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Cowboy Casserole on a platecheesy cowboy casserole on a plate

Cowboy Casserole

This Cowboy Casserole is loaded with ground beef, beans, and flavorful veggies. Bake to perfection under an irresistible layer of crispy tater tots.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword casserole recipes, dinner recipes, ground beef casseroles, tater tots recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 671kcal
Author Kathleen


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed and well drained
  • 1 (32-ounce) bag tater tots


  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Preheat 350°F. Spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil (2 tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion (1), stirring frequently, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic (4 cloves), stirring constantly, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef (1 pound), continue to cook, crumbling with a spoon until there is no longer any pink. Drain excess fat from skillet.
  • Sprinkle beef with chili powder (2 tablespoons), cumin (1 1/2 teaspoons), oregano (1 teaspoon), salt (1 teaspoon), pepper (1/2 teaspoon), and brown sugar (1/2 teaspoon). Continue to cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the spices become fragrant.
  • Stir in black beans (1 (15-ounce) can), pinto beans (1 (15-ounce) can, diced tomatoes (1 (14.5-ounce) can, green chiles (1 (4-ounce) can, sour cream (1/2 cup), 1 cup of cheddar, and hot sauce (1 teaspoon). Cook until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Mix in frozen corn (1 cup), then pour it into the prepared baking dish.
  • Arrange a single layer of tater tots (1 (32-ounce) bag) over the beef mixture. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, remove and discard aluminum foil, and sprinkle cheese (1 cup) evenly over tater tots. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly around the edges. Allow to cool slightly then serve.


  1. Ground Beef: I use a mix of 80/20. I like the flavor the 20% of fat brings to the dish.
  2. Chiles: This recipe uses a whole can of diced green chiles. Before you dismiss this recipe as too spicy for you, hold up! Green chiles actually aren’t spicy at all. They just add a delicious, mellow chile flavor to the dish.
  3. Tater Tots: Don’t feel trapped by your tater tot choices! Traditional is great for this recipe, but branch out too — try topping your dish with some veggie tots!
  4. Toasting the Spices: Don’t skip the step of adding the spices to the pan and cooking them until fragrant. This really intensifies their wonderful flavors, allows them to marry a bit, and gives a more a lot of complex taste.
  5. Corn: Make sure the corn is thawed then well-drained. If not, the corn will add unwanted water to the casserole.
  6. Tater tots: These can be added frozen. No need to thaw them.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 1389mg | Potassium: 1066mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1207IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 328mg | Iron: 5mg