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 with Ham

4.58 from 159 votes
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 1 hr 5 mins
Total: 1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 12
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: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 181mg | Sodium: 919mg | Potassium: 443mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 713IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 308mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 348
Keyword: casserole, eggs, Ham, hashbrowns, potato
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a different egg casserole every Christmas and haven’t been wowed but your recipe changed that. This will be my go to recipe for Christmas morning from now on! Everyone loved it and I made it exactly as written. Thank you so much 😉

  2. I love this recipe but this year can not find the shredded frozen or fresh hash browns anywhere. Can I use the cubed frozen or fresh hash brown potatoes as a substitute? 

    1. Hi Janet! Yes, you can definitely used the cubed hash browns as a substitute. Let us know how it turns out! Enjoy :-)

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!!  I doubled cheese on accident, added green peppers and drained grease after cooking. My husband loved it and he doesn’t ever eat casseroles and our 10 yr old went back to get his own seconds!! Thanks for a great breakfast recipe!!  

    1. Doubling the cheese on accident sounds like a great idea Tara, haha! Maybe I’ll try it next time 😉 SO happy it was a hit, thank you for reviewing!

  4. 5 stars
    I know I’ve already raved & reviewed this (probably more than once), but I had to share a story. My office is closing at 1pm tomorrow due to Thanksgiving, so I figured I’d bring in some type of breakfast thing. I live by two local bakeries that are super easy to stop at (and zero work for me), but I asked my main boss-type if he’d be in tomorrow since he’s “trying to lose weight” if he’d be in. “I think so, maybe, why?” Well, if you’re not going to be here, I’m going to be lazy & grab something from Shop A or Shop B that’s not very healthy, if you are, then I’ll make breakfast casserole. “Make the breakfast casserole, I’ll be here and that **** is amazing.” Hashbrowns just got done, letting it cool before the cheese, ham & bacon. Will whip up the eggs (I have an old fashioned hand mixer that works GREAT!) and tupperware in the fridge until morning. The other departments are going to hate me….

  5. Fellow Sacramentan hoping to make you proud!! Trying this for thanksgiving, but will be subbing in tater tots and bacon! Plus baking in a Bundt pan! I’ll keep you posted. Let me know if you have any advice!

    1. 5 stars
      UPDATE: The plan worked! It was delicious, received rave reviews, and there were no leftovers. My only fail was the pan… DO NOT USE A BUNDT PAN. The dish looked creepy. It almost didn’t get cut into because the presentation was so weird 🤣🤣🤣. Maybe it would have worked if I did an avocado drizzle or something, but it just looked bizarre.

      Anyhow, the tater tot sub was great, although I cut the butter by half and cooked a total of 40 min. I also did some time in the broiler to try and get them to crisp up. If I owned an air fryer, I would have gone that route.

      We’ve decided the recipe was so good, it’s our new tradition – each year we’ll experiment with the presentation. Next year, I’m doing casserole waffles!

  6. Love this recipe we make it for all family holidays. I do have a question: Can you make 2 of this recipe at the same time? I have a large group to feed after a wedding and it would be helpful if there is a way to bake two at once.

    1. Hi Dawn! If you have a big enough oven you can just do it in two pans. Just put them in the oven side by side, should be totally fine. Enjoy!

        1. Hi Elizabeth! As explained in the recipe card, you first cook the hash browns with butter, salt, and pepper at 400 for 25-30 minutes. You then lower the oven temperature to 350, add the egg mixture to the hash browns mixture, and bake for an additional 40 minutes or so.

    2. How far in advance do you think I can make this? I’m thinking about making today (Tuesday) but will not be eaten until Friday morning. Any suggestions?

      1. Hi Madeleine! This recipe can definitely be started the night before and baked in the morning; if you’re going to make the casserole from start to finish and then refrigerate, it will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days without a problem. Enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    I started making this (GLUTEN FREE!!) recipe for my family when I needed a one pan breakfast for  times they stay over night for like Christmas or Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc. They all love this Casserole and now definitely appreciate being able to look forward to it. I always add a fresh fruit bowl to serve with it. I made 2 changes to the recipe #1 -I season the potatoes with garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt & pepper, seasoned salt if I have it-I like to season all parts of a recipe. #2 – I changed  the cream/evaporated milk to half & half. The only note I would make on the recipe preparation is how long the frozen potatoes take to cook so they are browned-I have never been able to cook shorter than 45 minutes for some browning. This is a wonderful recipe that is enough for 4 grown men, 3 women and a child -with leftovers! that never last long! thank you for a new(er) Family Favorite!!

    1. Hi Nicole! If you are using fresh hashbrowns I would start checking them of doneness at about 15-20 minutes. It might take just as long as the frozen ones though, so be prepared for the full time amount. Enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this so many times and with many different ingredients. It is my families favorite, absolutely delish!

  9. 5 stars
    First off let me say I love how detailed this whole thing was. Helped out soooo much. Made this Easter morning for my family and in laws and it was gone before I could even get a picture. Soooo amazing!

  10. Buying the ingredients today! Can you tell me how many portions this makes? I might have missed it in the  nutritional info. Thank you!

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