This recipe is brought to you by Cache Valley Cheese
If you grew up in Utah, there’s a 99.9% chance you’ve had (and loved) funeral potatoes. If you haven’t lived in Utah, you’re likely scratching your head wondering what in the world am I talking about?!? Unless you’re from the South, then you may be in the know, too.
This potato casserole’s roots run deep in the LDS faith and are a long-lived staple at family gatherings of every sort, including potlucks, family dinners, and any Sunday night dinner. My Grandma used to serve them at Christmas with her Roasted Turkey Breast with Oregano and Lemon with warm potato rolls, and believe me, rarely were there any potato casserole leftovers to be found.
So where did funeral potato casserole get it’s name? It’s from years and years of being served following Mormon funeral services, typically prepared by the ladies of the ward (aka the Mormon congregation) for a luncheon gathering for families and friends and pretty much anyone who crossed the threshold. I’m not Mormon, but I’ve been to several Mormon funerals, and I can bear witness that you’ve never seen so many pans of potato casserole than at a Mormon funeral. Proof that food does indeed heal.
But there’s another reason they’re called funeral potatoes, and that’s because they’re absolutely heavenly.
How to Make Funeral Potatoes
This casserole side dish may be the easiest thing you’ll make all week, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd. Time and agin I’ve considered fancy-ing up this dish and making it a bit more gourmet by using different kinds of onions or making my own white sauce, but this is one of those casseroles you just have to go with the original because that’s why it’s adored by so many. It is what it is. And it IS delicious.
The recipe is incredibly easy and calls for just a few simple ingredients and only takes about 10 minutes to prep.
Frozen hash brown potatoes. I use the country-style diced hash brown potatoes because that’s what my Grandma Mary Jane used, but you can absolutely use shredded hash browns as well. One 30-ounce bag fills an 11 X 13 baking dish just right. It may not look like it at first, but just wait ’til everything gets added. You’ll see. Be sure your potatoes are thawed completely before adding to the other ingredients so your casserole doesn’t become runny.
Butter. Sometimes I’ve had these potatoes and they’re pretty much a grease slick. It’s one reason I cut down on the amount I use. Most of the butter is melted and goes into the potato dish, but reserve 2 tablespoons to add to the corn flake topper, noted below. If you want to make this a little lighter, you can skip the butter in the potato mixture altogether, but still add it to the corn flakes so they don’t burn while baking.
Onion. I lightly sauté my onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter with a pinch of kosher salt, just until soft. These onions are not meant to be browned. Grandma’s recipe called for green onion but I like the regular yellow better.
The sauce that binds. Sour cream and cream of chicken soup meld this dish together. This is likely the only dish you’ll find on the blog that calls for canned cream of anything soup because I’m not generally a fan for home cooking. But, as I stated above, there are times when you just don’t go messing with a good thing. And this is one of those times. You could use a lower fat sour cream but it may get watery, so consider that.
Cheese. Ahhhhh. Glorious cheese. Typically I shred my own cheese because I’ve found that some shredded cheeses have a weird coating that prevents the cheese from melting. Not Cache Valley Cheese. This high-quality, calcium rich cheese melts like a dream, and buying the cheese already finely shredded is a real time saver. This time around I chose the Colby and Monterey Jack Blend but I’ll often use a medium or mild cheddar cheese, too.
And because Cache Valley Cheese is a Utah company since 1937, I bet there are a LOT of funeral potatoes that have been made with this very cheese over the years.
Crispy corn flakes. This is where things get real. As in real good. The final ingredient is corn flakes that have been tossed in melted butter then sprinkled over the potato mixture before baking. The corn flakes turn into a crispy crunch that melds perfectly with the creamy potatoes. This is the bite that gets them all coming back to patiently attend more funerals.
If you’d rather skip the corn flakes you certainly can. My mom’s friend Sheryl makes them without and instead adds another thick layer of cheese. She calls them Heavenly Potatoes. And with all that cheesy potato goodness, they’re positively heavenly indeed.
Recipes to Serve with Funeral Potatoes to Make a Meal
- 40 Cloves of Garlic Roast Chicken
- A Healthier Meat Loaf with Tomato Glaze
- Daddy’s Hamburgers
- Grilled Salmon Filet with Cucumber Dill Sauce
- Roasted Turkey Breast with Lemon and Oregano
- Avocado Caprese Salad
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- The Best BBQ Baked Beans
- 1 30-ounce bag frozen Southern-style hash brown diced potatoes (you can use shredded hash browns if you prefer)
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 pint sour cream
- 1 15-ounce can cream of chicken soup (I used organic)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Cache Valley Cheese, Colby & Monterey Jack Blend or cheddar
- 2 cups corn flakes
- Thaw the hash browns completely and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of kosher salt and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the onion is just soft. Don't let the onion get browned or crispy.
- While the onion is cooking, melt the rest of the butter in a medium size bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sour cream and cream of chicken soup with 5 tablespoons of the melted butter and the kosher salt and black pepper. Add the thawed potatoes and the cooked onion and stir to combine, then add the shredded cheese until mixed well. Transfer the mixture to 11 X 13 baking dish and top with more cheese if desired.
- Add the cornflakes to the remaining melted butter and toss lightly to coat. Spread evenly over the potato mixture. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check the casserole at about 1 hour 10 minutes and if the corn flakes are getting too browned, tent the pan with aluminum foil.
- Rest for 5 minutes before serving. This casserole is great for serving hot or warm.
This post is in partnership with Cache Valley Cheese. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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