In my family, we take our side dishes very seriously. Months in advance of any major meal, we begin debating the merits of different options and, within those options, which exact recipe to use. If you believe as we do that the side dishes make the feast, then you absolutely, positively need this recipe for homemade Scalloped Potatoes.
My love of sides (here’s looking at you Mashed Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts Mac and Cheese, and Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole) led me to create this recipe for these creamy scalloped potatoes. I can now declaredly state is my absolute favorite version and (dare I say it?…I do!) the best scalloped potatoes recipe. EVER.
Along the way, my homemade scalloped potato recipe testing journey led to these Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes, which lean into the idea of a traditional, extra cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe. If that’s the style of tater you are seeking, check them out.
Today’s more modern version is also cheesy and indulgent, but there’s less fuss, largely thanks to the fact that I managed to find a way to make them with no béchamel sauce, HOORAY. 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 dinner 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!
Why are They Called Scalloped Potatoes?
While the specific reasoning for the name is still a mystery, many speculate that it may reference the “scalloped” shape that the potatoes 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.
Whatever the reason may be, I’m happy to share my lightened-up take on this delicious recipe, which will certainly be a welcome addition to your table!
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.
How to Cut Potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes
- Slice the Potatoes Thinly. 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.
How to Make The Best Scalloped Potatoes from Scratch
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. Per the above, Yukon Gold potatoes are my recommended best potatoes for this recipe.
- 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.
- While goat cheese is my recommendation, if you or someone in your family are opposed and not to be persuaded otherwise, you could try dicing cream cheese and dotting it between the layers of potato slices instead.
- Parmesan Cheese. Salty, cheesy, and wonderful when paired with the goat cheese…and just about everything else.
- Whole Milk. The secret to obtaining 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 SUPER THIN. I recommend a mandoline for this. The razor-thin slice eliminates the need to cook the potatoes 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, and scatter with goat cheese. Repeat the steps, making layers.
- Pour milk over the top of the dish, then finish it off with Parmesan cheese. Cover, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Scatter the rosemary over the top, and serve hot. ENJOY!
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin?
I decided to look into this after spending hours creating the homemade simple scalloped potatoes of my dreams, and you know what I found out…
These might actually be potatoes au gratin. Or they might be scalloped potatoes. I see elements of both! What do you think?
- 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.
Another difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin: the potatoes are usually sliced more thinly for potatoes au gratin versus scalloped potatoes.
Related: What does that make this Brussels Sprouts Gratin? (At least there’s no such thing as scalloped Brussels sprouts as far as I’m aware.)
Maybe I needed some self justification, but I dug deeper online, and it does appear that the two terms are used fairly interchangeably, including by some major, well-respected food websites.
Tips to Store, Reheat, and Freeze
- 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.
- 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.
Recipe Variations + Dietary Notes
- To Make Gluten Free. Nothing! This recipe is gluten free as written.
- Scalloped Potatoes with Ham. Layer thinly sliced cooked ham between the layers of potatoes.
- Scalloped Potatoes with Carrots. Thinly slice carrots and intermix them with the potato slices.
What to Serve with Scalloped Potatoes
- Pork. Serve a flavorful dish like these Crock Pot Pork Chops for a hearty meal.
- Chicken. Pair this dish with Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Apples and Brussels Sprouts or Lemon Butter Chicken for an impressive dinner.
- Salmon. Try this recipe with Salmon Meuniere or another one of these Healthy Salmon Recipes.
- More Sides. If you’re serving this dish as part of a large spread, you could also include these Sautéed Brussels Sprouts or Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.
Recommended Tools to Make Homemade Scalloped Potatoes
- Mandoline. For easy, uniform slicing
- 2-quart casserole dish. Essential for any and all baked sides.
- All-purpose liquid measuring cups. These are my favorite for measuring liquids.
- 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, then the remaining goat cheese, then 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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