Scalloped potatoes have been assigned mandatory attendance at my family’s holiday meals. If we’re together, you better believe some are bubbling away in a casserole dish nearby. Today’s recipe for Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes is an easier, tastier way to serve them.
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Despite their omnipresence, for a while, scalloped potatoes were my least favorite side (unless we’re talking about these Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes).
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.
These crockpot scalloped potatoes taste of home cooking, pure comfort, and their texture is tender perfection.
Using both buttery Yukon Gold potatoes AND sweet potatoes makes this recipe something extra special.
And the signature scalloped potato sauce? Everything it should have been all along!
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 crockpot scalloped potatoes is rich, cheesy, and packs real pizzazz from the use of fresh garlic, nutmeg, and dreamy white cheddar.
5 Star Review
“Everyone loved it! These were way better than any I’ve made in the oven and the convenience of being able to do the prep ahead of time and using the oven for other dishes while the slow cooker did the work was just icing on the cake!”— Sharon —
The Best Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes
Making scalloped potatoes in the slow cooker requires avoiding three major pitfalls:
- The milk curdling.
- The potatoes becoming soupy.
- The potatoes turning out hard.
Preventing Curdling. Instead of trying to cook the sauce in the slow cooker with the potatoes, make it on the stove first, then poured it over the potato slices in the crock pot. If you’ve had your milk curdle in the past, this stovetop method will avoid it.
Avoiding Soupy Potatoes. Place a layer of paper towels under the lid. The towel will absorb excess moisture. Be sure to also cook the potatoes on HIGH (more below).
Make Your Potatoes Tender. If your potatoes turn out hard in the slow cooker, chances are your heat wasn’t high enough. Use the high (not low) setting on your slow cooker to ensure the potatoes cook through without becoming soupy.
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!
Typically, the difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes is the use of cheese. Instead of making these crockpot scalloped potatoes without cheese, I decided to break the rules and use cheese here too.
So, I guess you could call these “slow cooker scalloped potatoes au gratin” or “crockpot scalloped potatoes”. Just promise me you’ll try them either way!
How to Make Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes
This scalloped potato recipe is foolproof, crowd-pleasing, and truly delicious!
The creamy sauce guarantees you’ll be upping your cheesy potato recipe game and freeing up your oven at the same time too.
- Potatoes. I love blending both the buttery Yukon Golds and sweet potatoes for this recipe. Making the simple change of integrating sweet potatoes with the regular “white” potatoes gives the dish a much more interesting flavor profile. Not only do the sweet potatoes add beautiful color and sweet flavor to the dish, but they’re also packed with fiber and vitamin-A.
- Butter. A must-have in scalloped potatoes for richness and flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour. Helps thicken the creamy, cheesy sauce and prevent the milk from curdling.
- Nonfat Milk. I chose to make these crockpot scalloped potatoes with nonfat milk, and it was perfect. No one will notice that these are lightened up.
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg. A little fresh nutmeg adds wonderful warmth, pairs well with the cheese, and catapults these potatoes to side dish stardom.
- Cheeses. Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese create the best flavor and texture. I recommend avoiding pre-shredded cheeses (grate your own from the block), as they won’t melt as nicely. Goat cheese lovers, check out my Scalloped Potatoes with Goat Cheese.
Change It Up!
For an extra veggie, you could add sautéed mushrooms.
Want to add meat like in my Scalloped Potatoes and Ham? Crockpot scalloped potatoes and ham or bacon would also be delicious. Cook and dice the bacon or ham before adding it to the recipe.
- Lay the potato slices in a slow cooker.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue layering with potato slices and seasoning until all the potatoes have been used.
- Prepare the sauce on the stove.
- Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cheese, spices, and herbs.
- Pour the sauce into the slow cooker. Lay paper towels over the top of the slow cooker, cover, and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 4 hours.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and cook uncovered on HIGH for 10 minutes. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm potatoes in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish, as potatoes can become mealy once thawed.
Recommended Tools to Make Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes
- Slow Cooker. Free up your oven space by making this recipe in the slow cooker.
- Mandoline. The best for fast, even potato slices.
- Cheese Grater. Mess-free and easy to clean.
Crockpot 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 afterward 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.
- ****DISCLAIMER: Please note that using a towel with a slow cooker could be a fire hazard. Proceed at your own risk. I have done it many times over the years with different recipes and different slow cookers and have never had an issue. That said, different slow cookers can reach different temperatures. If this is your first time using the towel method with your slow cooker, I recommend checking the towel an hour into cooking to be sure that it isn’t too hot.
- 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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