This Cheesy Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole is everything you need on Christmas morning! (Or anytime you have guests for breakfast!) Hashbrowns are baked til crispy, then topped with eggs, cheese, and black forest ham. It’s an overnight recipe, so you have more time for stockings in the morning! Make ahead breakfasts are always a win at the holidays. This recipe was originally posted on December 7, 2012.  

hash brown egg casserole close up of cheese melting

Breakfast Casserole Overnight with Potato, Ham, and Egg

I have a zit on my chin right now, and my 2-year-old Valentine keeps poking her finger at it. “Whazzat mommy, whazzat?” It’s a pimple honey. “Oh, hippo, mommy?” No, child, but it’s about the size of one.

I don’t know what it is with my face breaking out like a 13 year old’s, maybe it’s because I’m 31 now and my body switched up the numbers on my age?? What is the deal?

hash brown potato casserole shot from above with slices cut into it

In less awkward news, I am here today to introduce you to my favorite easy breakfast casserole of all time. I posted this recipe back in 2012, when my blog was still just a baby. I started with all my greatest recipes, and this is definitely one of the greats. Easy? check. Feeds a crowd? check. Tons of flavor? check. CHEESE??? Hello.

Christmas Casserole Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to grab at the store for your cheesy hashbrown breakfast casserole. (Quantities given in the recipe below.)

  • Frozen, shredded hashbrowns.
  • Butter. I use salted butter, but unsalted butter is fine too.
  • Monterey Jack cheese. You can shred this from a block or buy it pre-shredded.
  • Cheddar cheese. Again, pre-shredded is totally fine!
  • Black forest ham, cut into bite-size pieces. Any kind of smoked ham will work in this recipe, or even deli sliced ham will do. If I don’t have leftover ham, I often buy a $5 ham steak from the store. You can also use an equivalent amount of cooked bacon or sausage. It’s hard to go wrong here!
  • 8 Large eggs
  • Evaporated milk OR heavy cream. Evaporated milk comes from a can in the baking aisle of a grocery store. Heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream) comes in a small carton in the refrigerated section, next to the milk.
  • Seasoned salt. Where my Lawry’s fans at?? This stuff is gold. An off-brand works fine too.
  • Kosher salt. Kosher salt is my favorite and I use it for everything. If all you have is table salt, use half the amount.
  • Pepper
  • Dry mustard powder. (optional)
  • Onion powder. (optional)
breakfast casserole with ham close-up of a piece lifted by a spatula from the pan, connected to casserole by melted cheese

How to Make Hash Brown Potato Casserole

Here are the basics! (The full recipe is included below.)

breakfast casserole overnight recipe showing melted butter poured over frozen hashbrowns in a pan next to baked hash browns in a pan
  1. Melt butter and pour it over a 9×13 inch pan full of frozen hashbrowns. (See photos)
  2. Bake up the buttered hashbrowns in a dish in the oven, until they get nice and crispy. This is essential for achieving non-soggy potatoes.
  3. Layer some cheese on top (any kind you like really–this recipe calls for Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  4. Layer ham over the cheese.
  5. Soak the whole thing with a creamy mixture of eggs, evaporated milk OR cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt, pepper, dry mustard, and onion powder.
  6. Pop it in the oven!
christmas casserole in a dish, uncooked, with ham piled over crispy hash browns and shredded cheese

I love the flavor of the baked crispy hashbrowns with the cheesy eggs and smoked ham. It is seriously the best combo! My mother-in-law Kris found a version of this recipe in a cookbook years ago (before I married into the family) and we’ve had it for Christmas breakfast ever since.

How to make Christmas Morning Casserole the night before

You can make this hashbrown breakfast casserole and bake it up right away, or do it the night before and pop it in the oven before your guests wake up. Who doesn’t love the smell of overnight breakfast casserole in the oven, especially when someone else is making it for you? Your family is going to love you this year.

  1. Melt butter and pour it over a 9×13 inch pan full of frozen hashbrowns. (See photos)
  2. Bake up the buttered hashbrowns in the oven, until they get nice and crispy. This is essential for achieving non-soggy potatoes! Say no to the sog!
  3. Layer some cheese on top (Swiss! Gouda! Mozzarella! Sky is the limit here.)
  4. Layer ham over the cheese.
  5. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
  6. In a large bowl, mix eggs, evaporated milk OR cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt, pepper, dry mustard, and onion powder.
  7. Cover and refrigerate the bowl of eggs overnight.
  8. In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Whisk the egg mixture once more, then pour over the potatoes in the casserole dish.
  10. Pop it in the oven!
christmas morning casserole with hash browns and ham, uncooked in a dish next to a bowl of egg and cream mixture being poured over the dish

I will always remember one Christmas a few years ago when we were busy getting this hashbrown breakfast casserole together in the morning. My mother-in-law Kris had it all baked up and ready to go, and it was warming on the bottom rack in the oven.

She had also made some fabulous star bread, kind of like cinnamon rolls, but in a star shape. It was completely done and already on the glass serving tray, ready to be set on the table. She put it in the warm oven on the rack above our beloved hashbrown breakfast casserole. You can see what’s coming…

Yes, the glass serving tray shattered from the heat in the oven, and we ended up with glass all over the top of our beautiful breakfast casserole. SO SAD!! I remember we had to keep holding Bumpa back (Eric’s grandpa) from stealing bites. “It’s fine!” he said. We finally got a hold of it to throw it out so that we didn’t end up taking Bumps to the ER on Christmas day.

easy breakfast casserole close up of crispy edge ready to be served as an individual portion

Just look at those crispy edges. Mmmm.

Hash Brown Potato Casserole Variations

Endless variations, I tell you! This recipe is THE BEST for cleaning out your fridge.

  • Veggies: Add 1 to 2 cups of any pre-cooked veggies such as broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms.
  • Protein options: If you’re not a ham fan, try swapping it out for chorizo, cooked breakfast sausage, or crumbled bacon! Make sure whatever meat you add is fully cooked first.
  • Cheeses: They make a bazillion cheeses for a reason. Sso you can have endless variety! Try Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, Asiago, Gouda, smoked cheddar, Havarti, or Colby jack!
  • Add-ins: green chilis, jalapenos, pickled jalapenos, pimientos, olives, or roasted bell peppers.

Should I thaw frozen hash browns before cooking?

I love this recipe because you DON’T have to defrost the hashbrowns first. You DO have to bake them before you mix them with the other ingredients. That’s how you make them crispy and not soggy!

Can I use fresh hash browns instead of frozen?

Yep, you sure can. Peel and shred your potatoes; using a food processor here is going to be easiest. Once you have about 30 ounces, follow the recipe as indicated! You might need to increase the time on baking the buttered potatoes (before adding the egg mixture.) You will know they are done when the tops are turning golden and they are fork tender.

hashbrown breakfast casserole close-up with chives, ham, cheese, and potatoes visible

What do you eat with hash brown casserole?

Side dish options, here we go!

How long can you keep hash brown casserole in the fridge?

It will keep in the fridge for about 3-5 days. After that, get your leftovers in the freezer!

Can I freeze hash brown casserole?

Yes, you can freeze leftover hashbrown casserole in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

For a make-ahead recipe, follow the recipe as usual, baking until it is not quite as browned as you would like it. Let cool completely, then seal well with foil or plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. You can either let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then follow the normal baking instructions, or bake straight from frozen. At 350, it will take about 60-90 minutes.

How do you reheat hash brown casserole?

  • If you’ve got a significant portion to heat, I recommend popping it in the oven for 15-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • If you’re catching a quick lunch from leftovers, use the microwave. Loosen the casserole with a fork and cook on high about 1 minute.
hashbrown breakfast casserole baked overnight close-up showing slices of potato and egg casserole in a pan

And that’s your hashbrown casserole, folks.

This is definitely the casserole your family needs this year, minus the shattered glass. Make it happen. Christmas only comes once a year! (Although I don’t know why we limit ourselves like this. You could totally section up this casserole and freeze individually. Then toss one serving into the microwave on a busy morning, and eat like a king on a random Tuesday. Try it! I have some in my freezer right now.)

UPDATE! I just posted a variation of this casserole. I used sausage and peppers and onions instead of ham. IT’S SO GOOD! Check it out here: Easy Sausage Breakfast Casserole (Overnight)

You will love these other breakfast ideas!

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hash brown egg casserole close up showing cheese, egg, potato, and chives for breakfast
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Hash Brown Egg Casserole with Ham

This Cheesy Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole is everything you need on Christmas morning! (Or anytime you have guests for breakfast!) Frozen hashbrowns are baked til crispy, then topped with eggs, cheese, and black forest ham. It’s an overnight recipe, so you have more time for stockings in the morning! Make ahead breakfasts are always a win at the holidays.  

Ingredients

  • 1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hashbrowns
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 stick
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, packed
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, packed
  • 1 & 1/2 cups black forest ham*, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/3 cups evaporated milk OR cream
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, I like Lawry's
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, use 1/4 if all you have is table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray, or grease with butter.
  • Dump the bag of frozen hashbrowns into the pan. (There is no need to thaw first.)
  • Melt a stick of butter in a small bowl, and pour evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Use a spoon to gently toss it all together, then spread it out so that it’s even. 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned on top. You can even nab a forkful to make sure they are done if you like.  
  • Remove the casserole and reduce the oven temperature to 350.
  • Layer 1 and 1/2 cups each Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese over the top of the potatoes (make sure you pack in your cheese! Don't skimp now!) Add the ham. You can either leave it layered or use a spoon to gently toss the cheese and potatoes and ham together. Either way is fine. (I like to toss for a more even distribution.)
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together 8 eggs, 1 and 1/3 cups evaporated milk OR cream, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if all you have is table salt!), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. Beat well.
  • Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the casserole, making sure everything gets wet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. It is done when bubbly. The edges should be starting to brown and the center should not wiggle when you shake the pan.
  • If the center of the casserole looks very wobbly but the top is starting to brown too much, cover with foil for the last few minutes of baking. 

Overnight instructions:

  • Follow instructions through step 5 (bake the potatoes at 400.) Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Follow the instructions above for layering the cheese and ham. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, evaporated milk OR cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt, pepper, dry mustard, and onion powder. Beat well.
  •  Cover the egg mixture and refrigerate overnight.**
  • In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk the egg mixture once more, then pour over the potatoes in the casserole dish.
  • Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. It is done when bubbly, when the edges start to brown and the center doesn’t wiggle when you shake the pan.
  • If the center of the casserole looks very wobbly but the top is starting to brown too much, cover with foil for the last few minutes of baking. 

Notes

*Any kind of smoked ham will work in this recipe, or even deli sliced ham will do. If I don’t have leftover ham, I often buy a $5 ham steak from the store. You can also use an equivalent amount of cooked bacon or sausage. It’s hard to go wrong here!
**If refrigerating a bowl of beaten eggs sounds like a pain to you, you can certainly pour the eggs over the potatoes the night before baking. The potatoes won’t be as crisp, so I think it’s worth it, but it’s totally up to you!
Source: This recipe is adapted from my mother-in-law Kris!

Nutrition

Calories: 348 kcal, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Protein: 19 g, Fat: 23 g, Saturated Fat: 13 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 181 mg, Sodium: 919 mg, Potassium: 443 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 713 IU, Vitamin C: 6 mg, Calcium: 308 mg, Iron: 2 mg

Blast from the past

Here’s the old picture of our favorite Christmas breakfast casserole (sans broken glass):

hashbrown breakfast casserole on a plate

And I’ll keep my old musings from back in 2012, as well:

Eric and I are always arguing about the lights in our house. (It has nothing to do with the electricity bill, which is what my parents were always yelling at me about.) I like to be able to see what I’m doing. Eric likes ambiance, which means lamplight only. This is great if you have lots of lamps. Bring on the ambiance, I say, if you have enough lamps.

But we don’t. So I always get into trouble when I walk into the kitchen and flip the lights on (to see what I’m doing) and I’m always moaning to Eric that I feel like I live in the 14th century or something.

The addition of the Christmas tree has decreased contention in our home considerably. Eric loves the extra ambiance. I love Christmas. (It makes me feel more goodwill toward men, i.e., less likely to complain about living in a cave.) It’s a win-win.

I think the moral of the story here is that Christmas solves all problems.

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