This potato casserole is cheesy, creamy, comforting potato side dish that the whole family will love. It’s impossible not to love the combination of diced hash brown potatoes slathered with cheese sauce, bacon, and green onions. No canned soup needed, the sauce is so easy and takes just a few minutes to prepare.
I might be biased towards potatoes, but this is the best side dish to ever hit the table. My family doesn’t even care whatever meat I serve as a main course, they just want the potatoes. I could be making beef tenderloin and they will get the potatoes first.
These cheesy potatoes in particular are my husband’s favorite because it tastes like a loaded baked potato. I don’t mind this version myself. Who could resist anything with bacon?! There is bacon throughout the whole dish, mixed into the potatoes and sprinkled on top. A generous addition of green onion is a must for the best baked potato flavors.
Loaded potato casserole will definitely beat out the classic version. Classic cheesy potato dish is also referred to as “Funeral Potatoes.” When one of my readers first told me about funeral potatoes in reference to my hashbrown casserole recipe, I had to reread it a few time. Before that, I’ve never heard this reference but it is a very popular name, especially in the Midwest region.
So this dish can be thought of as a loaded potato version of funeral potatoes. It is the same basic premise of diced hash browns mixed with cheesy cream sauce and baked until bubbly. There are couple of things that I do differently from the tradition through. First of all, I make my own cream sauce instead of using canned cream of chicken soup. It’s so easy and tastes much better.
I also add a little cream cheese for extra creaminess in the sauce. And of course, I add a pound of bacon and a generous amount of green onions for a pop of delicious flavor.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Hash brown potatoes – use frozen diced hash brown potatoes but make sure to that them completely first.
Bacon – you will need bacon for the cheese sauce to mix in with potatoes and some for the topping.
Onion – classic yellow onion will work well but you can also use Vidalia.
Garlic – as always, use fresh garlic for the best flavor and aroma.
Flour – use all purpose flour and if needed, substitute with
Chicken Stock – use stock when possible because it tends to be richer and more flavorful than broth.
Whole milk – whole milk will give you creamier, richer sauce than low far options.
Cream cheese and sour cream – it will make the sauce extra creamy and rich.
Green onion – like bacon, you will mix it into the cheese sauce and use as topping.
Sharp cheddar cheese – use yellow or white cheddar cheese and choose sharp or extra sharp for a rich flavor.
Salt and Pepper
How To Make It
Tip1: Before you start to cook the potato casserole, make sure that hash browns are thawed!
Tip 2: Don’t take bacon out of the refrigerator until ready to cook. It’s a lot easier to cut cold bacon.
Tip 3: It’s always best to prepare and measure all of the ingredients first so everything is ready and close by while cooking.
Sauté half pound of bacon until it’s half way cooked and add onion. Sauté together until softened and add in garlic. Sprinkle flour all over bacon and onions and stir until completely incorporated throughout.
Slowly pour in chicken stock while whisking until smooth. Slowly pour in milk immediately and chicken stock and keep whisking. Keep whisking slowly until sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Add grated cheddar, one handful at a time.
When the cheese is melted, take the sauce off heat and stir in diced green onion.
In a separate cooking pan, sauté remaining diced bacon for the topping. Don’t make it too crispy because it will continue to cook on top of the casserole.
Prepare The Casserole:
Pour diced hash browns into a large mixing bowl and add the cheesy sauce. Mix it all together and transfer into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Spread some more cheese and the other half of bacon over the top and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes.
Sprinkle some more diced green onion on top and enjoy this cheesy, delicious food for your heart and soul.
Make It Ahead Of Time:
You can very easily prepare this potato casserole a day ahead and bake it when ready. Prepare the casserole completely up to the baking step, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. Make sure to cover the prepared casserole dish air-tight before putting it in the fridge. (Discard plastic wrap or foil cover before baking.)
Pull the casserole dish out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the casserole per the recipe. You may been to add about 5 extra minutes since the casserole starts out cold.
Storing and Reheating Instructions
Store your leftovers in the refrigerator. Store it in the original casserole dish or transfer into a food storage container. Either way, make sure to cover it air-tight.
You can use a microwave to reheat individual potions of potatoes or reheat the whole pan in the oven. To reheat larger amount, you can do it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° and reheat just until hot throughout.
Make It Gluten Free
This potato casserole is very easy to make gluten free. Simply use gluten free all purpose flour to make the cheese sauce. Note that some gluten free flours don’t thicken as well as regular flour so add an extra tablespoon of gluten free flour if needed.
All remaining ingredients should be gluten free but double check the nutritional information on the packaging.
Loaded Cheesy Potato Casserole
- 32 oz diced hash browns thawed
- 1/2 lb raw bacon diced
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups whole milk can use 2%
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup diced green onion
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- cracked black pepper
- 1/2 lb raw bacon diced
- 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2-3 tbsp diced green onion
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Preheat a large sauce pot over medium heat and saute 1/2 lb of diced bacon until most of the fat is rendered and it starts to crisp.
- Add diced onion and saute until softened. Press garlic and stir it into the bacon and onion mixture.
- Sprinkle flour all over bacon and onions and stir until completely incorporated throughout.
- Slowly pour in chicken stock while whisking and mix until flour is incorporated.
- Pour in milk, keep whisking slowly, and let it cook until sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in cream cheese and sour cream.
- Stir until cream cheese is incorporated and add shredded cheese. Keep stirring slowly until cheese is melted and take off heat.
- Stir in diced green onions.
- In a another cooking pan (or wash the original one), sauté remaining diced bacon for the topping. (Don’t make it too crispy because it will continue to cook on top of the casserole.)
- Pour diced hash browns into a large mixing bowl and add the cheesy sauce. Mix it together until evenly incorporated throughout.
- Pour potato mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
- Spread more cheese over the top and cooked bacon pieces over cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes.