Funeral Potatoes

So we kind of have this unspoken rule around OBB that we don’t have recipes with Cream of Something soup in them.  And I totally adhere to that in my own cooking 99.9% of the time–it’s just not my thing, you know?  However, there are times and places and sometimes there are rules that need to be broken.  The time is now.  The place is here. I give you…Funeral Potatoes.

But why funeral potatoes???

Believe it or not, “Funeral Potatoes” is not actually their technical name–it’s usually something like Cheesy Potato Casserole.  But these are often found served with ham on Easter dinner tables as well as luncheons following funerals which, shockingly, is how they got their name.

Our Best Bites Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

Since Easter is coming up and ham is often served at Easter, and since this is my favorite side dish for ham, I had to swallow my feelings about Cream of Something soups.  If you have a little extra time/motivation on your hands, you can always make Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup (make a half batch of the soup for the potatoes recipe), but honestly, these potatoes are so good and so easy and such great comfort food that I wholeheartedly recommend just popping open the can of soup.  C’mon, just one time won’t hurt, right?

how to make them

So anyway…you’ll need a bag of shredded hash brown potatoes from the freezer section (thawed), a can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom if you’re going vegetarian), shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little butter.

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350 and then, in a large skillet, melt a tablespoon or two of butter over medium heat. I’m actually doing the entire thing in a 12″ cast iron skillet which is amazing on so many levels (only dirtying one pan, fun/rustic presentation, stovetop to oven…if you want to learn more about why I love cast iron, check out this post.) Chop an onion and mince 2-3 cloves of garlic…

onions and garlic

and saute until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

sauté onion and garlic

While the onions and garlic are sautéing, combine together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, salt, and pepper.

ingredients in bowl

Remove the pan with the garlic and onions from heat and add the thawed hash browns, the sour cream mixture, and the cheese…

ingredients in skillet

Combine the ingredients well.

mixed ingredients in skillet

If you’re not baking this in the skillet, transfer the mixture to a 9×13″ baking dish.

to crunch or not to crunch

Now, there is a serious, relevant, and ongoing debate about whether or not Funeral Potatoes should have a crunchy topping.  I am firmly in the “no topping” camp–I love these because they don’t necessarily have to be served immediately and because they make awesome leftovers.  When a crunchy topping is involved, both of those virtues fly out the window because the topping gets soggy.  HOWEVER.  If you want a crunchy topping, you can add crushed cornflakes, seasoned bread crumbs, or even crushed saltines to the casserole before you bake it.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly throughout and the casserole is hot in the center.

Baked Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

You can serve this as a main dish (kind of like mac and cheese, right?) with a salad and fruit or serve it alongside pot roast, ham, or roasted chicken. The funeral is totally optional.

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes Up Close

(For the sake of nostalgia, here’s what these looked like back in 2011 when we originally published this recipe…)

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes from Our Best Bites

Funeral Potatoes in a skillet

Funeral Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
Cheesy and comforting, this casserole is the perfect side dish for a holiday dinner (or a funeral.)

Ingredients

  • 1 small-medium onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 28-30 ounce bag shredded hash brown potatoes thawed
  • 1 16- ounce container sour cream
  • 1 10- oz. can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 ounces about 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: Crushed cornflakes seasoned bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or crushed Ritz or saltine crackers

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet (or 12" cast iron skillet), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat. Add the thawed hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cheese, salt, and pepper and combine well. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  • If not baking in the skillet, spread the mixture into a 9x13" (or similar) dish and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the casserole is hot in the center and the cheese is bubbly throughout. Serve as a main dish with a salad and fruit or alongside roasted ham, turkey, chicken, or beef. Makes 6-8 main dish or 10-12 side dish servings.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Love this recipe. One of the few I use cream of something in as well (this one and tuna noodle casserole because my husband loves it for comfort food). My step mom started calling it cheesy hashbrown casserole because every time she said funeral potatoes one of us would point out that they will kill ya. But what a way to go!

  2. These also work great with leftover baked potatoes that we’ve cubed up or grated into hash browns (I’m lazy though, so cubed is usually faster). 🙂 LOVE these potatoes. Yummmmm….

  3. I love to sprinkle a thin layer of Panko breadcrumbs onto, just the right amount of crunch.

  4. I love this dish..we choose to call it cheesy potato casserole..We’re the crunchy topping camp with crushed Ritz crackers or Kelloggs Corn Flakes.:) Happy Wednesday!

  5. I make this a lot as a side- I use cubes potatoes instead of the shredded potato though! I’m also a crispy toppings kind of girl- I oddly don’t mind them for leftovers!

  6. I love these. I’m excited you have a recipe now because any time I’d make them (like the two times I’ve made them) I’d have to search and search and search for a recipe. Lol.

  7. So glad you let us know the funeral was optional. I was a little worried there for a minute! =). I’m a non-crunchy topping person myself, but I DO liberally sprinkle extra cheese on top before baking. Can’t have too much cheese, right?

    1. cheese – glorious cheese – YUMMY CHEESE!

      I too belong to the cheese lover’s group! 🙂

  8. Delicious! I make these and my family goes crazy. I like using crushed cheese Ritz for the top. Thanks for posting – I love your site!

  9. Just wanted you to know I just wrote up a quick review on my blog about your cookbook! It is amazing and I love it!

  10. I needed this one last week when I was requested to make these for….a funeral luncheon.

    I will squirrel this recipe away for the next time. Or, maybe just make it for a non-funeral event. 🙂

  11. We’ve made this into more of a main dish by adding cubes of leftover ham straight in. It’s really good!

  12. Everyone has their favorite version. Mine is with boiled cubed potatoes and topped with crushed Lays potato chips.

  13. YUM! I personally prefer cubed potatoes over the hashbrown style, so if someone can’t find the hashbrowns or doesn’t have time, try that. They seem to have more substance…both really are SO good though!

  14. Do you think these would work in a slow-cooker?

    I received my OBB cookbook last week and my family LOVED the bacon wrapped chicken kabobs. But really, how can you not love something wrapped in bacon?

    1. Oooh, Kari, I’m inclined to think that you could, I just don’t know how long you’d need to cook them for. If you try it out, let us know what you discover! 🙂

      1. I’ve done them in the crockpot before…I can’t remember how long though (I know not all day, maybe 4 hours on low?). The come out great. They do come out a little moister (soupier) when cooked in the crockpot. So if you like the crispy brown edge and crispy toppings stick with the oven.

      2. I do them in the crockpot for 4 hours on high. I also prefer them to be made with potatoes o’brien!!!! It makes such a huge difference. The plain potatoes taste kind of bland now, by comparison. I would skip the onion step. I just dump it all in a big bowl and stir it up. I’m actually making this tonight for dinner. It is the main thing by adding cubed black forest ham chunks to it. SOO good!

  15. These potatoes are one of my husband’s favorites!! I usually make them for Easter, but also for Father’s Day. Breakfast on Father’s Day. My husband always wants them served with french toast and sausage, it’s his favorite meal!!

    I sometimes make a version with shredded cooked potatoes instead of frozen hash browns (not because I have a problem with convenience foods–trust me) and they are very good also!!

    Hope you girls are doing well. xoxo 🙂

    1. Oh, my gosh, that’s awesome that you serve them for breakfast! I’m totally doing that!

      Hope you’re doing well, too, my hilarious friend. 🙂

  16. I had NO IDEA these were the famous Funeral Potatoes! I only tried them a few years ago when a coworker brought them to our company Christmas party & I fell HARD for them!

    The first time I made them myself I popped open a can of cream of celery by accident and decided to use it– it’s all I’ve used since. I also LOVE topping them with French’s Fried Onions. When I store leftovers I blend it all together and it just makes an extra oniony flavor– not soggy.

    1. I agree, cream of celery all the way! cream of chicken is just yuck, imo, and cream of mushroom gives a much different flavor. but cream of celery is perfection! Though I say the more corn flake topping the better! lol

      1. THank you for the wonderful suggestion of cream of celery. Definitely trying that next time. It sounds delish!

    2. I use Cream of Onion for everything that calls for Cream of ? Soup. I buy it by the case at Amazon, because it is hard to find in stores

  17. If you need to make your own hash browns, I would recommend boiling the potatoes a bit first. If you grate raw potatoes, they turn color rather quickly and tend to taste gummy. If you grate potatoes that are boiled until they are about half cooked, they grate easily, you don’t need to squeeze out the water, and they are fluffier. Just my 2 cents.

  18. YUMMY potatoes!

    that’s what MY family calls this delicious treasure. I might just have to volunteer myself to make these for Easter this year.

    I am seriously drooling right now – as in, all over my keyboard.

    now i’m super hungry! hehe

  19. I love this recipe and often add bits of bacon or ham to it to make it more of a main dish. I always top mine with crushed ritz crackers.

  20. I just made these yesterday and wrote a post for Tablespoon about them. So funny! They are good. I’m not sure if funeral potatoes is just Mormon lingo or not but that’s what we call them!

    1. It’s not just a Mormon thing! We call them that in Iowa, and I’ve only been to Baptist and Lutheran funerals.

      1. This recipe is called “hash brown casserole” in my neck of the woods here in NW Kentucky. They are on a lot of restaurant menus in this area.

  21. LOVE! I make these all the time. There my husband’s favorite.(they’re a great I-want-something weapon) My recipe only has 1 cup of sour cream, but increases the butter to 1/2 a cup! YUMMY!! Oh, and I never use canned cream of chicken soup either. I make my own substitute…it taste a lot better and I know what’s going into it. 🙂
    I think these are on the menu for this week…I’m needing a new sewing machine. 😉

  22. Oh my… these are one of my favorite potato dishes. We like them with extra “crispies”. Meaning, we like to let the edges and top get extra browned and crunchy! Topping is optional for me to. It’s great along side a grilled steak too!

  23. Hi- we can’t get frozen shredded has browns in the UK. They look like grated potato with the excess water squeezed out- but are they raw or cooked? I guess with the over cooking I could do this with grated raw potato, what do you think? Thanks!

    1. Perdita–Yep, they’re just grated potatoes! 🙂 You can just parboil a few potatoes, peel them, push them through a food processor, then push out all the extra water. If you try it, let us know how it works! 🙂

      1. I have made these with boiling the potatoes then running them through the food processor. It was delicious but not worth the extra time. You have to be sure to let the potatoes completely cool prior to grating them. With the time it takes to boil, peel and clean up the food processor I find it’s a lot easier to buy a cheap brand of shredded potatoes because there is not that much flavor improvement for the extra work (and I was using fresh from the farm Idaho potatoes)

      2. I saw a super interesting way to par-cook shredded potatoes (thanks Lucinda Scala Quinn!) that ALSO prevented them from turning pink while you were shredding great piles of them. Shred them into a bowl of really HOT (not boiling, but close) water, then when they’re all shredded drain them and squeeze out the excess water.

    2. Hi there!
      I’m in the UK and I make Funeral Potatoes regularly! I used to parboil the potatoes and then grate them – such a faff! And SO MESSY!! Now I buy McCain’s Frozen Hash Browns and just let them thaw before I use them. They come in portioned ‘patties’ (like if you buy them for breakfast in McD’s!), but once they’re defrosted, I crumble them up with my fingers!

      It works like a treat! :o)

    3. Do you have cubed hashbrowns? That’s what I always use for funeral potatoes.

    4. You need to cook them. You can boil whole potatoes for about an hour or until tender the whole way through, run cold water over them and let them cool. Peel and grate. Or I have used left over baked potatoes that you peel and grate as well. You will need about 10 potatoes.

    5. I’ve made this for years by baking the potatoes in the microwave and then grating them on a cheese grater. Personally, I think it tastes much better with the home-cooked potatoes than with the packaged hash brown potatoes.

    6. My best advice is to par cook (whether boiled or in the microwave) and cool the potatoes before shredding. This makes them easier to shred and eliminates the raw potato taste.

    7. I used to make these without frozen hash browns, I boiled whole potatoes until done, then grated them . If you do this you only have to cook them about 20-30 minutes.

    8. You can cook them for a shorter time because they will finish cooking in the oven. But I never like them raw, they turn brown. Hope yours turn out and Merry Christmas.

  24. Oh- I could eat an entire pan of these myself!! Here is my topping two-bits. My mom, in a desperate situation, ended up throwing Honey Bunches of Oats on top and it has become our family’s secret weapon. So crunchy and yummy! Also, my MIL boils potatoes and then chunks them. Super yummy that way too! Now I can’t wait for Easter!!