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Hash Brown Casserole (No Canned Soup!)

This easy Hash Brown Casserole is rich, cheesy and creamy with a crunchy corn flake topping…and it’s made without canned soup. It’s a classic comfort food side dish that goes great with almost anything!

It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for any occasion, from holidays to parties to picnics, potlucks, Sunday suppers, brunches, lunches, and even weeknight dinners!

If you like scalloped potatoes, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this hashbrown casserole just as much (or maybe even more…for me, it’s hard to pick because they’re both so good!).

And I’m sure you’ll like making it even more because it’s quicker and easier to prepare. You can assemble it in about 10 minutes, and then into the oven it goes!

One of the keys to putting it together so quickly is using thawed frozen hash brown potatoes. They’re a great shortcut ingredient that actually works a lot better in this dish than fresh potatoes because they contain less moisture.

Another shortcut that’s often used in making this casserole is canned condensed cream of chicken soup. This shortcut, I skip (just not a huge fan…but, hey, you can totally use it if you’d like!).

Instead, I make a quick-and-easy condensed soup substitute from butter, flour, chicken broth and milk. It adds both flavor and lots of creamy goodness.

A generous amount of sour cream adds even more creaminess as well as a slight tang. Cheddar cheese and onions add great flavor. And the buttery crushed corn flakes provide a nice crunch.

If you’ve never had this casserole, just try it once. And I’m sure you’ll want to make it again and again!

Ingredients You Need

all of the ingredients needed to make hash brown casserole with text labels

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

For the Canned Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute

  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken broth or stock (I use a roasted chicken base mixed with water for extra flavor)
  • Milk (I use whole milk)
  • Salt and pepper

If you’d rather use canned soup, you’ll need one 10.5-ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup instead of the ingredients above.

Remaining Casserole Ingredients

  • Sour cream (I use full-fat sour cream)
  • Cheddar cheese (shredded; I use sharp cheddar, but you can use mild, medium or extra-sharp depending on the flavor you want)
  • Onion (finely diced)
  • Frozen shredded hash browns (thawed)
  • Corn flakes (crushed)
  • Butter (melted)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

How to Make Hash Brown Casserole

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. For the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions, please go to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

1: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the flour.

2: Stir to combine; cook, stirring, for one minute.

3: Add the chicken broth and milk; stir to combine.

4: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. This is your homemade cream of chicken soup substitute!

a collage of 4 numbered images; number 1 is of flour and melted butter in a sauce pan, number 2 is of the flour and butter being whisked together, number 3 is of chicken broth and milk added to the flour mixture, and number 4 is of the final thickened soup substitute

5: Place the soup substitute, sour cream, cheese, onions, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

6: Stir until well combined.

7: Add the thawed hash browns.

8: Stir until well combined.

a collage of 4 numbered images; number 5 is of the soup substitute, sour cream, cheese, onions, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, number 6 if of those ingredients being mixed together, number 7 is of the hash browns added to the bowl, and number 8 is of the hash browns being mixed in

9: Transfer the mixture to an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.

10: Mix together the crushed corn flakes and melted butter in a small bowl.

11: Sprinkle the corn flakes over the top of the casserole.

12: Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly, the potatoes are cooked through, and the topping is golden brown and crispy.

a collage of 4 numbered images; number 9 is of the hash brown mixture in a baking dish, number 10 is of the crushed corn flakes being mixed with the melted butter in a small bowl, number 11 is of the casserole topped with the crushed corn flakes, and number 12 is a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit

13: Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

14: If desired, sprinkle the entire casserole with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

a collage of 2 numbered images; number 13 is of the finished casserole, and number 14 is of a serving of hash brown casserole on a white plate with a fork with text that says enjoy

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • It’s important that you thaw the frozen hash browns before adding them to the casserole. Frozen hash browns take much longer to cook, and they can make the casserole watery.
    • I thaw mine overnight in the refrigerator. I put them in a colander set over a bowl (to catch any water) and cover it with plastic wrap.
    • If you’re in a hurry, you can defrost them in your microwave; be sure to drain off any excess water.
  • If possible, shred your own cheese. It melts much better than pre-shredded cheese which can have added anti-clumping ingredients.
  • Crush your cornflakes as coarse or as fine as you’d like. I like to keep mine rather coarse, and I just crush them with my hands. To crush them finer, put them in a plastic storage bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • This recipe is for a smaller batch of hash brown casserole that makes about 6 servings, which is great for a small family dinner.
    • If you have a larger crowd to feed, simply double the recipe and use a 9x13x2-inch baking dish. You may need to increase the cooking time just a bit.
hash brown casserole in a baking dish with a serving spoon and plates on the side

Substitutions & Variations

  • Diced/cubed thawed frozen hash browns can be used instead of the shredded hash browns. This style of potatoes may take a little longer to cook through.
  • You can use one 10.5-ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup instead of making the soup substitute if you’d rather.
  • Alternate toppings: Panko breadcrumbs, regular breadcrumbs, crushed Ritz or other crackers (mix any of these 3 options with melted butter), crushed potato chips or French-fried onions (no butter needed for these 2 options).
  • Greek yogurt can be used instead of sour cream. The flavor will be a little more tangy.
  • Not into onions? Just leave them out…it’ll still be really delicious!
  • Turn it into a main dish by adding some diced or cubed cooked ham, cooked chopped or shredded chicken, cooked ground beef or sausage. You could even add some cooked veggies!
a serving of hash brown casserole on a white plate with the baking dish of casserole and a serving spoon on the side

Make Ahead, Storing Leftovers, Reheating & Freezing

Make Ahead

Although this casserole comes together in just a few minutes, you can assemble it up to a day ahead of time. Just leave the cornflake topping off because it will get soggy in the fridge. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

Before baking, let the casserole sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes to take some of the chill off (this can help prevent your baking dish from cracking due to extreme temperature change). Add the corn flake topping and bake, adding extra time as needed since the casserole is colder.

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover hash brown casserole, once cooled, covered tightly or in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 to 4 days.

Sadly, when you have leftovers, the topping will lose that lovely crunch (and it’s hard to get it back)…but the casserole will still be delicious!

Reheating

Reheat leftovers in an appropriately-sized baking dish in a 325°F oven until heated through. You can also reheat the casserole in the microwave.

Freezing

Freezing this hash brown casserole is not recommended. The sour cream can separate and become grainy and watery after being frozen and thawed.

close up of a serving of hash brown casserole on a white plate with a forkful being lifted out

What to Serve With Hash Brown Casserole

Honestly, I think the better question here is what can’t you serve with hash brown casserole? Other than carb-based dishes such as pasta or rice or something like a soup or stew, it really does go with just about anything.

Try it with chicken, turkey, beef, pork, ham, lamb, fish or seafood for dinner or lunch. And it even goes great alongside eggs for breakfast or brunch (yum)!

I hope you try this Hash Brown Casserole recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Potato Side Dish Recipes To Try

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

close up of a spoonful of hash brown casserole being lifted out of the baking dish

Hash Brown Casserole (No Canned Soup!)

This easy Hash Brown Casserole is rich, cheesy and creamy with a crunchy corn flake topping…and it's made without canned soup. It's a classic comfort food side dish that goes great with almost anything!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Estimated Calories: 332

Ingredients

For the Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth or stock, I use a roasted chicken based mixed with water
  • ½ cup milk, I use whole milk
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

For the Casserole

  • 1 cup sour cream, I use full-fat
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, I use sharp (you can also use mild, medium or extra-sharp)
  • ½ cup finely diced onions
  • 15 ounces frozen shredded hash browns, thawed and drained of any excess water
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup crushed cornflakes, crush them as coarse or as fine as you'd like
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute

  • In a small saucepan (I use a 1-quart saucepan), melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add the flour; stir or whisk until combined and smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the chicken broth or stock and the milk; stir or whisk to combine.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened (about a minute).
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper (the amount of salt needed can vary depending on how salty your chicken broth is).

Assemble & Bake the Casserole

  • Place the soup substitute, sour cream, cheese, onions, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  • Add the thawed hash browns; stir until well combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the crushed corn flakes and melted butter until well combined.
  • Evenly sprinkle the crushed corn flakes over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly, the potatoes are cooked through, and the topping is golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • If desired, sprinkle the entire casserole with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

  • It’s important that you thaw the frozen hash browns before adding them to the casserole. Frozen hash browns take much longer to cook, and they can make the casserole watery.
  • If possible, shred your own cheese. It melts much better than pre-shredded cheese which can have additional anti-clumping ingredients.
  • You can use one 10.5-ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup instead of making the soup substitute if you’d rather.
  • If you have a larger crowd to feed, simply double the recipe and use a 9x13x2-inch baking dish. You may need to increase the cooking time just a bit.
  • Please refer to the post for additional tips, substitutions and variations, serving suggestions, and info on making ahead, storing leftovers, reheating and freezing.  
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