Did you grow up with Hash Brown Casserole?

cheesy hash browns without soup

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It’s a rich, creamy casserole side dish that’s made with frozen hash browns, a buttery, crispy topping (if you’re asking my family, that topping better be corn flakes), and a number of other ingredients that—in the words of my mother, a potato casserole queen—“you don’t want to know.”

What you should know: hash brown casserole tastes like pure comfort.

It’s easy to make for a crowd, freezes and reheats like a dream, and you can serve it for everything ranging from a breakfast hash brown casserole, to a side with a holiday dinner, to an occasion that earned it the nickname, “funeral potatoes.”

In fact, I’ve eaten hash brown casserole for Christmas Eve dinner, at family reunions, and, yes, my grandma’s funeral.

It’s a hug from the inside that hits the spot every time.

light hash brown casserole on plate

My mom did have a point with her “don’t ask” approach to the ingredients.

Most standard 4 ingredient hash brown casserole recipes and copycat Cracker Barrel hash brown casseroles involve cans of “cream of” soup, pints of sour cream, and cheese out of a bag.

No offense to those classic casseroles (or to Cracker Barrel—I do have a soft spot for their biscuits), but when I am craving comfort food, I want more than a can of this and a bag of that.

We need homemade hash brown casserole!

5 Star Review

“We had this for dinner last night. LOVED it! So so much flavor! We will be having this again and again!”

— Maebell —

How to Make Hash Brown Casserole from Scratch

This is hash brown casserole without soup, without sour cream, and I am going to ask you to go a little extra distance and grate your own cheese to make sure it is as supremely creamy as possible.

You better believe we are making this crispy hash brown casserole with corn flakes on top, however. That topping is one of the best parts!

cheesy crispy hash browns

The Ingredients

  • Frozen Hash Browns. The convenient base for our casserole. You’ll need one 30- to 32-ounce bag. Frozen hash browns are both a timesaver AND you actually achieve better results than if you use freshly grated potatoes, because the thawed hash browns are drier. Save your hash brown efforts for Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Cauliflower Hash Browns instead.

Using Freshly Grated Potatoes

If you’d like to make hash brown casserole with fresh potatoes: peel (optional) and grate the potatoes (you’ll need 6 cups or 2 pounds). Place them in a colander and rinse. Spread them onto a clean kitchen towel and pat very dry. Change out the towel and pat again. Remove as much excess moisture as possible.

  • Milk + Chicken Broth + Butter + Cornstarch. Forget the chicken soup in a can! You can create your own creamy base from this simple list of ingredients instead.
  • Greek Yogurt. Secret ingredient #1. It’s how we get away with making a rich hash brown casserole without sour cream.
hash brown casserole with corn flake topping

TIP!

I do not recommend fat-free Greek yogurt for this recipe, as it may curdle and will not make the casserole as rich and satisfying. A 7-ounce sized small container of yogurt will yield the perfect amount for this recipe (Fage sells one this size).

  • Poultry Seasoning. Secret ingredient #2 for a from-scratch casserole that has the nostalgic flavor of the cream of soup, without soup itself.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. Secret ingredient #3. It gives the casserole depth and savoryness.
  • Seasonings. Garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder make this casserole the best version of itself.
  • Cheese. Cheddar makes the casserole creamy and rich; Parmesan adds nuttiness and a touch of saltiness.

Change Up the Cheese

  • In place of the cheddar, you can make hash brown casserole with gruyere, Monterey jack, or (for a spicy version) Pepper jack.
  • Whatever cheese you choose, be sure to grate your own for the best texture, as prebagged cheeses do not melt as smoothly as freshly grated because of their non-stick coating.
  • Corn Flakes. It’s not crispy hash brown casserole without the topping!
light hash brown casserole

Crispy Topping options

While my family always makes hash brown casserole with corn flakes, it is not the only topping option.

  • Ritz Crackers. A popular, extra buttery choice.
  • Potato Chips. How the Pioneer Woman makes her hash brown casserole.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs. A classic option you’ll find used often in this collection of casserole recipes.

TIP!

For a bonafide breakfast hash brown casserole, check out my Healthy Breakfast Casserole.

The Directions

  1. Pat the hash browns dry.
heating butter for hash brown casserole
  1. Cook the butter and flour together.
whish flour, butter and cornstarch for hash brown casserole
  1. Whisk in the spices, milk, and broth. Cook until thickened.
add hash browns to mixture
  1. Stir in the cheese, Greek yogurt, and hash browns.
Sprinkle corn flakes on hash brown casserole
  1. Coat corn flakes with melted butter and sprinkle on top.
hash brown casserole with corn flakes topping
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake 12 minutes more. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end.

How to Quickly Defrost Hash Browns

Yes, you do need to thaw the frozen hash browns before cooking. If you forget to thaw them overnight, you can quickly defrost the hash browns in the microwave.

  • Place the frozen hash browns in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and heat on 50% power for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  • Drain, pat dry, and use as directed.
hash brown casserole without soup

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in a 350 degree F oven (best method) or gently in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze this entire casserole either baked or unbaked for 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.

Meal Prep Tip

You can make hash brown casserole up to 2 days in advance. Assemble to the point of baking (wait to add the topping so it does not become soggy) and refrigerate. When ready to bake, add the topping, then bake as directed.

Leftover Ideas

Make a chicken hash brown casserole by combining the leftovers with diced Air Fryer Chicken Breast or Baked Chicken Breast. Or turn it into a tasty comforting breakfast hash brown casserole with meat by adding diced Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon or cooked and crumbled sausage.

What to Serve with Hash Brown Casserole

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Dutch Oven. This versatile piece will last a lifetime. I use mine almost daily!
  • Baking Dish. This one transitions seamlessly from oven to table.
  • Two-Sided Measuring Spoons. Ideal for recipes with a long list of spices. You don’t need to stop between ingredients to clean them!

The Best Dutch Oven

This high-quality piece is perfect for creamy casserole fillings, soups, pastas, braises, and more!

cheesy hash browns without soup

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

The next time the mood is comfort food, this light hash brown casserole has your number. I hope it finds a nostalgic place in your heart (and tummy!) the way it has for us.

cheesy hash browns without soup

Hash Brown Casserole

5 from 2 votes
This cheesy hash brown casserole is pure comfort! From-scratch recipe without soup and without sour cream, topped with crispy corn flakes.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 1 hr 10 mins
Total: 1 hr 15 mins

Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients
  

FOR THE CASSEROLE:

  • 30 to 32 oz frozen shredded hash browns defrosted
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% or 2% milk use whole milk for a richer sauce; do not use skim
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth divided (must be low sodium, or the casserole will be too salty)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese about 6 ounces
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt* about 7 ounces

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes see blog post above for other options
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  • Spread the defrosted hash browns onto paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Pat as dry as possible.
  • In a Dutch oven or very large, deep skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle the flour over the top. Whisk and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is golden brown and smells nutty, about 90 seconds (don’t shortcut this step, or you may have a raw flour taste).
  • Reduce the heat to low. Slowly add the milk and approximately half of the chicken broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  • Whisk cornstarch into the remaining broth until smooth. Add to the skillet and whisk to combine.
  • Whisk in the Worcestershire, poultry seasoning, salt, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.
  • Bring sauce to a simmer over medium high heat, whisking constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce is thickened, about 7 to 8 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that you maintain a constant bubble but not an aggressive boil.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk in 1 cup of the cheddar and Parmesan until smoothly combined. Whisk in Greek yogurt.
  • Add the dried hash browns and stir until evenly combined.
  • Transfer hash brown mixture to prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Evenly top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.
  • Prepare the topping: Place the cornflakes in a small bowl and pour the melted butter over the top. With a spatula, stir until the corn flakes are evenly coated. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  • Cover the casserole with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then uncover. Return to the oven and continue baking until the casserole is hot and bubbly, about 12 minutes more.
  • Switch the oven to broil (keep the pan on the center rack). Broil until the topping is golden, about 1 to 2 minutes, watching the carefully the entire time to make sure it does not burn. Remove from the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *I do not recommend fat-free Greek yogurt here, as it may curdle and will not make the casserole as rich and satisfying. If you want to go old school, you can replace it with sour cream. I typically purchase a 7-ounce sized small container (Fage sells one this size).
  • TO STORE. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in a 350 degree F oven (best method) or gently in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE. You can freeze this entire casserole either baked or unbaked for 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.
  • MAKE AHEAD. Assemble the casserole to the point of baking up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate (wait to add the corn flake topping, as it can become soggy). When ready to bake, add the topping, then bake as directed.
  • TO USE FRESHLY GRATED POTATOES. Peel (optional) and grate the potatoes (you’ll need 6 cups or 2 pounds). Place them in a colander and rinse. Spread them onto a clean kitchen towel and pat very dry. Change out the towel and pat again to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • HALVE IT. Recipe may halved and baked in an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 455kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 15gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgPotassium: 500mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1423IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 249mgIron: 15mg

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More Comforting Potato Casseroles

When it comes to a crowd-pleasing side, it’s hard to beat a creamy, cheesy potato casserole!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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27 Comments

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  1. Tjhis looks like my perfect breakfast! When I saw this in my feed, I was a little wary because I know how much butter, oil, etc the average person uses making hash browns, but with all these veggies, this is actually pretty good for you! Love it.

    1. Thanks so much Kelly! It really means a lot that you noticed and appreciate that. I am all for lightened up comfort food :-)

  2. Erin this looks insanely good! Love the mushrooms and feta under those yukon golds! I am gonna have to pick me up some tarragon and make this for dinner cos I don’t think I could wait for breakfast!

    1. It’s 1000% acceptable for dinner Shashi! That was how we ate it actually. Plus, one skillet means less post-dinner dishes. Win!

  3. Now THIS is how I want my almost-a-mom Mother’s Day to go this year! A big slab of this scrumptious hash brown skillet would make my day complete. Perfect recipe for brunch bliss, Erin!

  4. I can eat this as main with a side salad for the dinner. Looks so comforting and delicious.

  5. Oh potatoes, cheese, veggies–is there are more delicious and satisfying combination? I think not! Love the use of tarragon too. Yum!

  6. YUM! What a creative potato side dish…always looking for a way to spice up the old potatoes at our place. I second the notion of no dishes on Sunday :)

  7. Love this lightened up hash brown skillet – it looks awesome Erin! Such a sweet tribute to your mom too – she must be proud of this real deal yukon potato dish:)

  8. I’m just imagining you doing your ‘ninja flip’ right now, Erin. I hate it when I flip something over and it falls apart, but looks like you got it nailed. This is a super idea. It sort of looks like a potato-crusted spinach and cheese pie.

  9. We had this for dinner last night. LOVED it! So so much flavor! I forgot tarragon at the store so I subbed basil and it worked out great, but next time I will try it as written. We will be having this again and again!

    1. Hooray! I’m so so happy that you guys tried and enjoy this recipe! I bet the basil was absolutely delicious. Thanks for letting me know. It always makes my day to hear from people who try the things I post :-)

  10. Giant hash brown FOR THE WIN! This is happening for brinner…sooner rather than later!

  11. I almost didnt continue reading after ‘boxed instant potato’ LOL! I have memories as an apprentice chef incorrectly portioning for a massive function and having to quickly make up an instant batch, boy oh boy the feedback that night was terrible.
    Glad I kept on, this giant hash brown is possibly the best thing I have seen in AGES. Holy hubcaps, I want it in my belly now. Thanks for sharing, so making this bad boy on the weekend for family brunch. Love it! :)

  12. We totally have the same Le Creuset cast iron skillet! Are you a collector of the flame orange also?! Or do you switch up the colors? I’m flame orange all the way, haha

  13. Ohhh, this looks beyond delicious!! Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food for me, and this looks like a great way to spiff them up a bit. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  14. Super impressed with the ninja flip! Not sure mine would look quite as lovely afterwards, but would still taste amazing so I’d happily devour my ugly food. Shredded hash browns are one of my most favorite things, stuffing them is brilliant. pinned :)

  15. I keep meaning to come and leave a review of this recipe and never remember.  This recipe was the start of my husband’s conversion on mushrooms.  Into his mid 30s, he believed he hated mushrooms.  He could ignore them if they were cut small enough, but he was convinced he didn’t like the taste or the texture.  I came across this recipe not long after it was posted, and it sounded so good that I insisted we were having it for dinner.  He sighed and figured he could just eat leftovers if he hated it.  Besides, other than the mushrooms, he liked everything else, so maybe it would be tolerable.

    As we dug into it, I thought it was pretty great, but I wasn’t sure what he’d think, because the mushroom flavor was definitely obvious.  You’d have laughed at the disbelief in his voice as he stated his opinion.  “This is good.  Like, REALLY good.  Oh my god.”  We ate about 2/3 of it between us (but it was the only thing we were eating, and dinner rather than brunch).

    Over the years since then, he has become a complete convert.  One of his favorite things to make is a bunch of fancy mushrooms in cream sauce over some cheese ravioli.  But this was the dish that got him to really give mushrooms a chance.  As someone who also really likes mushrooms, this was an extremely welcome change, as before this I’d only get to have mushrooms when we ate out.  So thank you!5 stars

    1. This MADE my day, Kali! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit (mushrooms and all)!

  16. Very yummy! Comfort food! Made with your cherry crisp recipe for dessert. Which we also loved! Well-plated is my go-to for recipes, as they are always a success!!5 stars