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The Best Funeral Foods: 21 Easy Potluck Recipes for a Crowd

These comfort food recipes will help take one thing off the minds of your loved ones during a difficult time.

By: Jamie Garcia, Editor, RecipeLion.com
Updated July 30, 2018
The Best Funeral Foods 21 Easy Potluck Recipes for a Crowd

Funeral foods are best described as easy, comfort food recipes you can make and take with you to a funeral, wake, or other gatherings after someone has passed as a gesture of compassion and support. Casseroles are one of the best options out there when it comes to food for funeral receptions, so we've included a wide variety below. Additionally, we've included some easy-to-make sheet cakes and some other shareable dishes that are sure to help comfort those in mourning.

When someone has just lost a loved one, the last thing on their mind is food or cooking. The reality of the situation, however, is that food has a way of offering comfort, and it's the least the rest of us can do to help take care of our friends and family during the first few days of a passing. Be prepared with a list of comforting recipes and other funeral food to take to a grieving family when tragedy strikes.

If you love these recipes, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get amazing recipes like these delivered to your inbox every day!

Please also be sure to check out these great resources below for tips on freezing food. This information will come in handy for those who want to make multiple meals at once and save and defrost them later.

Funeral Sandwiches

"What are funeral sandwiches?" you ask. Well, they're some of the most delicious sandwiches you can imagine. Usually, they are topped with ham, cheese, and a mustard sauce. Best of all, though, they are baked! These sandwiches are slider-sized, so they're the best potluck food because people can just grab them and eat them without making a mess.

  • Tropical "Funeral Sandwiches"

    Funeral sandwiches are the kind of finger foods that are comforting no matter what the situation. These Tropical "Funeral Sandwiches" are the classic baked ham and Swiss sandwiches, but with a Hawaiian spin. 

  • Hawaiian Roll Baked Sandwiches

    These baked ham and cheese sliders are also sometimes called "funeral sandwiches," but you can just call them delicious. Hawaiian Roll Baked Sandwiches are ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches on sweet Hawaiian rolls, baked in a mustard sauce. 

  • Funeral Sandwiches

    If you're looking for a comforting recipe that will feed a crowd, look no further than these Sympathy Sandwiches. Once prepped, this easy potluck recipe comes together in just 20 minutes making it super simple to bring to an event and bake in the oven before the meal. 

  • Quick and Easy Baked Pizza Sliders

    These Quick and Easy Baked Pizza Sliders are tasty and can feed your whole pack with not very much time. They try to embody the flavor profile of the famous Chicago Deep Dish pizzas, but in easy to make sandwiches that can feed the whole family very easily. 

  • Monte Cristo Brunch Sandwiches

    Nothing says brunch like these Monte Cristo Brunch Sandwiches. Whether you're making food for a crowd or just your family, this breakfast sandwich recipe is sure to win them over. 

Simple Shareables

These shareable dishes are classic recipes you'll recognize because they make an appearance at almost every potluck. You've probably even made them before. Deli salads are popular for a reason. They're easy to make, easy to share, and comforting to eat. Choose from one of the 4 below, and just keep it in the fridge till you're ready to go.

  • Ultimate Creamy Egg Salad

    You can feel guilt free after eating a whole helping of this Ultimate Creamy Egg Salad. It's a healthy take on the traditional egg salad because half of the mayonnaise is replaced with plain yogurt.

  • Simple Seven-Layer Potato Salad

    This Simple Seven-Layer Potato Salad is great for the baked potato lover in all of us. Made like a deconstructed version of your favorite baked spud, this easy potato salad recipe is the ultimate dish for summer potlucks.

  • Caprese Pasta Salad

    This Caprese Pasta Salad is filled with tender noodles, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese. It's tossed in a white balsamic and pesto dressing, which gives this dish a burst of flavor. 

  • Best Three Cheese Ranch Pasta Salad

    The Best Three Cheese Ranch Pasta Salad will be an appetizing addition to your next gathering, BBQ, or picnic! This yummy side comes just in time for the warmer weather.

Funeral Potatoes

Funeral potatoes are the king of easy potluck recipes. Both cheesy and crunchy, they include an irresistible combination of flavors. Choose any one of these recipes for a comforting dish to bring to a wake or funeral. 

  • Buffalo Chicken Funeral Potatoes

    So we've all tried and loved funeral potatoes, but this hash brown casserole recipe takes an old favorite to the next level. Buffalo Chicken Funeral Potatoes is a cheesy, creamy, crunchy casserole that your whole family is sure to absolutely love.

  • 4 Ingredient Funeral Potatoes

    No potluck is complete without a pan of funeral potatoes. This classic cheesy potato recipe for 4 Ingredient Funeral Potatoes is an old favorite portable dish that even the pickiest eaters will love. And with only 4 ingredients, this is one of the easiest potato casseroles around.

  • Creamy Funeral Potatoes

    With a whole cup of Monterrey Jack shredded cheese and a bunch of sour cream going into this yummy potato casserole recipe, there's no way this dish could be anything but comforting and tasty. 

  • Real Funeral Potatoes

    These Real Funeral Potatoes have the classic cornflake topping which gives this dish its traditional crunchy texture, but they aren't made using canned soup like many recipes for funeral potatoes are. 

Comforting Casseroles

We can't say enough good things about casseroles! They're just so easy to make and the possibilities are endless. The casseroles below are handpicked favorites of ours, because of their ability to put a smile on our faces and our... is it possible for a stomach to smile? If so, we're pretty sure these comforting casseroles could do the job. Make a tough time easier to get through with family, friends, and funeral foods like these.

  • Perogy-Stuffed Shells

    For a comforting Polish-inspired recipe, make these Perogy-Stuffed Shells. Each shell contains a mashed potato and Cheddar cheese mixture topped with more cheese, crumbled bacon, and Bechamel sauce.

  • Mama's Pizza Casserole

    For an easy dinner recipe that will please the whole family, try Mama's Pizza Casserole! This pizza casserole recipe can be customized to include your favorite pizza toppings or you can follow it as is for a fool-proof casserole recipe everyone will drool over. 

  • Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

    This Chicken and Stuffing Casserole is pure, cool-weather comfort food! It’s easy to prepare, it can be made ahead (and frozen), and it appeals to even the pickiest palates. Chicken and Stuffing Casserole is one of those recipes that just takes me back to my mom’s kitchen table.

  • The Ultimate Tuna Noodle Casserole

    The great thing about tuna noodle casserole recipes is that you probably already have all the ingredients to make it in your pantry! The Ultimate Tuna Noodle Casserole is a classic and super easy casserole recipe that's warm, comforting and delicious. 

Make and Take Desserts

Desserts may not be the first thing people think to make for their grieving loved ones, but they shouldn't be overlooked. While the casseroles and deli salads above are more substantial, desserts are very comforting too! Some people crave savory dishes, some crave sweets. For the latter, we've collected a few of our favorite, easy dessert recipes that we hope will bring comfort in trying times.

  • Frosted Texas Brownies

    These Frosted Texas Brownies are made with a whisk and a bowl — no mixer required! They make a huge sheet pan and are perfect for potlucks! This Texas Brownies recipe is one my mom used to make when we were at home.

  • Old Fashioned Funeral Pie

    Made year round, this classic Amish dish is loaded with sweet flavors that work perfectly together. Made with cinnamon, allspice and a handful of raisins, Old Fashioned Funeral Pie is rich and moist, and sure to be a hit with the whole family. 

  • Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

    You may never have to buy another yellow sheet cake again after taking a bite of this Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting. The main ingredients (buttermilk, sour cream, and oil) keep the cake moist and fluffy. 

  • Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Bites

    When you're hosting a party, you want to make sure your guests are satisfied with the snacks. In our experience, this means making a variety of sweet and savory treats. These brownie bites are an appetizer dessert recipe you just can't pass up adding to the menu! 

How to Freeze Food Properly and Other Food Freezing Tips

Food Freezing Tips

Bringing food to a grieving family is one of the best ways to help in their time of need. Grieving families are often too busy and too distracted to feed the family properly. This means food is a great way to take care of them.

One of the best ways to help after a loss is to offer foods that will keep. You will likely not be the only person to provide a meal, so giving a grieving family a meal they can eat a week or two from now is ideal. 

How to Freeze Food Properly and Other Food Freezing Tips

Check out the articles below for lots of great tips for freezing meals. And for more tips on how to freeze meals that will come in handy all year long, check our article Easy Freezer Cooking Tips and 21 Freezer Meal Ideas.

Food for a Crowd: History of the Potluck

Ah, the potluck. We've all probably been to a few in our day. Everyone brings a dish and shares in a meal together. Nice concept, but where did it come from? Let's take a look at the history of this tradition.

It began back in the Middle Ages as a term used to describe an impromptu meal one would serve to travelers or unexpected guests. In a time when very little was thrown out, these guests would be served leftovers or the "luck of the pot." On occasion, a potluck referred to a communal meal made by several people, where each cook brought something to contribute. This was usually thrown together in a pot and has been called "stone soup" and other variations over the years. 

Americans adapted this tradition around the late 19th century and the concept of people each bringing a prepared dish to share took hold. Today, potlucks are held for all sorts of reasons. Holidays and other large, celebratory gatherings often prompt the need. Having a potluck is a super cost-effective way to provide food for a crowd, and in theory, everyone should have plenty to munch on and leave fully satisfied.


Potluck Hazards:

1.   People with diet restrictions or allergies are more than likely not going to be able to eat much at a potluck.

2.   Potlucks are often free-for-alls, which leads to duplicate dishes. Did you want 6 chicken casseroles? Because here they are. 

3.   Sometimes, no one is manning the event or the person in charge doesn't have the proper food-safety training. How long has that mayonnaise-based potato salad been sitting out? Yikes! 


Be a Pro at the Potluck:

1.    If you volunteer to bring food, make sure it's ready to serve when you get there. Don't bring something that will need to be defrosted or reheated.

2.    Bring all the tools you'll need; don't expect them to have tongs or a serving spoon.

3.    Don't show up with a bag of groceries and expect to cook there.

4.    If you don't want to cook, bring something else! Showing up empty-handed is bad etiquette. This is what store-bought fruit, veggie, and cookie trays were invented for.

5.    If you are hosting the potluck and people leave their dishes with you. Make sure to wash and return them in a timely manner. 

6.   If you are attending a potluck, on the other hand, bring disposable containers when possible to avoid lost or broken dishware and easy cleanup.

What is the most comforting dish you've ever made or eaten?

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Comfort foods in our house are chili, casseroles, lasagna, and chocolate cake

My comfort food I like to make for those in need is mixing 2 cans of fruit cocktail (DRAINED) a can of peaches (DRAINED) 2 apples cut up, make vanilla pudding and mix it and Cool Whip into fruit. Put nuts of your choice in separate container to pour over top if wanted.

My mother's baked mac cheese or chicken dumplings. Childhood in a pot!

My comfort food has to be lasagna

SausagePeppers on a crusty roll.

Strawberry Punch Bowl was a big hit.

Spinach and Sausage manicotti.

My favorite comfor food is mashed potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, and Frank's Red Hot sauce or chocolate cake.

My go to comfort food is potato salad. It reminds me of happier times.

I make cabbage rolls when my family is looking for comfort.

chicken and dumplings.

GOOD OLD FASHION RECIPES.

These recipes look great.

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