Potato Casserole {a.k.a. Funeral Potatoes}

Funeral Potatoes {potato casserole}

So, I was at work the other day and one of the nurses asked me why I didn’t have a recipe for Funeral Potatoes on my blog. He said that in an effort to help out his wife with the cooking, he had downloaded a recipe from the internet. Apparently the family voted the recipe as a total dud, giving it a five tongue depressor down rating.

If you’re not from Utah, you may be wondering about the name ‘funeral potatoes’. For whatever reason, these potatoes are often served at a family dinner after a funeral, along with ham, salads, rolls, and desserts. It’s not a societal rule that these potatoes be served following a funeral; it’s just that they are easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and a pan of them will feed 12-16 people, depending on the size of appetites being addressed.

At my house, we often have these potatoes around Easter, mostly because that’s about the only time we have ham. Funeral potatoes and ham are meant to be together. As a matter of fact, ham cubes or bacon in these potatoes would be amazing.

The recipe that I am using here is fairly standard for potato casserole/funeral potatoes. It has been around long enough to have earned the label ‘tried and true’.  I originally got the recipe from my mother in-law (hi Mavis) and have only made a couple of minor changes in it. Mavis’ recipe calls for 8-10 potatoes cooked whole with the skin on and then are peeled and shredded.  However, I have switched over to the use of packaged shredded potatoes instead of cooking and shredding the potatoes myself. Frozen shredded potatoes did not exist back in the olden days. Yes, my dears, those days actually existed. Out of respect for the original recipe, I am including instructions for using fresh potatoes.

I have also reduced the amount fat that was contained in the original recipe. The butter has been reduced from 1/4 cup to 2 tablespoons, the sour cream has been changed to light, and the cream of chicken soup has been reduced to 1 can and I use the low fat, low sodium soup. I can’t bring myself to use reduced fat cheese, so that has stayed the same. I l.o.v.e. cheese.

So, Nurse “S”, here’s a recipe for you and your family. Enjoy.

Potato Casserole {a.k.a. Funeral Potatoes}

Recipe slightly adapted from my mother -in-law, Mavis


  • 8-10 whole potatoes in skins (this is only if you are using fresh potatoes instead of prepackaged frozen potato shreds) Boil until almost tender. Cool, then peel. Grate into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Proceed with adding the remainder of the ingredients listed below except for the frozen shredded potatoes.
  • Or
  • 1 (30 ounces ) package of frozen shredded potatoes (also called hash browns)
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup (I used a low fat, low sodium cream of chicken soup)
  • 2 cups sour cream (I used light)
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste (maybe 3/4-1 teaspoon salt--hard to say)
  • 1 cup cornflake crumbs, crushed Ritz-style crackers, or crushed potato chips (I prefer crushed Ritz or a similar buttery cracker)


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Put potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. I can't tell you how much salt you'll need. Potatoes can be a little tricky--they seem to require more salt than seems reasonable. But, I'd rather have too little salt than to have too much salt. You can always add more salt at the table per personal preference.
  3. Mix together the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and melted butter.
  4. Stir in the cheese and onions and mix well.
  5. Pour over potatoes. Mix lightly.
  6. Transfer to a lightly buttered 9" x 13" baking dish or a dish of equal volume.
  7. Sprinkle cornflake crumbs (or chosen topping) over top of potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour until casserole is bubbly and the top is crispy.


Funeral Potatoes {potato casserole}


  1. says

    I love the potato dish.. not crazy about the name. I understand where the name came from, but wow is it a little depressing. 🙂 I have some potatoes in packaged potatoes in my fridge, I think I’m going to try this out. Yes… with your shortcut. 🙂 Have a great day. ~ Ramona

  2. says

    This casserole sounds wonderful. I love how easily it comes together and the number of people it can feed. This sounds great for holiday or luck suppers. It really is nice to have a testedrecipe of this to go to. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  3. says

    Ramona–Don’t be depressed about the name. It may sound morbid, but the name ‘funeral potatoes’ always gets a chuckle from people here in this state. We all have had these potatoes at one funeral or another and they are a favorite, not only at funerals, but at family gatherings of all types.

    Becca–I can’t resist creamy, cheesy potatoes either!

    Susan–Yep, this is one of those ‘big gathering, feed a lot of people’ recipes. After my mother in-law gave me the recipe, I shared it with my side of the family and it became an instant hit.

    Mary–You are right, this is a perfect holiday or pot luck supper recipe. The fact that it can be assembled the day before is an added bonus.

  4. Barbara says

    We call these cheesy potatoes they are great in the oven or the crock pot…….Goes good with any meal… Barb

  5. Amber says

    Can I put the ingredients together a day ahead ? or do the potatoes have to be frozen at the time the casserole is baked ??

  6. Kelsey says

    Let’s pretend I didn’t already make the full recipe…forgetting I only needed half of it. So, of course I couldn’t just throw the other half away, so instead I put it in an 8×8 and froze it before I cooked it. How long do you think I would need to bake it, and at what temperature? Maybe it would be better if I let it thaw before I bake it? Please help! 🙂

    • says

      Hi Kelsy. I haven’t ever frozen Potato Casserole, so I had to do some thinking about the various ingredients and what might happen when they are frozen and then thawed. Here are my thoughts. If the casserole had been cooked prior to freezing, I don’t think that there would have been any problems. Baking would have stabilized the ingredients.

      The biggest problem with having frozen the casserole prior to baking, is that casserole MAY lose its cohesiveness and be runny or soupy. Some ingredients, such as sour cream, become runny and grainy after freezing and thawing. Cheese becomes grainy and crumbly and sometimes will not melt as well as it did prior to freezing. The soups are unpredictable – sometimes they become thin as well. However, the good news is that the potatoes were precooked, so freezing them is no problem. Plus the starchy nature of the potatoes may help to stabilize the other ingredients.

      As for baking the casserole after freezing, I would bake it from its frozen state. If you have the casserole in a glass or ceramic dish, start the casserole in a COLD oven. Putting a glass or ceramic dish in a hot oven could cause them to break. If the casserole is in a metal pan, it can go straight into a hot oven.

      Most likely, you will need to add 30-45 minutes to the baking time, or until the casserole is hot throughout. If you have a thermometer, cook the casserole until it reaches an internal temperature of 165-degrees F (higher is ok). Be sure to test the temperature in the middle of the casserole since it will remain coldest the longest. As I said previously, the biggest problem may be that the potato casserole MAY be runny or soupy. Hopefully, all will work out beautifully.

      Let me know how things work out for you. I am interested to know the results.

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