Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This sausage breakfast casserole recipe is easy to make, make ahead friendly, versatile and feeds a crowd!

This Sausage Breakfast Casserole recipe is a holiday, entertaining or busy morning game changer!  It allows you to feed a crowd stress free for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner, and can all be prepared ahead of time!  Just assemble the casserole, refrigerate, then pop it in the oven when ready to serve.  This overnight Breakfast Casserole recipe is everything you love about breakfast all baked together in one easy casserole.  It’s made with eggs, hot Italian sausage, cubed hash browns, onions, peppers, mozzarella and sharp cheese and only takes a few minutes to throw together.  This sausage breakfast casserole recipe is also easily adaptable!  Mix up the seasonings, vegetables, and cheeses for a fridge to oven to tabletop win!

showing how to serve sausage breakfast casserole by scooping up a slice with a spatula

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BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Breakfast casseroles are without a doubt the easiest and one of the most delicious ways to feed a crowd (or just your family) for holiday breakfast or brunch; times when breakfast calls for more than just cereal.  

Some of my favorite one pan breakfasts include my breakfast enchiladas, dulce de leche French toast, crème brûlée French toast, eggnog French toast casserole, eggs Benedict casserole, pecan praline French toast bake and now I’m excited to bring you this Sausage Breakfast Casserole! 

Reasons to love this Breakfast Casserole recipe:

  • Delicious! The pictures of this sausage breakfast casserole do not do it justice! It’s warm, creamy, cheesy, bursting with juicy sausage and tender potatoes all swaddled in luscious eggs. It’s seasoned to perfection and will have everyone clamoring for seconds!
  • Hearty and filling.  Unlike the sweet breakfast options, this Sausage Breakfast Casserole is a meal-in-one that bakes in one pan.  You get double the protein with the sausage end eggs so it’s deeply satisfying with staying power to get you – and everyone – through the festivities with smiles on their faces.  
  • Easy.  It really doesn’t get much easier than throwing all of the ingredients in a baking dish and letting the oven work its magic. Just cook up some sausage, mix all the ingredients together and bake! 
  • Make ahead.  This easy breakfast casserole is a hearty, savory option that can be prepared the night before, refrigerated and baked the next morning.  
  • Meal prep.  I also love this overnight breakfast casserole for meal prep during the week – just warm a slice for a delectable, satisfying breakfast that will give you and your kids far more brain power than cereal.
  • Versatile. I’m sharing my favorite sausage breakfast casserole today but this casserole is infinitely adaptable.  It can also be made with ham, bacon, turkey as well as different cheeses, veggies, and hash browns!
  • Feeds a crowd.   This sausage breakfast casserole makes 12 satisfying servings and is even easy to double if needed!
  • Inexpensive.  This overnight breakfast casserole is made with pantry friendly ingredients which allows you to feed a crowd for far less than dining out – and you get to enjoy a stress-free breakfast or brunch in your slippers!

Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipe Ingredients

This easy breakfast casserole recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients.  Just keep a package of hash browns and Italian sausage in your freezer, and you should have everything else on hand.  You will need: 

  • Sausage:  I highly recommend hot Italian sausage.  It flavors the entire breakfast casserole but will not make it spicy.  If you use a different sausage or meat, you will want to add additional seasonings. 
  • Hash browns:  I prefer hearty diced potato hash browns in this casserole because they become tender and almost creamy.  You can use any frozen hash browns – plain, with onions, with peppers, etc.  If you prefer shredded hash browns, you can certainly use those as well.  You will want to defrost your hash browns first – a few minutes in the microwave will do the trick.
  • Aromatics: one yellow onion and three garlic cloves build the flavor base. 
  • Bell pepper:  I like to use a red bell pepper because they are a little sweeter, but you can use any color.  You can also substitute with other vegetables.  If they are a longer cooking vegetable, you will want to cook them longer with the sausage to soften.
  • Tomato: I prefer a Roma tomato, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Make sure to seed your tomato so it doesn’t add extra moisture.
  • Cheese:  both cheddar and mozzarella please!  Sharp cheese boasts enough flavor to cut through the richness of the casserole and mozzarella melts beautifully to add delightful creaminess.  You may substitute the mozzarella with all cheddar if that’s what you have on hand or Monterrey Jack or another good melting cheese. 
  • Eggs:  12 eggs!  We need a significant amount of eggs to envelop all of the ingredients and bind them together.
  • Half and half:   is crucial to create a lush and creamy egg mixture that won’t dry out once baked.  You can combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk to make half and half if that’s what you have eon hand.
  • Chives:  adds a layer of delicate onion flavor.  I love the depth of flavor they add but you can skip them if you’re ready to roll and don’t have them on hand.
  • Seasonings:  parsley, paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper round out the flavor profile – no bland breakfast casserole here!
a pan of easy breakfast casserole sliced into 12 slices

IS THIS BREAKFAST CASSEROLE RECIPE GLUTEN-FREE?

As written this sausage breakfast casserole is gluten free BUT you need to double check a few of the ingredients for the “certified gluten” free label.

Italian sausage doesn’t contain any gluten but not all manufacturers meet USDA standards for “gluten-free” because they are cross contaminated by either using shared equipment or by being made in the same facility as gluten grains.

The hash browns are another ingredient to look out for.  You would think they would all be gluten free, but some actually contain gluten!  Look for certified gluten free hash browns if going gluten free.  

how to make breakfast casserole

  • Cook sausage and veggies.  It’s important to cook the sausage first to render the fat.  We also cook the onions and pepper with the sausage to save time and to infuse them with flavor.  If you decide to use other veggies, add them with the sausage as well.
showing how to make breakfast casserole by cooking sausage, onions and bell peppers
  • Combine sausage with hash browns.   Transfer the sausage and veggie mixture to a very large bowl.   Stir in tomatoes, hash browns and cheeses.  You will want to wait to add the cheeses so they don’t melt due to the hot sausage.   
showing how to make easy breakfast casserole by adding sausage, hash browns and cheese to a bowl
  • Whisk egg mixture.  Whisk together eggs, half and half, chives and seasonings.  I like to whisk them together in a large measuring “cup” so it is easy to pour.
showing how to make easy breakfast casserole adding eggs, heavy cream, chives and seasonings together
  • Combine. Pour egg mixture into sausage mixture and stir until evenly combined. 
showing how to make breakfast casserole by mixing sausage, hash browns, cheese with eggs and heavy cream
  • Bake.  Transfer entire mixture to prepared 9×13 baking dish and spread into an even layer.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 15-30 minutes or until the done – the center should be set and barely jiggle.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
showing how to make overnight breakfast casserole by topping casserole with cheese

How to customize Breakfast casserole

This overnight breakfast casserole recipe is really a formula with a creamy egg base – you can customize the veggies, meat, cheeses and even hash browns to make it different every time!  Here are some ways to mix it up: 

  • Choose meat:  I love ground hot Italian sausage but you can use maple sausage, breakfast sausage, turkey sausage, bacon, turkey bacon or ham.  You will want to cook any raw protein first before adding to the egg mixture.   I suggest adding a dash of red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings if not using hot Italian sausage.  You can also use chorizo and then you won’t need any additional seasonings. 
  • Choose vegetables:  the possibilities are endless!  This sausage breakfast casserole uses red bell peppers and fire roasted tomatoes, but you can also swap them for sautéed corn, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, roasted bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.  There are 2 important factors to keep in mind when customizing veggies:  1) sauté the vegetables first – don’t add raw vegetables to the casserole or they will remain raw when baked; 2) keep the ratios the same.  You don’t want to add additional vegetables without subtracting vegetables or hash browns or else there won’t be enough creamy eggs to envelop the veggies.
  • Choose cheese:  Use the suggested sharp cheddar and mozzarella or swap one or the other for another cheese that melts well such as Gruyere, Swiss, pepper Jack, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Fontina, or Gouda.  You can also add some other non-melting cheeses in addition just for flavor such as Parmesan or feta.  Pepper Jack is a particularly nice option if you aren’t using hot Italian sausage to add additional flavor and a hint of heat.
  • Choose add-ins:  In additional to different vegetables, you can also add green chiles, jarred jalapenos, olives and additional herbs such as fresh basil, parsley, oregano, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Bake Breakfast Casserole?

This easy Breakfast Casserole is a hearty, thick casserole, so it requires about 90 minutes to bake covered plus 5-15 minutes to bake uncovered.  There are several factors that affect baking time such as the type of casserole dish (glass, ceramic, cast iron, etc.), actual oven temperature and actual ingredients, so you will want to check for doneness at the beginning of the cooking window. 

To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the breakfast casserole. A clean toothpick means the casserole is ready.  You can also use an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pan to check if it has reached 165 degrees F.

What toppings for Sausage Breakfast Casserole?

This easy breakfast casserole is fabulous as is, or amp it up with blender hollandaise or yogurt hollandaise, salsa, salsa verde, avocado crema, hot sauce, avocado slices, or sour cream.

What to serve with easy Breakfast Casserole?

This sausage breakfast casserole recipe really is a meal-in-one.   Just add some orange slices or other favorite fruit and call it a day!  If you would like a more elaborate breakfast feast, consider pairing it with:  

showing how to make sausage breakfast casserole recipe by slicing it into 12 pieces

TIPS FOR SAUSAGE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

  • Vegetarian. If you are vegetarian, then omit the meat and replace it with an equal amount of vegetables. You will also want to add some additional, salt, pepper, chili powder/red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning to make up for not using flavorful Italian sausage.
  • Thaw potatoes:  Thaw the potatoes in the microwave for a couple minutes so they bake up tender.   
  • More or less cheese.  You can make the casserole extra cheesy by adding additional cheese or save some calories by using less cheese.
  • Freshly grated cheese. Please only use freshly grated cheeses as packaged cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which inhibits their melting ability.  
  • Keep proportions.  Although you can swap out the meat and vegetables in this breakfast casserole recipe, you will want to keep the proportions the same.  
  • Spice it up!  The hot Italian sausage will flavor the entire breakfast casserole but not make it spicy.  For more heat, add 1 teaspoon chili powder or some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. 
  • Season!  If using a different protein instead of Italian sausage, I suggest adding a dash of red pepper flakes or chili powder and Italian seasonings.
  • Tent foil:  tent the foil slightly in the middle but make sure the sides are still covered. The casserole will bake up and you don’t want the cheese sticking to the foil.  
  • Don’t overcook.  Keep an eye on the breakfast casserole and don’t overbake.  The casserole is very forgiving but an overbake casserole won’t be as creamy.
  • Make ahead or freeze. You can make the breakfast casserole ahead of time and just pop in the oven in the morning or freeze before or after baking.  Instructions to follow.

Overnight breakfast casserole

This breakfast casserole is a make ahead dream!  You can prep it a day ahead of time or freeze it for later use.

To make ahead and serve later:

  • Assemble the breakfast casserole according to recipe instructions.
  • Tightly cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate unbaked breakfast casserole a few hours up to 24.
  • When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes.

make ahead BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

You can also prep this make ahead casserole in steps if you prefer:

  • Brown sausage.  You can brown the sausage with the bell peppers and onions then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • Shred cheese.  You can shred the cheese and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Egg mixture.  You can whisk the eggs, heavy cream, spices and chives together, cover, and store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Give the mixture a whisk before using.

Now all that’s left to do is mix the sausage mixture with the hash browns/cheese and then stir in the egg mixture. Easy peasy!

HOW long is easy breakfast casserole good for?

Breakfast Casserole should be covered tightly or transferred to an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When stored correctly, it is good for up to 5 days. 

a pan of overnight breakfast casserole recipe with a spatula picking up a slice

How to Reheat Breakfast Casserole

To reheat breakfast casserole:

Microwave:  warm individual servings on a microwave safe plate in the microwave for about a minute or until warmed though.  I like to cut my slice in half before microwaving so it warms evenly.

Oven:  you can reheat the entire pan by covering with foil and baking at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through (will depend on amount of servings left).

Can I freeze Breakfast Casserole?

Yes!  You can freeze this easy breakfast casserole recipe either before baking or after baking. 

To freeze breakfast casserole before baking:

  • Prepare breakfast casserole according to recipe directions through adding the mixture to the prepared 9×13 pan.
  • Cover the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 
  • Bring to room temperature on the counter for about 30-60 minutes. 
  • Bake according to recipe directions.

To freeze breakfast casserole after baking:

  • Let casserole cool completely.  It is best to let it chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer the entire baking dish by covering the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil OR portion the casserole into small servings and transfer slices to sealable plastic bags or small airtight containers.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.  
  • You can reheat individual servings straight from frozen on a microwave safe plate.
  • To reheat the entire casserole, allow it to thaw completely overnight.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees F until heated through, approximately 20 minutes.
a slice of breakfast casserole recipe on a plate ready to be eaten

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Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This sausage breakfast casserole recipe is easy to make, make ahead friendly, versatile and feeds a crowd! It allows you to feed a crowd stress free for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner, and can all be prepared ahead of time! Just assemble the casserole, refrigerate, then pop it in the oven when ready to serve. This overnight Breakfast Casserole recipe is everything you love about breakfast all baked together in one easy casserole. It’s made with eggs, hot Italian sausage, cubed hash browns, onions, peppers, mozzarella and sharp cheese and only takes a few minutes to throw together. This sausage breakfast casserole recipe is also easily adaptable! Mix up the seasonings, vegetables, and cheeses for a fridge to oven to tabletop win!
Servings: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 hrs 25 mins
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs

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Ingredients

Bowl 1: Sausage Mixture

  • 1 pound Hot Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Roma tomato chopped
  • 1 24 oz. bag cubed frozen hash browns thawed
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese

Bowl 2: Egg Mixture

  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH paprika, ground mustard, pepper
  • 3 tablespoon chopped chives

Topping

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese (or more!)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese (or more!)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13’’ pan with cooking spray.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onions and bell pepper and cook while crumbling the sausage until the sausage is cooked through. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Drain grease then transfer mixture to a very large bowl. Stir in tomatoes, hash browns and cheeses (once cool enough the sausage won’t melt cheese). Set aside.
  • Whisk all of bowl 2 ingredients in a large measuring “cup” or mixing bowl (something with a spout). Pour egg mixture into sausage mixture and stir until evenly combined. Transfer to prepared 9x13 baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with remaining topping cheeses.
  • Cover pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 5-15 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Season individual servings with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

TIPS & TRICKS 

  • Vegetarian. If you are vegetarian, then omit the meat and replace it with an equal amount of vegetables. You will also want to add some additional, salt, pepper, chili powder/red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning to make up for not using flavorful Italian sausage.
  • Thaw potatoes:  Thaw the potatoes in the microwave for a couple minutes so they bake up tender.   
  • More or less cheese.  You can make the casserole extra cheesy by adding additional cheese or save some calories by using less cheese.
  • Freshly grated cheese. Please only use freshly grated cheeses as packaged cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which inhibits their melting ability.  
  • Keep proportions.  Although you can swap out the meat and vegetables in this breakfast casserole recipe, you will want to keep the proportions the same.  
  • Season!  If using a different protein instead of Italian sausage, I suggest adding a dash of red pepper flakes or chili powder and Italian seasonings.
  • Spice it up!  The hot Italian sausage will flavor the entire breakfast casserole but not make it spicy.  For more heat, add 1 teaspoon chili powder or some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. 
  • Tent foil:  tent the foil slightly in the middle but make sure the sides are still covered. The casserole will bake up and you don’t want the cheese sticking to the foil.  
  • Don’t overcook.  Keep an eye on the breakfast casserole and don’t overbake.  The casserole is very forgiving but an overbake casserole won’t be as creamy.
  • Make ahead or freeze. You can make the breakfast casserole ahead of time and just pop in the oven in the morning or freeze before or after baking.  Instructions to follow.

Make Ahead 

This breakfast casserole is a make ahead dream!  You can prep it a day ahead of time or freeze it for later use.
  • Assemble the breakfast casserole according to recipe instructions.
  • Tightly cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate unbaked breakfast casserole a few hours up to 24.
  • When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Bake according to recipe directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes.

How to Freeze

To freeze breakfast casserole before baking:
  • Prepare breakfast casserole according to recipe directions through adding the mixture to the prepared 9×13 pan.
  • Cover the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 
  • Bring to room temperature on the counter for about 30-60 minutes. 
  • Bake according to recipe directions.
To freeze breakfast casserole after baking:
  • Let casserole cool completely.  It is best to let it chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer the entire baking dish by covering the casserole with two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil OR portion the casserole into small servings and transfer slices to sealable plastic bags or small airtight containers.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.  
  • You can reheat individual servings straight from frozen on a microwave safe plate.
  • To reheat the entire casserole, allow it to thaw completely overnight.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees F until heated through, approximately 20 minutes.

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

This overnight breakfast casserole recipe is really a formula with a creamy egg base – you can customize the veggies, meat, cheeses and even hash browns to make it different every time!  Here are some ways to mix it up: 
  • Choose meat:  I love ground hot Italian sausage but you can use maple sausage, breakfast sausage, turkey sausage, bacon, turkey bacon or ham.  You will want to cook any raw protein first before adding to the egg mixture.   I suggest adding a dash of red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings if not using hot Italian sausage.  You can also use chorizo and then you won’t need any additional seasonings. 
  • Choose vegetables:  the possibilities are endless!  This sausage breakfast casserole uses red bell peppers and fire roasted tomatoes, but you can also swap them for sautéed corn, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, roasted bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.  There are 2 important factors to keep in mind when customizing veggies:  1) sauté the vegetables first – don’t add raw vegetables to the casserole or they will remain raw when baked; 2) keep the ratios the same.  You don’t want to add additional vegetables without subtracting vegetables or hash browns or else there won’t be enough creamy eggs to envelop the veggies.
  • Choose cheese:  Use the suggested sharp cheddar and mozzarella or swap one or the other for another cheese that melts well such as Gruyere, Swiss, pepper Jack, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Fontina, or Gouda.  You can also add some other non-melting cheeses in addition just for flavor such as Parmesan or feta.  Pepper Jack is a particularly nice option if you aren’t using hot Italian sausage to add additional flavor and a hint of heat.
  • Choose add-ins:  In additional to different vegetables, you can also add green chiles, jarred jalapenos, olives and additional herbs such as fresh basil, parsley, oregano, etc.v

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8 Comments

  1. Gina says

    Happy Holidays Jen, I am wondering if you can cube and cook your own potatoes? For us it would be better because of allergies and cross contamination. Thank you for all the great recipes and the time you take with each one. I know when I make each of your recipes that it will be perfect and I’m not scared of what the end results will be.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your kind words Gina! That means everything that you not only enjoy my recipe but trust them! xo As far as your question, yes, you can absolutely cube and use your own potatoes. I would also par-boil the potatoes by placing them in a microwave safe bowl with a little water, covering and cooking for 4 minutes.

  2. Karine Levasseur says

    Hi there, the pin has a spelling error. It is missing the second S in sausage. This looks yummy and we will try!!

    • Jen says

      Yikes! Thank you so much for checking that Karine! It’s amazing how many times you can look at something and not catch the obvious!

  3. Debra M Guerra says

    Hi Jen-could the cubed hash brown potatoes be browned and cooked ahead of time? I’ve done this before with other casseroles to avoid the potatoes getting mushy. That also happened to me a few times. Or is it not appropriate for this dish, meaning will it hurt this recipe’s outcome?

    Many thanks!

    Debra

    • Jen says

      Hi Debra, sorry for the delayed response, I have been swamped with the holidays. I honesty haven’t tried browning the hash browns first because it doesn’t need it in this breakfast casserole due. I don’t think it would hurt it though. Please let me know what you discover!

  4. Wendy says

    Jen, your recipes are simply amazing!! You put so much thought and passion into everything you post. I am planning on making this this weekend. Just a note, I don’t see where you add the topping!! Thank you for all you do!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your kind words Wendy and for pointing that out about the topping – I’ll edit the recipe right away. Add the topping cheeses before baking. Enjoy!

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