If you believe as I do, that the side dishes make the feast, then you absolutely, positively need this recipe for the BEST homemade Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.
Scalloped—meaning the potatoes are thinly sliced into rounds, then baked casserole-style in a creamy sauce—is a special way to elevate the humble potato (think of them as the horizontal version of Hasselback Potatoes).
You can create many variations (like these Scalloped Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes), but when you are craving a classic, this traditional scalloped potato recipe is the one.
Once the potatoes are sliced, this particular easy recipe comes together fast, largely thanks to the fact that I managed to find a way to make these scalloped potatoes without béchamel sauce.
No heavy cream, no extra steps. Just layer and bake!
About this Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- These potatoes taste decadent and memorable enough for something special, but won’t weigh you down after just a few bites. No heavy cream sauce!
- 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!
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.
- Au gratin potatoes have 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. (Check out Brussels Sprouts Gratin for a twist).
- The potatoes are also usually sliced more thinly for au gratin potatoes than scalloped potatoes.
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!
Tips for the Best Scalloped Potatoes
- Choose the Right Potato.
- 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 cheesy scalloped potatoes are Yukon gold potatoes. Their flavor is naturally richer and more buttery than russet potatoes, resulting in a more fully-flavored dish.
- Yukon gold potatoes hold their shape well after they’re baked.
- Avoid waxy red-skinned potatoes. Because they are less starchy, they are likely to be too firm, even after cooking. Save your red potatoes for Roasted Red 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.
How to Make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
For this cheesy 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 streamline the recipe to make it easier.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes. Yukon Gold are my recommended type of potato for this cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe. See “Tips for the Best Scalloped Potatoes” above for more.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Cheesy scalloped potatoes are the best scalloped potatoes! The sharp cheddar stands out from the creaminess of the potatoes and sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese. Sprinkled on top for the perfect cheese-crusted lid. And parm makes just about everything better, right?
- Whole Milk. The secret to obtaining a perfectly creamy, tender texture without using cream.
- Onion. Sautéed along with garlic for major flavor.
- Garlic. Brings these cheesy scalloped potatoes up another notch.
- Flour. The sliced potatoes are tossed in all-purpose flour, thickening the sauce while it cooks in the dish.
- Melt butter in a pan and cook onion over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Stir in the milk, salt and pepper.
- Toss sliced and peeled potatoes in a bowl with salt and flour.
- Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a casserole dish. Spoon 1 cup of the milk mixture over the top.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Repeat layering potatoes, milk mixture and cheese until you have 3 layers of each.
- End layering with cheddar cheese on top. Bake cheesy scalloped potatoes covered at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then broil for 1 to 3 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Rest at room temperature prior to serving to thicken sauce. 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.
Make Ahead Instructions
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.
What to Serve With Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
A winning side for your holiday spread, cheesy scalloped potatoes are perfection with any of these classic starring mains, or with additional sides.
Holiday Main Dishes
- Turkey. See How to Cook a Turkey for the ultimate guide for fool-proof roasted turkey.
- Chicken. Chicken Piccata or Chicken Francaise are elevated (yet easy!) chicken dishes.
- Salmon. Try Salmon Patties for an Easter brunch, or this Poached Salmon for dinner.
- Braised Short Ribs. Oo-la-la these decadent short ribs would be so dreamy with the creamy scalloped potatoes.
More Yummy Sides
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?
I bet after one taste, you’ll want to add these cheesy scalloped potatoes!
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 into coins and intermix them with the potato slices before baking.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion ¼-inch diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes about 6 to 8 medium
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese shredded (about ¼ cup)
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a medium pot or wide skillet with high sides, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the milk, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Peel the potatoes. With a mandoline or very sharp chef’s knife, slice the potatoes into VERY thin slices, about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick (thinner is better). Place potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the flour and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. With your hands, toss to coat the potatoes as evenly as possible.
- Spread one-third of the sliced potatoes evenly in the bottom of the prepared dish. Spoon 1 cup of the milk mixture over the top. Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat two more times so you have a total of 3 layers each of potato, the milk mixture, and the cheddar cheese, ending with the cheese on top.
- Lightly mist a large sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick spray. Cover the dish with foil spray-side down. Bake the scalloped potatoes for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for an 25 additional minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven for 1 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Don’t walk away and let them burn!
- Allow the potatoes to stand at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes prior to serving to allow the milk mixture to set and thicken (don’t worry, they
- *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 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: I do not recommend freezing scalloped potatoes as they can become mealy.
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Here are more of my very favorite holiday side dish recipes with potatoes:
Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
I absolutely loved this dish. Will add it to ” My Favorites recipes” section.
Thanks soooo much.
I’m so happy to hear the Lori! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you.
If you double this recipie, you have to almost triple the milk. I only doubled it and it made no sauce, it was very dry.
Hi Tricia, the recipe isn’t very saucy to begin with, so adding more milk when doubling is a good tip if you would like it more on the saucy side! Thank you for trying the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it if you give it another go with your adjustment!
Has anyone tried making this with honey goat cheese?
Ashley, not that I am aware of! Personally, I think the honey would be too sweet (and it’s not a flavor I usually put with potatoes), so I’d stick to either plain or to a goat cheese with herbs.
I layered the rosemary in with the potatoes and added bits of bacon….it was devine!
That does sound delicious, Brooke! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Trying to use up what I have around the house. How do you think some big Idaho potatoes would taste. I don’t have golds right now.
Hi Amy, I think you could use the potatoes you have on hand! I hope you enjoy the potatoes.
Do you think almond milk would work in place of the whole milk?
Daniele, I think that the potatoes would be more thin and less creamy. I’d recommend sticking with whole milk for this one. It’s worth it!
what would be a good substitute for goat cheese? (can’t STAND the flavor!)
Kacey, you could try dicing cream cheese and dotting it between the layers. I haven’t done that myself because I happen to be a goat cheese lover so you’d be experiementing, but think it would be worth a try!
Adding goat cheese was brilliant! So creamy and yummy!
This is an amazing side dish! I loved every bite.
Yummy! Such a delicious recipe! I have made scalloped potatoes before but in between layers I have used Ricotta Cheese. It is also so delicious.
Hi Erin! I have some heavy whipping cream in my fridge, will that work or should I buy some milk? Thank you!
Hi Brittany, I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could swap cream instead. Since it’s thicker than milk, you may need a little extra to evenly distribute it over the potatoes. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Oh my gosh! These potatoes are the most delicious ones I’ve ever had. I made these to take to my son and daughter-in-laws house for Christmas dinner. They were a huge hit and I received many compliments. I doubled the recipe, added about 3/4 cup of milk and they turned out perfect. I really should have tripled it as there was not one bit left over. I will definitely be making these again.. I have to add these are very easy to make as well.
Donna, HOORAY! I am so so happy to hear this. Thank you so much for taking time to leave this review too!
Donna, I am so pleased to hear this. THANK YOU for sharing this lovely review!
My new favorite side dish recipe! I’ll be dreaming about this until I make it again!
WHooo hooo! Thank you, thank you!
Incredible! We ate this as a main dish of 4 servings.
I’m so happy to hear that this was a hit, Beth! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!
First of all, I love goat cheese! …so knew this recipe was worth a try. No it is not exactly the same as traditional scalloped potatoes, all saucy and such, but oh my goodness this was delicious. Perfection really. We loved it. Thank you for this recipe!
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this recipe, Cindy! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!
Delicious!! And easy!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Megan! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
The flavor was amazing, but my potatoes weren’t done. I followed the directions to a tee even using a mandoline. I even left them in 3 minutes longer to make sure the tops were browned.
Andrea, I’m sorry to hear that! Different pans conduct heat differently so that might be why, and it could also be possible that even with a mandoline, your potatoes were still thicker than the ones I used. If this happens again, you can simply cover the pan and keep on baking them until they are tender. Glad you liked the flavor!
Loved these scalloped potatoes with goats cheese. I couldn’t find Yukon gold potatoes so I used Russet, even though Erin doesn’t recommend them and they turned out great.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Jenny! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I would prefer to Pin a receipt right away to my board. For whatever reason I get all these other receipts
That I do not want. A real waste of my time. I just removed my name so why would you request it again.
Hi Jacqueline, I have no idea what you are saying. I have not requested anything. If you are trying to pin this to Pinterest, all you have to do is hit the Pin it for later button right under the very first photo. If you are having other issues, please send screenshots to email@example.com so we can help you get it fixed, if it is something on our end.
Delicious and fun to prepare. My family loved these potatoes! Incorporating goat cheese was a hit. Thanks, Well Plated!
Hi Danielle! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I am making these today… no goat cheese on hand but I have a queso semi soft (crumbling) cheese… I think I will try that and omit the rosemary. I will let you know!
Hope you enjoyed it Jane!
I have never been a big fan of scalloped potatoes. This recipe changed my mind. The Yukon gold potatoes sliced thinly were perfectly cooked and full of flavor. The minced garlic was just enough zip. I used cream cheese in layers. Next time I will keep it colder to cut into smaller pieces. The fresh Parmesan on top was beautiful to see when potatoes were done. My husband really liked it too. I’ll be adding this dish to my everyday sides. It went together quick and easy. Thanks Erin for another highly recommended side dish.
Hi Janet! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Delicious! We all loved these potatoes. My goat cheese had a sort of curdled look when it was done baking but the flavor was great. I might try this with different kinds of cheese, too.
Hi Marie! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I’d like to make these ahead for Christmas. You suggest this can be done by completing through Step 3. Step 3 is to layer 1/3 of the potatoes only. Maybe the intention was to complete only through step 2? Thanks in advance. I’m excited to try these. They sound divine!
Hi Lori! You can stop at Step 2 if you’d like, but you can also do Step 3 and stop there before you add the cheese. Hope you enjoy them!