Truffled Steak Tater Tot Hotdish: A Minnesota Classic, But Make It Fancy
I am SO excited to share a tater tot hotdish recipe here on PWWB! (& I’m only slightly embarrassed that we don’t already have a proper hotdish on this Minnesota-based recipe site, but that’s a story for another day….) If you grew up in the upper Midwest, I’m willing to bet that tater tot hotdish is pure nostalgia. (It definitely is for me!) If you’re not from here, know that good ol’ TTHD is a childhood & regional dish that Midwestern families turn to for the absolute best comfort food meal.
I recently became obsessed with the idea of upgrading the traditional hotdish, making it as fancy as humanly possible for the holidays. While I absolutely love classic hotdish, there’s just something so charming & fun about making it as special & luxe as possible. This recipe truly feels like the perfect blend of who I am: a flavor-obsessed adult & a forever Midwest kid at heart.
This steak tater tot hotdish recipe isn’t very “classic” (there’s no ground meat or cream-of-something soup), but it is made with super flavorful, entirely fresh ingredients. It’s something I’ve dubbed “Haute Dish” – an insanely fancy tater tot hotdish recipe made with tender steak & perfumed with truffle. The filling tastes a bit like a steak stroganoff made with wine, fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, & a little truffle oil…because why not?!
I’m intentionally launching an elevated hotdish recipe in December because every meal deserves to feel extra special & festive this time of year. Truffled steak tater tot hotdish totally fits my winter holiday vibe! This hotdish is a super comforting & fancy-feeling one-pan meal perfect for serving on holidays like Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, or Galentine’s Brunch. Steak tater tot hotdish gives you all the fancy Midwest feels with very minimal effort – the best of everything!
Truffled Steak Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe Highlights
You will love this steak tater tot hotdish because it’s…
- RICH & DECADENT. Forget everything you might know about how to make a typical hotdish. Truffled steak tater tot hotdish uses super-luxe ingredients with very decadent flavors for the fanciest hotdish recipe ever.
- ONE-SKILLET MEAL. The entire tater tot hotdish cooks in an oven-safe heavy-bottomed pan for super easy prep & clean up!
- A FESTIVE SPECIAL OCCASION DINNER. Truffled steak tater tot hotdish is a meal that’s meant to be shared. It’s perfect for a fun holiday dinner with friends, a winter date night in, a festive New Year’s Eve meal, or a cozy Valentine’s Day. Any occasion when you want to cook something comforting, shareable, & decadent!
Classic Midwestern food doesn’t get fancier than this! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make my Truffled Steak Tater Tot Hotdish, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
What is Tater Tot Hotdish? & How Is It Different from Casserole?
Hotdish (or “hot dish” – however you like to spell it) is a regional Midwestern food Minnesotans like me LOVE. But if you ask us “what is a hotdish?” you’ll find the recipe isn’t well defined…& that’s an important part of what hotdish is.
Hotdish is typically made with a combination of hearty ingredients like ground meat, vegetables, starch (most commonly tater tots!), & canned soup. But there are minimal rules here. Any combination of flavors can create a hotdish & creative freedom is welcomed! Once everything bakes together in the oven, Minnesotans serve hotdish as the one & only main course. It’s all you need!
Hotdish vs. Casserole⇢ To those of you outside of the Midwest, it may sound like I’m describing a tater tot casserole. Here in Minnesota, hotdish & casserole are definitely not the same! In Minnesota, a casserole more often describes a physical baking dish, not a meal. But the other big difference between hotdish & casserole is how each dish is eaten. While a casserole recipe is often served as a side (like a sweet potato casserole), a hotdish is always, always the main course. Tater tot hotdish is packed with pretty much everything you need! Unlike a casserole recipe served alongside a roasted turkey, hotdish is a super filling & hearty meal made to feed a crowd all on its own.
Truffled Steak Tater Tot Hotdish Key Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make a rich & decadent tater tot hotdish:
- Top sirloin – I prefer to use sirloin, but feel free to use any other tender steak of your choice!
- Vegetables – Loads of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms & yellow onion add plenty of flavor & satisfying freshness to a rich dish.
- Aromatics – Garlic, fresh rosemary, & fresh thyme infuse the homemade tater tot hotdish sauce with beautiful aromatics, instantly elevating this recipe.
- Homemade sauce – No canned soup here! Truffle steak tater tot hotdish uses a homemade sauce made from all-purpose flour (to make a roux), dry white wine (for flavor) & beef stock (for body). Worcestershire sauce & Dijon mustard add umami & depth, while heavy cream rounds everything all out. This homemade sauce is what takes my tater tot hotdish recipe up a notch!
- Truffle – A small amount of truffle makes any dish feel elegant. Steak tater tot hotdish uses both black truffle oil & grated truffle cheese for extra-festive flavor. Be sure to check the Recipe Notes, below, for sourcing details.
- Frozen tater tots – The key to any authentic hotdish recipe! Tater tots are the one ingredient in this recipe that is not fresh or made from scratch, but the tater tots are absolutely essential!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
I love, love, love the uniquely rich, earthy flavor of truffles. But what are they, exactly? Truffles are edible fungi, like mushrooms, that grow as a sack of spores underground. There are hundreds of varieties & their elusive nature makes them quite a delicacy. You can’t just grow truffles in your backyard (it takes decades & very specific growing conditions) & when they’re harvested, they spoil quickly. Admittedly, this also makes truffles a bit expensive & hard to find. But for a special occasion meal? They’re totally worth seeking out!
Instead of using fresh truffles (which are very expensive & hard to come by!), this truffled tater tot hotdish recipe gets its truffle flavor from two truffle-infused ingredients: black truffle oil & truffle cheese. I really like this black truffle-infused olive oil, which you can find easily at Whole Foods or order online. Truffle cheese is typically readily available, especially this time of year, at grocery stores with great specialty cheese selections. ALDI carries a great truffle cheddar during the holidays & Trader Joe’s stocks a nice truffle cheese year-round.
Can’t find truffle? ⇢ If have trouble finding it or if truffle feels like too much of a splurge, feel free to skip the truffle oil altogether or swap the truffle cheese with white cheddar or smoked gouda. Your steak tater tot hotdish will still be totally special without them.
How to Make Tater Tot Hotdish with Steak
This is not your typical recipe for learning how to make tater tot hotdish…it’s even better! Even though this is a hotdish turned fancy, it’s still a super easy, one-skillet meal with the same classic Midwest comfort. So ditch the traditional can of soup & let’s take the tater tot hotdish to new heights, shall we?
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Bake the tater tots. Pretty straightforward! Bake frozen tater tots according to package directions. Tip! ⇢ Be sure to arrange the tots in a single layer on the baking sheet, leaving lots of room between them. Giving space for the moisture to release prevents the tots from getting super soggy. Crispy tots >>> soggy tots!
Sear the steak. While the tots bake, get started on the steak tater tot hotdish filling by searing cubed sirloin steak in an oven-safe pan with melted butter. You don’t need to cook the steak through here. Instead, aim for a light golden brown crust on the outside of each piece. Why? ⇢ A beautiful brown sear creates a ton of rich flavor through a process called the Maillard reaction. The slightly caramelized taste of seared steak makes a big difference in the flavor of this tater tot hotdish!
Cook the veggies & aromatics. Using the same pan used to sear the steak, sauté sliced mushrooms & onions until they are softened & nicely browned. Take your time here to really develop those flavors – about 10 minutes! If the veggies start cooking too quickly, reduce the heat. After the veggies are browned, stir in garlic, fresh rosemary & thyme, cooking until fragrant.
Build the hotdish sauce. The rich caramelized flavor of the veggies & aromatics is a perfect base for the tater tot hotdish sauce! Start by sprinkling flour over the browned aromatics, which helps the sauce thicken as it builds. Deglaze the pan with white wine, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up those delicious browned bits that may have formed at the bottom. Once the wine is reduced slightly, add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, & heavy cream, cooking for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Why it works? ⇢ These remaining ingredients have a lot of body to them & will transform the sauce into a creamy, umami-flavored layer for the tater tot hotdish. SO much better than canned soup!
Assemble & broil. Assemble the steak tater tot hotdish by folding the browned sirloin into the hotdish sauce with a little drizzle of truffle oil. Sprinkle truffle cheese over top, then pile on the tots. I like arranging the tater tots in concentric circles for a classic presentation, but feel free to get creative here! Place the steak tater tot hotdish under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the tater tots are golden & crisp & the truffled steak filling is bubbling. Tip! ⇢ For even browning, rotate the pan halfway through broiling. The broiler works fast, so keep your eye on the tater tot hotdish to make sure it doesn’t get too brown!
Hotdish is an epic main course & truffled steak tater tot hotdish is no exception. This hotdish recipe is everything you need for a filling meal: tender steak, fresh vegetables, starchy tots, & a rich & creamy sauce. It’s the type of dish you take out of the oven & place at the center of the table with one large spoon, letting your guests serve themselves & enjoy.
If you’re looking to balance out the steak tater tot hotdish with some fresh sides, try roasted veggies like brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or asparagus. I also enjoy having a simple salad with fresh greens & homemade vinaigrette to balance the richness of the hotdish. Keep your sides simple – the steak tater tot hotdish has so many complex flavors that you don’t want to take away from!
I can’t wait for you to try this Steak & Tater Tot Hotdish recipe! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Special Occasion Dinners
Without a can of soup in sight, this is NOT your average hotdish! This Truffled Steak Tater Tot Hotdish marries the rich flavor of a luxe steak & potatoes dinner with the classic comfort of a tater tot hotdish. Tender bites of steak with deeply caramelized mushrooms & onions in an aromatic wine sauce are topped with crispy tater tots & an extra-special touch of truffle cheese. Unapologetically Midwestern…but make it fancy!
- one 32-ounce bag frozen tater tots
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 pounds top sirloin or comparable tender steak of choice, trimmed of excess fat & diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 pounds cremini mushrooms (baby bella), trimmed & thinly sliced
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stems & finely chopped
- 10–12 sprigs fresh thyme leaves & tender stems, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 – 1 cup beef stock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- optional: 2 teaspoons black truffle oil (see Recipe Notes, below)
- 6 ounces truffle cheese, freshly grated & divided (see Recipe Notes, below)
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the top third of the oven, 6-8 inches under the broiler. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up & set aside. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above.
- Bake the tater tots: Place the tater tots on the prepared baking sheet, arranging them in a single layer with lots of room. Transfer to the oven & bake according to package directions – likely 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from the oven & set aside.
- Sear the steak: Meanwhile, as the tater tots bake, begin preparing the truffled tater tot hotdish filling. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to an oven-safe, heavy-bottomed pan (at least 4-qt capacity) over medium-high heat. Use paper towels to pat the cubed sirloin as dry as possible. Season the steak all over with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the butter is melted, sear the steak. Working in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, carefully transfer the seasoned sirloin cubes to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes, flipping occasionally, just until a light golden brown crust forms. Transfer to a plate & set aside. Repeat with any remaining sirloin.
- Cook the mushrooms & aromatics: Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the same pan used to sear the steak. Once melted, add in the sliced mushrooms & onions. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened & nicely browned, 10-12 minutes. Once browned, add in the garlic, fresh rosemary, & thyme. Stir to combine & cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes longer.
- Build the truffled tater tot hotdish sauce: Sprinkle the flour over the browned aromatics, stirring to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes, until browned. Deglaze by pouring in the white wine & using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits that may have formed at the bottom of the pan. Let the wine simmer 2-3 minutes, until it’s nearly completely reduced. Stir in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, & heavy cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Assemble the steak & truffled tater tot hotdish: Preheat the broiler to its highest setting. Add the browned steak & truffle oil to the pan with the veggies & sauce. Stir to combine well. Sprinkle the truffle cheese over top, reserving a little for topping the tater tots. Arrange the tater tots over top – I like creating neat, concentric circles of tater tots. Sprinkle the reserved truffle cheese over top.
- Broil for a crispy finish: Transfer the assembled tater tot hotdish to the oven. Broil 5 minutes, carefully rotating the pan halfway through to promote even browning, or until the tater tots are golden & crisp & the truffled steak filling is bubbling. Shut off the broiler & remove from the oven.
- Serve: Allow the hotdish to cool slightly, 5-ish minutes, before serving. If desired, sprinkle with some fresh herbs & give it another little drizzle of black truffle oil. Portion the steak & truffled tater tot hotdish into individual bowls & serve. Enjoy!
- Truffle oil & truffle cheese: This truffled tater tot hotdish gets its truffle flavor from 2 ingredients – black truffle oil & truffle cheese. Admittedly, these can be expensive & hard to find, but they add really beautiful flavor. I really like Truff Black Truffle Infused Olive Oil – it’s very fragrant & a little goes a long way. I find it easily at Whole Foods, though you can also order online. For the truffle cheese, ALDI carries a fantastic truffle cheddar this time of year & Trader Joe’s also has an Italian Truffle Cheese that melts beautifully & works well in this recipe. If you can’t find either the cheese or oil (or you don’t want to splurge on them), feel free to skip – you can omit the truffle oil altogether & swap the cheese with a nice white cheddar or smoked gouda – yum!
- Portions: In true Midwest fashion, this truffled tater tot hotdish yields a large batch, feeding 8-10 generously. If you’d like to make a smaller batch, simply half the recipe. This won’t affect cooking times noted in the Recipe Directions, above, though you will likely want to assemble the hotdish in a smaller baking dish or casserole vs baking it in the large skillet.
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover tater tot hotdish will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through – the tots won’t be as crispy as they are fresh out of the oven, of course, but they’ll still be delicious!
- 15-Minute Meal Prep: Because we want the steak to stay nice & tender in the hotdish, I don’t suggest making this truffled tater tot hotdish in advance. However, nearly all the active prep work for this recipe comes from prepping the veggies. Take care of this ahead of time – it takes 15 minutes, tops – & you can jump straight in to cooking at dinnertime:
- Thinly slice 2 yellow onions. Transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (<5 minutes active)
- Wipe clean 32 ounces cremini mushrooms, then trim & halve. Transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active)
Keywords: tater tot hotdish, Midwest dinner recipes, hotdish, casserole
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.