Scalloped Potatoes are an easy potato side dish made with thinly sliced potatoes and onions layered in a homemade cream sauce and baked until golden and bubbly. Learn How to Make Scalloped Potatoes and enjoy this classic comfort food with friends and family for Easter, Christmas, or Thanksgiving!
Best Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
Scalloped potatoes are kind of a big deal in my family. Growing up, there wasn’t a holiday, family gathering, or Sunday dinner that didn’t include a hot pan of bubbling scalloped potatoes front and center on our dining table.
Always made entirely from scratch, it was one of the few recipes my dad would make for us kids that didn’t include cream-of-something soup or pre-made mixes. He learned how to make it from my grandmother, and now I know how to make it thanks to him.
Fortunately, the ingredients and process are both easy and simple. The result is tender sliced potatoes cooked in a homemade buttery cream sauce.
Sounds yummy, right? Let’s make some!
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken broth
- Heavy cream
- Salt + Pepper
- Paprika (optional)
Before we skip to which potatoes work best for scalloped potatoes, let’s chat about a few of the other ingredients.
The butter and flour are used to make a roux. The roux will be used to thicken and flavor your white sauce. Unlike gumbo, which requires cooking the roux for a long period of time until darkened, this roux will only be cooked for a minute or two before you add the milk, broth, and cream.
This is your sauce.
The onion and garlic are both optional but highly recommended for added flavor.
You may also like, Scalloped Root Vegetable Skillet
Best Potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes?
If you read about the different potato types and their uses you’ll be told that waxy potatoes (red or Yukon gold, for example) are best used in recipes such as casseroles or potato salads. This is because they hold their shape better even after cooking and resist turning mushy.
Starchy potatoes (russet potatoes), on the other hand, are fluffier, lighter and typically fall apart easier. You’ll usually hear people say starchy potatoes are best for mashed potatoes since they’re fluffier.
I made this recipe using a mix of russet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. My dad makes all of his potato recipes with russet potatoes, so in the end, it comes down to personal preference.
Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Potatoes Au Gratin?
So, what exactly is the difference between potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes, anyway? Because they are not the same thing (contrary to the hundreds of confused and mislabeled recipes floating around the internet).
To tell them apart, look for these key differences:
- Does it have cheese? If you answered yes, then you have yourself a pan of au gratin potatoes. If you answer no, then you have scalloped potatoes. Simple as that.
- How thick are the potatoes sliced? Although both scalloped and au gratin potatoes are sliced into thin rounds, it is noted that the potatoes for au gratin are often sliced a bit thinner than those for scalloped potatoes.
- Breadcrumbs? Potatoes au gratin is frequently topped with breadcrumbs. Traditional scalloped potatoes skip this crispy topping.
You’ll notice that this recipe does not have any cheese, cheese sauce, or breadcrumbs. Feel free to add cheese between the potato layers or check out this Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a large 9″x13″ casserole dish or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Wash and scrub your potatoes and dry thoroughly.
- Do I have to peel my potatoes? You do not need to peel your potatoes – even if you are using thicker-skinned russet potatoes. However, feel free to peel your potatoes if that is your own personal preference.
Thinly slice each potato into rounds approximately 1/4″ thick. I highly recommend using a mandoline slicer (mandolin) for this as it will cut your potatoes evenly and in a fraction of the time.
- Important Tip: If you are using russet potatoes, transfer to a large bowl filled with cold water to prevent them from turning a rusty-orange color. Set aside until ready to use.
Now that the potatoes are prepared, get started with the homemade cream sauce.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven and add the diced onions. Cook the onions over medium to medium-low heat until softened and translucent.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring often, then, add the flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
This is your roux – fat (butter), flour, and (in this case) onions.
Next, reduce heat to low and slowly add the milk to the onions, whisking continuously to prevent any of the flour from clumping. Continue to slowly add the rest of the milk, then add the chicken broth.
Increase heat and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook, stirring as needed, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream (or half-and-half).
To assemble your scalloped potatoes, drain the sliced potatoes and dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Place approximately 1/4 of the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Spoon approximately 1/4 of the prepared creamy sauce over the top.
Tent with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, or until golden and bubbly around the edges.
Can Scalloped Potatoes Be Make Ahead of Time?
There’s no hiding the fact that scalloped potatoes will never be one of those fast-cooking side dish recipes. This recipe takes at least 2 hours to make, start to finish. Fortunately, much of this total is baking time.
If you would like to make them ahead of time, prepare and cook them according to recipe instructions up to 3 days ahead of the day you plan to serve them. Let them cool completely, covering tightly, and refrigerate until ready to reheat.
To reheat, remove from the refrigerator and bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
How to Serve Scalloped Potatoes
We all love these creamy potatoes with turkey, ham, and roasted veggies including asparagus, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. But you can also repurpose leftovers and enjoy the next day by scrambling them with eggs or mixing into an omelet with bacon, avocado, and homemade salsa.
More Potato Recipes,
If you try making Scalloped Potatoes, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- 3 pounds potatoes ((Yukon gold potatoes, russet potatoes, or red potatoes))
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp salt ((plus more to taste))
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ((plus more to taste))
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large 9"x13" casserole dish or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
For the potatoes:
- Wash and scrub your potatoes then dry thoroughly. Thinly slice each potato into rounds approximately 1/8" thick (I recommend using a mandoline for this). If you are using russet potatoes, transfer to a large bowl filled with cold water to prevent them from turning a rusty-orange color. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the sauce:
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the diced onions and stir to combine. Cook the onions over medium to medium-low heat until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring often, then, add the flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Reduce heat to low. Slowly add the milk to the onions, whisking continuously to prevent any of the flour from clumping. Continue to slowly add the rest of the milk, then add the chicken broth.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook, stirring as needed, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream (or half-and-half).
- Drain your potatoes and dry thoroughly. Place approximately 1/4 of the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Spoon approximately 1/4 of the cream sauce over the top.
- Repeat with an additional layer of potatoes until all the potatoes are used or you run out of space in your casserole dish (you should have room for at least 2-3 more layers), ending with a final layer of cream sauce over the top.
- Tent with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, or until golden and bubbly around the edges.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- If you prefer not to add heavy cream, substitute with half-and-half or additional milk.
- I made this recipe using whole milk. I do not recommend making this recipe with fat-free or skim milk.
- Classic scalloped potatoes do not have cheese. If you prefer cheesy creamy potatoes, check out my potatoes au gratin or feel free to add your favorite shredded cheese between the layers of potatoes (sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere, parmesan, etc.)
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)