This year has brought a lot of changes when it comes to how we feed our families. With many restaurants forced to close their dining rooms—and some shutting down altogether—I have found myself in the kitchen cooking meals at home way more than I ever planned.
To be honest, I will never have the cooking skills of the Barefoot Contessa or the Pioneer Woman. I don't have the time, the tools, or the access to many of the ingredients found in those delicious recipes.
During the pandemic, one of my kitchen strategies has been to attempt to recreate some of my favorite restaurant dishes. One of my favorites is the delicious Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole. The copycat recipe is easy, incredibly cheesy, and just as good as the original.
You really can't go wrong with a hashbrown casserole. Not only does it work for any meal of the day, it only takes five minutes to prepare. The key ingredient is frozen hash browns.
Simply mix in a creamy sauce and some cheese, and voila! It's time to put it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later, you have a mouth-watering dish perfect for everything from a holiday breakfast to a potluck dinner.
There are a lot of recipes online for cheesy hashbrown casserole, but I believe this one straight from my grandma comes closest to the original Cracker Barrel dish. This recipe does have some flexibility to it. You can use condensed cream of chicken soup, or you can opt for cream of cheddar soup if you want it extra cheesy.
One thing that is not optional is the sour cream. If you want that creaminess and tangy flavor of Cracker Barrel, then you can't leave it out. This copycat recipe probably doesn't have the exact same ingredients as the original, but the flavor is identical.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, setting aside about half a cup of the shredded cheddar cheese for topping.
Place in a greased 9×13 casserole dish and top with reserved cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Grandma Peggy used a mix of sharp cheddar and colby jack cheese, but most copycat recipes call for cheddar.
You can easily add protein to the dish, like leftover chicken, ground beef, or ham. Another option is to stir in your favorite veggies, fresh or frozen.
If you want to add some extra buttery crunch to this dish, crush up two cups of cornflakes and toss in 1/4 cup of melted butter. Then, sprinkle it over your casserole before putting it in the oven. This extra step strays from the Cracker Barrel version of the dish, but it does add a delicious, crunchy topping.
If you don’t want to take that next step, just broil the top for a couple of minutes to get it really nice and golden brown.