Friday, November 7, 2008

Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping

A definitive southern favorite, and often called funeral or party potatoes, hash brown potatoes are combined with cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion and cheddar cheese for a well loved casserole.

Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole

Every southerner likely has this one in their recipe box with some variation. This is often referred to as a Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole copycat, but honestly I don't eat at Cracker Barrel much myself, so I'm not qualified to attest to that. I do know it's one of those recipes just about everybody has either made at one time or another, or have certainly eaten. Traditionally made with cream of chicken soup, I have successfully used mushroom and celery too, since I generally go with what I happen to have in the pantry. Use cream of chicken if you have it, or use whatever is in your pantry.

My favorite version has fast become the bacon ranch variation at the bottom, which subs in two containers of sour cream and omits the cream soup.

You can use either the shredded frozen hash brown potatoes or the southern style cubed hash browns. Both are excellent, though I have to admit that I favor the shredded kind. Of course, you can also shred your own potatoes if you prefer, though you'll have to make sure they are squeezed very dry. I personally think the frozen ones are just much easier to use and frankly work the best.

This is a great side dish casserole that has been around forever, and works just as well for the holidays as it does for Sunday suppers, or potlucks and church suppers, reunions and family gatherings, and even as a casserole for the grieving - and how it earned the name funeral potatoes. You can easily halve it when you just want to make it for your family.

This casserole is also a wonderful way to use leftover meats from the holiday too - ham is great, but turkey and pork work well also. Be sure to try the Bacon Ranch version pictured in the photos above at the bottom of the recipe too!

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Recipe: Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 10 servings

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (recommend Great for Cooking version)
  • 2 cups sour cream (full fat is best)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper grinder
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (30 ounce) bag frozen southern style diced or shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion just until soft, but not browned. Stir in the soup, sour cream, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the cheese until blended in well. Add the potatoes and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Turn out into prepared baking dish. Mix the 3 tablespoons of melted butter with the cracker crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Crockpot: Prepare as above, except add 1 soup can of milk. Mix and transfer to a slow cooker that you've buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours. Omit cracker topping.

Bacon Ranch "Crack" Potatoes: Prepare as above, except omit the cream soup and increase sour cream to two (16 ounce) containers, add two envelopes of dry Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix (such as Hidden Valley) and 1/3 cup of chopped, cooked bacon.

Cook's Notes: May also use other cream soups, such as cream of celery. Instead of topping with crackers, may use French fried onions, or simply top the casserole with extra cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking. May also eliminate the sour cream, but increase the butter to a full 1/2 cup. Popular add-ins include green and red bell pepper, one (3 ounce) well drained jar of pimentos, 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeno slices, chopped, and/or Cajun or Creole seasoning. Can substitute other cream soups (cream of celery, cream of mushrooms) and okay to use the lower fat/sodium soups also. Try the roasted garlic cream of mushroom for a change. Also great with cubed leftover ham, pork or turkey stirred in to make it a main dish.

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole: Transform this to a breakfast casserole by omitting soup, reducing sour cream to 1 cup and adding in 4 eggs, beaten with 1-1/2 cups milk. Add in 1/2 pound cooked and crumbled sausage, bacon, chopped, baked ham or diced smoked sausage. Mix as above and pour into prepared baking dish.


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Posted by on November 7, 2008

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  1. Mary, this is one of our family's favorite side dishes. In fact , my DIL made this last night when we were there for dinner. It also reheats well for leftovers! It's yummy!

  2. I read aloud to Red (sounds ridiculous, I know [big grin]) the ingredients and now I have to make them this week! He loves your cooking I tell you. Oh and I thought of you right away when I heard the weather.... praying for no storms!!!

  3. My boyfriend is going to love this!

  4. Hi Mary, I have used your site a couple of times but have not sat down and just looked at your recipes until today. Oh this will be one of my favorites for any type of recipe as I'm a southern girl who likes to keep it hot in the kitchen to. I only wish that I had a large family to cook for. I do cook for myself and whenever I get the chance I take food somewhere. I laugh and tell folks that my mother would roll over in her grave if she knew that I had picked up something at the grocery store or deli, or went empty handed. Ok, back to business, I saw the recipe for hash brown casserole and wanted to let you try my variation. Basically it is the same as yours but with a little zest. I've never used the crumb topping and I leave out the sour cream. I add a can of Rotel tomatoes minus most of the liquid. I usually just spoon the tomatoes from the can but I've have been known to add the liquid. Just depends on my mood. Then drizzle a little melted butter on the top before placing in the oven (watch the amount of butter in the recipe because with the cheddar it can be greasy). It usually has to bake for well over an hour, I just watch for it to be brown and bubbly all over. My favorite way to serve this is with fresh peas, some type of greens, tomatoes and cornbread. I hope you give it a try and enjoy.

  5. Thanks Liz - I love Rotel so I will definitely try that one!

  6. I make this recipe for our tailgate parties at UK football games. I have to multiply it X6 to feed our group. I also tried substituting a cheese cracker(Goldfish,Cheese Nips,Cheez-It)in place of the Ritz and loved it. Great recipe. Love your site and your Pinterest page. Top notch!!

  7. I have eaten so many variations on this at pot-lucks and church dinners etc., but believe or not, never actually made it myself. Made your recipe tonight as a side with BBQ pork chops.It was a huge hit! The only thing I added was bit of chopped celery, only because I happened to have a couple stalks that needed to be used up.I just fried it up with the onion. This recipe was more rich than others I have had..I'm thinking it must be the sour cream. Next pot-luck I will be the one signing up to bring the hash-brown casserole!

    1. Thank you Julia - I'm so glad to hear it was a hit & thank you for being so sweet to stop back by and let me know!!

  8. Hey, girl! I just stumbled upon your site this morning & it brought back memories! I am a Southern gal, too. I lived in the Mississippi Delta (Sunflower Co.) for 7 years. And I still have a copy of that tried & true "Bayou Cuisine" cookbook, on my pantry shelf. The South may have some faults, but we do know how to cook!

    1. Aw, thanks so much & welcome!! I hope that you visit with me here often.

    2. Try crushing honey bunches of oats instead of Ritz crackers. My family adores this variation.

    3. Oh yeah, how could that be anything but good? Thanks for sharing!


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