredded cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts

Calories 540kcal, Carbohydrates 49g, Protein 28g, Fat 27g, Saturated Fat 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat 4g, Monounsaturated Fat 11g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 76mg, Sodium 1554mg, Potassium 868mg, Fiber 4g, Sugar 4g, Vitamin A 356IU, Vitamin C 14mg, Calcium 205mg, Iron 3mg

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More Tator Tot Casserole Recipes:

Cowboy Casserole is an easy dinner that the entire family will love with ground beef, corn, cheddar cheese and sour cream topped with crispy tater tots. This family friendly dinner is simple to make and packed with flavor too! #eatingonadime #casserolerecipes #groundbeefrecipes #easydinners #tatortotrecipes

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Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families.

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