Homemade Scalloped Potatoes
I once made the mistake of suggesting that my family skip the scalloped potatoes at Christmas Eve dinner. I’m not sure which was worse—the look of unspeakable horror on my sisters’ faces or nearly being cut off from the wine due to my obvious loss of mental capacity. If scalloped potatoes are a staple on your family’s holiday menu too, then grab your spuds, and let’s make easy homemade scalloped potatoes!
A lot of heavy cream and maybe as many tears went into making what I can now declaredly say is my absolute favorite and (dare I say it?…I do!) the best scalloped potatoes recipe.
Part of my homemade scalloped potato recipe testing eventually led to these Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes, which lean more on the side of a classic cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe (think scalloped potatoes Pioneer Woman) if that’s what you are seeking. They’re different than today’s from scratch scalloped potatoes recipe, but both are absolutely delicious. It depends on what you are after.
Today’s more modern version of scalloped potatoes is also cheesy, but it eats a little lighter, which is something about it I adore. These potatoes tastes decadent and memorable enough for something as special a holiday meal but won’t weigh you down so much you feel stuffed after a few bites.
Another key differentiator of this recipe: these are quick scalloped potatoes. There’s no béchamel sauce to fuss with, so you can skip that entire step and keep your stovetop free.
How to Make the Best Scalloped Potatoes
Despite their buffet-line-stopping popularity, scalloped potatoes and their first cousin funeral potatoes (a ragingly popular Midwestern potato casserole with cream of suspicious soup and cornflake topping) have never held rank on my list of must-eat holiday sides. Give me the brussels sprouts mac and cheese and the sweet potatoes (especially this marshmallow-free healthy sweet potato casserole) until I burst. But scalloped potatoes?
Most of the scalloped potato recipes I’d tried prior to creating this recipe tasted like little beyond bland, goopy white potatoes swimming in (also bland) heavy cream. It felt a bit criminal to see good ingredients not used to their full potential.
In creating this recipe, I decided to take the characteristics that make scalloped potatoes popular—the velvety texture, the layers upon layers of creamy potatoes, and that yummy, cheesy lid—but amp up the flavor in a great big way.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes from Scratch
Here’s what I learned and the ingredients I use to make THE BEST scalloped potatoes!
- Yukon Gold Potatoes. Instead of ho-hum russet potatoes, reach for Yukon Gold potatoes. Their texture is naturally creamier than russets and their flavor buttery, so they elevate the taste of the dish from the start.
- Slice the Potatoes Thinly. Part of what makes these quick scalloped potatoes is how thinly the potatoes are sliced. Thinner potatoes not only bake faster, but they 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.
- Goat Cheese. Forget the heavy cream and fussing with a béchamel sauce. Seriously. Crumble goat cheese between the potato layers instead. It’s easier, more elevated, and extra delicious. Goat cheese offers the creamy decadence and mouthfeel that homemade scalloped potatoes demand, but its mild tang makes them taste far more interesting. A little whole milk poured on top does the rest to make the scalloped potatoes tender.
- Garlic and Rosemary. Two other big flavor boosters. They give the scalloped potatoes the much-needed freshness that other from-scratch scalloped potatoes recipes often lack.
- Keep the Cheesy Lid. No self-respecting pan of homemade scalloped potatoes should go without an irresistible cheesy “lid” baked on top. My pick here is nutty Parmesan cheese.
In the oven, the top layer of the scalloped potatoes becomes addictively crispy and golden, while the inner layers soften and become infused with goat cheese and garlic.
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.
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin?
I decided to look into this after spending hours creating the homemade 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.
My conclusion: you can call these homemade scalloped potatoes anything you like. As soon as they come out of the oven, you and your guests will be too busy digging in to pronounce the name anyway!
Recommended Tools to Make Homemade Scalloped Potatoes
Homemade Scalloped Potatoes
- 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.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 of 6) — Calories: 243, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 9g
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