This Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole is made with simple ingredients, and no canned soup! It’s the perfect side dish for special occasions when you need to feed a crowd.
A Simple Casserole of Hashbrowns + Cheesy Sauce
Hashbrown casserole is one of those nostalgic recipes for me. It appeared at all the church potlucks, block parties and big family gatherings. Nowadays, it’s the only potato dish besides french fries that my kid will eat…or rather, inhale.
What’s not to love? It’s got creamy, cheesy potatoes, and the best ones have that crispy corn flake topping that creates a wonderful contrast of textures and flavors. A carb lovers dream! (Yep, that’s me!)
But, I do remember a few of these casseroles being grainy, watery or just a little lackluster, so I wanted to nail it on the texture as well as conjure up the cheesy, tangy flavors. My trick for a foolproof cheesy sauce? Cream cheese! And…not one single can of condensed cream of chicken soup.
It doesn’t matter if you make this comforting side dish for cozy weeknight meals or festive holiday dinners, this cheesy hashbrown casserole recipe is going to be a hit (um…move over mashed potatoes). Heck, we love it for brunch, too…topped with a fried egg and side of breakfast sausage.
Gather Your Ingredients for Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
In addition to kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, you’ll need…
- Dairy – unsalted butter, cream cheese, sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese.
- Pantry – all purpose flour, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken broth, crushed corn flakes.
- Veggies – yellow onion, celery, green onions, frozen hash browns.
- Optional – cooked bacon.
A few ingredient notes…
- You can use full fat or light cream cheese and sour cream. Both types have worked perfectly for me. I do not recommend fat-free, though.
- Soften the cream cheese or bring it to room temperature before you begin so it melts smoothly and easily into the sauce.
- Whenever I’m melting cheese into a dish, I like to shred my own from a block. It really does melt better than pre-shredded.
- I usually opt for low-sodium broths to have more control over seasoning.
- I prefer this recipe with diced hash brown potatoes over shredded hash browns. They’re less likely to get mushy and provide great texture and tooth to each bite. Using frozen hash browns is also a great time-saver.
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How to Make Cheesy Potato Casserole
It’s only takes a few extra minutes to make a homemade sauce to replace the traditional condensed soup. Doing so allows you to use high quality, fresh ingredients with fewer preservatives.
- Sauté the aromatics – melt 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan to cook diced onions and celery until tender and translucent.
- Make the roux – stir in flour, garlic powder and onion powder and cook for a minute or two.
- Create the creamy sauce – slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Stir in the cream cheese until it’s completely melted then turn off the heat. Add the sour cream.
- Mix the casserole ingredients – combine hash browns, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper with the sauce in a large bowl. Transfer the potato mixture to a casserole dish.
- Make the topping – combine the crushed corn flakes with melted butter, then sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Bake the casserole – cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 55 minutes. Remove the foil, add bacon, if using, and bake another 5 to 10 minutes to turn the buttery cornflakes golden brown. Garnish with chopped green onions to serve.
Storing + Reheating Leftovers
Transfer leftover casserole to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat in an oven or toaster oven for best results; 350°F for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. If the top is becoming to dark, tent it with foil.
Reheating in the microwave is quick but won’t preserve the crunchy topping. It’s best for individual servings.
Make Ahead Option
You can assemble and freeze this easy hash brown casserole to get ahead of holiday dinners or meal prep for busy weeknights. Freezing this before you bake it will help maintain the quality and texture of the finished casserole.
To freeze, complete all the steps up to making the corn flake topping (save that step for right before you bake). Assemble the casserole in a freezer-to-oven safe dish or aluminum pan; allow it to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Place it on a flat, level surface inside your freezer for 2 to 3 months. (You can freeze the casserole in smaller portions for easy weeknight meals.)
To bake, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Allow it to rest on the counter as the oven preheats and you make the corn flake topping. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap, but rewrap with the foil before baking per the recipe card instructions. You may need to add several minutes to the total time since it is baking from a chilled state.
- Make it vegan friendly – replace the dairy ingredients with non-dairy options, use vegetable broth and of course, omit the bacon.
- Make it gluten-free – substitute the regular flour for a gluten-free flour and be sure the brand of corn flakes you use is gluten-free.
- Add herbs + spices – consider adding fresh chopped herbs, or a bit of nutmeg, paprika or cayenne pepper.
- Change up the toppings – give this a try with panko breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or crushed potato chips instead of corn flakes.
More Potato Dishes You’ll Love
- Whipped Potatoes on Russet Coins Appetizer
- Air Fryer Potato Croquettes
Roasted Garlic-Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
- German-Style Potato Salad
Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole with Corn Flake Topping
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1/2 cup = 1 stick) divided
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 5 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 8 oz cream cheese softened (light or full fat is fine)
- 8 oz sour cream (light or full fat is fine)
- 32 oz frozen diced hash brown potatoes like Ore-Ida
- 4 oz sharp cheddar (block cheese) shredded
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups corn flakes crushed (about 5-1/4 oz; measure after crushing)
- 2 green onions chopped
- 4 strips cooked bacon crumbled (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole with cooking spray.
- Melt 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) of butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and celery; cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in the flour, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly. (The mixture will be very thick.) Add the cream cheese and continue stirring until it is melted and well incorporated, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the potatoes, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine, then transfer to the prepared casserole.
- Melt the remaining 4 tbsp of butter and combine with the corn flakes. Sprinkle the flakes over the top of the casserole. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 55 minutes; remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the topping. (If using the bacon, sprinkle it over the top during this last 5 to 10 minutes to heat and re-crisp it, too.)
- Garnish with green onions to serve.
- Storing + Reheating Leftovers: Transfer leftover casserole to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven for best results; 350°F for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. If the top is becoming to dark, tent it with foil. Reheating in the microwave is quick but won’t preserve the crunchy topping; best for individual servings.
- Make Ahead + Freeze Before Baking: Complete all the steps up to making the corn flake topping (save that step for right before you bake). Assemble the casserole in a freezer-to-oven safe dish or aluminum pan (or in smaller portions); allow it to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Place it on a flat, level surface inside your freezer for 2 to 3 months. To bake, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Allow it to rest on the counter as the oven preheats and you make the corn flake topping. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap, but rewrap with the foil before baking per the instructions. You may need to add several minutes to the total time since it is baking from a chilled state.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.