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A Lighter Tater Tot Casserole with ground beef, sour cream, mixed vegetables and without cream of soup is an easy cheesy one dish dinner. You’ll love this delicious hot comfort food!

tater tot casserole in a glass baking dish on the table

Tater tot casserole is a classic hot dish dinner that just about everyone loves, right? As much as I hate to mess with a classic easy recipe, I usually make a lighter, slightly healthier version without canned soup.

My version of this ground beef casserole recipe is just as easy, and best of all, it’s still delicious. My picker eaters love it, and that’s definitely a good sign!

If you want to use your favorite cream of mushroom or celery soup, you can just mix it in along with the sour cream or instead of the sour cream before baking.

How to Make Tater Tot Casserole with Sour Cream

I used to make the casserole with cream cheese. But, I think sour cream blends better, so that’s what I use now.

First, brown your ground beef, and season it well. I use lean ground beef, so I usually don’t have to drain off any grease. If your hamburger meat isn’t lean, drain it, then add the seasonings.

Next, you’ll add some low sodium beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and sour cream. Then, pour the meat mixture into a greased casserole dish, and top with plenty of grated cheese.

cooked hamburger meat and shredded cheese in a baking dish

Then, add a layer of frozen veggies. I used a 10 ounce bag, which is slightly more than 2 cups. Next, add enough tater tots to cover the cheese.

We had a big ol’ bag of frozen tater tots, so I didn’t count them. But, you get the idea.

If you have time, line the tots up nice and straight. When I’m in a hurry, I don’t always make sure they’re in neat rows, but it looks a little neater this way.

frozen tater tots over ground beef and vegetables in a baking dish

Finally, add some more shredded cheese over the tater tots, and pop the dish into a preheated oven. That’s all there is to it!

I like to broil the casserole for a little bit at the end to give more crunch and color to the tater tots. It’s not necessary though. You can also add more cheese over the top if you want!

baked tater tot casserole on the table

Freeze for Later

If you want to freeze the tater tot casserole for later, assemble the casserole, but don’t bake. Make sure the casserole dish you use is freezer safe. The disposable ones work great here.

Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and foil, just foil, or the lid if your container has one, and pop it into the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, uncover the dish, and bake. Make sure your dish can go from freezer to oven.

baked tater tot hot dish with square missing

Post first published in 2015 and updated September, 2020

5 from 9 votes

Lighter Tater Tot Casserole

By: Dee
A Lighter Tater Tot Casserole with ground beef, sour cream, mixed vegetables and without cream of soup is an easy cheesy one dish dinner. You'll love this delicious hot comfort food!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup low sodium beef broth
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups grated Colby Jack Cheese or cheddar divided
  • 16 ounces frozen tater tots or enough to cover the dish
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  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Cook ground beef in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat until no longer pink, and season with sea salt, garlic powder and pepper, as it cooks. If not using lean beef, drain the fat, then season the meat.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth, and cook until bubbling.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the sour cream, and transfer to a greased baking dish
  • Top with 2 cups of cheese, then layer frozen mixed vegetables, and top with tater tots and remaining cheese
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated throughout and bubbly. Broil for 5 minutes at the end, if desired, and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving


Use ground turkey for an even lighter casserole.
If you want to add cream of mushroom or celery soup, add that in addition or in place of the sour cream.


Calories: 381kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 765mg, Potassium: 548mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2314IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 308mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Catherine says:

    Can I make this a day ahead without baking it?

    1. Dee says:

      Yes. Just refrigerate and add tater tots right before baking.

  2. Kerri says:

    I saw this lighter version of tater tot casserole and just had to make it. I used ground turkey, and for the frozen veggies I used cauliflower rice. It turned out AHHMAZING!
    Hubby requested seconds, and asked of it could be in our weekly rotation!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.😁5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the recipe. Thanks, Kerri!

  3. Cathy says:

    I’m all about this lightened up version!

  4. Kevin says:

    Great way to enjoy big flavors but on the lighter side! So glad I found this!5 stars

  5. Beth says:

    Yummy! This looks so delicious and easy! I can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks so much, Beth. I hope you like it!