Cheesy Funeral Potatoes {Au Gratin Potatoes}

These cheesy funeral potatoes (i.e. au gratin potatoes!) with that buttery cornflake topping are so easy and delicious! Plus that easy homemade sauce is canned soup free and tastier than ever!

Pan of cheesy funeral potatoes with scoop taken out

Burning question alert: what do you call potato dishes like this?

Au gratin potatoes?

Funeral potatoes?

Cheesy potatoes?

Something else entirely?

I grew up eating my  mom’s ultra-delicious cheesy au gratin potatoes.

That’s what she called them. So that’s what I called them.

It wasn’t until I was a semi-adult that I realized “au gratin” potato dishes were actually kind-of-fancier, thinly sliced potatoes (like this) often topped with bread crumbs and always topped with cheese.

So, basically nothing like what I had grown up eating. Haha.

Scoop of cheesy funeral potatoes on plate with ham and biscuit

Too late, though. My mom’s cheesy au gratin potatoes (often called cheesy funeral potatoes in other circles*) ruined me for classic French-style au gratin potatoes long before I even knew what real au gratin potatoes were.

Her cheesy potatoes are legendary; they were one of my favorite dishes growing up! So creamy, so cheesy, so tasty.

AND, my mom made them with a homemade, canned soup-free knockoff sauce long before that kind of thing was even popular (go mom!).

*In many Mormon and some Southern circles, these types of potatoes are known as funeral potatoes, since they are often traditionally served with ham at the meal following a funeral. 

Scooping out a spoonful of cheesy funeral potatoes

These cheesy funeral potatoes (au gratin potatoes/cheesy potatoes/WHATEVER) have been on my site for over five years now, and I make them all the time.

Not just for funerals. Not just for Easter.

No, no. They are a standard go-to side dish for so many main dishes all year long. Once I even made these potatoes to feed a crowd of 400 for a church holiday party.

I still get a nervous twitch thinking about that process, but it was worth it (I think??).

Scoop of cheesy funeral potatoes on plate with ham and biscuit

Reading through the comments, you’ll see that many others love them too, and many have adapted them to be slow cooker friendly. Awesome!

I’ve left the recipe exactly the same as the original that was posted long ago, except that over the years, I’ve reduced the amount of dried thyme, so I’ve noted that, and I almost always use cooked potatoes instead of frozen hash browns, so I’ve also included details on that.

I also wrote up my notes on making these potatoes ahead of time; lifesaver.

If you are looking for the best recipe for cheesy funeral potatoes with an easy, homemade sauce this is my favorite of all time in the history of ever!

And don’t even think of leaving off the buttery, cornflake topping. The potatoes will be so lonely, and so will your soul. 🙂

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes {Au Gratin Potatoes}

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Ingredients:

Potatoes:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon if you want more thyme flavor)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 5-6 large russet potatoes (about 30 ounces), peeled, cooked and shredded or small diced or a 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns (see note)
  • 1/2 cup light or regular sour cream

Topping:

  • 3 cups cornflakes (3.75 ounces), lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Combine the chicken broth and milk in a liquid measure and slowly whisk in the mixture. Stir in the salt, pepper and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix until combined.
  4. Mix in the frozen hash browns or cooked and shredded potatoes, lifting and folding the mixture until well combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss the lightly crushed cornflakes with the butter until evenly combined.
  6. Evenly spread the potatoes into the prepared 9X13-inch baking dish and top with the buttered cornflakes.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until hot and bubbly around the edges. If baking the potatoes with a ham (my ham recipe bakes at 300 degrees), bake the potatoes for 90 minutes at 300 degrees then crank the oven to 400 degrees and bake the potatoes for 10 minutes more.
  8. Let the potatoes rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

My preference is to use cooked potatoes for this, but frozen hash browns definitely work in a pinch. As noted in the ingredients, I use 5-6 medium russet potatoes (about 30 ounces). I peel them, boil them (the Instant Pot makes quick work of this; high pressure for a 4-ish minutes with enough water/broth), drain, and let them cool completely (if I have time to chill them, even better, as it makes shredding or dicing so much easier without them falling apart). 

Make ahead: these potatoes do very well being made ahead of time. I often make them 1-2 days ahead of time, covering and refrigerating (storing the cornflake topping separately in a bag). If chilled, I bake the potatoes, covered with foil, for 15-20 minutes, then uncover, top with the cornflake mixture and bake for another 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly. I have not tried freezing them, but I believe many in the comments have done so (read through for their experiences).

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Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in Cook’s Country as well as my mom’s timeless au gratin potato recipe

Recipe originally published April 2011; updated with new pictures/commentary/recipe notes.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

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