Pittsburgh Potatoes


When I lived in Pittsburgh, I called these “cheesy potatoes.”

It’s an unabashedly old-fashioned recipe that everyone in my family has.  We’ve enjoyed this dish at nearly every extended family gathering that I can remember.  I’m pretty sure (for us, anyway), it originally came from my Aunt LuAnn (hi, Aunt LuAnn!).  But, it wasn’t just ours.  I think every family in Pittsburgh, and probably that tri-state area, has this recipe.

When I moved to St. Pete and made these for the first time for my adopted game day crew down here, the boys couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.  “Pittsburgh potatoes!”  Although they were born in St. Pete, their dad grew up in Pittsburgh, and they still have a lot of family there.  They knew these potatoes, too, from having them at family gatherings up north.  The only difference was, they called them “Pittsburgh potatoes.”  It still makes me laugh.

Well, Pittsburgh potatoes have become our staple side dish on the first Sunday that NFL games return, and they always accompany a crock pot filled with kielbasa and sauerkraut.  If six years is long enough to declare a tradition, then this is ours.  The potatoes remind me of home, they signal that football is back (and fall is coming), and they show that our long-held traditions are continuing with our newly-defined “family” in Florida.

If the modern side of you wants to jazz these up, feel free.  I can picture fresh herbs, exotic cheese, or even a homemade béchamel sauce successfully updating this traditional casserole. But, for me, I can’t picture ever changing it.

Pittsburgh Potatoes
Makes: 8-10 servings
  • 2 lb. bag frozen diced potato hash browns, thawed
  • 2 (10 ¾-oz) cans cream of potato soup
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 T. cold butter, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, grated cheddar, and garlic salt. Add the hash browns to the bowl and stir until completely combined. Stir in black pepper and a little bit of salt to taste. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  3. Top the potato mixture with parmesan and dot the top evenly with diced butter.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through baking time.


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