Funeral Potatoes (Cheesy Potato Casserole)
Rich, cheesy and creamy hash brown potatoes topped with buttery cornflakes and baked until golden and crispy! Perfect for any dinner, holiday or potluck, and guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. With make ahead directions and an alternate “no canned soup” version, this side dish has something for everyone!
CHEESY POTATO CASSEROLE
Do you have one of those go-to side dishes? A dish that no matter the occasion, it’s perfect for? That everyone… both kids and adults, love? I have a few, and this is totally one of them.
There are many versions of this dish, and it goes by a variety of names, but it’s beloved by all!
HOW TO MAKE FUNERAL POTATOES
To start making this cheesy potato casserole, grab a bag of thawed hash brown potatoes. You CAN make this using frozen potatoes, but the texture won’t be as smooth.
In a big mixing bowl, mix up the melted butter, cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Add your seasonings, hash brown potatoes, and cheese. Give it a big stir then transfer it to a greased baking dish. Top the casserole with some additional shredded cheese.
Toss some lightly crushed cornflakes with some more melted butter, then scatter on the top. Bake, enjoy, and get ready to come back for seconds!
In some parts of the US, these potatoes are called “funeral potatoes”, and in other parts, they’re simply called cheesy potato casserole.
From what I can gather, the “funeral” part of the name comes from this side dish being a popular dish to serve at a post-funeral lunch or wake, as they’re pure comfort food, easy to prepare ahead of time, and will feed a lot of people.
TYPES OF POTATOES FOR CHEESY POTATO CASSEROLE
There are two main camps when it comes to the type of potato used in this potato casserole; diced or shredded.
Personally, I like it both ways, but I tend to gravitate towards the diced version. I like the extra texture.
Generally I pick up a bag of frozen hash brown potatoes, but sometimes I’ll go for the variety that has diced onions and/or peppers.
You can bake these funeral potatoes using frozen potatoes, but for the best texture, thaw them out in the refrigerator first!
MAKING FUNERAL POTATOES AHEAD FOR A PARTY
As with most casseroles, this potato casserole is perfect to make ahead of time! Just assemble the casserole, leaving off the cornflake topping, cover with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days.
Let the baking dish sit on the counter while the oven preheats, add the topping, and bake as directed. You may find you need to add an extra 10 minutes or so if the dish is still pretty cold when you add it to the oven.
FREEZING FUNERAL POTATO CASSEROLE
Pulling a fully assembled casserole out of the freezer is like finding a $20 bill in your pocket. You just feel so together and prepared, plus… there’s way less work to do!
You can definitely freeze these funeral potatoes, just don’t add the topping. I like to use an aluminum pan (those disposable ones), and cover it really well, at least 2 sheets of foil. You can freeze this casserole for about 2-3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, add the topping, then bake as directed, adding 10-15 minutes if needed.
USING CONDENSED SOUPS
Whew. This is a hot button issue isn’t it? Some people use them all the time, and some are vehemently opposed to them. Personally, we use them about half the time.
This recipe, in it’s traditional form, uses cream of chicken soup, but I’ve added an alternative version (right below the recipe card) that uses NO “cream of” soups.
I’ve got ya covered 😉
TOPPING OPTIONS FOR FUNERAL POTATOES
My favorite part of these cheesy potatoes isn’t the creaminess, the cheese, or the actual potatoes… it’s the buttery, crunchy topping! I allllways go for the crunchy topping, of anything and everything.
My version uses cornflakes tossed with melted butter (mmm so good!), but here are some other alternatives.
- Coarsely crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter
- French Fried Onions
- Buttered panko
- Just a layer of cheese on top
WHAT GOES WELL WITH CHEESY POTATO CASSEROLE
I mostly think about making this casserole for holiday meals or potlucks, even though it could absolutely be used as a side dish for a family dinner. Here are some of my favorite main course recipes to serve with this potato casserole.
- Copycat HoneyBaked Ham
- Shredded Italian Beef (slow cooker meal)
- Ginger Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Rotisserie-Style Chicken
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- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups sour cream
- 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 32 oz frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer medium or sharp)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups cornflake cereal, lightly crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9x13 or 3 quart baking dish and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup melted butter, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Stir well.
- Add in thawed hash brown potatoes and the cheddar cheese and stir well to combine.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup melted butter and cornflakes, stirring well. Spread evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake uncovered, 45-50 minutes, until hot and bubbly and cornflakes are golden brown.
NO CONDENSED SOUP VERSIONOmit the cream of chicken soup and melted butter.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
MAKE AHEAD DIRECTIONSAssemble casserole WITHOUT the cornflake topping, cover tightly, then refrigerate for 1-2 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw, if frozen, then bake as directed, adding 10-15 minutes to the cook time.