Cheesy funeral potatoes are some of the best cheesy potatoes that you will ever make. While the name may sound somewhat strange, there's a story behind it. According to Atlas Obscura, many people think this recipe came to be because of the Relief Society, a women's service group that's part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ingredients are typically shelf-stable and can often be found in the homes of Mormons with large families, who are often encouraged to keep at least three months of food on hand in case of financial hard times. If someone in the community dies, these "funeral potatoes" can therefore be made quickly and easily. Today, people serve these tasty potatoes in less emotionally heavy conditions, like at cookouts and even during cozy Thanksgiving meals.
Recipe developer Ting Dalton of Cook Simply created this yummy dish that is sure to be a favorite, even if you don't have a memorial service to go to. While there are plenty of great things about it, Dalton gave a great answer as to why she loves this recipe so much, noting "how easy they are to prep and make, and then the taste is just so moreish and delicious. It's cheesy, creamy and really good," she says. "And they will go with absolutely anything, or just great on their own."
Like any other dish you would make, the first step in the process is to take inventory of what you have at home versus what you need to get at the store. Luckily, this recipe only requires a few items, making shopping a breeze. And, if you're like those Mormon families with well-stocked pantries, you may even have some of these ingredients already on hand.
The most essential item in the recipe is, of course, the potatoes. In this recipe, they take the form of potatoes cut into small 1-inch chunks or frozen hash browns. The choice is up to you, depending on budget and availability. "For ease and simplicity, I used frozen hash browns," says Dalton, "but you could also use potatoes cut into small chunks." You'll also need a can of cream of chicken soup, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and melted butter.
The rest of the items on your list are spices and ingredients needed for the crispy topping. These include onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. For the topping, you'll need a few cups of corn flakes (the Queen's favorite, by the way). To the uninitiated, that ingredient may sound strange but trust us: it tastes fantastic. And if you're not sure or just don't have corn flakes ready, you can make a quick substitution. "If you don't have corn flakes, you could be naughty and crush up potato chips or use breadcrumbs like panko," Dalton shares.
Before you start any of the true prep, turn the oven to 350 F to make sure that it's up to heat by the time you get to the baking stage. Next, take out a large bowl and inside mix together the chicken soup, sour cream, melted butter, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir everything well to combine. After you combine all the items together, you can go ahead and throw in the star of the recipe — your potatoes. In addition, add in the grated cheese.
Mix everything again until the potato pieces or hash browns are covered in sauce. Then, pour them into a casserole-style baking dish and set them to the side for a moment.
If you like to crush things, then this step should be right up your alley. Take out a sizeable freezer bag and put the corn flakes inside. Make sure that the bag is large enough to fit 2 cups of corn flakes, plus a little extra room. Next, crush the mix with a rolling pin so they break into small pieces. If you don't have a rolling pin, you can use your hands or even the bottom of a sturdy jar instead.
Now, put the corn flakes into a bowl and pour the melted butter on top. This will help them to brown when you cook the casserole and also adds a rich flavor to the topping.
Grab the casserole dish with your potatoes and sprinkle the cornflake mixture over the top. Try to spread it out as evenly as possible. Then, go ahead and put the dish in the oven, leaving it uncovered. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the topping is brown and crispy. Once the timer dings and you're satisfied with the topping, you can then take the potatoes out of the oven.
Remember to be careful as you remove the dish, as it will be very hot. Yes, you'll also want to give it a few minutes to cool down, though you'll surely be tempted to dig in as soon as you see the crispy browned topping and smell the cheesy contents of the casserole.
As for what you should serve alongside this cheesy potato side, you have plenty of options. Dalton suggests chicken or steak — perhaps even a corn flake chicken, if you'd like some ideas that can use up some of those extra corn flakes. If you have any leftovers, don't worry, they'll keep! "Freeze for up to three months and keep in the fridge for 3 days covered," Dalton says.