Loaded with Colby Jack cheese and tangy ranch seasoning, this hamburger hash brown casserole is an easy dinner that will please the whole family.
As long as human beings are required to cook their own food, casseroles will never go out of style. These effort saving dishes are loaded with flavorful ingredients, yet minimal fuss is needed to prepare them.
Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole
My hamburger hash brown casserole recipe is an easy family meal that features browned ground beef and shredded hash browns tossed with onions, ranch seasoning, sour cream, and plenty of melted cheese.
How to Make Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole
The onions and the beef are cooked in a skillet prior to placing them in the casserole dish. For maximum flavor, the beef should be well browned. The dark brown crust that begins to form on the crumbles of hamburger is what contains the most flavor.
This casserole fits perfectly in a 2-quart baking dish. (affiliate link) Placing it in the oven for 45 minutes will ensure the hash browns are properly cooked. A layer of cheese is added on top of the casserole during the final 15 minutes of baking to ensure it doesn't burn.
Best Beef for Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole
When making homemade hamburgers or a classic meatloaf, I typically recommend using 80/20 beef because of the added moisture it provides. However, the sour cream and shredded cheese will lend plenty of moisture to this casserole so I recommend saving yourself some calories by using leaner beef for this recipe. Anything like 90/10 or even 96/4 hamburger will work perfectly.
Can I make my hash browns from scratch
I have made homemade shredded hash browns from scratch more times than I care to admit (it was actually this website's first popular recipe!). However, using fresh potato shreds never work well in casseroles. I have tried it numerous times in my cheesy hash brown casserole, and they never soften regardless of how long I cook them for.
Honestly, I believe the secret is freezing the potato shreds. The ice crystals pierce the internal structure, allowing them to cook up softer than raw potatoes would. If you are going to use frozen shredded potatoes, you may as well save the effort and get them out of your grocer's freezer department.
How to Customize Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole
I make my hamburger hash brown casserole with sour cream and ranch seasoning because I love the bright tangy flavor it adds to the dish. However, this is not the only great way to make it.
If you want to get creative, substitute the ranch seasoning, sour cream and milk for an euqal amount of brown gravy instead. You can load the gravy with your choice of flavorings such as onions, mushrooms, thyme, or sage. If using brown gravy, I would probably swap the cheese with Provolone, or something similar to match the new flavor profile a bit better.
Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 16 ounces shredded hash brown potatoes (~4 cups)
- 2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese (divided)
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 ounce ranch seasoning packet
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add butter, hamburger, and chopped onions, along with salt and pepper to a skillet set over medium heat. Cook until hamburger is browned and onions are tender. Add Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove mixture from skillet and place in a large bowl with hash browns, 1 cup of cheese, and chopped green onions.
- In a separate dish combine ranch seasoning with sour cream and milk. Mix to combine then add it into the bowl containing the casserole mixture. Mix everything together.
- Pour casserole into a 2-quart baking dish and place in oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the casserole and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.