Growing up in the south, hash brown casserole was a staple at family gatherings. My favorite versions always had loads of cheese inside, creating a perfect creamy crunchy contrast with the roasted Corn Flakes on top. It’s no secret, however, that cheesy hash brown casserole is rather unfriendly to the waistline.
Since I make healthy or lower calorie recipes here on my blog, I set out to conquer the task of making a lower calorie extra cheesy hash brown casserole. And while I don’t have any particular nutrition facts to compare my version to, I’m confident I’ve reduced the fat and calorie content by roughly fifty percent based on ingredient selection.
So, if you’re looking for a lighter side dish to serve at your next get together, pop this easy cheesy hash brown casserole in the oven. Nobody will notice they’re eating a healthier dish unless you tell them.
Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole Ingredients
The usual suspects for hash brown casserole include cream of mushroom or chicken soup, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese or Velveeta, shredded potatoes, and Corn Flakes. Here’s a quick look at the swaps my version makes:
- Fat free Greek yogurt for sour cream (120 calories vs 320 calories)
- Light butter for full fat butter (400 calories vs 800 calories)
- Broth for cream of mushroom soup (10 calories vs 250 calories)
- Cheddar powder for shredded cheddar or Velveeta
- Frozen shredded hash browns and Corn Flakes remain the same
I’ve also updated this recipe to include diced onion and minced garlic for an extra flavor punch. You can totally leave them out, though!
What is Cheddar Powder?
The ingredient that may have jumped off the page at you is likely cheddar powder. If you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient, it’s essentially dehydrated cheddar cheese. Think: powdered peanut butter.
It’s a magical ingredient that can be reconstituted in lower calorie liquids to make cheese sauce for recipes. I’ve used it in everything from my loaded ground beef and potatoes skillet and cheesy air fried potatoes to my bacon cheeseburger hamburger helper and buffalo chicken mad and cheese. You can also use the plain powder to sprinkle on popcorn or other snacks.
As you can see in the photo above, cheddar powder creates a creamy, cheesy sauce to toss the shredded hash browns in. This alleviates the need for a cream based soup and reduces the calorie count of using full fat cheese or Velveeta.
I’ll add here that you can use a reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese in place of the cheddar powder if you don’t want to buy cheddar powder. Speaking of, you may be able to find cheddar powder or alternatives like the Knorr cheese sauce packets in stores. But I prefer to buy it online. You can check it out on my Amazon storefront.
Beyond the cheddar powder, the remaining ingredients are fairly straight forward. This extra cheesy hash brown casserole is kinda difficult to mess up. As long as you avoid adding too much liquid to the hash browns, you should be fine tweaking ingredients as needed.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you make this recipe, I’d love to see your creation. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff.
Hash Browns Mixture
- 6 C (504g) Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
- 1 medium Onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 C (227g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 C (60g) Cheddar Powder
- 1/2 C (120mL) Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- 1/2-1 tsp Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes (optional)
Corn Flakes Topping
- 3 C (84g) Corn Flakes, crushed
- 6 Tbsp (84g) Light Butter
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray an 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Mix the broth with the cheddar powder, black pepper, and parsley flakes in a large bowl until smooth before adding the Greek yogurt. Stir until smooth.
- Add the onion, garlic, and hash browns to the yogurt mixture, stirring everything together until evenly coated.
- Transfer the hash browns mixture to the baking dish, spreading it evenly across the dish.
- Add the butter to a large bowl and microwave for 5-15 seconds until it's melted. Add the crushed Corn Flakes to the melted butter and gently fold the ingredients together until you have a crumbly mixture. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the hash browns.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Top with fresh chopped parsley, grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, and chili flakes, if desired.
- Each serving has 8 Smart Points.
- If you wanted to use real cheddar instead of cheddar powder, melt the cheddar with the broth before adding the Greek yogurt. Then follow the recipe as you normally would. You could also make a cheese sauce like in my bacon gouda breakfast enchiladas recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 140g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 6.5gCarbohydrates: 24.1gProtein: 6.6g