Hashbrown Casserole
This Hashbrown Casserole is the BEST ever with no canned soups or mayo but SO mega creamy, decadently delicious and the most comforting side did EVER! It is always a massive hit whether for casual family dinners, company dinners, potlucks, or holiday dinners such as Easter and Christmas; it’s also a crowd pleaser for breakfast or brunch! This Hash Brown Casserole recipe is made with tender hash browns enveloped in the most flavorful rich, creamy cheese sauce spiked with melty Gruyere and cheddar all topped with buttery cracker crumbs or crispy corn flakes. This cheesy Hashbrown Casserole is a quick and easy and you can prep it entirely ahead of time, refrigerate, then bake until warm and bubbly at dinner time OR freeze for later! You can make the recipe as written or customize it with all sort of add-ins such as ham, bacon, sausage, veggies, etc. – the possibilities are wildly endless – and so is its deliciousness.
Servings Prep Time
10-12 servings 25minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Servings Prep Time
10-12 servings 25minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Hashbrown Casserole
Ingredients
  • 30-32oz frozen shredded hash brownsdefrosted, patted dry
  • 6tablespoons unsalted buttermay sub half olive oil
  • 1/3cup all-purpose flour
  • 2cups milk
  • 2cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2tablespoons chopped fresh chivesor 2 tsps dried
  • 2tsp EACH chicken bouillon, dried parsley
  • 1 1/2teaspoons salt
  • 1tsp EACH onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 2cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3oz. (1 packed cup) freshly shredded Gruyere cheese(may sub 1/2 cup Parm)
  • 1cup sour cream
Topping
  • 1cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3tablespoons unsalted buttermelted
  • 1sleeve Ritz crackerscrushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a very large skillet or Dutch over medium heat (something that can fit all ingredients). Whisk in flour then cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low then gradually whisk in milk and 1 ½ cups chicken broth. Whisk cornstarch with remaining chicken broth and add to skillet followed by Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon and all spices/seasonings.
  3. Bring sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar until melted followed by Gruyere cheese until melted. Whisk in sour cream until blended. Stir in defrosted hash browns until completely combined.
  4. Transfer hash browns to prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Evenly top with 1 cup shredded cheddar. Combine Ritz with melted butter and stir with a spatula until evenly coated. Sprinkle evenly over cheese.
  5. Cover casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. Turn oven to broil (without moving pan) and broil until topping is golden, 1-2 minutes, watching closely it doesn’t burn.
Recipe Notes

TIPS AND TRICKS 

This Hash Brown Casserole recipe is pretty straightforward, but here is a summary of tips and tricks for the Best Hashbrown Casserole:

  • Gruyere substitute.  Gruyere is the consummate melting cheese and is sweet, slightly salty, creamy, nutty – in short, it is AMAZING and elevates this Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe. If you need to substitute it, replace the 1 cup Gruyere with 1/2 cup finely, freshly grated Parmesan (like powder) instead.
  • Bouillon.  Please do not skip the bouillon!  It is the secret ingredient that adds tons of flavor. It is essentially dehydrated vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt, and seasonings AKA it is salt with flavor!  You can use chicken bouillon, bouillon powder or better than bouillon – all in equal amounts.  If you are using bouillon cubes, just mash them up a bit before you add them to the sauce – don’t dissolve in water first.
  • Thaw hash browns.  Don’t use hash browns straight from frozen they must be thawed!
  • Drain hash browns. Drain thawed frozen hash browns of any excess moisture otherwise it can make your casserole soggy.
  • Don’t use just shredded potatoes.   You can make your own hash browns but you must soak the shredded potatoes and dry them very well (see instructions in post). Still, frozen hash browns are optimal because they are drier.
  • Low sodium chicken broth.  Take care to use low sodium chicken broth or your casserole will be too salty.
  • Cook flour for two minutes.  Two minutes can seem like a long time but don’t cut it short – you want to make sure to cook out the raw flour taste.
  • Simmer sauce until thick.  The sauce should seem a little on the thick side because it will thin out once baked with the potatoes.
  • More or less cheese.   You can use 1 or 2 cup cheddar cheese in the actual casserole (plus the addition one cup for topping).  The Hashbrown Casserole is still delicious with 1 cup cheddar if you’re trying to save calories, but for the BEST, splurge worthy, company casserole, use two cups in the casserole (plus 1 for topping).
  • Half casserole. This casserole makes a good amount and the leftovers are fantastic!  If you don’t want leftovers, however, use the arrows in the recipe card to half the recipe and make it in an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

TOPPING VARIATIONS 

  • Cornflakes:  combine 2 cups crushed cornflakes with ¼ cup melted butter and stir to combine; top casserole with crushed cornflakes before baking. Take care to gently crush the corn flakes – you don’t want tiny crumbs, but larger pieces so there’s more crunch.
  • Potato chips:  crumble desired amount of potato chips, preferable flavored potato chips such as salt-and-vinegar, onion or jalapeno, and top the casserole before baking.
  • Panko:  melt 1 tablespoon butter in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until crumbs become golden brown. Browning the panko first will give you the most spectacular crispy panko once baked like in my Million Dollar Mac and Cheese.
  • Bacon:  cook bacon until crispy while the casserole is in the oven. Crumble bacon and then top casserole before serving.

MAKE AHEAD

  • Assemble the casserole according to recipe instructions but don’t add the topping.  Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • Transfer topping to a separate sealable bag/airtight container and store on the counter otherwise it will soften in the fridge
  • When ready to bake, sprinkle the casserole with the topping and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.  Turn oven to broil (without moving pan) and broil until topping is golden.

HOW TO FREEZE 

  • Make and assemble according to directions up to the point of baking. You can add the topping if you want the casserole 100% assembled OR for crispier topping, store it separately and add right before baking.
  • Let casserole cool completely (not from baking but from the warm sauce).
  • Wrap casserole securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to eat, defrost casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours until completely thawed.
  • Let casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, uncover, and bake an addition 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.