Crack Potatoes is a flavor-packed side dish made of shredded hash browns tossed in an addicting combo of ranch dressing, sour cream, and cream cheese! As if all that goodness is not enough, gooey, melty cheese and crispy bacon crumbles are thrown in. It’s an easier, creamier, and fun twist to the classic potato casserole!
We are OBSESSED! This loaded Crack Potatoes recipe is certifiably one of the best tasting side dishes you will ever make! The burst of flavors and textures certainly lives up to its name. Each mouthful of the dish is full of a cheesy, savory, and tangy taste. It’s lush and creamy with bits of crunch for the bacon bits. It is also ridiculously easy to prepare and cook; you’ll nail it on your first try! Plus, this recipe calls for ingredients that are so simple I bet you’ll find most or all of it in your pantry right now.
A Perfect Holiday Side Dish
With the holidays just right around the corner, a fantastic potato casserole like this one is god-sent! Just whip up your ranch mixture, add the hash brown shreds, stir in the cheese and crispy bacon, then toss it in the oven. Top with cheese and sprinkle bacon bits. Viola! You just made yourself and your family a perfectly golden, fully-loaded potato casserole! Its the perfect side dish for my Instant Pot Turkey Breast this Thanksgiving or my Instant Pot Meatloaf for Christmas. It is also a great dish to bring to potlucks or holiday parties.
Why you’ll Love This Crack Potato Recipe
- This creamy and cheesy potato dish might be made easier by cutting a few corners, but it does not skimp on flavors at all!
- It is a fuss-free dish ready for the oven in just 10 minutes! You’ll have your hands free to do as so please while the casserole bakes! Less time spent in the kitchen means more time to create beautiful memories with family and friends!
- It’s a carb-loaded, spice-infused creamy dish that will instantly fill your bellies and leave you feeling satisfied. Everything that comfort food should be!
- This dish is naturally gluten-free and can be optimized to meet most of your dietary requirements.
- Cream Cheese
- Sour cream
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Ranch Dressing mix
- Cheddar cheese
- Shredded hash brown potatoes
Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
- 9X13 baking dish
- Cheese grater
How to Make The Best Crack Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 205 degrees C.
- Evenly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Ranch dressing mix.
- Stir in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and half of the bacon. Add in the hash brown potatoes.
- Pour the mixture into the 9-inch baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top. Bake for the second time uncovered for 10 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Variations to Explore!
- Double up on the creaminess level by adding a can of cream of chicken to the dish. Yum!
- Make it in an all-in-one dish by adding more proteins like diced ham, shredded chicken, or sliced sausages.
- Garnish your Crack potatoes with chopped green onions, scallions or parsley to give them some fresh flavors and color.
- Make a lighter version by using turkey bacon, light cream cheese, and light sour cream to reduce the calories.
- Give the dish a bit of a kick by using pepper jack cheese or by adding red pepper flakes.
Tips When Making Crack Potatoes
- Make sure that your cream cheese is soft before incorporating the other ingredients to get that creamy texture you need for this loaded potato recipe. You can use a fork to mash it, but I recommend using an electric mixer for easier and faster prep time.
- Baking time may vary depending on the type of oven you are using and the size of the casserole dish too. Make the necessary adjustment as needed.
- After baking for 40 minutes, you should put the crack potatoes back to the oven uncovered to get that golden brown crust at the top. Be sure to check once in a while to prevent the top from burning. No one wants a burnt potato casserole, believe me.
- If you want to make some solo serving, you could put the mixture in some ramekins. Just adjust the baking time to make sure that it will be cooked evenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, that will work just fine.
I would just double the amount of sour cream. So, that would be 32 ounces of sour cream.
Yes! You may need to increase the baking time slightly. Just test out the softness of the potatoes with a fork.
You could use turkey bacon, light cream cheese, and light sour cream to reduce the calories.
Yes, just make sure that you boil it until it is fork tender. Yukon gold or russet potatoes are the best potatoes to use for this recipe.
Monterrey Jack or Colby cheese will be a great substitute. If you like a little kick to your taste buds, use pepper jack cheese. Swiss cheese would also be good, although it will eventually give a different flavor.
You can also top your Crack Potatoes with Ritz crackers that are crumbled and tossed in some butter will also make a perfect topper.
- Make-ahead– You can make your Crack Potatoes ahead of time and keep it in the fridge (for up to 5 days) or freezer (for up to 2 months) until ready to bake. Cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap before storing. Use disposable foil pans when making these on the go.
- Left-overs– You may store any leftover baked casserole the same way. Just make sure it is wrapped well or in an airtight container.
- Reheating– These reheat very well in the oven or microwave.
- 1 – package cream cheese, 8 ounce, softened
- 1 – container sour cream, 16 ounce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 packages Ranch Dressing mix, 1 ounce
- 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 1 pound cooked bacon, chopped and divided
- 1 bag shredded hash brown potatoes, 30 ounce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a 9X13 baking dish by spraying the bottom and sides with non-stick spray.
- Using a very large bowl, mix together the cream cheese (once it is well softened it can be mashed with a fork but I find that it’s easier to fully incorporate it by using an electric mixer), sour cream, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Ranch Dressing mix.
- Then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and about half of the chopped bacon. Add and mix in the hashbrown potatoes.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared pan spread out evenly.
- Bake the casserole covered for 40 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and the remaining bacon. Return the casserole to the oven to continue baking, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.