A make-ahead and freezer friendly Hashbrown Beef Bake Recipe – perfect for the meat and potato lovers in your life!
Sometimes a recipe comes to be and it’s just everything. This recipe in particular is seriously popular and it is always number one on our lists. At first I wondered, why?! But I can see that it’s because it’s super easy, frugal friendly, and I don’t know any kiddo that doesn’t love it. So it’s basically a parent’s dream dish.
This Hashbrown Beef Bake is the ultimate meat and potatoes dish!
Comfort food at it’s finest!
VIDEO: How to Make Hashbrown Beef Bake
This one is for my meat and potatoes friends…it’s a freezer friendly hashbrown and beef bake…and it’s to.die.for. This makes a 9×13’s worth, so you’ll have lots of leftovers (well, depending on how many you are serving.)
And I want to say this…I had a taste of these leftovers without warming them up and it was surprisingly delicious!
I think this would also be an amazing breakfast bake…if you made it with ground Italian sausage, instead of ground beef.
There’s many aspects to this dish that make it delightful and quick and money saving. So let’s talk about them…
Buying Ground Beef in Bulk
If you are going to buy ground beef for this recipe then I encourage you to look for bulk buying opportunities for ground beef, if you have space for freezing it. The reason – it saves you money, it saves you sanity, and it will keep you from going back to the store.
This will save you money when you find price markdowns on “need to sell today meat” – with this meat, you need to brown and freeze it immediately. Or when you see the loss leader prices on grocery store sales. Stock up, brown it up and get it into your freezer!
You save big money by buying in bulk or on sale. You save big sanity by stashing meals in your freezer.
Browning Ground Beef in Bulk
Because I find myself buying ground beef in bulk – when it’s on sale, I also find myself with a large amount that I need to “process” quickly. Sometimes I make a few batches of meatballs and brown the rest. Sometimes I make a few meatloaves and don’t brown any. Sometimes I brown it all.
If you had browned ground beef ready for you in the freezer, then this recipe will be extra easy.
When I brown larger quantities of ground beef at the same time, I get out my 2 giant pots/saucepans and do about 4-5 lbs. in each pan. Because this will take a little longer to brown, you run the risk of some of the meat really sticking and almost burning to the bottom of the pan (even if you turn it really often.)
I highly recommend adding 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water per pound you are browning to the pan.
This will help keep the ground beef from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and it will steam/burn off as the beef browns. Browning 4-5 lbs. in one pot can take up to 20 or 25 minutes, so be patient. And stick nearby, so you can turn it and stir it as it browns through.
Get the BEST Gadget for Browning Ground Beef
Perfectly Seasoned Browned Ground Beef
I use this ratio in 99.5% of ground beef recipes…
If you’ve ever watched one of my freezer meal assembly videos, you’ve heard me share this before. But in case you haven’t, here is my recipe, and some other tips too!
When browning ground beef, I always (well, 99.9% of the time) add this seasoning to the beef as it is browning. It’s a ‘ratio recipe’ – meaning it’s a certain amount of seasoning per pound of ground beef.
I keep it simple with just minced/dried onion and garlic powder, plus a little salt and pepper. With this simple and “generic” seasoning, then you can use the browned ground beef in a variety of meals – tacos, enchiladas, chilis, soups, and more!
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 Tbsp minced dried onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch salt and pepper
Freezer Meal Instructions for Hashbrown Beef Bake
How to Prep this Meal for Freezer
To get this meal ready for the freezer, you prep it as directed up until the baking point.
Instead of baking it, place a piece of foil tightly around it and put it into the fridge to cool down.
Then transfer the cooled down tray to the freezer and freeze. It should be cool before adding to the freezer to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
How to Thaw Tray Freezer Meals
The best method for thawing frozen meals is putting in the refrigerator overnight, or sometimes up to 2 days.
I prefer to thaw them this way, but I’m also a busy mom with 4 boys and I often forget to pull them out on time…even when it’s written on my calendar or to-do list.
If you do forget, you can take them out that same day and thaw in a bowl of lukewarm water. It will quickly thaw this way, the time dependent on the thickness of the baggie or container.
When I ‘quick-thaw’ things, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to be ready to cook.
How to Cook from Frozen
Cover the dish with foil and add 30-40 minutes to the bake time, then bake as directed.
The “extra” covered baking time kinda depends on the thickness of the frozen meal, so be sure to budget enough time for it to reheat all the way through!
It could take 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes to bake through from frozen.
Hashbrown Beef Bake – Ingredient Substitutions
- Ground beef: ground turkey – ground mild Italian sausage – ground pork breakfast sausage
- Cream of mushroom soup: cream of onion soup – cream of chicken soup – cream of celery – cream of broccoli
- Shredded cheddar: shredded sharp cheddar – shredded mozzarella – shredded Colby Jack – sharp white cheddar
Hope you enjoy this hashbrown beef bake – for dinner, for breakfast, or even as chilled leftovers 😉
Hashbrown Beef Bake
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 Tbsp minced onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 30 oz. frozen shredded hash browns
- 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup*
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Salad or fresh veggies, as side dish
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Open the can of cream of mushroom soup.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the minced onion and garlic powder. Once browned, drain and then mix in the shredded hash browns, cream of mushroom soup, milk, smoked paprika, plus half of the shredded cheese. Note: you do not need to thaw the hash browns before baking.
- Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until completely warmed through and cheese on top is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare the salad or fresh veggies.
- Serve Hashbrown Beef Bake with salad or veggies.
Would recommend using cream of chicken soup instead of mushroom?
Kris Fleury says
That’s what I used. Mushroom did not seem right.
Cream of mushroom goes better with beef!
I agree. Cream of chicken in beef casserole seems a bit of a strange mix. I added fresh mushrooms in it as well. Delish!
Do the hash browns cook thoroughly in 30 minutes?
I was thinking cream of potato or cream of onion.
Brian Landstrom says
Did one can of each ,plus 1 tspb of garlic and more onion. Turn out really good.
Tom Markee says
Thanks I like that idea better
Can this be prepared and frozen? Or just a day ahead and bake? Thanks!
Yes you can freeze it.
I added 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and more garlic for more flavor. Bland without it. Recommend waiting to eat the next day. It thickens up nicely. Much more enjoyable .
Carole E. Wilson says
I doubled this. It serves 4 and I wanted to freeze some!!
If I am baking this from frozen, what temp and about how long would you recommend?
Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom says
Hi Courtney, I would cover it with foil and add 30-40 minutes to the bake time, then bake as directed. The “extra” covered baking time kinda depends on the thickness of the frozen meal, so be sure to budget enough time for it to reheat all the way through!
I made this today, only I had no cream of mushroom. What I did have was a can of cheddar and broccoli soup! I used the full can and omitted the milk since it was an 18 oz can. Turned out great!!! I might even add broccoli bits next time
Roxanne Milstead says
Do you mix the hash browns with the beef frozen or thaw them first ?
My husband and I enjoyed this but I did add some slightly cooked broccoli along with cooked chopped onion and it was so good
Bonnie C McCabe says
This is a delicious meal! So easy and so inexpensive. I did add more onion, 1/2 onion and a little more garlic powder for taste. I will make this again and again. Thanks Erin for a great recipe!
Sounds great! Do you think this could be done in a small slow cooker?
Really enjoyed this, but next time I am going to try breakfast sausage. I found it a little bland with the ground beef.
I’m planning on making this but with all hash brown casseroles, I cook the potatoes FIRST. Yes, it’s a little more work but It adds tons of flavor.
Do I cook then freeze or just mix and throw it in the freezer?
At what point do you freeze this? After assembly? Thank you
Do you bake it before you freeze it?
What size baking dish would you recommend?
If you wanted this for breakfast, I would think swapping eggs equal in volume for the soup and breakfast sausage as an optional swap for the burger.
Do you need to thaw the hashbrown prior to putting this together?
I used Grill Mates steak seasoning on the hamburger and it was delicious. Personally next time I will brown the hash browns first but it was good without doing that.
I used 2 cans of soup and it was Great!
Do you think that this would be a good crockpot recipe? I’m thinking about make the mixture the day before(which would be tomorrow), and then cooking it it in a 9×13 digital crockpot on Sunday. Thoughts?? I’m desperate!!! Lol
Also good with seasoned chicken instead of ground beef. Diced in small pieces. And cream of chicken soup and a can of milk. Can add peas or corn (any veggies).