We often forget just how big the U.S. really is. Across our 2.3 billion acres, there are regional subcultures that center around food, faith, and family. Funeral potatoes, in their best form, combine each of these pillars of a home into one wildly comforting dish. If you’re not from the South, Midwest, or Utah, you might not know what funeral potatoes are. Or maybe you know what they are, but have never made them at home. After all, the name is morbid and does no justice to the cheesy potato casserole topped with potato chips. We thought funeral potatoes were common knowledge, but the reactions to Walmart’s recent advertisement proved us oh so wrong.
When the ad for free 2-day shipping showed up in people’s social media feeds, it wasn’t the great deal that sparked attention. It was, in fact, the featured product: funeral potatoes. Here are some of the reactions.
Today's Walmart ad has presented me with "Funeral Potatoes" and a bear trap. I'LL TAKE THEM BOTH! pic.twitter.com/uaZBpClppz
— Jason Gore (@sonicdork) March 27, 2018
I get the weirdest advertisements from Walmart on Facebook. What the fuck are funeral potatoes? pic.twitter.com/jDa2vEztsi
— Young Jewzy (@blowinbacksout) April 2, 2018
— AJ LoCascio 🐕💨 (@AJLoCascio) April 4, 2018
The fact of the matter is, if you’re reading Wide Open Eats, you probably have a family recipe for funeral potatoes passed down for generations. Even if you don’t, though, funeral potatoes are an every-person’s dish. They’re simple to make and taste like you spent all day in the kitchen.
Their best feature, however, and what brings us to the name is that they are just downright comforting. There is little that a casserole of funeral potatoes can’t solve, making them a good choice to welcome new neighbors, serve for Thanksgiving, and yes, take to a reception after a funeral.
Funeral potatoes are, simply, a casserole of potatoes, cheese, cream-based soup, sour cream, butter, and onions. They always have a flaky and crunchy topping, browned in the oven, and are usually corn flakes or potato chips. You can throw meat inside, and cubed ham is a popular choice. Cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded hash brown potatoes are three of the most common ingredients in most funeral potatoes recipes.
Tradition gave them the name: this comfort food is most often served at group events, particularly church potlucks. Because it’s baked in a casserole dish, it’s easy to transport. Are you sold yet? If so, this recipe is the perfect introduction to funeral potatoes.
Ree Drummond’s Funeral Potatoes
To make Ree’s version, which is a play on a hash brown casserole, you’ll use mostly pantry ingredients; it’s another reason why this dish is so popular. Salted butter, frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, onion, flour, milk, chicken broth, ground black pepper, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, grated sharp Cheddar, potato chips, and Parmesan round out the ingredient list. Some folks like to top theirs with chives or green onions, which is just as tasty.
By using frozen hash brown potatoes, you don’t have to deal with the process of mashed potatoes to create the potato mixture. Some use tater tots, and it all depends on how chunky you want your casserole to be. The total cook time is about 35 minutes in the oven and the total time for the recipe, from start to finish, is about 1 hour.
If you’re ready to make your own, check out the full recipe here.