Upscale Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

If you grew up in the Midwest and/or are a habitué of church basement potlucks, you're probably familiar with the ubiquitous tater tot casserole which consists of, well, tater tots topped with stuff. This casserole is no different, although in order to make it more upscale, recipe developer Jessica Morone is making use of fancier sorts of stuff including wine, Gruyere cheese, and truffle oil. As she tells us, "There is a ton of umami flavor in this," adding that in her own humble opinion, it very well may be "the best tater tot casserole you've ever eaten."

One thing you will not find in this recipe is cream of whatever soup (mushroom, celery, chicken, etc.) so often found in many casseroles, tater tot-based or otherwise. As Morone points out, "There's no canned soup in this; instead, you are making a sauce from scratch." The tater tots, however, are still the good old frozen kind, though it is possible to make homemade ones if you're feeling extra ambitious. If you'd like to check them out, we have a recipe for jalapeño cheddar tater tots that might taste good in this casserole. For the sake of simplicity, however, you can't go wrong with classic frozen tots.

Gather the ingredients for this upscale tater tot casserole

This recipe is pretty ingredient-heavy for a casserole, but it's about what you'd expect from something described as upscale or gourmet. To make it, you will need ground beef for the meat, mushrooms, and onions for the vegetables, and garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and truffle oil for flavoring. The starch is supplied by frozen tater tots, while the liquid is a combination of milk, wine, and beef broth. Both Gruyere and cheddar add a cheesy element while cooking oil and flour round out the list.

Simmer the vegetables in a wine sauce

First things first: Set the oven to 400 F so it can heat up as you put together the casserole. When that's done, warm up the cooking oil (you really need just enough to cover the bottom of the pan here) and use it to cook the mushrooms. Once they're softened, which should take maybe 5 minutes or so, add the onion and cook those for about 5 minutes, too. As soon as the onions, too, are soft, pour in half of the wine. Keep on simmering the vegetables for about 8 minutes until they absorb the liquid.

Beef things up a bit

Use a different pan to cook the ground beef. Once it's no longer pink, toss in the garlic and give it another minute of cooking time. Once the beef smells nice and garlicky, stir it into the vegetable mix along with the flour. Cook everything for a minute, then add the beef broth, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining wine. Keep cooking the beef mixture for 10 more minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Assemble and bake the casserole

Grease a 9x13-inch pan (Morone uses cooking spray), then fill the pan with the ground beef mixture and scatter the Gruyere cheese over the top. Top the cheese layer with the tater tots, then check the oven. If it's hot enough, put the casserole in. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes, then take it out and top it with the cheddar. Cook it for another 10 minutes, by which point the top layer of cheese should be melted.

Put the finishing touches on the casserole

Pour the truffle oil over the top, then your casserole is done. If you'd like to give it a little more color, though, you can slice some scallions over the top.

While it's best to eat this casserole while it's warm, there's no need to do so as soon as it comes out of the oven. Morone tells us it should be good in the fridge for 4 days, while, like many a casserole, it can be frozen until time itself comes to an end (or the power goes out, whichever comes first). Morone does suggest, though, that in order to avoid freezer burn, you may want to take it out within 6 months or so of storing it.

Upscale Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
5 from 49 ratings
This upscale tater tot casserole is loaded with beef, cheese, and even a drizzle of truffle oil.
Prep Time
Cook Time
tater tot casserole on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup white wine, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 3 cups frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil
Optional Ingredients
  • Scallions, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add a drizzle of cooking oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ½ cup of the wine and continue cooking for about 8 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. In a separate large skillet cook the beef. Once cooked, add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the ground beef to the pan with the mushroom and onions mixture. Stir in the flour and cook on medium heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining wine, broth, milk, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
  5. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Top with the Gruyere cheese. Arrange the tater tots on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until the tots are golden.
  6. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the baked tater tots and return the pan to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the truffle oil over the baked casserole. Top with scallions if desired. Serve hot.
Calories per Serving 445
Total Fat 31.1 g
Saturated Fat 13.3 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 94.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 3.5 g
Sodium 391.4 mg
Protein 25.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe