The Magic of Funeral Potatoes – 10 Fascinating Facts

Funeral Potatoes

It started with a simple search–funeral potatoes.

Since our funeral food pages are popular, we thought our readers might enjoy a pithy little feature highlighting our recipes and funeral food customs. Having crossed paths with an article or two about the traditions behind potatoes at funerals, that seemed like a good place to start.  Hailing from the South, I already knew that funeral comfort food is quite a thing, and a tasty thing at that. I’ve been to plenty of funerals where the golden cheesy deliciousness of potato casseroles was on full display, but I had no idea that this otherwise normal food was so iconic.

So, if you’ve ever enjoyed a heaping spoonful of funeral potatoes, read on to learn more about these special creations. If you’ve never had the chance to try them, you might be tempted to try one of the many recipes out there.

10 Fascinating Facts About Funeral Potatoes

Do you have a go-to funeral or sympathy dish? Give us the recipe in the comments to this article and maybe we’ll add it to our cookbook. For more on funeral food, take a look at our funeral reception planning pages.

Don’t like slideshows? Here’s the full list.

  1. 5 million and counting.
    Do a Google search for funeral potatoes. I dare you. I got 7,580,000 results. Who’s number 1? Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) at Food Network. This recipe doesn’t have a fancy name. It’s called, you guessed it, Funeral Potatoes. According to the description, this version is “extra comforting with lots of cheese and even potato chips.”
  2. What’s in a name?
    You might be surprised to hear that Funeral Potatoes got their name because people bring them to funerals. Okay, so you’re not surprised. In any case, according to Southern Living Magazine, “It’s a widespread tradition to serve them at gatherings held after funerals, hence the name.”
  3. We’ll never really know.
    No one really knows when or where the tradition behind cheesy potatoes comes from, and you do find them at funerals and potlucks from sea to shining sea. But Utah, particularly the Church of Latter-Day Saints, has a particularly strong claim as the originator due to references in early Relief Society cookbooks.
  4. Put a pin in it.
    Funeral Potatoes are so ingrained in the culture of Utah that during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, a trading pin depicting the dish was available.
  5. Convenience you didn’t know you needed.
    In the rush, rush, rush of modern life, tossing a bag of hash browns with sour cream can be just too much work. Enter Augason Farms of Utah. Carried by stalwarts such as Walmart, Augason produces a frozen premade pouch version of the classic dish. Add water and throw it in the oven. You can still go all out if you want to. The Augason Farms website advises that you can “Make it your own by garnishing with cornflakes, breadcrumbs, bacon, jalapenos, and more.”
  6. This treat belongs to everyone.
    Although the Mormons have a strong claim to funeral potatoes, you will find versions of the dish in just about every region of the country. Of course, they’re not always called Funeral Potatoes (see hash brown casserole, cheesy hash browns, cheesy potatoes, party potatoes). Take Cracker Barrel’s hash brown casserole, for example. Yep, that’s pretty much a version of funeral potatoes without the potato chips.
  7. Truly something for every taste.
    There is no shortage of variations for funeral potatoes. Some are pretty unique. Feeling spicey? Go with a Dorito topping. More traditional? Corn flakes. Other popular choices: Ritz crackers, potato chips, saltine crackers, seasoned traditional or panko bread crumbs. Even the website LDS Living features an article highlighting ten different recipes for the classic.
  8. And the award goes to…
    In a 2017 article, Food & Wine Magazine hailed the Mormon version of funeral potatoes as “One of the Greatest American Triumphs.”
  9. Be prepared.
    The ingredient list for traditional funeral potatoes is pretty simple—frozen hash browns, sour cream, canned cream of chicken soup, butter, and cornflakes—so there’s absolutely no reason you can’t keep the pantry/freezer stocked. You’ll be ready at a moment’s notice to whip up a batch. Hint: Funeral potatoes are not just for funerals.
  10. We like them too.
    Even Funeralwise has a favorite recipe for funeral potatoes. Of course, we have recipes for other popular sympathy foods, too.






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