My take on a classic Southern hash brown casserole includes fresh hash browns, a homemade soup concentrate, and lots and lots of cheese. This is a Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole you’ll want to serve at every meal!
The road to Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
I feel like every region in the United States has their own version of a hash brown casserole. When I was in my 20’s, I moved back to Mississippi and, if I was lucky, Olga Mae (my grandma) would have a pan of hers on the stovetop when I went to visit on Sundays. She called them her Sunday Potatoes. Olga Mae was pretty clever.
In the Midwest there’s another version called Funeral Potatoes, I guess because they’re an easy dish to bring to someone’s house after a funeral. Most funeral potatoes are topped with corn flakes. Olga Mae topped her potatoes with crushed Ritz crackers. Told you she was clever.
Whatever you call them, they are a lot of potatoes with a lot of cheese. Everyone loves a cheesy potato.
What’s with the chicken soup?
Another thing most hash brown casseroles have in common is the addition of cream of chicken soup. Or cream of cheddar soup. Or both. It’s the glue that binds everything together. The salty, preservative laden glue. I make my own, it’s less salty, and I don’t even know where to get preservatives. Oh, and it only takes 5 minutes.
Ingredients in these cheesy hash brown potatoes
- Cream of chicken soup concentrate We will be making our own in this recipe with butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, and a tiny bit of dried bouillon, but you are free to use a store bought can if you want.
- Hash browns This recipe calls for a fresh bag of hash browns, usually found in the egg and bacon section of your local Mega Market. If you can’t find them, you can use 20 ounces of frozen hash browns. Just allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Onion Half an onion, sautéed in a bit of butter, is added in for an extra boost of flavor.
- Shredded cheese You can use whatever cheese suits your fancy in this recipe. I tend to use whatever I have in my fridge at potato time. My preferred combo is cheddar, colby, and a bit of mozzarella (for that oozy, melty factor.)
- Sour cream Adds, well, creaminess and a touch of tang.
- Cream cheese See above, and also keeps the sour cream from separating when it bakes.
- Salt Potatoes are inherently bland and literally cry out for salt. There is salt in the soup concentrate, but you’ll want to add more salt when mixing this together, and test for seasoning before you put in in the baking pan.
How to make Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
- Make your “soup” So simple. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Using a small whisk, whisk in flour and cook for one or two minutes, to give it some color and to cook out the raw flour taste. Whisk in chicken broth, then milk, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about three minutes. Add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Sauté onions Give half a chopped onion a quick sauté in a tablespoon of butter, remove from the heat and add three more tablespoons of butter. Set aside for the butter to melt.
- Mix In a large bowl, mix together your soup, the onions, the sour cream and cream cheese, and all but 1/2 cup of your cheese. Add your potatoes and gently fold together until all the potatoes are coated.
- Bake Place your potato mixture in a buttered 10 inch cast iron skillet, or a square baking pan, and bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes, or until it is bubbly and the cheese on top is nicely browned.
- Make ahead To make mealtime go as smoothly as possible, while still getting warm potato belly, you can make this ahead of time. After assembly, cover the baking pan, and refrigerate for up to two days. You may need to adjust the baking time by 10 minutes to account for the chill, and cover the pan with foil if the top is browning too quickly.
How to serve your potatoes
- Breakfast Serve these beauties with eggs of your choice and some crispy bacon for a classic breakfast.
- Brunch/Dinner What could be better than steak and eggs with a big serving of Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole on the side? No really, I’m asking. What?
- Anytime I’m literally sitting here with a bowl of leftover Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole as I type this. For motivation, of course.
Love potatoes? I got you covered!
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Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
- 2 tbs butter
- 3 tbs flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 20 oz fresh cubed or shredded hash brown potatoes 1 bag
- Soup concentrate see above
- 1/2 onion diced
- 3 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 cups shredded cheese divided
- 4 oz softened cream cheese ½ block
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Chopped chives
- In a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly stir in chicken broth, then milk. Continue whisking until it begins to thicken. Add bouillon and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool
- Sauté onion in 1 tbs butter until just beginning to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt in residual heat.
- Preheat oven to 400° Butter the inside of a 10 inch cast iron skillet or a square baking pan.
- Add all soup concentrate, diced onion with butter, all but 1/2 cup of your shredded cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and seasonings to a mixing bowl and Mix well. Add potatoes and fold together until completely combined.
- Transfer to the well-buttered square baking pan or 10 inch cast iron skillet. Top with the reserved shredded cheese and bake at 400 until golden brown on top, about 35-40 minutes.
- If you want the cheese more browned and crispy on top, place the casserole under a broiler for 3-4 minutes – watch it carefully!!
- Garnish with chopped chives if desired.
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