Hash Brown Potato Casserole is a classic side dish that is popular for family gatherings. My version is made entirely from scratch - no canned soups needed. This dish is filled with shredded potatoes, cheddar cheese, and a creamy, flavorful sauce.
Hash Brown Potato Casserole goes by several names, the most popular being "Funeral Potatoes." In my opinion, that's quite an unfortunate name!
The hash brown casserole got this nickname because it is often brought to the homes of the bereaved after a funeral. It's easy to make and keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. Plus, it can feed a crowd.
This recipe is still popular today, which is why I decided to remake it - from scratch.
The original "Funeral Potato" Casserole was made using several cans of condensed soup, with cornflakes on top. I don't care for canned soup, so I decided to make a from-scratch version using a roux and panko bread crumbs.
Ingredients and substitutions
Frozen shredded hash browns can be substituted with fresh shredded potatoes instead. You'll need 30 ounces of shredded potatoes for this recipe.
Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
Sharp cheddar cheese is best for this recipe. However, you can also use monterey jack, pepper jack (for an extra kick of flavor), or gruyere cheese with good results.
For your panko topping, you'll need panko bread crumbs and melted butter.
The panko topping can be substituted with crushed corn flakes (like an old fashioned funeral potatoes dish), crushed butter crackers (like Ritz), or with traditional bread crumbs.
I like using panko bread crumbs best because they make a crispy, crunchy topping that adds a nice texture to the casserole.
Want to make your casserole ahead of time? Simply assemble as directed, but leave off your panko topping. Cover your casserole and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
When you're ready, top with your panko topping and bake as directed.
Casserole leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Cooking your onions
The onions in this casserole are mixed raw into the casserole, then baked in the oven. Because of this, diced onions will still have a little 'bite' in your casserole. Meaning, they won't be cooked through completely, which adds texture to the casserole.
If you'd prefer a well-cooked onion, I recommend adding your diced onions to the melted butter in the first step of the recipe, cooking for 3-4 minutes (or until they begin to turn translucent), and then continuing with the recipe as directed (adding flour, etc).
Or, you can mince your onions smaller, so they cook completely into the casserole.
This is entirely up to you and your tastes, and will not affect the outcome of the dish either way. Enjoy!
Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 30 ounces shredded hash browns thawed
- 1 medium onion diced or minced*
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir to combine, creating a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add milk and chicken broth, whisking constantly to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir to combine. Add sour cream and cheddar cheese to sauce and stir until combined.
- In a large bowl, add shredded hash browns and onions. Pour cheese sauce over hash browns and toss until evenly coated. Pour hash browns into prepared 9x13 pan and spread into an even layer. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, melt butter. Pour over panko bread crumbs and mix until combined. Sprinkle over the top of your casserole in an even layer.
- Cover casserole with foil and bake for fifty minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional twenty minutes, or until top has lightly browned. Remove from oven and enjoy.
- *Diced or minced onions - diced onions will retain some 'bite' after cooking. If you prefer a fully cooked onion in your casserole, mince your onion instead. Or, cook your diced onions in the butter for 3-4 minutes during step two, then continue the recipe as written.
- If using frozen hash browns, place bag in refrigerator the night before to thaw. Or, thaw at room temperature for an hour in a colander to drain any excess moisture.
- Want to make your casserole ahead of time? Simply assemble as directed, but leave off your panko topping. Cover your casserole and refrigerate for 1-2 days. When ready, top with panko topping and bake as directed.