CRACKER BARREL’S | Hash Brown Casserole

Baked Potato Hash with Colby Cheese & Onion

by RRR
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“Rising above America’s Interstate highways, a familiar sign greets travelers and local communities. Eggs break, biscuits bake, the scent of homestyle cooking rises. A cash register dings, chairs rock, and checkers pass the time.

In 1969, a Tennessee man named Dan Evins saw an unmet need. The Interstate was expanding—connecting people to new places—but people on the move couldn’t count on a consistent, quality place to stop along the way. To stretch their legs, refuel, and find a good meal at a fair price. Evins had a vision to build an old country store to meet their needs—a place that preserved the ingredients of country life to share with travelers on the road and families from nearby.”

And speaking of the rocking chairs.  I’ve always wondered who has purchased one from the front porch of a Cracker Barrel.  Not that they aren’t comfy, but what did the average traveler do with the chair AFTER they purchased it?  I assume they had it shipped home, but it was always funnier to me to imagine them “National Lampooning” it to the roof of the car and cruising down the Interstate with it.

I learned this recipe from an associate of mine that used to work in Cracker Barrel kitchen, so this simple and delicious hash brown casserole is as good as the real thing.  It is also a perfect side dish for the holidays because it’s quick, comforting, feeds a lot and is inexpensive.  But a few tips make this easy dish even tastier…

  • Use Colby cheese.  Some online recipes say that the recipe calls for Cheddar, it does not.  It’s Colby!  And I always recommend hand shredding your cheese, whenever possible.  Bagged and shredded cheese comes with an anti-caking, powdered preservative.  It’s not nearly as tasty as block and hand-shredded cheese, nor does it melt as well.
  • Using the same box grater as you use for the cheese, grate the onion.  Grated onion gives the casserole a more evenly distributed flavor throughout the dish.  Better than even a finely diced onion can provide.
  • The recipe calls for margarine, in place of real butter.  I understand if margarine is not your thing, but this recipe definitely calls for margarine.  Feel free to substitute real butter, if you prefer.  It’s your kitchen and no one is watching!  Use the same 1/4 cup of butter, in place of margarine.
  • The original recipe does not call for hot sauce, but I think hot sauce in the side dish levels up the tastiness.  Use any Southern-style hot sauce you prefer.  Crystal, Louisiana or Frank’s are great choices.  Add the hot sauce to the pre-baked potatoes to taste.
  • Gently scoop the potato mixture into the baking dish prior to baking.  Don’t mash the potatoes into the dish, you want there to be some “air” in the mix.  This will allow the potatoes to cook more evenly and prevent them from being too dense.

For more great potato side dish recipes, check out Fleming’s Signature Potatoes and the Strip House’s Potatoes Romanoff.  Enjoy!

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Cracker Barrel's Hash Brown Casserole

Serves: 8-10 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 190 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 2 voted )


  • 2 lb. bag of frozen hash browns
  • 10.5 oz. can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) Colby cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated yellow onion
  • ¼ cup margarine, melted
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground white pepper
  • Southern-Style hot sauce (optional)
  • Pan spray


Place your rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add the frozen potatoes, Cream of Chicken soup, Colby cheese, grated onion, melted margarine, kosher salt and white pepper.

Although the original recipe does not call for hot sauce, I personally think hot sauce added to the recipe is delicious.  Frank’s, Crystal, or Louisiana work well.  Add to taste, if preferred.

Mix all ingredients very well, until thoroughly incorporated.

Spray a 9X13 inch (3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray, bottom, and sides.  Gently scoop the potato mixture into the baking dish, but do not press mixture down.  You want to leave some “air” in the mixture so that the casserole cooks more easily and is not dense in texture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is slightly browned, and the edges are bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes before serving.


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Thomas Yohn February 18, 2023 - 6:44 pm

I am hooked on your expert way of creating these restaurant favorites. I have told my two daughters about your website and their husbands do most of the cooking like me. I have a special recipe that I would love to recreate and I have tried but to no avail. It is a recipe from Pasta Bella restaurant in Austell GA. It is the Sausage and Peppers that they use as a dipping sauce. I always get it on my angel hair pasta. My wife does not like sausage or peppers but this dipping sauce they use with their garlic knots she loves. I don’t know how she does since she doesn’t like the ingredients. This is a link to their website. Please let me know if this is a possibility???

RRR February 22, 2023 - 1:03 pm

That’s wonderful, Thomas! Thank you for letting me know.

Katherine December 19, 2023 - 7:45 pm

Can this be made day before?

Elaine April 23, 2024 - 12:02 pm

Thanks, nice easy recipe. I have made several times since discovering it.


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