If you believe as I do, that the side dishes make the feast, then you absolutely, positively need this recipe for the BEST homemade Scalloped Potatoes.
With just one bite, I knew I could declaredly state that these are my absolute favorite and (dare I say it?…I do!) the best scalloped potatoes recipe.
Today’s modern take is cheesy and indulgent, but without any fuss, largely thanks to the fact that I managed to find a way to make these scalloped potatoes without béchamel sauce. HOORAY!
5 Star Review
“My new favorite side dish recipe! I’ll be dreaming about this until I make it again!”— Jennifer —
These potatoes taste decadent and memorable enough for something special but won’t weigh you down after just a few bites.
The only thing more heavenly than the rich aroma that perfumes the kitchen as these homemade scalloped potatoes bake is the glory of actually eating them.
If potatoes are a staple on your family’s Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas menu too (or, if you’d immediately like to make them a part of that list), then grab your spuds, and let’s get cooking!
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin?
- Scalloped potatoes are thinly sliced potatoes layered in a casserole dish and baked with heavy cream or milk.
- Potatoes au gratin has grated cheese sprinkled between the layers, so they taste more decadent. Breadcrumbs are also often sprinkled on top of the dish before it goes into the oven. (Does that make this a Brussels Sprouts Gratin?)
Another difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin: the potatoes are usually sliced more thinly for potatoes au gratin versus scalloped potatoes.
I’ll add that, while there are key differences in these two dishes, the two terms are used fairly interchangeably, including by some major, well-respected food websites.
So which are these? They have thinly sliced potatoes, milk, and cheese, so they are a combo of both.
Call them whatever you like, they taste amazing.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
For this scalloped potatoes recipe, I decided to take the characteristics that make this dish so popular—the velvety texture, the layers upon layers of creamy potatoes, and that yummy, cheesy lid—then amp up the flavor in a great big way.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes are my recommended best potatoes for this recipe (and Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes). Read why below.
The Best Potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes
- For scalloped potatoes, look for a potato that is starchy. Starchy potatoes help thicken the sauce and are more tender.
- There are two varieties of starchy potatoes that are readily available: russet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes.
- Between the two, I find the best potatoes for homemade scalloped potatoes are Yukon gold potatoes. Their flavor is naturally richer and more buttery than russet potatoes, resulting in a more full-flavored dish. Yukon gold potatoes also hold their shape well, even after they’re baked.
- Avoid waxy red-skinned potatoes. Because they are less starchy, they are likely to be too firm, even after being baked.
- Goat Cheese. While you may have tried scalloped potatoes without cheese, the goat cheese adds the creamy decadence and mouthfeel that these potatoes demand, along with a subtle tang that makes the recipe taste far more interesting. (If you love goat cheese serve these Fig Goat Cheese Appetizer Bites as an appetizer.)
- Parmesan Cheese. Salty, cheesy, and wonderful when paired with the goat cheese…and just about everything else.
- Whole Milk. The secret to obtaining a perfectly creamy, tender texture without using cream.
- Garlic and Rosemary. Two other big flavor boosters. They give the potatoes the much-needed freshness that other from-scratch scalloped potatoes recipes often lack.
- Slice your potatoes.
- Slice the potatoes ultra-thin. Part of what makes these quick scalloped potatoes is how thinly the potatoes are sliced.
- Thinner potatoes bake faster and become unbelievably tender. The layers almost melt into each other in the most wonderful way that you never would have realized you were missing but will never want to be without again.
- For best results, I recommend a mandoline for even, razor-thin slices that don’t need to cook before layering them.
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl, and add olive oil and spices. Toss to coat.
- Spread a portion of the potato slices in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Then scatter with goat cheese. Repeat the steps, making layers.
- Pour milk over the top of the dish, then finish it off with Parmesan cheese.
- Baked scalloped potatoes covered at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more, until bubbly and golden. Top with rosemary, and serve hot. ENJOY!
- To Store. Place cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. You can make these potatoes ahead and reheat them. Gently reheat leftovers in an oven-safe baking dish covered with foil in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through, adding additional splashes of milk as needed. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave until hot, though I recommend the oven for the best texture.
- To Freeze. Store cooked and cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Note that potatoes do tend to become mealy when frozen, so only freeze as a last resort, or if you don’t mind a less than optimal texture.
Meal Prep Tip
If you know you’re going to freeze your potatoes, I recommend not cooking them all the way. The potatoes will hold up better in the freezer, and you will finish the baking process when you’re ready to reheat them.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mandoline. For easy, uniform slicing.
- Casserole Dish. Essential for any and all baked sides.
- Liquid Measuring Cups. These are my favorite for measuring liquids.
What sides does your family have to serve with every holiday dinner?
Frequently Asked Questions
While the specific reasoning for the name is still a mystery, many speculate that it may reference the “scalloped” shape that the potato slices make when they’re assembled in the dish. Others believe the name could have originated from “collops,” which is an Old English word meaning “to slice meat thinly” and could refer to the thinly sliced potatoes.
Because this scalloped potatoes recipe isn’t very saucy to begin with, if doubling the recipe, I suggest doing 2.5 times the amount of milk and cheese to ensure there’s plenty of cheesy sauce to cover the potatoes. If you like your scalloped potatoes extra saucy, you may even want to consider tripling the amount of milk and cheese if preparing these scalloped potatoes for a crowd.
If you’re looking for a fun recipe variation, try scalloped potatoes with ham. Simply layer thinly sliced cooked ham between the layers of potatoes before baking then finish as directed (for easy serving, cut the ham into pieces first). Scalloped potatoes with carrots is a great vegetarian scalloped potatoes twist. Thinly slice carrots and intermix them with the potato slices before baking.
- 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed with peels on*
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with baking spray. Set aside.
- With a mandoline or sharp chef's knife, slice the potatoes into very thin slices, 1/8-inch-thick or less. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the slices as evenly as you can.
- Spread 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Crumble half of the goat cheese over the top. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the potatoes, the remaining goat cheese, and finish by layering on the final third of the potatoes. The potatoes may discard some liquid as they rest in the bowl. If this happens, simply leave the liquid in the bottom bowl and shake the potato slices gently in your hands to remove excess liquid before layering them in the dish.
- Pour the milk evenly over the top of the dish, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil, bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes, until the top has browned. Scatter the rosemary over the top. Serve hot.
- *I do not recommend russet potatoes for this recipe, as they have less flavor, a dryer texture, and thicker skin than Yukon golds.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: The dish can be prepared through Step 3 one day in advance (wait to add the milk/cheese until just before you bake). Store covered in the refrigerator, let come to room temperature, then continue with the recipe as directed.
- TO MAKE FOR A CROWD: This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 3-quart casserole dish. You may need to adjust the baking time.
- TO STORE: Place cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in an oven-safe baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through, adding a splash of broth as needed. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave until hot.
- TO FREEZE: Store cooked and cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
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