Hash brown casserole and sausage gravy are two of my favorite breakfast foods. So when we were trying to develop our own loaded breakfast casserole recipe for the pellet smoker, I immediately thought to start with a layer of cheesy, creamy hash brown casserole.
Because if the base of your smoked breakfast casserole is a mixture of shredded hash browns, cheese, and cream, it’s hard to go wrong!
This smoked breakfast casserole is loaded with flavor and all of your favorite breakfast foods combined into one epic pellet grill recipe! With a base of hash brown casserole, a spread of sausage gravy, a layer of crumbled sausage and bacon, perfectly tender peppers and onions, scrambled eggs, and cheese… this hearty and filling breakfast is all you could ever want in a casserole dish!
If you’re looking for a pellet grill breakfast recipe to feed a crowd, give this grilled breakfast casserole a try!
Ingredients for Smoked Loaded Breakfast Casserole
This smoked breakfast casserole is made up of multiple layers, so it’s not your Momma’s dry egg casserole. Here’s what you need to make this loaded smoked casserole for breakfast:
For the Hash Brown Casserole Layer:
The bottom layer of the casserole starts out with a copycat version of Cracker Barrel’s famous hash brown casserole. For this layer you will need:
- shredded hash browns – We have tried every single way to make hash browns… frozen hash browns, dehydrated hash browns, shredded fresh raw potatoes, and the refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes, and we prefer the Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns (pictured above).
- shredded cheddar cheese – For the hash browns, we cheated and used the pre-shredded, packaged cheese.
- diced onions
- sour cream
- Cream of Chicken soup
- diced jalapeños (optional)
- salt and pepper – Or you can substitute your favorite all-purpose seasoning – we used Shake That All Purpose Seasoning, which is great on potatoes!
For the Sausage Gravy Layer:
The second layer of our breakfast casserole is a delicious homemade sausage gravy. For the gravy, you only need a few simple ingredients:
- breakfast sausage
- milk and half & half – You have a few options for the dairy in your gravy… You can use heavy cream, all half and half creamer, whole milk, 2% milk, or any combination of those. Since we always have 2% milk and half & half in our fridge, that’s what I used.
- fat – For the best sausage gravy, you’ll need equal parts fat and flour. The sausage grease leftover in the skillet should be fine, but if your sausage is on the leaner side, you can add bacon grease or butter.
For the Rest of the Loaded Breakfast Casserole:
To finish off the casserole, you will need:
- bell peppers and onions – These are just the veggies that we chose. You can easily substitute or add in your favorite vegetables like red bell peppers, jalapeños, diced tomatoes, baby spinach, or mushrooms.
- cheddar cheese
How to Make Loaded Breakfast Casserole on the Pellet Grill
Here’s how to assemble the loaded breakfast casserole and cook it on the pellet grill or smoker:
Mixing the Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
A few years back, we made these hash brown casserole patties on the griddle, so we decided to reach back into our recipe book for the bottom layer of this casserole.
To make the first layer of the breakfast casserole, simply mix the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheddar, diced onions, shredded potatoes, and salt and pepper in a bowl. It should look something like this:
Then, spread the hash brown casserole mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish. I used an enameled cast iron baking dish that I didn’t mind putting on the grill grates.
*PRO TIP – If you have expensive bakeware or casserole dishes that you don’t want to set directly on the grill grates of your pellet smoker, you can wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in aluminum foil to add a layer of protection. I’ve done this before with my nice stainless steel All-Clad roasting pans, and it works great!
That’s why I mention having extra sheet trays or wire racks specifically for using on the grill in this post about my must-have pellet grill accessories!
Making the Sausage and Gravy
Some of our favorite breakfast recipes ever have included sausage gravy, so we decided to add it to our casserole as well. The sausage gravy adds extra flavor and helps the casserole to not get too dry.
To make a quick homemade sausage gravy for the breakfast casserole, just follow these steps:
- Add 1 pound of ground breakfast sausage to a skillet and cook until there is no more pink left, separating into crumbles.
- Remove about half of the sausage crumbles and set to the side, keeping all of the sausage grease in the skillet. These crumbles will get added separately to the casserole.
- Add flour to the skillet with the crumbled sausage and grease, and mix to combine. Your skillet should look like this:
- Allow the flour to cook for 1-2 minutes and combine with the sausage fat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk and half & half. Return the pan to the heat and whisk well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to release the sausage drippings.
- Continue to cook the sausage gravy, whisking occasionally, until it reaches your desired consistency. If needed, you can add more cream or milk for a thinner gravy consistency, or add a small bit of flour for a thicker gravy. Keep in mind, your sausage gravy will thicken as it cools also.
Sausage Gravy Tip:
A YouTube subscriber gave me this tip a while back, and since then, I’ve always done it! If you happen to be cooking bacon at the same time as you are making sausage gravy (like for this breakfast casserole), then add some of the excess bacon grease to the skillet with the sausage grease. This adds extra bacon flavor to the gravy, and it’s fantastic!
*Keep in mind that a basic sausage gravy includes equal parts fat and flour.
Prepping the Other Breakfast Casserole Ingredients
While the sausage gravy is cooking, you can prep the other ingredients. This includes:
- Saute the diced bell peppers and onions
- Cook the bacon
- Shred the cheddar cheese
- Scramble the eggs
Go ahead and butter the insides of your casserole dish as well. Then, when all of the individual breakfast items are prepped, it’s time to assemble your loaded breakfast casserole.
Assembling the Loaded Breakfast Casserole
Next, layer the ingredients into the greased casserole dish like this:
- Spread hash brown casserole into an even layer on the bottom of the dish
- Top with the sausage gravy
- Sprinkle on the sausage crumbles and cooked chopped bacon
- Pour the scrambled eggs over top
- Sprinkle on the sautéed peppers and onions
The shredded cheddar cheese will get layered on when the casserole is almost done cooking. If you put the cheese on top too early, then it will burn before the loaded breakfast casserole has a chance to set up.
Cooking Breakfast Casserole on the Pellet Grill
When the casserole is assembled, all that’s left to do is cook it! Just place the casserole dish on the pellet grill at 325 degrees F.
About 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes into the cook time, check the casserole for doneness. (It definitely shouldn’t be done yet!). You can jiggle it a bit to see how close it is to being fully set. When you estimate that the casserole has about 15 minutes of cook time left, it’s time to add the cheese.
Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top of the breakfast casserole, and continue to cook it on the grill until the cheese is melted, the eggs are fully cooked, and the inside of the casserole is set up.
You can test this by inserting a clean knife into the center of the casserole to see if there is any liquid egg left. Or, temp the inside of the casserole with an instant read probe thermometer to make sure it is 160 degrees F.
When the casserole is done, remove it from the pellet smoker and allow it to cool for about 8-10 minutes before slicing.
You can serve your loaded smoked breakfast casserole with hot sauce, salsa, or a sprinkle of sliced green onion for garnish. Enjoy!
Can I cook this loaded breakfast casserole in the oven?
Yes! This loaded breakfast casserole is “baked” on the pellet grill or smoker, but you can easily bake the casserole in the oven as well. If you choose to bake the casserole, just follow the other recipe instructions, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 – 1.5 hours, or until the eggs are set up.
Loaded Smoked Breakfast Casserole
For the Hashbrown Casserole Layer:
- 20 oz bag shredded hash brown potatoes *We used the Simply Potatoes brand found in the refrigerator section.
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup cream of chicken soup
- 1½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ medium onion diced
- 2 tablespoons diced jalapeños optional
- salt and pepper
For the Sausage Gravy:
- 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half & half
- ¼ cup flour
- approximately ¼ cup of fat (from sausage grease, bacon grease, or butter)
- salt and pepper to taste
Other Casserole Ingredients:
- 6-8 strips bacon
- ½ bell pepper diced
- ½ medium onion diced
- 12 eggs scrambled
- salt and pepper
- 1½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Make the hash brown casserole layer. Combine the shredded potatoes, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheddar, ¼ diced onion, jalapeños, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well. Spread hash brown mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch buttered casserole dish.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced bell pepper and diced onion. Saute until tender, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the skillet. Set aside until it's time to assemble the casserole.
- Cook bacon until done to your liking. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and then chop. Set aside. *You can also reserve some of the bacon grease to add to the sausage gravy.
- Cook 1 pound of ground breakfast sausage in the skillet over medium heat, breaking the sausage into smaller crumbles as it cooks. When sausage is cooked through, remove about half of the crumbles from the skillet and set aside, keeping the grease in the skillet with the remaining sausage.
- Make the sausage gravy. Add about ¼ cup of flour to the sausage and the sausage grease in the skillet. Stir to combine, and allow the flour to cook for about 1-2 minutes. Then, remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of half & half. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook until the gravy reaches your desired consistency. Then, remove the skillet from the heat. *Remember, the sausage gravy will thicken as it cools.
- Preheat pellet grill or smoker to 325 degrees F.
- Assemble the breakfast casserole. In the casserole dish, top the hash brown mixture with an even layer of sausage gravy. Sprinkle the sausage crumbles and chopped bacon on top of the gravy. Pour the scrambled eggs over top, making sure to pour them evenly over the casserole. Sprinkle the diced peppers and onions on top.
- Place the casserole dish on the grill, and cook for about 75-90 minutes, or until the casserole is almost all the way set. Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top of the breakfast casserole, and continue to cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is melted.
- Carefully remove the casserole dish from the grill. Allow the smoked breakfast casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce, salsa, or sliced green onions for garnish.