Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 2½ quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In an extra-large mixing bowl, add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chopped yellow onion, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and 1 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Stir to combine and evenly incorporate all the ingredients together.
Add hashbrowns and mix just until combined.
Transfer the hashbrown mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top the mixture with the remaining 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and cover it with aluminum foil.
Bake the Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole for 30 minutes covered with the foil. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the counter before serving.
If you have purchased frozen hashbrowns, then you need to plan ahead for this recipe and allow your hashbrowns to thaw according to your package directions. If you are able to find the hashbrowns in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, then you are all set and can make this recipe when ready.
You can make this easy recipe up to 24 hours ahead of time, and store it in the fridge covered with aluminum foil, before baking. Allow it to come to room temperature before baking. This is an important step to avoid cracking your casserole dish. If you put a very cold dish into a very hot oven you are risking a dangerous situation in the kitchen.
I like to use an 8-ounce block of cheddar cheese and shred it myself to get 2 cups. I find that the pre-shredded cheeses do not melt as nicely in recipes due to the additives added to them to prevent clumping while in the bags.
This loaded hashbrown casserole should be served while warm for best results.