Also known as Church Potatoes, this Cheesy Potatoes Casserole is ultimate comfort food. It’s easy to prep, freezer-friendly, and absolutely addicting.
Comfort food. Just the phrase conjures up imagines of gooey mac and cheese, fluffy mashed potatoes, hearty meatballs, and maybe a dish of chocolate pudding.
To be sure, comfort food is generally heavy on the cheese and/or carbs. And it vacillates between being high maintenance if homemade or mediocre from a box.
Can comfort food be easy and delicious?
This Cheesy Potatoes Casserole answers that question with a resounding YES!
Not only does this casserole come together in minutes, made from real, whole ingredients, but it is also freezer friendly so that you can make several batches at once and stash the extras in the freezer for a future date.
You may recognize Cheesy Potatoes Casserole from its other monikers. I’ve got friends who call it Church Potatoes or even Funeral Potatoes. My Aunt Sandy’s version which I adapted this one from is called Great Potatoes.
There are many variations of this potato casserole. My original called for canned cream of potato and cream of celery soups. I substitute my homemade Cream of Chicken or Cream Celery versions. The original also calls for 1/2 cup of whipping cream which I’ve omitted. And I’ve swapped green onion for white onion. Instead of cornflakes as the topping, I use panko bread crumbs mixed with melted butter.
Whatever you call it, this casserole is delicious — and totally worth heating the oven for, no matter what time of year it is!
What are au gratin potatoes?
A gratin is a dish, usually of vegetables, that is topped with cheese or buttered bread crumbs, then heated in the oven or broiled until the top is brown and crispy.
This Cheesy Potatoes Casserole is a type of gratin, though traditional Au Gratin Potatoes made in the French style would have a cream and cheese based sauce instead of the cream of the chicken soup used here.
What goes good with au gratin potatoes?
Au Gratin Potatoes and Cheesy Potatoes are a delicious side dish to any roasted or grilled meats. They are also delicious served as a hearty meatless main alongside a salad and vegetables. If you like, you can add chopped ham into the potato mixture.
Can you make Cheesy Potatoes ahead of time?
This Cheesy Potatoes Casserole is super make-ahead. After assembling the casserole, you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours or freeze it for 4 to 6 weeks.
Can you make Cheesy Potatoes with fresh potatoes?
If you prefer to make this with fresh, cubed potatoes, you certainly can, though you won’t be able to make it in advance. Adjust the baking time, checking for doneness after one hour.
How do you make Cheesy Potatoes Casserole?
The process for making these Cheesy Potatoes is super simple. I like to use homemade Cream of Chicken Soup or Cream of Celery Soup instead of the canned because I prefer the fresh flavor. You can use the canned if you prefer.
- Prepare the soup, if making homemade. Shred the cheese and measure out the ingredients. You don’t need to thaw the frozen hash browns. Just make sure to break apart the clumps by banging the bag on the counter a couple times.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, cheese, and scallions.
- Stir in the potatoes.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Combine the melted butter and panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the potatoes.
- Cover and freeze, if making ahead.
- If baking right away, bake for 2 hours at 325 degrees.
How to make this good and cheap:
You know I don’t typically want to make something if I can’t make it good as well as cheap. Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of frozen hash browns and cheese can help keep the price down. Stock up and save them.
- Cooking in bulk – making several batches of this casserole at once will save you time and give you a side dish already to go rather than be tempted to get something else.
How I make this recipe easy:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- stainless steel mixing bowl – I’m not sure you have too many of these.
- Silicone spatula/spoon – I have two or three of these – so convenient!
- 9×13 Pyrex pan – I love the ones that come with plastic lids. It makes freezer cooking so much easier!
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had these for years and they work great.
- box grater for cheese or a food processor – If you’re making a lot of lasagne for freezing, the food processor is a must!
- Small Kitchenaid saucepan – I got a set of these pans for free in 2004. We still use them!
- Wire whisk – be sure to get one with a sealed barrel so dishwater doesn’t drip into your food. Yuck.
- 2 cups cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup minced green onion
- salt and pepper
- 32 ounces frozen hashbrown potatoes do not thaw
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and onion. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes. Spoon this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small mixing bowl, combine crushed cornflakes and melted butter. Sprinkle over the potato mixture.
- Bake for 2 hours at 325 degrees.
Note: the dish can be frozen prior to baking. Simply wrap well and freeze for 4 to 6 weeks. To serve: bake according to directions.
If you prefer saucier potatoes, use 2 more cups of cream of chicken soup.
Originally published October 2008.