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Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers…the only side dish recipe you really need. Think classic cheesy potato casserole that we all know and love, but made without the canned soup and topped with addicting Ritz cracker “crumbs”. These potatoes are creamy, cheesy, and perfectly seasoned. The Ritz cracker topping is a touch buttery, perfectly garlicky, herby, and a little salty too. When baked together the potatoes and topping create the perfect balance and make for the BEST cheesy potato casserole. Make these ahead of time for an easy holiday side that everyone will love.

overhead photo of Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers

Do you have those family recipes that you make every holiday season without fail? In our family, we have a few, and they’re what I call super “old school” recipes. These are the classics that my brothers love more than anything. And they’re the ones we’ve been eating since I was a kid. You have those recipes too, right?

We always do a cheesy potato casserole at Christmas. But a few years ago I decided I wanted to make something new and updated. I knew I had to keep the flavors pretty simple and classic. I also knew I wanted an easy side dish that I could prepare ahead of time and not have to worry about. Enter this casserole. It’s easy to throw together, but so incredibly delicious, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be loved by all.

Cheesy potatoes are one of those old school recipes. They’re without a doubt a tried and true favorite. Meaning they’re never not delicious, everyone who tries them loves them. I’m sure many of you have similar casseroles in your family. I know some call them funeral potatoes (which seems really depressing to me). Call um what you please, but in our house, they’re just cheesy potatoes.

My mom’s recipe called for frozen potatoes, canned cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter, cheese, and a few other ingredients. I decided to take her recipe and give it my own spin, updating a classic, and making it BETTER. I’d actually been wanting to do this for years but feared I wouldn’t be able to create something better.

But a few years back I decided I’d had enough with the canned soup (because it freaks me out and I will not eat it…so yes, I used to miss out on cheesy potatoes every year). I knew it was time to update the cheesy potatoes recipe. Thankfully the new version turned how better than I could have imagined. This casserole is SO GOOD.

Buttery Ritz Crackers before baking

Here is how to make the best baked cheesy potatoes.

Start with the potatoes. You can make the potatoes the traditional way on the stove-top, or you can use the instant pot. I prefer to use the instant pot. It’s the easiest, quickest way to make potatoes.

I always use Yukon gold potatoes for an extra creamy mashed potato, but Russet potatoes will work well too. Once the potatoes are cooked, you’ll mash them up with butter, plenty of sharp cheddar cheese, yogurt for creaminess (sour cream also works well), and then thyme, seasonings, and a good amount of black pepper. Nothing very fancy, just delicious. Potatoes are one of those things that should never be messed with too much.

overhead close up photo of Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers and spoon in casserole dish

The secret?

The buttery, slightly garlicky, and oh so addicting Ritz cracker crumbs. Honestly? This is my favorite topping of all time.

If you have the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook, you’ve probably seen the mac and cheese recipe with this same topping. It’s just addictingly good. I love using crushed Ritz in place of bread crumbs every chance I get. They have so much more flavor and texture. I always find the Ritz crumbs to be the secret ingredient that adds that “extra special” touch I’m looking for in my recipes.

I toss the crackers with butter, garlic, and then a splash of Worcestershire sauce, which is KEY. It adds a savory, salty element that is perfection.

So, do not skip out on the crumbs. They take this casserole form very good to insanely good. Dramatic, but true.

PS. this post is not sponsored by Ritz. I just have an unhealthy obsession with Ritz crackers. I guess you could call them my kind of “junk food”.

I’m excited to now have this recipe to replace mom’s old school cheesy potatoes. I actually served them early to my brothers this week. They once again fully approved, saying that these baked cheesy potatoes are 100% better than the original recipe.

YES. When you win over the brothers, all is good!

Hoping you all feel the same! The next question is, what will you be pairing these cheesy potatoes with? Over here, it will probably be my roasted beef tenderloin. I make it every year.

overhead photo of Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers with spoon in baking dish

If you make this Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 358 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of cold water. Salt the water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. Drain the potatoes, return the potatoes to the pot and mash over low heat, adding 6 tablespoons butter, 3 cups cheddar cheese, yogurt, cream, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the potato mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with the the remaining 1/2 cup to 1 cup cheddar cheese.
    3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle the crackers evenly over the potatoes.
    4. Cover the dish with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking another 15 minutes, until the crackers are golden. Serve warm topped with fresh thyme and flaky sea salt.

Instant Pot

  • 1. Combine the potatoes and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook on high pressure/manual for 12 minutes. Once done cooking, use the natural or quick release function and release the steam. Drain the potatoes well.
    2. Finish as directed above from step 2 on.

Notes

To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 3. Cover and store the assembled casserole in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove the casserole from the fridge while the oven preheats, then bake as directed. 

horizontal photo of Cheesy Potato Casserole with Buttery Ritz Crackers

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was great for Easter with the family, it fed a crowd and the flavors were spot on! I accidentally left out the 4tbs of butter for the cracker topping but it was still delicious! Another keeper 🙂

    1. Hey Jessic,
      Happy Monday! It’s so great that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a go! xTieghan

  2. Hello, your casserole sounds delicious. I was wondering if you have ever cut up ham pieces into the casserole? I add ham to my scalloped potatoes to make a one – dish meal. Thanks, Barb

    1. Hey Barb,
      Thanks so much, I haven’t, but I think that would work well here. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. I made this for Christmas dinner yesterday and it was INCREDIBLE!! Everyone (kids & adults) raved about it and made me promise to make it for every holiday gathering!! Thank you for always figuring out the exact ingredients to take a recipe from good to amazing!!

  4. Can anyone who used the frozen potatoes comment? Did you use cubes or shredded? How much? 1 2lb bag? How long did you cook and did they turn out just as good?

    1. Hey Lisa,
      I have not tried this with frozen potatoes, but I am sure either way this would work nicely. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  5. Wow these are delicious!!! Made them as a side for meatloaf tonight and they were the perfect side. As my son said the ritz crackers and garlic put these over the top!

  6. 5 stars
    So yummy! Made this the other day to test as a Thanksgiving recipe. Love that it can be made in advance. Will def be making for Thanksgiving this year and adding more topping!

    1. Thank you so much Madeline! I am really glad you enjoyed this and I hope it turns out just as amazing on Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this last night for some friends and it was a hit! Super easy and fail proof. We had it with steak and a kale Brussels sprout salad. Great for a cozy cool night but also adding it to my options for the big dinners like Christmas and Easter.

  8. I am wanting to make this recipe for Mothers Day but will have around 10 guests! Will this recipe be enough or how many pounds of potatoes would I need for that amount? Thank you!! I love your recipes and cant wait to make this for my family!

    1. Hi Kristen,
      This recipe makes about 8 servings. You could always do the recipe plus half or just double it and have leftovers. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  9. Omg these were fantastic. I was so tired of making the old school hash brown potato casserole for the holidays. I told my husband I had a new potato recipe for Easter and I could tell he was suspicious. He is a potato freak. He LOVED these and declared they are the new holiday potato side!! Thanks for this and all your great recipes.

  10. 5 stars
    Every member in my family had rave reviews for this and wanted to know where it came from. They had a hard time believing it was homemade. It was one of the first times all family members loved something. It’s hard to please my finicky children. Not so much my husband but he really enjoyed the texture the crackers brought.

    1. Hi! I have not frozen this, but I would imagine it would freeze well. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Made for Sunday dinner, rated 5/5 by all! Delicious!
    Loved the fact I could prepare earlier in the day and heat just before serving the rest of dinner.

  12. 5 stars
    We don’t really do this type of casserole in France, so I made it like a “gratin dauphinois” or maybe scalloped potatoes, I don’t know what it is called, I sliced the potatoes thinluy engouh, precooked them and layered everything more or less like in your recipe (butter, potatoes, cheddar and yogut mixed with everything), and it was a success! And that Ritz crackers topping: totally unexpected, totally addictive!!! Will do again!

  13. I’ve been SEARCHING for a good variation on the normal “hash brown casserole” – so THANK YOU. One question, I really need this to be easy (opening a hiker hostel, and will be making this probably every morning!) – can I use frozen hash browns instead? Please??? Gonna try this soon. THANKS! — Jen

    1. Hi Jen! I am sure frozen hash brown will work nicely. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    Delicious and decadent potatoes. Made for our New Years Eve family feast. The only change I made was to use veggie Worcestershire so we could all eat them. Thanks for a great recipe!

  15. 5 stars
    I am making this tonight for tomorrow, New Year’s Day. My husband & I are snowed in and I just realized I’m out of powdered onion. I have fresh green onions & I plan to chop them finely and mix into the still hot mashed potatoes. I’m hoping this will provide an adequate substitute and not provoke a, “What’s that green stuff!” from my grandchildren.

  16. 5 stars
    Happy New Year Tieghan and thank you for all the wonderful recipes this past year, this one included. I made this for Christmas dinner. I know I shouldn’t try a new recipe for the first time on a special occasion like Christmas, but I thought, what the hec, its Tieghans recipe, it’ll be fine, and it was. It was delicious the first time around, and just as good as left overs. Again, Happy New Year!

  17. 5 stars
    Ok, so, my ritz cracker loving twin Tieghan❤️, I have a totally embarrassing question to ask- I too have an unhealthy obsession with ritz crackers and being that I hadn’t had any in forever, I totally ate the top off of the casserole!! My question is, can I make more topping and bake again or reheat again? Yes, currently staring at an 8×13 of mostly the potato bottom over here with maybe a tablespoon of topping left atop the entire casserole. I’m so ashamed!!??

    1. HI Gia! Haha! Love this comment! YES, of course you can make more of the topping and bake again. That will be insanely delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I so glad you love this recipe! Thank you and Happy New Year! xTieghan

  18. 3 stars
    Made these for Christmas lunch and the flavor is really good with the ritz crackers. The potatoes are really thick though so next time I’ll add more butter and milk to loosen it up. I’m also going to double the ritz cracker topping so there’s more to enjoy!

  19. 5 stars
    So so good!! I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and everyone loved it. The garlicky Ritz topping was the best part and next time i will double the garlic. Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. I want to make this with your beef tenderloin, but the beef goes in at 475 and I only have one oven! Can I put the potatoes in at 475 for less time?

    1. HI! Instead of baking together, I would recommend baking the potatoes before the beef, covering them with foil to keep warm while the beef roast, then just gently warming the potatoes back up in the oven while the beef rest. That will work great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and I hope you had Merry Christmas! Sorry my response is a bit late! xTieghan

  21. Recipe looks amazing. Do I melt butter for the ritz cracker topping? Or crumble it? I will make fur Christmas.

    Thank you.

    1. HI! I use room temp butter and just mix it with the crackers. You could also melt the butter if that is easier for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and Merry Christmas! xTieghan

  22. Hey Tieghan,
    I LOVE these buttery ritz potatoes! Every Christmas my mom isn’t sure what potato recipe to make (mashed are for Thanksgiving and Au gratin are for Easter) so she ends up making something that gets forgotten about. These mashed potatoes would be lovely! My family always eats (excluding me since I’m vegan) roast beef (think: the end of the Grinch) and these potatoes would be such a great side! Haha I imagined you saying ‘this post is not sponsored by Ritz.’? Dying.
    Wooh! I’m excited to make these this year and am glad they’re brother approved.?
    I hope you’re enjoying everyone being home for the holidays!

    1. Yes! I hope you all love these if you try them! Thank you so much! I hope you have an amazing Christmas season! xTieghan

  23. I recently made your butternut squash, and the Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner.
    They were a HUGE hit. Thank you for making me shine. I loved the fact that my family thinks I’m a gourmet cook. ??
    Many applauded to you!

  24. I’m wondering if this recipe would work using shredded potatoes (the ones you use for hash browns) to serve for Christmas Brunch? Any thoughts?

    1. HI! I would imagine if you thawed the potatoes, then tossed with the remaining ingredients it would work well. Great Idea! Let me know how it goes!! I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and happy holidays! xTieghan

  25. I would actually love to see a review from someone who actually made these????? Yes, they sound great but has anyone made them. Happy Happy Holidays to all.

    1. Hi Sandy! I am not sure anyone has, but many people review based on the photos and post! I hope you understand…I also hope you do try this!! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  26. I’ve been looking for a cheesy potato recipe without canned soup! Can’t wait to make this. I brought the mac n cheese with the Ritz topping from Super Simple to a big family dinner a few weeks ago and it was a big hit.

  27. 5 stars
    As with all your recipes, Tieghan, this cheesy potato casserole is making my mouth water. I so agree about “canned” soup. What a perfect Christmas side dish and a twist from the classic potato casserole. Thanks for always sharing such delicious recipes.

  28. This looks delicious and a great company dish to serve over the holidays. Can this be made ahead and reheated? I would put the cracker topping on when it is reheated. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and videos!

    1. HI! To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 3. Cover and store the assembled casserole in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove the casserole from the fridge while the oven preheats, then bake as directed. 

      Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and happy holidays! xTieghan

  29. Question, in terms of prepping ahead of time, would these be similar to overnight mashed potatoes, prep the day before and bake the following day?

    1. HI! Yes, prep the day before and bake off the following day. That works great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and happy holidays! xTieghan

    1. HI! You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and happy holidays! xTieghan

  30. Yum!

    My daughter is not wild about potatoes, but if I don’t get her at cheesy, ritz crackers should def do it. ?

    How far in advance can I make this please? Xx

    1. HI! You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you and happy holidays! xTiegha

  31. 5 stars
    Great side dish for Christmas (but i think i could eat the whole casserole for dinner all by myself), gonna try asap! Thanks <3