This is a guilty pleasure recipe, for sure, and soooo delicious. However, if you cut your portions small, you’ll feel less guilty 😉
I love creating this meal before a weekend because it makes for incredible brunch on Saturday or Sunday with a poached egg 🥚 Two, this casserole tastes even better the next day!
This casserole is inspired by having stale bread and ground beef on hand. Now, it finds it’s way into our rotation once or twice in the winter because it’s the ultimate comfort food 👍 I typically make my Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole with my own chorizo because I like the added heat. Tonight is 🔥 sausage because I have it on hand.
First, I toast slices of bread in the oven for the middle of the casserole because this creates a firm layer in the center. I cut the bread into rough pieces and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Now the bread is placed on a pizza stone or a lined baking pan. I find a pizza stone is great for baking items in the oven and creating crisp. The bread is baked/toasted at 350 for 35 minutes, I’m aiming for crispy bread, so it can hold up to the baking.
Meanwhile, I began to cook my protein. I start by frying the bacon until crispy. This will be my top layer to the casserole. Once the bacon is done, I use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to remove some of the bacon grease. I reserve the bacon fat because I’ll cook the sausage and onion in that fat. Don’t judge, I told you this was a guilty dish 😉 However, did you know *the fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated and a large part of those is oleic acid. This is the same fatty acid that olive oil is praised for and generally considered “heart-healthy”👍
The sausage is then added to the rendered bacon fat. The sausage I’m using is in links and I prefer to work with ground sausage, so I cut the casing and voilà, ground sausage. I add an onion to the sausage and cook the two together until the sausage is cooked and the onions are caramelized. Then, I drain off the access oil and set aside, see less guilty now 😉
Next, the goodness that holds the casserole together, the cheese sauce. Oh the cheese sauce ❤️, this is where the cheeseburger magic is created. In a small sauce pan, I warm 1 cup of light cream (you could also use milk, 1/2 and 1/2 or stock). You’ll know the cream is ready when it bubbles a little around the edges. Once that happens, I add cheese and a squirt of mustard. I usually add a good squirt because I like the mustard kick. Whisk the ingredients together and before turning off the burner, taste the cheese sauce and balance with salt and pepper, as needed. I often find that isn’t needed because of the mustard punch.
Now I build the layers of goodness (and don’t forget to remove your bread from the oven and increase the temperature to 375). I use a large casserole dish because we like the leftovers for weekend brunch and did I mention the leftovers are just as delicious 😉. I grease the casserole dish to ensure nothing sticks and add frozen hashbrowns to the bottom layer. You could also use frozen shredded potatoes or tater tots 😋. Now a layer cheese to seal the bottom layer. I spread a layer of sausage and onions, which is then covered with raw red onion and dill pickles. I cover that layer with 1/2 of the cheese sauce, this helps seal the layer together. Next, the layer of bread and the remainder of sausage and onion. I top the sausage with tomato. I like tomato on the top layer because as the casserole bakes the tomato juices will drip down into the other layers. I add an egg to the remainder of the cheese sauce because it helps seal the casserole as it cooks. I whisk together the egg and cheese sauce and top the tomatoes with that combo. You’ll want to make sure your cheese sauce is lukewarm otherwise the egg will cook slightly. Finally, I seal the casserole together with potatoes and the crispy bacon. During this preparation, I used very thin slices of fresh potatoes, but you can also use frozen shredded potatoes. Note – I didn’t toss the thin potatoes in olive oil, but I wish I had because I think that extra crunch would had been a fabulous addition!
Now the waiting and patience for this delicious meal, it cooks at 375 for 1hr.
Right before the casserole is done, I toss the salad of lettuce, red onion, and pickle juice. This adds crunch to the dish and helps create the bacon cheeseburger feel 👍.
I hope you enjoy and if you need clearer steps/instructions, please let me know.
Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
Prep – 1hr
Cook at 375 for approximately 1hr
Ingredients for the cheese sauce
- 1 cup of light cream
- 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
- 1/2 block of cream cheese
- Squirt of yellow mustard
- Salt and pepper, as needed for seasoning
Ingredients for the casserole
- 8 hashbrowns
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 pound of ground beef, sausage, ground chicken, ground turkey or chorizo
- 6 slices of American Cheese
- 1/4 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 Kosher Dill pickle slices, I used Claussen because why not 👍
- 4 slices of toasted bread, I used Sourdough
- 6 slices of pepper jack cheese
- 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
- 2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 slices of bacon
Ingredients for the salad
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Finely sliced red onion
- 1T Clausen pickle juice
- Salt and pepper, as needed