Extra Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
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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 calories 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 extra cheesy hash brown casserole in the oven. Nobody will notice they’re eating a healthier dish unless you tell them.
Lower Calorie Ingredients for Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
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)
- Vegetable 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
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 like this cheesy hash brown casserole, my bacon cheeseburger hamburger helper, or cauliflower cheddar grits. You can also use the plain powder to sprinkle on popcorn or other snacks. For more examples, check out every recipe with cheddar powder on my blog.
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 Hoosier Hill Farms cheddar powder from Amazon. King Arthur Flour makes a Vermont Cheese Powder that doesn’t have the coloring adding.
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 wanna see your creation. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff.
Extra Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
A quick and easy hash brown casserole with roughly half the calories of traditional recipes.
Hash Browns Mixture
- 6 C (504g) Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
- 1 C (227g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt plain
- 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter I used Land O' Lakes with canola
- 1/2 C (64g) Cheddar Powder
- 1/2 C (120mL) Vegetable Broth
- 1 tsp Garlic Pepper a mix of black pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper
Corn Flakes Topping
- 3 C (84g) Corn Flakes
- 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter
Preheat oven to 350F and spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the yogurt, butter, broth, cheddar powder, and garlic pepper from the hash browns mixture in a large bowl until no lumps remain.
Add the hash browns to the mixture and stir until the hash browns are fully coated. Transfer the hash browns mixture to the baking dish and spread them out evenly.
Add the remaining butter from the Corn Flakes topping ingredients to a large bowl and microwave for 5-15 seconds or until melted. Add the Corn Flakes to the melted butter and gently fold the ingredients together until they flakes are evenly coated. Spread the Corn Flakes mixture evenly on top of the hash browns.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the hash browns are cooked (should be on the softer side).
- One serving = 140 grams or about 1/2 cup
- If you wanted to use real cheddar instead of cheddar powder, melt the cheese with the butter and vegetable broth before adding the Greek yogurt. Then follow the recipe as you normally would.
- Need a garlic pepper recipe? Try mixing equal parts black pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder.
More Healthy Side Dish Recipes You Might Like
I always joke about having the pickiest eater in the world living under my roof, and these Pan Fried Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts have her stamp of approval.
I originally posted these Lower Calorie Southern Style Green Beans on my second blog, Mugs for Muscles, as a microwavable recipe. But you could certainly extrapolate the recipe out and make a big batch to go with your extra cheesy hash brown casserole.