At every family get together you can be sure to find Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole – aka Funeral Potatoes.
You know the kind. A rectangular dish that is filled with potatoes drenched in a creamed based sauce and coated in a thick layer of cheese.
And if you are lucky, there will be a crunchy coating of crushed corn flakes or Ritz crackers sprinkled on top.
It doesn’t matter if the potatoes are shredded hash browns or the Western style cubed potatoes. Either way, this Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole is a hit at every function.
However, I didn’t realize until about 10 years ago, they are also called Funeral Potatoes.
At our local church I volunteered for the food committee. Each member would make a dish to provide a meal for the family and friends of deceased loved ones after the funeral.
When I received my first call that food would be needed, I asked the chairperson what she would like for me to make.
She informed me that a side dish would be the best option.
Because several members had been on the committee for years, I asked what others typically provided.
That left me a little confused. Of course I knew what the others were, but I had never heard of funeral potatoes.
Not wanting to ask, I agreed to make potato salad.
It wasn’t until I arrived to help serve the family at the church hall that I found out that Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole is also called Funeral Potatoes.
When asked about the story behind the name, I quickly was informed it was because someone always brings them to the gathering after a funeral.
It made total sense! But because they are always brought to our holiday or family parties, I have always called them Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole.
Maybe I should call them pot luck or party potatoes – it sounds better than funeral potatoes!
What Potatoes To Use
I learned how to make the casserole from my sister. She always brought the dish to our family functions and they tasted incredible!
However, we were having a pot luck at work and I wanted to finally make them myself.
The recipe called for a bag of diced Western potatoes. These are the ones that you can find in freezer section of the grocery store that have not only diced potatoes, but peppers and onions as well.
However, I now prefer to make this Hash Brown Casserole using shredded potatoes.
I find them easier to eat, and there is less risk of a potato flying off your plate!
And you can certainly shred or dice your own hash browns using Russet potatoes.
Just par-boil whole potatoes for 8-10 minutes and cut or shred them when cool. I typically use 6 medium size potatoes to replace the bag of frozen potatoes.
No Creamed Soup Required
But the best part of this recipe is that it does not require you to use canned soup!
Most Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole recipes will include at least one can, if not two of cream of chicken and/or cream of cheddar soup.
As we all know, canned soups are filled with sodium and aren’t the healthiest choice.
So instead, I use a thickened mixture of chicken broth and whole milk.
It gives the potatoes that creamy texture without the worry of the excessive salt content.
And to make it a touch healthier, I decreased the volume of cheese that is used in this recipe and skipped the crunchy coating that goes on top.
Who knows, next time I make it, maybe I will try to substitute plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream!
Mary and Jim
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Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole – aka Funeral Potatoes
- 1 30 ounce bag of frozen hash browns thawed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion diced small
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ½ Tbsp All-Purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
- 3 green onions sliced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
In a medium stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add the diced onions and cook until softened.
Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the flour and whisk for an additional 2-3 minutes.
While whisking, slowly add the broth and milk. Continue to whisk until thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat.
Add the shredded potatoes to the saucepan with the sauce. Add the sour cream, cheese, and green onions.
Stir until well combined and pour into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly and lightly golden.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms