Have you ever had Cowboy Casserole? It looks a lot like my recipe for Best Ever Tater Tot Casserole, but it has a different flavor combo under the tater tots and cheese. Cowboy Casserole uses tomato soup and a little barbecue sauce mixed with onion, ground beef, and canned corn. It may seem like a strange combination, but trust me. The end result is some seriously delicious comfort food.
I don’t know if it was because I was raised on casseroles or if it’s just that I like pretty much all foods, but I love making casseroles. I love eating them, too. This one is so simple to throw together, and it’s easy to keep the ingredients for it on hand since everything can either be pulled from the freezer or pantry.
I especially love casseroles that all of my kids eat without complaint. I can’t wait for you to give this fantastic casserole a try. Best of all, it can be frozen and baked later or even prepped in the morning and refrigerated until an hour before dinner.
Crazy for Casseroles
- Easy Pizza Casserole
- Baked Ziti Recipe
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffing Casserole
- Creamy Beef and Green Chili Casserole
- Broccoli Chicken Casserole with Egg Noodles
- Trader Joe’s Zucchini Alfredo Casserole
STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS FOR HOW TO MAKE COWBOY CASSEROLE
Frequently Asked Questions about how to make Cowboy Casserole
what is a good substitute for canned tomato soup?
If you don’t have canned tomato soup, you can make my recipe for a Homemade Condensed Tomato Soup Substitute. All you do is whisk up tomato sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, and salt to make it. I do not recommend using tomato sauce in place of the canned tomato soup. It will make the sauce for the casserole runny.
how do you brown the ground beef to make it crispy?
Add the ground beef to a lightly oiled frying pan. Spread the meat into an even layer in the pan. Let the ground beef layer cook until you see crispy edges. Next, use a spatula to flip the meat into large pieces. Let the other side brown until you see crispy edges. Finally, break the large pieces into bits.
Do I need to let the tater tots thaw before placing them on top?
No. There’s no need to let the tater tots thaw.
can I make this casserole in advance?
Yes. Prepare the casserole, but leave the cheese off the top. Cover the dish with saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, remove the saran wrap, and bake the casserole for 45 minutes. Next, remove the casserole, add the shredded cheese, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the casserole is warm and bubbly.
can I freeze this casserole?
This casserole makes a great freezer meal. I recommend using a disposable 9×13 aluminum pan, if you are going to freeze it. Prepare the casserole, but don’t add the cheese to the top. Cover with aluminum foil, label it, and place in the freezer. When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, remove it from the freezer (keep the aluminum foil on top), and bake it for 90 minutes. Remove it from the oven, take off the aluminum foil, and top with the shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the casserole is warm and bubbly.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 large onion or two small, diced
- 1 16 ounce canned corn, drained
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can of tomato soup
- 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 bag frozen tater tots
- 2-3 cups shredded Colby Jack or cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large frying pan, brown the hamburger and onions until completely cooked. Add the salt and pepper while it is cooking. I like to cook it long enough that the meat gets nice and crispy in places. (See FAQs above for how to make crispy ground beef.) I feel like it gives the meat more flavor.
- Next, add the tomato soup, can of corn (drained), and barbecue sauce. Mix well and remove from heat.
- Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Cover the top with the frozen tater tots.
- Bake in the 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove, add the cheese evenly on top and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the casserole is warm and bubbly.
- **If you are cooking the casserole out of the fridge, you will need to increase the cooking time. Bake it for 45 minutes before adding the cheese and then an additional 15 minutes with the cheese on.
- ***If you are baking a frozen casserole, cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes, and then remove foil, top with cheese, and bake for another 15 minutes.
9x13 Dessert Recipes