This Is the Most Popular Casserole Recipe in the South

Melty potatoes enveloped in cream and cheese. What's not to love?

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

What comes to mind when you hear the word casserole? For me, it conjures my favorite green bean casserole and descriptions like creamy, cozy, cheesy, and comfort all packed in a heavy baking dish—the stuff of big get-togethers.

It also reminds me of the South, and though I’m not from there, Lisa Cericola, Deputy Editor at Southern Living agrees, "Southerners love casseroles because no gathering is complete without food, and they are the ultimate make-and-take dish.”

There are millions of casserole recipes online (over 267 million according to Google) and the perennial favorite for Southerners is potato casserole. Whether you call it hashbrown casserole, church potatoes, scalloped potatoes, cheesy potatoes, or potatoes au gratin, they’re melty potatoes enveloped in cream and cheese. It’s a dependable crowd-pleaser that comes together with simple ingredients.

“A potato casserole goes with just about any main dish, so it's an easy thing to bring, even if you're not sure what's on the rest of the menu. And it's super comforting, which is another hallmark of Southern cooking," explains Cericola.

A friend from Tennessee once told me that her mom keeps her grandmother’s recipe for hashbrown casserole taped on the kitchen wall “just in case someone up and dies on ya.” Potato casserole is comfort in its DNA—its steadfast ability to console a grieving family is why they’re sometimes called funeral potatoes.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Kelsey Barnard Clark, Southern chef, James Beard Award nominee, and author of Southern Grit says, “[Potato casserole] is one of my very favorite things on this planet and hands down my favorite casserole is one my best friend makes. It's her husband's family recipe and it’s essentially a bucket of butter, thin-cut potatoes, onions, and cheese. What could possibly go wrong?”

According to Clark, a good potato casserole is a “beautiful balance of butter and salt, perfectly tender with crunchy bites. The characteristics of all great things!”

For Cericola, the ideal potato casserole is Southern Living’s Cheesy Potato Casserole "because the combination of white Cheddar and Parmesan is so delicious, and you can make it a day in advance. The secret ingredient is egg yolks, which make it extra rich."

As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a casserole dish of creamy potatoes. Common sense dictates that any day is a good day for carb-rich, thoroughly cozy potatoes, and luckily, there are many permutations for how to make one. Here are Simply Recipes’ favorites:

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.