What Are Funeral Potatoes Made Of?
Funeral potatoes are typically made from the following ingredients:
Potatoes: The main ingredient is usually hash browns or diced potatoes, often frozen for convenience, but you can certainly use fresh potatoes as well.
Creamy Mixture: This is what makes the dish so deliciously moist and creamy. It is usually a combination of sour cream and a cream-based soup, such as cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of celery.
Cheese: Cheddar is the most common choice, but any kind of melty cheese will work.
Onion: Some recipes call for chopped onion for extra flavor.
Butter: Melted butter is often mixed into the potato mixture and sometimes also drizzled on top.
Topping: The classic topping for funeral potatoes is a crispy layer made from crushed cornflakes combined with more melted butter, though some versions use grated cheese or even crushed potato chips.
These ingredients are mixed together (except for the topping), spread in a casserole dish, sprinkled with the topping, and then baked until golden and bubbly. The result is a comforting, creamy, and slightly crispy dish that's always a crowd-pleaser.
Is Funeral Potatoes A Mormon Thing?
Yes, the dish known as Funeral Potatoes has its roots in the Latter-day Saint (also known as Mormon) community. The name "funeral potatoes" comes from the tradition of serving this casserole at after-funeral luncheons. The dish is very popular in the Intermountain West region of the United States, especially in Utah, where the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located.
Funeral potatoes are often associated with social gatherings in this community, not only funerals but also church potlucks, family reunions, and holidays. The dish's popularity extends beyond the Latter-day Saint community, however, and it is enjoyed by people of various cultures and religions. Its convenience, comfort-food appeal, and ability to feed a crowd make it a go-to choice for any potluck or gathering.
What Meat Goes Good With Funeral Potatoes?
Funeral potatoes are a rich and comforting side dish, which pairs well with a variety of meats. Here are a few options:
Ham: The salty, smoky flavor of ham contrasts nicely with the creamy, cheesy funeral potatoes. This is a classic combination often served at holiday meals.
Roast Beef or Pot Roast: The hearty, robust flavors of roast beef or pot roast can stand up to the richness of funeral potatoes, making for a satisfying meal.
Grilled Chicken or Turkey: The relatively mild flavor of chicken or turkey provides a nice balance to the rich potatoes. For added flavor, consider marinating the poultry or using a flavorful rub.
Pork Chops: Whether they're grilled, baked, or pan-fried, pork chops make a delicious companion to funeral potatoes.
Roast Lamb: Lamb is another strong-flavored meat that can stand up to the richness of funeral potatoes.
Are Scalloped Potatoes The Same As Funeral Potatoes?
While both scalloped potatoes and funeral potatoes share some similarities as they are both creamy, cheesy, and potato-based dishes baked in a casserole, they are not the same dish.
Scalloped potatoes are typically made with thinly sliced potatoes layered in a dish and baked in a cream sauce, often with a sprinkle of cheese on top. The focus of this dish is the combination of potatoes and the cream sauce.
Funeral potatoes, on the other hand, are a specific type of potato casserole popular in the Midwest United States and among Mormon communities. This dish uses shredded or diced potatoes (often frozen hash browns), which are mixed with ingredients like cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onions, and cheese. This mixture is then topped with a crispy layer of crushed cornflakes or similar, providing a contrast to the creamy potatoes beneath.
So while the dishes are similar in some ways, they each have distinct preparation methods and flavors that set them apart.
What To Serve with Funeral Potatoes?
Funeral Potatoes, being a rich and comforting casserole, pair well with a variety of dishes that complement its flavors and provide a well-rounded meal. Here are some delicious options to serve alongside Funeral Potatoes:
Roasted Chicken: Tender and juicy roasted chicken makes an excellent protein option to balance the richness of the potatoes.
Green Salad: Serve a fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette to provide a refreshing and crunchy contrast to the creamy casserole.
Steamed Vegetables: Tender-crisp steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, or green beans, add a healthy and colorful element to the meal.
Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tender glazed carrots add a touch of sweetness and provide a lovely balance to the savory potatoes.
Dinner Rolls: Soft and buttery dinner rolls are perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce from the casserole.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Seasoned and grilled corn on the cob brings a delightful smoky flavor to the meal.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing fruit salad with a variety of fresh fruits provides a light and sweet finish to the meal.
The Origin of Funeral Potatoes
Funeral potatoes have a history steeped in tradition and community. The name might seem a little strange at first, but there's a simple explanation behind it. The dish gets its name from its association with potluck meals served at after-funeral luncheons, especially in Mormon communities in the Intermountain West. These creamy, cheesy, and deliciously comforting potatoes make large quantities that can easily be shared, hence their association with communal gatherings like funerals.
The Cultural Significance of Funeral Potatoes
Beyond the culinary delight they offer, funeral potatoes also hold a unique cultural significance. Especially in Utah and other areas with large Latter-Day Saints populations, funeral potatoes are a staple dish at important gatherings—not just funerals but also holidays, church gatherings, and family parties. In 2018, this cultural icon status was solidified when a local Utah grocery chain created a "Funeral Potatoes" pin for the Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, reflecting the dish's place in local Utah and Mormon culture.
The Versatility of Funeral Potatoes
One of the reasons why funeral potatoes are so beloved is their versatility. While the basic ingredients—potatoes, cream soup, onions, cheese, and a crunchy topping—remain the same, there are countless variations to this recipe. Some cooks prefer to add a bit of garlic for extra flavor, while others might add diced ham or bacon to make it a complete meal in itself. Regardless of how you choose to make them, one thing is for sure: funeral potatoes are a comforting, crowd-pleasing dish that holds a special place in the hearts of those who grew up with them.