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
- 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
- ½ cup of diced onion
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup of Meadow Gold Unsalted butter divided
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Cream of Chicken Soup:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 medium Spanish onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
- 3 medium carrots chopped
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 ¾ cups cooked diced chicken
- 3 cups Meadow Gold heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper to tastes
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 350º. Melt ½ 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.
While I’m sure this recipe is superior with homemade cream of chicken soup, I’d like a shortcut using canned cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup. If I did that, how many cans of soup would I need and would I just reconstitute with a can of water per can of soup or would I need more liquid for each can of soup. It was a little difficult to equate the homemade cream of chicken soup recipe if subbing canned cream of chicken soup.
Hi Razzy – just 1 can of cream of chicken soup not reconstituted.
My friend calls them Resurrection potatoes as they are always served at her family Easter Dinner.
I like that name – thanks Rose!
As a (now former) mormon I can confirm that these do literally mean: potatoes you would cook for a funeral luncheon, as is Mormon custom. However doing so for an actual funeral would likely be in bad taste nowadays, given the name and are more generally served for potlucks, Christmas parties and general get togethers.
Hi Nathan – nope, they’re still served at Mormon funerals and not in bad taste at all. Perfect for potlucks, parties and general get togethers for sure.
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.
Thanks Stephanie for your comment. I’ve had them with cornflakes too. You’re right they’re perfect for all kinds of get togethers.
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.
I love these! We call them”potatoes deluxe”
Hi Cathy – I haven’t heard them called that before, but it’s definitely a perfect name. Thanks!
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.
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.
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.
The recipe I usually make uses cream of mushroom soup too. Thanks for sharing your story.