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Five-Layer Hot Dish

Submitted by:

Loretta Bohn



Country of Origin:

United States

Cook time:

1 hour and 15 minutes




1 10-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Ingredients substitutions:

You can use any kind of condensed cream soup (including "healthy" varieties with less fat or sodium). Swap ground chicken or ground turkey for the ground beef, a thinly sliced potato for the rice, or any kind of frozen vegetable that appeals to you.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Layer ingredients in order (soup first) in a 2-quart casserole dish.
3. Cover and bake for about 1 hour.

What makes this recipe special?

One of my favorite childhood suppers was Five-Layer Hot Dish. It’s everything you need for a well-rounded meal in one container, and it’s the ultimate comfort food, perfect for sharing with those in emotional, financial, or medical distress. It’s nearly infinitely adaptable. The only thing wrong with it, I thought, was its humble name. At one point I wanted to learn French just so I could make up a name that would be worthy of its deliciousness.
But in fact, the dish’s humility is part of its history. The writer of Ramshackle Pantry notes, “Hotdish has humble beginnings, but maybe it was one of the meals that America and the Midwest needed at the time [the earliest recipe is from 1930]. Hotdish was there when we needed it. From the One Hot Dish that fed school children at the dawn of the concept of school lunches to families doing their part in the war efforts. From war efforts to communing with neighbors at church gatherings. From church gatherings to single moms today trying to get a meal on the table… hotdish has been there. Most don’t appreciate hotdish and I get it. While I think beautiful hotdishes can be made, the traditional recipe is more a meal of convenience and comfort. Hotdish doesn’t care, it still has your back.”
The Pioneer Woman Web site says, “Hotdish is basically Minnesotan for 'casserole.'” I’ve never been to Minnesota, but fortunately for me, the concept had spread to North Carolina in time for many wonderful family meals.