Utah’s Best Funeral Potatoes

Last Saturday I was a judge at the Utah’s Own Funeral Potato Cookoff at the Downtown Salt Lake Farmer’s Market.

funeral potatoes \ fyün-rəl  pə-ˈtā-tōz \ : a baked cheesy potato casserole often served at family gatherings and luncheons following funerals.

I know they make similar potato casseroles around the country, but in Utah we jokingly/fondly call them Funeral Potatoes. Utah’s Own and the Salt Lake Ladies Who Lunch teamed up to host this fun event.

I consider myself somewhat of a Funeral Potatoes expert. Not only have I made this delicious comfort food numerous times, I have also help serve it at many funerals and gatherings held at our church. The ladies working in the kitchen are always amazed at the wide variety of funeral potato recipes the members bring, and of course, we often have the opporunity to sneak a little taste.

The recipe I usually make is one passed down to me from my sister-in-law and they have crushed potato chips on top. The winning recipe at the Utah’s Owns Funeral Potato cookoff used panko crumbs for a crispy topping.

The winning recipe also used homemade cream of chicken soup in her potatoes, which I’m sure added that little bit of extra creamy, deliciousness that took her potatoes to first place. The next time I make funeral potatoes, I’m giving Jessica’s recipe a try. The next time you need to feed a crowd some delicious comfort food, you should try them too.

Here’s Jessica’s winning recipe:

Utah’s Best Funeral Potatoes

Utah’s Best Funeral Potatoes


    Funeral Potatoes:
  • 1 32 oz. package freshly shredded hash browns
  • 2 cups cream of chicken soup (recipe below or 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup)
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterrey and Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups Meadow Gold Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of Meadow Gold Unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Cream of Chicken Soup:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 3 cups Meadow Gold heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper to tastes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


Funeral Potatoes:

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat. Add the hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cheese, salt and pepper and combine well. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Spread the mixture into a 9 x 13 (or similar) dish. Mix the panko with ½ cup melted butter and top the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes covered with foil. Uncover and bake for an additional 5- 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Cream of Chicken Soup:

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes more.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley springs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the heavy cream into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Divide among soup bowls, sprinkle the top of each bowl with chopped parsley and serve immediately.


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    Leave a Comment:

  1. Stephanie-Oh says

    I know this is an older post but I wanted to add that our family recipe is quite similar with exception to the topping. We use crushed cornflakes in place of the Panko. This recipe goes well to reunions, family get togethers, etc.

  2. Barbara says

    I’ve heard them called Funeral Potatoes, Company Potatoes and just Cheesey Hash Brown Potato casserole.
    The name Funeral Potatoes came from, I believe, this being a comfort food and crowd pleaser that was often served at funeral luncheons. Same could be said of the Company Potatoes title…..a crowd pleaser served for company.
    It’s definitely a heart attack on a plate unless you lighten it up with low fat versions….but then it wouldn’t be as much a crowd pleaser.

  3. RJofDC says

    I’ve made this for my family about a month ago and EVERYONE wanted the recipe. Perfect for a Sunday dinner side dish as well a Wake.

  4. says

    I’d love to hear about more funeral recipes if anyone would like to share. I’m the author of The Party of Your Life: Get the Funeral You Want by Planning it Yourself, an irreverent guide to funeral planning. Am always looking for fun funereal info for my blog.

  5. Rusty says

    Funeral potatoes are good at funerals, of course, especially with ham. But they also make a wonderful Sunday casserole. I didn’t even know that they were a Mormon dish until I moved to New Mexico. I had been eating them for years in California and there were several versions in our stake cookbook. I introduced them to my coworkers in New Mexico. They asked why they were called funeral potatoes. My opinion is that you can take your pick: 1)You eat them after funerals; 2)All that good stuff just may kill you; or 3) (my favorite) They are to die for. No matter…whenever my work has a potluck, I am reminded that I am not to bring anything but the funeral potatoes…after all, only a real Mormon is supposed to be able to make them. My boss emailed me for a recipe but claims that they don’t taste as good unless a Mormon makes them. By the way, my daughter the vegetarian loves them too…she uses cream of mushroom soup instead of the chicken soup.

  6. says

    Love the Panko idea! Somehow it’s the best finishing touch to so many things. How fun you could judge such a unique contest! Nobody better qualified than you…

  7. says

    Oh, I do so absolutely love blogs and writing where I learn more about a place’s culture as intertwined with its food! I’ve never heard of funeral potatoes before, and while this dish is beyond the capabilities of my poor lactose intolerant soul, I do so think it looks scrumptious!

  8. says

    I was curious when I saw the title of your post …..’Funeral Potatoes’. Never
    heard of this before. Looks a bit like Shepherd’s pie.

  9. says

    Ok, this Tennessee girl keeps seeing Utah Funeral Potatoes everywhere and is going to have to make them to see what they are all about!

  10. says

    How fun for you to be a judge, Barbara! My late mom made these potatoes at every holday meal since I was a teen, and of course we have continued the tradition because they’re delicious! The only difference is that she did not add onions and used crushed corn flakes on top. Oh, and canned cream of chicken soup:) We call it simply, potato cheese casserole.

    • says

      Anna – I always think of you Aussies that come up with the great names. It’s a cheesy, creamy potato bake usually with a crispy topping. So good!

  11. says

    I, too, call them funeral potatoes after reading about them on Allrecipes.com. I’ve been making my own version for years now and they’re as good at dinner as they are at brunch. The casserole dish is always empty (and looks like it was licked clean).

  12. says

    The Funeral Potatoes look delicious, but here in California I’d have some explaining to do! The name doesn’t match any potato casseroles we are familiar with! LOL Most definitely an excellent pot luck, gathering type of recipe. Your post was fun to read!

  13. says

    I never heard of this potato dish…although the title sounds morbid…it looks delicious with cream of chicken and topped with panko.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend Barbara:-)

  14. says

    I love funeral potatoes – I think it’s the onion/sour cream mix that does it for me. This recipe sounds great. I give her lots of credit for making her own cream of chicken soup. I bet you are right, it probably adds a lot of creaminess to the dish. Total comfort food here!

  15. says

    I’m not sure there is such a thing as *bad* funeral potatoes. And I know what you mean about the different varieties; I’ve noticed that too when they’re served at a funeral lunch. Sounds like a fun contest.

  16. says

    It’s all about the homemade cream of chicken soup, I’m sure of it. Looks like it was a success! These potatoes sound delicious, congratulations to Jessica!