Scalloped potatoes are rich, creamy, carb-forward, and the perfect accompaniment to any large format meat.
They’re a classic side dish for a reason, in fact, they’re rich and delicious enough to stand on their own, I say. I would be happy eating only scalloped potatoes for dinner: well seasoned, tender potatoes in a rich and vevelty cream sauce with a little bit of golden brown cheese. Pure potato heaven.
What are scalloped potatoes?
Scalloped potatoes are a gratin style casserole made from thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce. The potatoes end up tender and soft and decadent, full of flavor. They’re called scalloped potatoes because they kind of look like scallops.
The unique stacked texture is the best part of scalloped potatoes, kind of like a potato lasagna with layers of potatoes instead of noodles.
How to make scalloped potatoes
For such a rich and flavor forward dish, making scalloped potatoes is surprisingly easy.
- Peel and slice. Peel your potatoes and evenly slice the potatoes into “scallops” or rounds.
- Simmer. We’re going to give the potato slices a quick bath in some warm milk and cream.
- Arrange. Arrange the warm slices of potato (along with the cream mix) into a buttered casserole dish, layering with a bit of shredded gruyere.
- Bake. Bake, covered in foil, until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
- Broil. Remove the foil and broil until the tops of the potatoes are burnished and beautifully brown.
- Rest. Let the potatoes rest so the cream thickens up and soaks into the potatoes.
Scalloped potato ingredients
- Potatoes. Try to grab potatoes that are all around the same size so your casserole ends up unified and pretty. More on potato choices below!
- Milk and Cream. We’re going to use a mix of milk and cream to create a light, yet rich cream sauce that the potatoes bake in.
- Garlic and thyme. Classic potato flavors accentuate the pure potato-y flavor of these scalloped potatoes.
- Gruyere. Gruyere adds just a touch of cheesiness and structure without overwhelming the potatoes with cheesiness.
What are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes?
There are only two kinds of potatoes that are perfect for scalloped potatoes: Yukon golds (my absolute favorite) and Russets.
Yukon golds are perfect for scalloping because they’re slightly starchy, beautifully yellow, and have a rich buttery potato taste. They’re dense potato with a thin skin, and when you use them, you get a more luxurious casserole.
Russets (or Idaho) potatoes are those big potatoes with the dusty skin that most people use for baked potatoes. These are also excellent for scalloped: fluffy, dry, and starchy, when cooked right. Russets are the more mild potato of the two potatoes I recommend and if you’re a fan of lighter, fluffier potatoes, they make a scalloped potato with a more delicate, fall apart texture.
- Yukon golds: dense, buttery, rich, more potato flavor, sauce won’t be as thick but the potatoes will hold their shape
- Russets: light, delicate, fluffy, mild potato flavor, will thicken the sauce more, but fall apart
If you want the best of both worlds, you can use a mix!
How thick to slice your potatoes
You don’t want to slice your potatoes too thick or thin. A uniform 1/8 to 1/4 inch is perfect. A mandoline is your best friend here, making scalloping the potatoes super quick and easy. You’ll get perfectly even slices which helps the potatoes cook at the same rate and they slices end up super pretty. I have this mandoline and I love it.
Cheesy scalloped potatoes
There seems to be a great debate on whether or not scalloped potatoes should have cheese or not. Purists say scalloped potatoes are just potatoes in a roux-based sauce. Cheese lovers pile on the cheese. I’m a potato lover so I love all scalloped potatoes.
I like this particular recipe because there isn’t SO much cheese that it overtakes the potato flavor. It’s as good balance between a pure scalloped potato and a cheesy scalloped potato.
Should I rinse or soak potatoes for scalloped potatoes?
No! Don’t wash away all that potato starchy goodness. It’s what thickens up the cream and helps the potatoes cook evenly.
Tips and tricks
- Warm the milk and cream mixture with the potatoes. The purpose of this step is pure genius: you thicken and infuse the cream mixture with garlic and thyme while warming the potatoes through so they’re pliable when you’re arranging them in the baking dish. Warming the potatoes in the cream helps distribute the starch from the potatoes helping the cream thicken naturally. Warming the potatoes also helps them cook more evenly.
- Use the right dish. A shallow dish is best for scalloped potatoes – it lets the tops of the potatoes brown nicely. Traditional potato gratins, which are the grandfather of scalloped potatoes, were very thin and using a shallow dish will mimic this nicely.
- Let it rest. As your scalloped potatoes rest, the cream sauce thickens up and so the potatoes hold their shape when you cut into them. The sauce will firm up and reincorporate itself back into the potatoes and you’ll get a nice stack instead of potatoes sloppily falling all over your plate. Perfect scalloped potatoes are creamy, velvety and silky. Letting them rest and eating them when they’re not piping hot will let you appreciate their pure potato-ness and texture.
Scalloped potatoes are the perfect make ahead side. You can arrange the entire dish and just hold off on baking OR you can go ahead and bake the dish before hand and then just warm it, covered in foil, in a 350°F oven until warmed through, about 15-30 minutes.
How to store:
Wrap them tightly and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to reheat:
You can simply reheat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through or warm them, covered in foil, in a 350°F oven until heated through, about 15-30 minutes.
Serve these with:
Best Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
Scalloped potatoes are a classic side dish for a reason. They’re rich, creamy, carb-forward, and the perfect accompaniment to any large format meat.
- 2 tbsp butter divided, room temp
- 2 lbs potatoes Yukon Gold preferred, about 4
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 4 oz Gruyère cheese coarsely grated, about 1.5 heaping cups
Best Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 169
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 11.4g71%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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