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This easy side dish recipe has been a family favorite for decades! Aunt Bee’s 3-Ingredient Cheesy Potato Casserole includes shredded potatoes, sharp cheddar cheese, and rich sour cream for a quick make-ahead side.

Front shot close up of cheesy potato casserole on a serving spoon
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make this Easy Potato Casserole | 1-Minute Video
  2. Ingredients for Baked Cheesy Potatoes
  3. How to Make Cheesy Potato Casserole
  4. What to Serve with Cheesy Shredded Potatoes
  5. Make Ahead Cheesy Potatoes
  6. Storage Tips
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Cheesy Potato Casserole Recipe
  9. Aunt Bee’s 3-Ingredient Cheesy Potato Casserole Recipe

How to Make this Easy Potato Casserole | 1-Minute Video

Who knew that 3 simple ingredients could come together in such a magical way?! If you’re planning your holiday menu, or even if you just need a new easy side dish for your next weeknight dinner, I hope that you’ll add this cheesy potato casserole to your list!

Perfect for holidays, entertaining, or cozy Sunday suppers, the baked cheesy potatoes go well with beef, ham, chicken and pork! It’s a staple on our Christmas dinner table, and it seriously couldn’t be easier. Best of all, you can make the entire dish in advance and just bake it off when you’re ready to enjoy. We could all use simple, reliable, baked cheesy potatoes during a busy holiday season!

Ingredients for Baked Cheesy Potatoes

Since you only need 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) for this dish, it’s important to use the best, high-quality products available. Each ingredient plays a prominent role in creating the ultimate cheesy potatoes! Specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Potatoes: red potatoes are our top pick for this dish.
  • Cheddar cheese: extra sharp cheddar is our preference for maximum flavor, but you can substitute with a mild cheddar or even a combination of cheddar, American, mozzarella, Gruyere, Colby, or Pepper Jack. Use a block of cheese that you grate by hand.
  • Sour cream: thick, rich, full-fat sour cream. Don’t water down your casserole with low-fat varieties that lack flavor and texture.
Whole unpeeled red potatoes on a wooden surface

The Potatoes

Red potatoes work particularly well in this dish because they keep their shape — giving the casserole that great shredded hash brown texture — but they also provide a creamy consistency. Red potatoes are low in starch and high in moisture, so they’re perfect when boiled. Other good options include white potatoes or russet potatoes.

Ingredients for potato casserole with shredded potatoes cheese and sour cream

How to Make Cheesy Potato Casserole

This make-ahead side dish comes together easily, but you’ll need to allow plenty of time to boil, cool, and peel the potatoes. That’s the hardest part! I’ve included the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  • Boil the potatoes.
  • Once cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the potatoes with the large holes on a grater. They should be the texture of hash browns.
  • Combine the potatoes, cheese, and sour cream.
  • Transfer to a baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake!
Process shot showing how to make cheesy potato casserole

What to Serve with Cheesy Shredded Potatoes

This rich, decadent and easy potato casserole is a simple side dish that pairs perfectly with just about any entrée! Here are a few ideas that go well with the cheesy potatoes:

Close overhead shot of a cheesy potato casserole with a serving spoon

Make Ahead Cheesy Potatoes

This casserole is the perfect stress-free option for a big holiday meal because you don’t have to worry about last-minute prep when you’re busy with everything else on the menu. Simply assemble the casserole as instructed, but do not bake.

Cover and refrigerate the dish for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 1 hour before baking in a 350°F oven for 25 minutes. If the dish is still cold when it goes into the oven, you will likely need to increase the baking time to make sure that the potatoes are completely warmed through.

Storage Tips

If you have leftover potatoes, you can keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat the potatoes, warm individual portions on a covered plate in the microwave. To reheat a larger dish of potatoes, cover and bake in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

I do not recommend freezing these potatoes, as the sour cream may “break” when thawed and the potatoes may have a gummy, mushy texture.

Side shot of spoon serving cheesy potatoes from a casserole dish

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of sharp cheddar cheese, use a different good melting cheese (or a blend of cheeses). Nice options include Velveeta, Gruyere, Swiss, Colby, Colby Jack or Pepper Jack.
  • Instead of the red potatoes, try white potatoes, Russet potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes.
  • Add grated onion, crispy bacon, or browned sausage to the casserole. A touch of garlic powder would be nice as well. You can also use sliced green onions and crispy bacon as a nice garnish at the end.
  • Add Corn Flakes on top! To do so, toss together 1 cup of crushed Corn Flakes cereal with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle on top of the casserole before baking.

Tips for the Best Cheesy Potato Casserole Recipe

  • Don’t over-cook the potatoes. Keep an eye on them and boil them just until they’re fork-tender (this will typically take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes). Overdone potatoes will have a wrinkly skin and the insides will appear gummy.
  • Make sure that your sour cream and cheese are at room temperature. This will help them combine smoothly and easily with the potatoes.
  • I prefer to use cheddar cheese from a block that I grate by hand. It melts smoother into the potatoes and has more flavor.
Close up front shot of easy potato casserole baked in a blue and white dish

More Easy Potato Casserole Recipes to Try

Square close up shot of a 3 ingredient cheesy potato casserole

Aunt Bee’s 3-Ingredient Cheesy Potato Casserole

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Cooling Time for Potatoes 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 servings
Calories 360 kcal
This classic cheesy potato casserole is a perfect make-ahead side dish with just three simple ingredients!

Ingredients
  

  • 6 large red potatoes (about 2 – 2½ lbs. total)
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 16 ounces sour cream (about 2 cups total)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley; chives; dash of paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until fork-tender (about 10-15 minutes).
    Whole unpeeled red potatoes on a wooden surface
  • Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and coarsely shred on the large holes of a grater.
  • Place grated potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in 2 ½ cups of the cheese and all of the sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Ingredients for potato casserole with shredded potatoes cheese and sour cream
  • Transfer potato mixture to a greased 1 ½ – 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cheese on top.
    Process shot showing how to make cheesy potato casserole
  • Bake, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.
    Front shot close up of cheesy potato casserole on a serving spoon
  • Garnish with parsley, chives, or a dash of paprika just before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Don’t over-cook the potatoes. Keep an eye on them and boil them just until they’re fork-tender (this will typically take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes). Overdone potatoes will have a wrinkly skin and the insides will appear gummy.
  • Make sure that your sour cream and cheese are at room temperature. This will help them combine smoothly and easily with the potatoes.
  • I prefer to use cheddar cheese from a block that I grate by hand. It melts smoother into the potatoes and has more flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of casseroleCalories: 360kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 14gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 329mgPotassium: 637mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 786IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 379mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: Cheesy Potato Casserole, Cheesy Potatoes, Potato Casserole
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
 

This post was originally published in November, 2017. It was updated in December, 2020.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    You had me at three ingredients! I can never resist potatoes, especially the cheesy kind. I just want to dig into that dish! I bet this would be so fun to jazz up too. Love the ease of this dish, which is just what I need for the holidays!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Gayle! You’re right — these could totally be jazzed up, but I still think that the simple original is the best! 🙂

  2. Blair says:

    Hi, Marjie! I don’t care for sour cream on its own or as a garnish on dishes like tacos, but I love these potatoes. You might be pleasantly surprised! 🙂

    I have no idea if the Greek yogurt would work as a substitute. It would definitely change the taste and texture of the dish, but maybe that would still be okay for your tastebuds?

  3. Blair says:

    Hi, Teresa! I agree — there are certain pre-shredded cheeses that don’t melt well. The Horizon cheese melts and works perfectly in this recipe!

  4. Angelina says:

    I always chuckle, whenever you post a recipe of your aunt “BEE’S”! Is her ‘real name’ “Beatrice”? If so, her nick-name should be spelled “BEA”, NOT “Bee” (as in bumble-bee!), unless she also raises bees which produce honey, and she’s known by that moniker locally, and also on numerous websites & blogs.

    1. Blair says:

      Nope, her name isn’t Beatrice. Her real name is actually Blossom, but she has been known by her nickname, “Bee” her whole life. 🙂

  5. Blair says:

    Yes, it’s definitely NOT soupy after cooking, Gloria! 🙂

  6. Cherrie says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight but added 1 small very finely cut onion. Delicious

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Cherrie! I bet the onion was a tasty addition! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  7. Lesli Gallagher says:

    Can you peel the potatoes prior to boiling?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Lesli! No, I don’t recommend peeling before boiling. Peeled potatoes will absorb more water while boiling, which can result in watery, grainy potatoes (not a great texture, in other words). You want to preserve that starch in the potato. Plus, peeling after boiling is easier because they slide right off. 🙂

  8. Darlene Peers says:

    These sound wonderful. Could you use frozen cubed potatoes? I love all your recipes!
    Thank you
    Darlene

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Darlene! I don’t know. I worry that the cubed potatoes will not give it the same thick texture that it has with the shredded potatoes. It might work, it will just be different. Let me know if you give it a try! 🙂

      1. Cherie McKnight says:

        What about frozen shredded potatoes? Do you think they would hold up? I want to make this tonight!

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hey, Cherie! 🙂 Yes, I think those would work fine!

  9. Melinda says:

    Could you use 1/2 greek yogurt in addition to 1/2 sour cream?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Melinda! Yes — I think that the Greek yogurt would work fine as a substitute for half of the sour cream. Enjoy!

      1. Melinda says:

        Thank you for the quick response. Taking to our family Christmas Eve dinner. Will let you know how it works out!

        1. Blair says:

          Awesome! They’re on our Christmas menu, too. Enjoy! 🙂

  10. Lillian A Carbone says:

    well I could not find the recipe that I wanted to do but I winged it I used onion and lots of different cheeses but added Frozen California Vegetable mix and can of cream of Chicken and then I saw this recipe …I was way off ,,wish me luck

  11. Melissa says:

    Can I substitute heavy cream for the sour cream? How much should I use?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Melissa. I suppose you could, but it will give the dish a different flavor and texture, since the sour cream is much thicker (more like a Greek yogurt) and has a tangy texture. The sour cream also helps to hold everything together in a way that the heavy cream will not. I’m not sure of the measurements since I haven’t tried it myself. I would start with a small amount, and then stir everything together until it looks moist but not runny.

  12. Joy Dickerson says:

    Can any other kind of potato be used? frozen hash browns?

  13. Joy Dickerson says:

    Can any other kind of potato be used? frozen hash browns? I have not previously asked

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Joy,
      We haven’t tested it, but we think frozen hashbrowns would work with this recipe!

  14. Jonathan says:

    The recipe looks like it may be good, but I got tired of fighting all the pop up advertising.

  15. Basia says:

    5 stars
    We love this recipe! It’s simple, tasty, and comforting, and perfect for gluten-free eaters. Thank you!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Basia!