Did you grow up with Hash Brown Casserole?
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Corn Flakes. It’s not crispy hash brown casserole without the topping!
For a bonafide breakfast hash brown casserole, check out my Healthy Breakfast Casserole.
- Pat the hash browns dry.
- Cook the butter and flour together.
- Whisk in the spices, milk, and broth. Cook until thickened.
- Stir in the cheese, Greek yogurt, and hash browns.
- Coat corn flakes with melted butter and sprinkle on top.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
Hash Brown Casserole
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
- 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!
- *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.
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