The First Published Hotdish Recipe

Mike tried this recipe on June 5, 2022

Okay, you’re probably asking the same question I did when I found this: “what is a hotdish?” Well, according to several sources “hotdish” is a casserole that originated in the upper Midwest region of the U.S. (namely Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, and parts of eastern Montana). While the exact ingredients can vary, it usually consists of a meat, a starch, a canned or frozen vegetable, and some form of canned soup that are all mixed together in a single baking dish and served hot (as its name suggests).

Hotdish is extremely popular within the region, commonly being found at family reunions, funerals, potlucks, and church dinners, or any time a family is looking to put something filling on the table that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Some refer to hotdish as being the “unofficial state dish” of Minnesota, and the Minnesota congressional delegation even sponsors an annual hotdish contest.

The first known publication of a recipe using the term “hotdish” dates back to a cookbook produced by the Grace Lutheran Church Ladies Aid in Mankato, Minnesota in 1930. The author of the recipe, Mrs. C. W. Anderson, used ingredients that were commonly available – ground beef, onion, celery, tomatoes and tomato soup, peas, and “Creamettes” (a regional brand of macaroni). This version of her original varies only in the use of rotini pasta in the place of the macaroni, but any short pasta should work fine.

Having made the dish, I can say the general taste is somewhat bland, even with salt and pepper added. Feel free to experiment with adding more spices and flavorings to suit your tastes.

Adapted from Ramshackle Pantry

The First Published Hotdish Recipe

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 45 mins Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


A classic dish originating in the northern Midwest region, popular at reunions, funerals, potlucks, and church suppers.

Adapted from Ramshackle Pantry



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until browned, breaking into crumbles as it cooks. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Drain excess grease from skillet and return to stove. Heat olive oil in skillet, then add onion and sauté until softened (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.

  3. In a large bowl combine pasta, beef, onions, celery, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, peas, and water. Mix well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9 casserole dish (note: the dish will be "heaping" full).

  4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 556kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g24%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 485mg21%
Potassium 1059mg31%
Total Carbohydrate 60g20%
Dietary Fiber 6g24%
Sugars 12g
Protein 43g86%

Calcium 5 mg
Iron 38 mg

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • The original recipe used "Creamette" pasta, a regional brand of elbow macaroni at the time. This version uses rotini pasta, but any short pasta can be used.
Keywords: Hotdish, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, peas, pasta, celery, reunion, funeral, potluck, church dinner
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