Nothing is more comforting or crowd-pleasing than the good old creamy, cheesy hash brown potato casserole that has been served at family gatherings, pot lucks, funerals, and church suppers for generations. My sister serves her version every Thanksgiving. People threaten not to show up if the hash brown casserole is not served. It is tradition; and you don’t mess with tradition……until now.
Luckily for you, I like to stir things up! Don’t get me wrong I love traditional foods. There is a reason that they have become tradition; but I like to put my twist on them. Just tweak them slightly and add a little more flavor. After all, this blog is all about the flavor.
My version of this rich cheesy potato casserole includes chopped bacon, ranch seasoning mix, worcestershire and hot sauce. What it doesn’t have is canned soup. No cream of chicken or cream of mushroom or cream of anything soup. Throw the cans out! This version is so easy to make, and it saves money too.
Of course, the most important ingredient is the Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes. That tradition I don’t mess with. I stick with what works. When AllRecipes.com asked us to make recipes using Ore-Ida, I immediately thought of the hash brown casserole.
And I must say that these potatoes are frickin’ AWESOME! As far as I’m concerned I don’t need to make any more recipes. I could just live on this potato casserole alone. It tastes that good. I heard someone call them “crack” potatoes and that would be accurate because they are addictive. Make sure you have a crowd to feed because, otherwise, you can’t stop eating this stuff.
To make it, start with the chicken soup base, which consists of butter, flour, onions, chicken broth, and milk. Then add the seasonings: salt, pepper, ranch seasoning mix, worcestershire, hot sauce, and bacon. Stir in all the traditional ingredients, sour cream, cheese, and shredded potatoes. And for the finale, top with the crunchy panko bread crumbs drizzled with melted butter. Cook for approximately an hour and then you have the most amazing potato casserole you have ever tasted in your life!
It’s your turn. Are you a traditionalist? Do you dare to tempt fate and tweak tradition? Go ahead I dare you. I double dare you! Go ahead. Make this casserole. You will thank me later.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups chicken broth (I use the no salt added Kitchen Basic brand)
- 1 cup milk (I use 1%)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package ranch seasoning mix
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire
- a few shakes of hot sauce (adjust to taste)
- 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 cup sour cream (I use light sour cream)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 (30-ounce) bag frozen Ore-Ida Hash Brown Potatoes, thawed
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On top of the stove, in a large sauce pan over medium low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
- Add chopped onions and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in ¼ cup flour and continue stirring for about 1 minutes until you have a paste.
- Pour in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth. Add in salt, pepper, ranch seasoning, worcestershire, and hot sauce. Continue stirring.
- Stir in milk and continue stirring. Let it simmer for about 5 - 7 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and add sour cream and cheese and stir until smooth.
- Add chopped bacon and fold in the Ore-Ida hash brown potatoes. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
- Spoon the potato mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the casserole. Drizzle melted butter over the top of the bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped bacon and green onions, if desired.
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