Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped Potatoes have been assigned mandatory attendance at my family’s holiday meals. If more than four of us are gathering, you better believe some version of a cheesy potato recipe is bubbling away in a casserole dish nearby. In case they are compulsory at your family feasts too, today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes is an easier, tastier way to serve them. It took me three tries to get this recipe right, but the final success was more than worth the first failures.
Despite their omnipresence, scalloped potatoes have always been my least-favorite side. I don’t find them offensive; they just give me the all-around reaction of “meh.” I’ll pile a few on my plate because they are, you know, there, but my heart is never really in it. Until today.
Making Scalloped Potatoes with Sweet Potatoes
This Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes recipe is something special, using both buttery Yukon Gold potatoes AND sweet potatoes.
Making the simple change of integrating sweet potatoes with the regular “white” potatoes gives the dish a much more interesting flavor profile.
And the signature scalloped potato sauce? Perfection.
While many scalloped potato dishes I’ve tried are swimming in a greasy, thin sauce that’s 99% heavy cream yet mysteriously bland (I’m still not sure how this is possible, but it’s true), the sauce for these Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes is rich, cheesy, and packs real pizzazz from the use of fresh garlic, nutmeg, and dreamy white cheddar.
I first started working on these Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes last Easter. EPIC DISASTER. I opened the crock pot to find the milk completely curdled and the potatoes a watery mess. I shed a small tear for the wasted cheese (gruyere!), dumped it out, and made Crock Pot Honey Carrots instead. These carrots and this Crock Pot Creamed Corn never fail me!
My next attempt was this Thanksgiving. I cooked the Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes over low heat. WRONG. The middle stayed raw, while the outsides disintegrated into something closer to potato soup. While Holly’s Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup looks amazing, it’s not what I was going for here.
Older, wiser, and fueled by my own stubbornness, I made a final attempt this week. ROARING SUCCESS.
Call it a Christmas miracle or crock pot destiny, but I have the recipe ready for you at last.
How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
Instead of trying to cook the sauce in the slow cooker with the potatoes (curdle issue), I made it on the stove first, then poured it over the potato slices in the crock pot.
A layer of paper towels under the lid absorbed the moisture that had made prior versions soupy, and high heat cooked the potatoes evenly.
This scalloped potato recipe is also lighter than most, but I promise you won’t miss the heavy cream one bit. They taste completely decadent.
Just LOOK at that cheesy top and creamy sauce!
These Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes can be made with all sweet potatoes or all Yukon Gold (the white potatoes) if that’s your preference, but honestly I loved the blend of both. You can also add cooked, diced ham, cooked bacon pieces, or even sautéed mushrooms.
No matter which potato path you choose, the creamy sauce guarantees you’ll be upping your cheesy potato recipe game and freeing up your oven at the same time too.
More Crowd-Pleasing Potato Side Dishes
- Don’t miss my other Scalloped Potatoes recipe with goat cheese and garlic!
- Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- 6-quart programmable slow cooker
- Mandoline: the best for fast, even potato slices
- No-mess, easy-to-clean cheese grater
Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
- 2 3/4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes - peeled, 1/4-inch-sliced (about 1 pound or 3-4 medium potatoes)*
- 2 3/4 cups sweet potatoes - peeled, 1/6-inch-sliced (about 3/4 pound or 2 medium/large potatoes—slice these slightly thinner than the Yukon Gold potatoes)*
- Kosher salt - about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons, plus 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for the sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper - about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons for the potatoes, plus 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for the sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - (1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion - about 1/2 of a small onion
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic - minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
- 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese* - (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Generously coat the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. (See recipe notes if using a smaller slow cooker.)
- Place a layer of potato slices in the bottom of the slow cooker, alternating the Yukon Golds and sweets. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper (do not skimp or the potatoes will be bland). Repeat with a second layer of potatoes, another sprinkling of salt and pepper, then another layer of potatoes, continuing until all the potato slices have been used.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat with the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the top, then whisk constantly until it turns a golden color and smells nutty, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, whisking constantly to smooth any clumps. As you add the milk, the mixture should begin to form a paste that becomes increasing golden. Finish adding the milk, then increase the heat to medium high. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the nutmeg, grated cheese, and half of the thyme. Continue whisking until the cheese melts and you have a smooth, rich sauce. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour the sauce evenly over the potatoes, then jiggle the slow cooker gently so that the sauce seeps down to the various layers. Do not stir. Drape a triple layer of paper towels over the top of the slow cooker so that the sides of the paper towels overhang the edge, then cover the slow cooker with the lid over the top of the paper towels. Cook for 2 1/2 to 4 hours on high, until the potatoes are tender, changing out the paper towels halfway through if they become soggy. The cooking time can vary widely depending upon your slow cooker, so adjust accordingly. Start checking at the 2 1/2 hour mark, then every 15 to 30 minutes afterwards depending on how the potatoes are progressing.
- Once the potatoes are tender, uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining thyme. Cook on high, uncovered, for 10 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the top to crisp. Serve immediately or keep warm in the slow cooker for up to 1 hour.
- I recommend using a mandoline for fast, guaranteed-even slicing of the potatoes. It's important that the slices be the same relative size to ensure even cooking.
- I always recommend grating your own nutmeg from whole nutmeg instead of buying pre-ground. The flavor is spectacular! I use this zester to do it. Otherwise, regular ground nutmeg can be substituted.
- I recommend using full-fat cheese for the recipe, as it melts the most evenly. Low-fat cheese can also be used, but do not use fat free, as it will not melt completely. Avoid pre-shredded cheeses, as they have a powdered coating that prevents caking and thus may not melt properly and can even make the potatoes greasy.
- If using a smaller slow cooker, reduce the recipe accordingly to ensure that the potatoes cook completely (if using a 4-quart, reduce to two-thirds of the total recipe; if using a 3-quart, reduce to half, etc.).
- I do NOT recommend cooking this recipe on low heat, as the potatoes tend to turn out soggy and will not cook through properly.
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