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Hash brown casserole is one of our favorite dishes on the menu at Cracker Barrel. But it’s actually super simple to prepare at home for weekends and holiday celebrations! Tender shredded potatoes are mixed with cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and – of course – lots of cheese in just one bowl. Then add to a casserole dish and bake to cheesy perfection! This classic hash brown casserole recipe (also known as funeral potatoes) is practically foolproof to make and perfect to serve as a side for dinner or breakfast.
What’s Covered in this Post
Why We Love This Classic Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
Hash brown casserole is a big hit in our household. It’s the most asked for a side dish to serve on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve. There is just something so festive and comforting about sharing a warm, delicious casserole loaded with creamy potatoes and cheese!
Our love of this hash brown potato casserole recipe began at a Christmas potluck many years ago. Someone brought this wonderfully cheesy dish and it was love at first bite. She called it a copycat Cracker Barrel hash brown casserole recipe. I asked for the recipe and over a decade later, I’m sharing it with you here.
Although we call it hash brown casserole, some know this potato dish as funeral potatoes. According to Southern Living, “funeral potatoes are a potato-based dish in casserole form—the ultimate comfort food—that is usually served hot at potlucks. It’s a widespread tradition to serve them at gatherings held after funerals, hence the name.”
By any name, it is impossible to resist the cheesy potato goodness in this casserole. You only need one bowl to make it in under an hour with a handful of pantry staples – like frozen shredded potatoes, cream of chicken soup, and simple spices. Plus, as we might have mentioned, plenty of cheese!
Tip: For a quicker version of this easy shredded potato casserole, see my Instant Pot cheesy hash brown casserole. Making it in the pressure cooker is the perfect way to free up the oven over the holidays, in the summer, or when meal prepping.
Try our Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole with sausage and egg for a delicious breakfast or brunch recipe!
5 Ingredients You Need
That’s right, there are only 5 ingredients needed to make a scrumptious casserole that’s as tasty as what you find at Cracker Barrel. And doesn’t food just taste better when it’s made with love in your own kitchen?
Along with that dash of love, to make this cheesy hash brown casserole recipe you need:
- Shredded hash browns – I prefer to use Ore Ida shredded hash brown frozen potatoes or Simply Potatoes fresh shredded potatoes
- Sharp cheddar cheese – grated
- Sour cream – for that signature tangy creaminess
- Cream of chicken soup – canned or homemade (see notes below)
- Onion – finely chopped
- Butter – melted
- Pepper – ground, just a pinch
The hash browns can be fresh or frozen but need to be thawed before cooking. Continue reading for easy tips to thaw frozen shredded potatoes in a snap!
How To make this hash brown casserole recipe without soup
To make classic funeral potatoes without canned soup use this easy substitution:
In a small bowl mix together 2 teaspoons of corn starch with 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Then slowly stir in 1/2 cup of cream.
If you don’t have cream, then use 1 tablespoon of corn starch, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and 1/2 cup of whole milk.
Add this homemade mixture in place of the soup in the recipe below for an equally delicious casserole!
Tips for How to Thaw Frozen Hash Browns
I prefer to thaw the frozen hash browns on a baking sheet. It takes about 30-60 minutes.
If you’re in a hurry, add the frozen hash browns to a baking sheet and bake them at 170º Fahrenheit for 15 minutes to defrost them.
Of course, you can always thaw frozen hash brown potatoes overnight in the refrigerator. Be sure to put a plate or container underneath them while defrosting in the fridge.
Tip: Do not rinse hash browns (fresh or frozen)! The potatoes will soak up the water and it will make your casserole soggy.
Wondering how long can you keep thawed hash browns in the fridge?
Although technically you can keep thawed hash browns in the fridge for up to 7 days. I recommend you keep them in the fridge for no longer than 3 days for optimal taste and quality.
How to make The Best hash brown casserole
- First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Mix together the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving half of the shredded cheese.
- Pour the casserole mixture into the dish, and top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden with bubbly cheese on top.
how to Make ahead hash brown casserole instructions (Freeze and Reheat)
This copycat Cracker Barrel casserole is ideal as a make-ahead freezer meal recipe to keep on hand for meal trains, the holidays, potlucks, BBQs, or as a dish to share. Double the recipe and freeze one in the freezer so it’s always at the ready.
If you plan to make this dish in advance and freeze, I suggest you use a foil container: Not only is it freezer-safe, but the container can be safely used in the oven as well to reheat it. Plus it is the ideal way to share this casserole with others for a meal train or when you need a dinner to share.
Prepare the casserole as directed, without baking, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Or prepare casserole without baking in a freezer-safe container, cover with a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Again, a foil casserole pan works really well here. Then bake from frozen (do not defrost) as directed, plus an extra 15 minutes or so until it’s heated throughout and the cheese is golden.
What to serve with Hash Brown Casserole
Just like at your favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel copycat hash brown potatoes pair well with practically every southern or classic special occasion mains.
And we almost always serve them with Christmas and Easter main dishes. A few of our family’s traditional centerpieces include Crock Pot Ham with Glaze, Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast, and Prime Rib Roast.
Homemade hash brown potato casserole is also great for breakfast and brunch. Enjoy as the main star of the meal with eggs, sausage, or bacon – or a thick slice of ham – and some fresh fruit. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Try our Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole with sausage. Or add chopped cooked ham, bacon, or crumbled sausage to the mixture before baking for a cheesy, meaty hash brown casserole.
Substitute the cream of chicken soup with canned cream of celery soup for a vegetarian-friendly recipe.
Yes and yes. As-is the recipe has 12 servings. Easily double the ingredients to make two 9×13 casseroles; bake them side-by-side in the oven, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Make in a smaller 9×9 dish by halving the ingredients. Check the casserole after 40 minutes of baking to check for doneness.
Leftovers will keep well for up to 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator. Let the casserole cool completely and transfer to a sealed container before placing it in the fridge.
Copycat (Better Than!) Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole Recipe
The Best Hash Brown Casserole (Cracker Barrel Copycat!)
- large 9 x 13" casserole dish
- 30 ounces shredded hash browns, fresh or frozen (thawed) (I prefer Ore Ida frozen or Simply Potatoes fresh)
- 2½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
- 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
- 1 can (10¼ ounces) cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup onion finely chopped (1 small onion)
- ½ cup melted butter
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9"x13" casserole by spraying it with cooking oil spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together hash browns, 2 cups cheddar cheese, sour cream, soup, chopped onions, melted butter, and pepper.
- Pour hash brown casserole ingredients into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and golden on top, and edges are puffy.