WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: A Minnesota shaped pan holds a hotdish entry in the ninth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 09, 2019 in Washington, DC. With origins in the upper Midwest of the United States, the hotdish typically contains a starch, a meat, and a canned or frozen vegetable mixed with canned soup.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
What Exactly Is Minnesota Hotdish, And Is It Different Than A Casserole?
By Elias Nash
Similar to a casserole, the main components of a hotdish—which is regarded as Minnesota's culinary calling card—are meat, vegetables, starch, sauce, and toppings.
The meat is typically ground beef, though you could use chicken, turkey, pork, or even tuna, and the vegetables are usually canned or frozen.
The starch could be macaroni noodles or rice, and the sauce is made from canned condensed soup, the most popular varieties being cream of mushroom
and cream of tomato.
Its most recognizable layer, however, is tater tots, but fried onions, potato chips, chow mein noodle crisps, and good old melted cheese are also popular choices.
A hotdish has a slightly narrower definition than a casserole and is more or less a subcategory of one. All hotdishes are casseroles, but not all casseroles are hotdishes.
The main difference between the two is where you make it. What people in Minnesota or North Dakota call hotdish, people in Indiana call tater tot casserole.