Bake

Breakfast Casserole

June  4, 2021
4.3 Stars
Photo by ROCKY LUTEN. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG. PROP STYLIST: GERRI WILLIAMS.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

You’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, but have you met dinner for breakfast? If not, allow me to formally introduce you to a morning-friendly dish that’s got the structure and heartiness of a proper casserole, with your favorite parts of breakfast. Also known as the “breakfast casserole,” it has the stature of a lasagna with the fillings of an omelet. In other words, you’re going to love it.

The breakfast casserole is more of a concept than it is a mandate. Feel free to swap the sweet Italian sausage crumbles with something spicier (such as chorizo), or a chicken-apple variety. Or, skip the sausage and replace it with the same amount of crisped bacon pieces, or browned, bite-sized mushrooms. Leave out the jalapeño if you please, or double down for extra heat. Use yellow onion in place of shallot, if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Riff on the herby crème fraîche to your heart’s delight—say, call in Greek yogurt, sour cream, or labneh instead—or skip it entirely if it’s not your style.

Another delightful feature of the breakfast casserole: You can do most of the work in advance. Simply refrigerate the unbaked casserole, covered, for up to 24 hours, then let it come to room temperature, and proceed with the recipe. —Ella Quittner

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like avocado oil or vegetable oil), plus more to grease pan
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, uncased
  • 1 1/3 cups minced shallot (from about 2 large or 3 medium shallots)
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
  • 1 1/3 chopped scallions, green and white parts divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed (I use Morton; you can scale up to 1 3/4 or 2 teaspoons if you use Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups shredded melty cheese (such as cheddar, Gouda, or Monterey Jack), divided
  • 1 (30-ounce) bag frozen shredded hash browns (unthawed), divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • Sriracha, chile-garlic sauce, or another thick hot sauce for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and thoroughly brown sausage, crumbling into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, discarding all but 1 tablespoon or so of rendered fat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot. Sauté for 4 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and beginning to brown around the edges. Add the jalapeño (if using), as well as the scallions’ white parts and all but 2 tablespoons of the green parts. Sauté another couple of minutes until the scallions’ white parts have softened enough that you could easily break them into rings with a cooking utensil. (Don’t bother doing this—just use it as a check.) Add 2 tablespoons of water, and scrape up all the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan as the water evaporates.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside, allowing it to cool while you heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch pan with oil. Mince the remaining 2 tablespoons of scallion greens and mix those, as well as the chives, basil, and a pinch of salt, into the crème fraîche, and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, gently whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. And roughly two-thirds of the frozen hash browns, the sautéed shallot mixture, and the browned sausage, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan, cover with foil, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the casserole has set and the center feels firm to the touch, with a little wiggle. Let the remaining hash browns thaw while it cooks, and pour off any liquid.
  5. Turn on broiler to preheat while you remove the foil from the pan and sprinkle remaining hash browns and cheese over the top, along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Put the pan on top of a cookie sheet to catch any bubbling cheese—so it doesn’t end up on your oven floor—and place under the broiler, keeping a close eye to avoid burning. Broil for 3 to 7 minutes, until the top is crispy and browned. Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan before slicing and serving. Serve individual portions topped with dollops of herby crème fraîche and hot sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • amjam
    amjam
  • LJQ
    LJQ
  • Donna
    Donna
  • Trish Biggs
    Trish Biggs

4 Reviews

amjam June 5, 2022
This recipe is easy to adapt, family-friendly and absolutely delicious. I threw it together at the last possible minute for Easter brunch, made several substitutions (and I’m not some chef extraordinaire), and my family (teenage boys and a finicky husband) devoured it. It’s now a go-to recipe for us.
 
LJQ March 13, 2022
The dish itself tastes great and has lots of room for creative modifications.

There is, however, a significant problem with the timings listed: if the recipe is made fresh, the baking time is SIGNIFICANTLY LONGER than is stated here. This is likely due to the nearly 2lb of frozen hash browns. I cooked it for the longer 55 minutes on 350 allotted at the top end, as listed, and it still took 20+ more at 400 for the eggs to set. Yes, my oven thermostat is accurate and yes I used a 9x13 pan.

My only guess as to the egregious timing error is that it's intended to work for preparing the casserole the night before and then keeping it in the fridge overnight before baking (which would put the whole thing at fridge temp instead of half of it being freezer temp).

It still tastes great and all the ingredients work, but heads up if you're going to make it day-of to give yourself at least an extra 30-40 minutes of cooking on 350 prior to the broiling step.
 
Donna March 10, 2022
Unthawed means frozen. Did you mean thawed hash browns?
 
Trish B. June 13, 2021
It looks fabulous. A small point - in your ingredients, I wonder if you might say: frozen hash browns - keep frozen vs. unthawed - which I know means the same thing but many people do mix up unthawed and thawed. I read the instructions just to be sure.