This recipe for Cheesy Funeral Potatoes is cheesy, creamy, rich hash brown potatoes mixed with two kinds of shredded cheese and topped with buttery, crunchy corn flakes and no canned soup in sight! Easy make ahead directions and gluten free option, this casserole is perfect for a potluck, dinner or any holiday gathering.
The first time I had cheesy funeral potatoes was at a MOPS meeting, funeral potatoes at a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting, whatt? You bet, they pair perfect with brunch, lunch or dinner.
Why Do They Call Them Funeral Potatoes?
What in the world are Cheesy Funeral Potatoes? Only the BEST party potatoes on the planet! You have slam-dunk potluck recipes that work every time, this is one of those recipes to add to your collection.
Depending on the part of the US you are in, they are called “funeral potatoes” or plain ol’ “cheesy potato casserole” or “cheesy potatoes”.
You can guess that they got their “funeral” moniker from folks bringing this large-batch, potato casserole to post-funeral lunches or gatherings.
This is what I have always heard them referred as, nothing sad about these potatoes and they are comfort food at its very finest.
How To Make Cheesy Funeral Potatoes
Should you thaw frozen hash browns?
Yes, part of the reason I am putting this recipe on the blog is that everytime I dig out my old, tired recipe, I miss my handwritten note to thaw or defrost the hash browns ahead of time. So before you get started, defrost your hash browns! The best way is to toss the bags in the fridge the night before.
If you forget to thaw your potatoes — line a large half sheet (or two) baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spread frozen hash browns evenly on the pan while you get your other ingredients ready, make the sauce, shred cheese, they thaw pretty quickly.
In a large skillet (my favorite pan, ever!) over medium heat melt butter, saute the onion and sprinkle with flour cooking for one minute. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken stock bringing the mixture to a low boil, allowing it to simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses.
In a large bowl combine cheese sauce with hash browns and sour cream, adjust seasonings if needed and transfer to 9×13 casserole baking dish (well sprayed or buttered).
Mix melted butter with corn flakes for the topping and spread evenly over the potato mixture. Bake until golden, bubbly and melty. You may drool now!
Can I Make Funeral Potatoes Ahead of Time?
To make Cheesy Potatoes ahead of time, assemble the potatoes (DO NOT add the corn flake topping), cover tightly with sprayed foil or plastic wrap in fridge for 1-2 days.
To bake, set on counter for 30 minutes before baking, add buttered corn flake topping, cover and bake as directed. If needed, bake an additional 10-15 minutes until bubbly. Remove foil last 15 minutes, but keep covered with foil if browning too quickly.
HOW TO FREEZE CHEESY POTATO CASSEROLE
When it comes to busy holiday cooking schedules I love recipes I can make ahead and then pop in the oven when I am ready; even better if I can make a few weeks ahead of the party and tuck away in my freezer.
Follow the make ahead instructions — DO NOT ADD CORN FLAKE TOPPING — sealing tightly with foil, maybe even two layers or with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil, be sure to put a reminder you have plastic so you don’t accidentally bake with it on! Freeze up to 2-3 months.
PRO FREEZER TIP | Freeze in disposable aluminum pan, or if you aren’t fond of tying up your casserole dish, then line your baking dish with aluminum foil; spoon hash brown casserole inside, freeze overnight until firm, remove from casserole dish, wrap in several layers of foil and plastic wrap to keep away freezer burn. When ready to bake return to original baking pan removing any plastic.
How to Bake After Freezing
- Preferred method | Place in fridge overnight. When ready to bake, set on counter for 30 minutes to allow to come to room temp, add buttery corn flake topping and bake as directed. Depending on how cool it is, you might have to bake an additional 10 minutes.
- If baking straight from the freezer, remove foil and add buttered corn flake topping, return foil to top and bake as directed, adding 15-20 minutes, remove the foil about 20 minutes before finished.
Making Gluten Free Party Potatoes
Many of my recipes, I provide if I can, a gluten free alternative, you see I have numerous gluten free friends and my brother and his family are almost all gluten free, so I’ve gotten creative through the years.
Jenny Levine Finke of Good for You Gluten Free is a fabulous resource; as one with Celiac herself and certified holistic nutrition and wellness coach she’s done her research, if you are searching for GF tips, products, etc. this resource is an excellent place to start. Plus she’s just a fabulous woman!
Tips for the best gluten free potato casserole
- Swap all purpose flour for equal amounts of a good Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (my favorite).
- Use half as much cornstarch as you would flour. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of flour, use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. The same is true for other starches, such as arrowroot starch, potato starch, and tapioca.
- If using pre-shredded cheeses, make sure these are gluten free, many use fillers or anti-caking agents that have gluten in them; best to just use a block of cheese and shred yourself, it’s better anyway!
- Same goes for the hash browns, read those ingredients; I used Whole Foods Organic frozen hash browns, while they do not have gluten, they are produced in a facility that processes wheat.
- And finally your corn flakes! Mine were gluten free.
Alternate Toppings & Substitutions
- The Pioneer Woman uses kettle-cooked potato chips (my hubby would love that!)
- Use crushed butter crackers, such as Ritz, tossed in melted butter
- Keep with holiday tradition and top with French Fried Crispy Onions, you could omit the butter.
- Or keep it plain and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top.
- Try different cheeses, Colby cheddar, pepper jack, gruyere and swiss.
- Sprinkle some smoked paprika into the white sauce or on top after baking.
- Use diced hash browns vs. shredded hash browns (but don’t forget to thaw them). 🙂
Dishes that go great with Cheesy Funeral Potatoes:
- Roasted Turkey and Giblet Gravy or try my Instant Pot Turkey Breast!
- Oven Baked Barbecue Beef Brisket
- Bourbon & Cola Glazed Ham
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Old-Fashioned Corn Pudding without Jiffy
- Wild Rice Supreme Casserole
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey Balsamic Glaze
- Cheesy Asparagus Bake
- Easy Tarragon Butter Carrots
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- 2 lbs (32 oz) frozen hash browns, DEFROSTED (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons flour (see notes for gluten free options)
- 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded white sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 cup sour cream (not fat free)
- 1 cup Cornflakes, lightly crushed
- 3-5 tablespoons butter, melted
- Garnish with chopped chives if desired
DEFROST your hash browns (see notes)
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter or spray a 9x13 casserole dish.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and saute the onion until soft, then sprinkle with flour cooking and stirring for one minute. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken stock bringing the mixture to a low boil, allowing it to simmer until thickened, stirring, it won't take long. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheeses, stirring until melted in.
In a large bowl combine cheese sauce with hash browns and sour cream, adjust seasonings if needed and transfer to 9x13 casserole baking dish (well sprayed or buttered). Smooth potato mixture on top.
Mix 3-5 tablespoons melted butter with corn flakes for the topping and spread evenly over the potato mixture. Cover with foil for first 20 minutes, then sprinkle with extra cheese and bake until golden, bubbly and melty. You may drool now! If desired, garnish with chopped chives.
Forget to Thaw your Hash Browns?
Line a large half sheet (or two) baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spread frozen hash browns evenly on the pan while you get your other ingredients ready, make the sauce, shred cheese, they thaw pretty quickly.
Gluten Free Option | See post for greater detail, but simply sub out the all purpose flour for a Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and double check all ingredients for wheat and gluten.
MAKE AHEAD & FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS
To make Cheesy Potatoes ahead of time, assemble the potatoes (DO NOT add the corn flake topping), cover tightly with sprayed foil or plastic wrap in fridge for 1-2 days. To bake, set on counter for 30 minutes before baking, add buttered corn flake topping and bake as directed. If needed, bake an additional 10-15 minutes until bubbly. Cover with foil if browning too quickly.
Freeze without corn flake topping, thaw overnight in fridge and follow above instructions. If baking from frozen, bake additional 10-15 minutes until bubbly, covering with foil at the end if needed. Lasts in freezer 2-3 months.
REHEATING | If just reheating a portion, 30-40 seconds in the microwave should work, if reheating the entire dish or large portion, place uncovered in 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, if needed cover with foil at end if getting too brown.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 686mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g
The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.