Bachelor in the Kitchen: Breakfast Tailgating with Potato Bacon Casserole


Written by Nick

We’ve got a new member of the Nestlé Kitchens team! He’s not too experienced in the kitchen, so we thought he could chronicle his cooking mishaps, adventures and even successes here on our blog. We’ll lend him a hand along the way and maybe you can too!

Potato Bacon Casserole recipe

I’m not a Los Angeles native, but so far I’m loving it. There are great people, the ocean, mountains and don’t forget all the great restaurants (but don’t mention all that traffic)! Honestly, I do eat out more than I should, because the kitchen just isn’t my favorite room in the house. But, there’s no better place for me to learn the ropes than with Nestlé Kitchens.

My first challenge: cook up my favorite meal for my friends. For me, that’s not breakfast, lunch or dinner, but the all-important tailgating meal. Back in the Midwest we would meet at a friend’s house and take turns on the barbeque before we’d sit down to watch the big game. I’ve tried this routine in LA,but there is a time zone problem; beers and brats aren’t the same before a 10am football game! So, I went to Chris to find a breakfast recipe that I could make that would satisfy the spirit of tailgating. She had a ton of suggestions and I settled on the Potato Bacon Casserole (whenever bacon and potato make it into the title of a recipe, I think you have a winner).

I liked this recipe from the start. It didn’t complicate things with tons of steps and most of the ingredients I had on hand. With a prep time of only 10 minutes, I could just pop it in the oven leaving plenty of time to get to the other tailgating activities.

Other tailgating activities like the Beer-mosas. A poor man’s twist on the mimosa, this was perfect drink for my tailgating breakfast. Take a light beer, add orange juice – pretty simple, pretty delicious, pretty perfect for a Saturday (or Sunday if you prefer to watch the pros) day of football.

Potato Bacon Casserole recipe

Potato Bacon Casserole

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) * NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 8-inch-square baking dish.

LAYER 1/2 potatoes, 1/2 onion, 1/2 bacon and 1/2 cheese in prepared baking dish; repeat layers. Combine evaporated milk, egg and seasoned salt in small bowl. Pour evenly over potato mixture; cover.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes. Uncover; bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

So, the first tailgate breakfast was a pretty huge success. I wish I had made more because everyone wanted seconds. The only thing I would do differently is bake it longer. My oven seems to always take longer than required. Every recipe I read says ovens vary and adjust time accordingly.

Question: Is there a trick to learn how much longer your particular oven takes? How can I know the variance is the same for anything I bake?

If you have the answer, please post it in the comments below! In the meantime I’ll just enjoy another beer-mosa and bake just a little bit longer.


More breakfast recipes:

Tortilla Scramble With Salsa recipe
Tortilla Scramble With Salsa
Brunch Sausage Casserole recipe
Brunch Sausage Casserole



  1. alyssa
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 3:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    That sounds great! I love the idea of a beermosa!!!!!

  2. Theresa
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sounds yummy. I suggest buying an oven thermometer to see if your oven is running hotter or colder than it says.

  3. Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hey!It looks fantastic!

  4. ashley
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing! I always love new casserole recipes.

  5. Posted October 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My FAV dish to make and take to my MOM group

    • Posted October 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink | Reply

      So happy to hear, Trisha! I am falling back in love with casseroles. So easy to put together – can be assembled in advance and baked the following day. Got to love that!

  6. lori-ann
    Posted October 10, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    Your oven’s internal temp may not be what it says on the temperature dial. I suggest getting an oven thermometer. It sits or hangs on a rack. My oven is at leaf 15 degrees cooler than I set it at. The recipe sounds good!

  7. Debbie
    Posted October 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Do the hashbrowns supposed to be thawed?

  8. Bethany
    Posted October 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very yummy! I didn’t have any evaporated milk on hand so I used half and half, and it worked just fine! If I make this again I might add more eggs for extra protein.

  9. Posted October 13, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    You need to get an oven thermometer, and make sure your oven is set correctly. Chances are, your oven is set too low, causing you to have to cook longer on each recipe. You can find out general info on how to change the temp of your oven here:

    For your specific oven, check the owners manual or call the manufacturer.

  10. Kaye
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    My trick I have learned over the years with cooking is to judge the cooking time by the smell of the food…when it starts to get that “Dang that smells good” aroma going around, then you know that your food is about 5ish minutes from being done and you should keep and eye on it!

  11. Theresa
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply


  12. Shelly
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A couple of things.. I have cooked this in both a gas and electric oven. I have found that EVERYTHING cooks faster in a gas oven. If a recipe says 45 to 55 minutes, With gas, I always check it at 45 and it rarely goes longer than 50 minutes. I didn’t take the foil off and cook the additional minutes either time. It was completely done but not overdone. Regarding the “Beer-Mosa” yumm-o! As a twist, try a wheat beer like Shock Top with pineapple juice in it (to taste). When I managed a bar, it was a HUGE seller. Another wheat beer is apricot flavored beer. Delicious by itself, but try it with oj.. almost too good to be true and I’m not a beer drinker!!

    • Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I love Shock Top and pineapple juice. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Rose
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    This sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    As far as the temperature of your oven goes, you may have hot spots. (that’s okay, most conventional ovens do!) Hot spots are basically areas in your oven that run much hotter than other areas, which makes these other areas cooler than the temperature you desired.

    If you don’t have an oven thermostat, then you can still easily test for hot spots. Arrange slices of bread in a sheet pan and bake at 350 for a few minutes. The results that come of that will reveal the hot and cold spots of your oven.

    If you don’t want to re-calibrate your oven, the solution to cooking perfection is to rotate your dish about halfway through cooking time. (remember, each time you open the oven it loses heat, so try not to open it too often or for too long!)

    Hope that helped! And happy cooking! 🙂

    • Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll give it a try this weekend.

  14. Mandi Calkins
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Can’t wait to try this…

  15. Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I made this two times, two days in a row. The first time I made it, I cooked it uncovered for 1 hour 10 minutes. It turned out great, other than the bacon on top was really crispy. The second time I cooked it covered for 1 hour. The center was still very juicy from the evaporated milk, so then had to cook it uncovered for 30 minutes. It turned out perfect!! I could eat this everyday!!

  16. laura
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    Check your oven temp with an oven thermometer, and then, CLEAN YOUR OVEN! Pay attention to the thermostat in the back … usually a metal probe that sticks out … make sure there is no gunk dried and caked on to it … after cleaning, check the temp again … it may go back to normal! Good luck!

  17. lauren
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    This looks yummy! Has anyone made it? how does it taste?

  18. Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We made ours in a 9×9 pan and it cooked perfectly. And was delicious!

  19. Darlene
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My oven was baking slow too. We replaced the bottom element and it backs perfect now. I will have to try this casserole real soon.

  20. Sonia
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I know this is using Nestle’s Carn. Evap. Milk but what if I didn’t have any and had to used regular milk….would I get the same results?

  21. Staci
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is a great recipe!! Everyone loved it! Next time I will decrease the season salt to .5 tsp…came out way too salty for my taste. Love it and it is now in rotation!! Thanks!!!!!!

  22. Janette
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Buy an oven thermometer and set your oven to 350. Wait ten minutes and look at the thermometer. You will then know how many degrees your oven is off and can adjust the temperature accordingly. Probably only off by 25 degrees. So when recipe calls for 350, set temperature to 375. Voila!!

  23. Emma J
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Bake until the top is golden brown and it smells just right!

  24. Jeninne
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    First use a oven thermometer to chk temp. My oven was doing the same until an appliance man told me this trick! Older ovens with knobs– ck manual on newer models. If your temp is off, remove knob that controls oven, there should be a -/+ under the knob area, If you need to adjust temp, turn the screw to right to increase temp, to left to decrease temp! Worked for mine!!!

  25. Ellen Clodfelter
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    This was fantastic! I used fresh grated red potatoes with skin on to retain vitamins and earthiness flavor. I added bell pepper and substitued Canadian bacon. This is a definite keeper and will make over and over again. Thanks for the tip!

  26. Ellen Clodfelter
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    I did cook covered for 45 minutes and then uncovered for 15 in 350 oven. Turned a beautiful color and yet not dry!

  27. Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    I just had my first Poor Mans Mimoso yesterday on Pier 39 in San Francisco – it was excellent!!! They took Shock Top Beer and added 30% fresh squeezed orange juice. I am going to serve it at my open house pool party in September.

    And, I am planning on making the Potato Bacon Casserol for Christmas morning brunch!

  28. Mama Gers
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats on the new gig. Looking forward to following your newest cooking adventure. I would suggest borrowing or investing in a few oven thermometers. Place them in front, in back, on top, middle, and lower portions of your oven. Turn it on to 350• and see what they register. Seems like some trouble, but after over 30 years of dealing with various ovens, it’s always helped me figure out the accuracy, hot, and not so hot spots in my ovens. Hope this helps!

  29. kristin hollis
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi ! Suggestion for your oven issue… Go get an oven temp gauge… It hangs in your oven when it’s on and tells you what your actual temp is… Yours migh be a little off so maybe this will make your timing issues easier 🙂 keep cooking !

    • Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Kristin. My oven was off by about 20 degrees! Keeping an eye on the temp gauge from here on out.

  30. Posted September 10, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow this looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try this soon.

  31. Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    RE: oven bake time. There is no fixed formula. I have a similar issue with my oven since it is electric. To solve the problem requires that the oven is properly preheated (wait for the alarm) and then experiment with 5 or 10 minute increments. If the recipe calls for 60 minutes, try 70. If still not cooked try 75, if overlooked try 65. You’ll find the magic number in 2 or 3 try’s.

  32. Ronda
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nick, , that much milk with only one egg and no flour to thicken it seems like an impossible task for any oven. I would add a tablespoon of flour to the milk and shake it in a covered container and then pour over the casserole. Also would add 2-3 more eggs.

  33. liz
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    can this be made prepped the night before and baked the next day?

    • Posted October 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Liz, it should work just fine prepping the night before. If you try it, let me know how it works for you 🙂

      • Ellen
        Posted November 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Did this work prepped the night before?

  34. Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    This recipe looks delicious. I would like to share it with my readers on Recipe for LIfe at
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  35. Pam
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    You need to buy an oven thermometer! It’s very inexpensive and you just hang it on your oven rack. Set your oven to 350 degrees, wait 10-15 min for it to heat up then read the thermometer! See how far off your oven temp is. Say it’s off 25 degrees, you can start setting it accordingly. Just ck it everytime before you pop something in the oven! Easy peasy!

    • Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Pam! I got an oven thermometer and it appears my oven was off by about 20 degrees.

  36. Kim
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Do you thaw out the hashbrowns before you use them, so they’re easier so spread out in layers?

    • Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Kim –

      I didn’t completely thaw them, but I brought them out about an hour early.

      Thanks for your question.

  37. erin
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink | Reply


  38. wendi
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Souunds yummy!

  39. Blaine
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    It sounds yummy. Can’t wait to try!

  40. Giselle R.
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    Can you make this in a crockpot overnight?

  41. Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    On the variences in oven temps, I would just add 5 minutes at a time until the dish is ready. That way you are more likely not to overcook the dish, and you can easily add the extra time it took. Every dish is different, but if you are like me, I make the same 10 or 12 dishes as meals I rarely make new recipses. So once you have calculated the time for each dish you cook, just write the proper time on the recipe. Hope this helps!

  42. Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nick, I just read the thermator test to see what degree your oven variates. It would be a one time things, instead of what I suggested.

    Great idea Kristen!

  43. Heather
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Could i throw everything together tonight and pop it in the oven straight from the fridge tomorrow?

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hello, it’s Chris (Nick is on vacation). You can assemble the night before. The only slight difference I noticed is in the texture of the potatoes (they are a tad softer). This is such a great recipe, especially during the holidays! Enjoy 🙂

    • Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Heather – I failed to mention that you can take it from fridge to oven. Just add a few extra minutes of baking time.

    • Sarah
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      you also don’t want to preheat your oven if you make it the night before if using a glass dish!

  44. Kara
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Has anyone ever tried prepping this a day In advance and then baking it the next day? I was thinking about trying this with my students but won’t have enough time to do it in one period.

  45. Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great recipe, so delicious!

  46. Sandra Gulledge
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    Can you use fresh potatoes instead of frozen?

  47. Rhonda
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Just tried the potato bacon casserole. I added some chopped ham – delicious! Thanks!

  48. Carmen
    Posted July 13, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beer and brats….Wisconsin fan, by chance? 🙂

  49. Ruth
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi…really looking forward to trying this rcipe.what can i have set up, if I want to prep the night before?

    • Posted September 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Ruth! You can do most everything the night before. Prepare the recipe up to adding the wine, then refrigerate it. The next day, you can add it to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. We just had this recipe for dinner tonight 🙂

  50. Cate
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My potato casseroles always took so long to cook. I learned if I rinsed the frozen hash browns in my colander under warm water it finished cooking closer to the suggested time.

  51. Michelle
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another suggestion is to calibrate your oven. The instructions should be in your owners manual, also make sure your oven is level as that can throw it off as well.

  52. Melanie
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I need to double this recipe to feed 8 very big eaters. How long do I bake in a 9×13 electric oven?

    • Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If you double the recipe and use a 13 x 9 dish check it at 60 minutes. It should take 60-70 mins but all ovens vary.

  53. Posted February 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Superb, what a website it is! This website gives useful data to us, keep it up.

  54. Dawn
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m trying this tonight. Looks like a recipe that you can put crushed corn flakes on top too for a little crispy treat. Mmm

  55. Bonnie McCartney
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    To check your ove temp set your oven to any temp. Place an oven thermometer inside your oven. When the indicator on your stove says it has reached the desired temp. Check the thermometer inside to see what the actual temp is. You can then adjust your temp setting or the cooking time. Do this with several temps and you’ll know what your oven is really doing.

  56. Carrie
    Posted January 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Chris/Nick – have either of you tried to double this recipe? I never have good luck with doubling breakfast casseroles, so I thought I would ask before putting it on the menu this week. Thanks!

    • Posted January 20, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Carrie – I haven’t doubled it, but I’d have to imagine it would work just fine. Nick moved on to a different position so I unfortunately can’t ask him. (So sorry for the delay in this response!)

    • Posted April 5, 2015 at 5:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      I made this for Easter breakfast and doubled the recipe. I haven’t eaten it yet as it just came out of the oven. However, it took forever to cook and the center is still a little juicy. I had to take it out of the oven after 90 minutes because I was afraid the rest of it would burn or dry out. I’m a little disappointed that it took so much longer to cook than the recipe states. Good thing I planned on mishaps and put it in the oven earlier than I needed it!

      • Posted April 5, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        Now that I’ve eaten it I can give a more thorough review. It tastes very good but I prefer my breakfast casseroles to be more “eggy.” I’d cut back on the milk and use more eggs. Since I doubled the recipe I’ll probably only use one can of milk next time. I think it took so long to cook because there was too much milk and not enough egg to firm it up. The family liked it so that’s all that counts.

  57. Davina Duncan
    Posted April 23, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well recently we moved into an Apartment with an Electric oven. I’m almost 48 and have always had a gas oven. I had to learn through some over cooked messes. I love cooking and baking. First I bought an oven temperature reader pretty cheap. Then I’d bake some cookies since they don’t take long to bake. Sometimes they’d be too dark. I’ve learned check earlier than the recipe says. Ends up mines about 5 to 7 min shorter time.

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