Hash brown potato casserole is made with cheesy potatoes and a crunchy panko bread crumb topping. The cheese sauce is made entirely from scratch - no canned soups needed! Perfect for serving at your next holiday gathering like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
If using frozen hash browns, set bag on countertop and allow to thaw for 30 minutes beforehand. If hash browns are watery, drain in a colander to remove excess liquid.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
In a stock pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and edges begin to lightly brown. Add flour and stir to combine, creating a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add milk and chicken broth, whisking to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
Remove from heat and add salt, pepper paprika, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir to combine. Add thawed hash browns and stir to coat.
Pour hash browns into prepared 9x13 pan and spread into an even layer. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter and panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of your casserole in an even layer.
Cover casserole with foil and bake for fifty minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional twenty minutes, or until top has lightly browned. Remove from oven and enjoy.
To thaw hash browns quickly, preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread frozen hash browns onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until just thawed. Do not bake too long, as potatoes will begin to cook.
Want to make your casserole ahead of time? Simply assemble as directed, but leave off your panko topping. Cover casserole and refrigerate for 1-2 days. When ready, set on counter top while oven is preheating, top with panko topping, then bake as directed.
Leftovers keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and reheat well.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe - potatoes and dairy-based sauces do not freeze well and tend to get grainy when thawed.