Every good Midwesterner has a recipe for cheesy potatoes when a comforting side dish is needed; my Ranch Cheesy Potatoes (with Hash Browns) offers a twist on this wintertime staple.
If you’re on a diet or trying to eat healthier, this recipe isn’t for you - I’m sorry! This recipe is everything you want in comfort food - carbs + loads of dairy.
It's very much winter and the craving to tuck into something comforting is strong.
What are Cheesy Potatoes?
Cheesy potatoes are one of those formulaic dishes that goes something like this: frozen hash browns + cream of something soup + cheese = one comforting AF casserole. It's a Midwestern staple and goes by many fun names including:
- Funeral Potatoes
- Mister Dell's Potato Casserole
- Hash Brown Casserole
There are hundreds of variations (see Variations, below, for suggestions). I like to add Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning and jalapenos (optional) to the mix to create Ranch Cheesy Potatoes with Hash Browns. Read on to learn how to make it.
To make some of the BEST cheesy potatoes with frozen hash browns ever, you will need the following ingredients. Keep in mind that this dish serves 12; it's a great side to pull out for the holidays, or you can meal prep and freeze portions for later.
- frozen hash browns
- cream of chicken soup
- sour cream
- white or yellow onion
- cheddar cheese
- pepper jack cheese
- Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
- jalapeno(s) (optional)
*See recipe card for quantities.
Layering is the key to success for these super awesome ranch cheesy potatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet, diced onion, and diced jalapeno (optional). Mix to combine.
Melt ½ cup butter in a small pan over low heat and pour it into a 9x13 pan.
Add half a package of frozen hash browns to the pan, spreading evenly.
Pour half of the wet mixture over the frozen hash browns and use a spatula to evenly layer.
Next, sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese evenly over the top of this layer.
Add remaining half of frozen hash browns.
Add remaining half of the wet mixture, using a spatula to spread evenly.
Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheese over the top of that layer.
Crush up the package of croutons and sprinkle them evenly over the top of the cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Ranch cheesy potatoes with frozen hash browns is an adaptable dish, one you can certainly make a few substitutions to, as necessary. Here are some suggestions:
- You can use margarine in lieu of butter
- Cream of onion or cream of whatever-makes-sense soup works just as well as cream of chicken
- Experiment with cheeses you like (Colby jack, gouda, etc.), as long as it's a good melting cheese
- For the topping you can use corn flakes or crackers (around 1 - ½ cup(s), crushed); I prefer croutons because they provide the ultimate crunch and have the added benefit of being seasoned
- If you'd rather this dish not have any spice, feel free to leave out the jalapeno
The beauty of cheesy hash brown casserole is that you can make it your own. Here are some suggestions to get those wheels turning.
- Spicy-er - I like to add a jalapeno or two to add a little heat, but if you want to really add some zest try including cayenne pepper, chili pepper flakes or hotter peppers like thai chiles.
- Deluxe add ins - I highly recommend adding bacon. But you can also add things like bell pepper, sausage or chorizo, other seasonings like Taco or Cajun, and fun toppings like crispy onions or Cheez-Its.
- Frozen taters - I've also seen cheesy potatoes made with diced hash browns instead of shredded. Ore Ida also makes a diced potatoes O'Brien with onions and peppers that would make a fantastic short cut.
- Mixing bowl
- 9 x 13 baking pan
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. When cooking for two (as I do) I freeze half of the cheesy potatoes in individual portions for later.
Cheesy potatoes with hash browns is one of those comforting recipes that most any home cook should be able to approach confidently. It's very forgiving in execution. My top tip here would be to not be afraid to put your own spin on the recipe - though if you follow the steps here for Cheesy Ranch Potatoes I swear you won't be disappointed.
If you like these Cheesy Potatoes, you should try these other fantastic potato dishes:
Ranch Cheesy Potatoes with Hash Browns
- Mixing bowl
- 9 x 13 baking pan
- 1 30 ounce package frozen hash browns
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 1 pint 1 pint sour cream
- ½ cup 2% milk
- ½ cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
- 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
- 1 5 ounce package croutons, garlic and butter flavored
- 1-2 jalapenos, finely diced (optional)
- Layering is the key to success for these super awesome ranch cheesy potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet, diced onion, and diced jalapeno (optional). Mix to combine.
- Melt ½ cup butter in a small pan over low heat and pour it into a 9x13 pan.
- Add half a package of frozen hash browns to the pan, spreading evenly.
- Pour half of the wet mixture over the frozen hash browns and use a spatula to evenly layer.
- Next, sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese evenly over the top of this layer.
- Add remaining half of frozen hash browns.
- Add remaining half of the wet mixture, using a spatula to spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheese over the top of that layer.
- Crush up the package of croutons and sprinkle them evenly over the top of the cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.