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The History of the Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish

If you grew up in the Midwest or even if you’re new to the area, chances are you’ve heard about the Minnesota tater tot hotdish. Hotdish is the unofficial state cuisine of Minnesota and a go-to for busy families.


What is the Minnesota tater tot Hotdish?

Tater tot hotdish is a casserole dish that contains starch, meat, cheese, and veggies mixed with soup. The most classic example is ground beef, topped with tater tots and flavored with thick cream of mushroom soup sauce.


In the past, pasta was the most frequently used as the starch until tater tots became commercial in 1956, and then they were more widely used. Sometimes the ground beef was swapped for chicken (or perhaps some sort of mystery meat) based on what families could afford.


You can find tater tot hotdish cooked and served in a single dish, like a traditional casserole, and most commonly appears at communal gatherings such as family reunions, potlucks, and church suppers.


Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish

History of hotdish


World War I marked a pivotal moment for American casseroles and thrifty one-dish meals. The documentary Minnesota Hotdish: A Love Story speculates the Great Depression secured hotdish as a food staple and an effective, affordable way of feeding entire families with canned food and limited meat.


The history of hotdish goes back to when “budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, as well as congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches.”


Ask anyone who grew up in Minnesota, and they most likely have memories of enjoying the classic hotdish for a family dinner together around the table after a long day. Kids will remember the crispy layer of tater tots and the ooey, gooey cheese layer...not so much the vegetables so sneakily added to the hotdish. Adults on the other hand were thankful for a warm and hearty meal that was stick-to-your-ribs kind of food.


Minnesota hotdish: What's the appeal?


Although Minnesota hotdish can have an extremely beige aesthetic that might not be the most appealing to the eyes, it is beloved for its convenience, low cost, lack of pretense, and nostalgia. Specific versions of the Minnesota hotdish can be passed down through parishes and families. And while people love to love it...they may love making fun of the strange obsession!



As your new Twin Cities culinary concept that is always looking to elevate the dinner delivery experience. So of course we had to create our own version of the Minnesota tater tot hotdish!


The Stay'd Heavenly Hotdish is served with grass-fed beef, assorted wild mushrooms, mirepoix (a fancy name for slowly cooked vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery), and broiled golden tater tots. It's the classic Minnesota tater tot hotdish kicked up a notch - the Stay'd way!


We give you a fresh take on comfort foods with all of the ease and none of the hassle. Your free time is a gift and being able to embrace it with Stay’d and the freedom of delivery. Order our Heavenly Hot Dish and get ready for dinner to be taken care of!


Click here to learn more about Stay'd or order dinner from our online food delivery service. We look forward to serving you soon!


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