Scalloped potatoes are the ultimate potato side dish for a special occasion. They're layered with tender potatoes and a rich creamy sauce and covered with golden brown cheese. It doesn't get much better than that!
To me scalloped potatoes are the king of all potato side dishes. Most traditional scalloped potato recipes don't include cheese, but I like to add it to mine to make them even more decadent, a bit like mac and cheese, but with potatoes!
If you want to be a purist, you're welcome to leave out the cheese. Or you can add a breadcrumb topping to the topping to make potatoes au gratin.
They make a great choice for a holiday meal and go great with ham, turkey, or roasted beef like my garlic and herb crusted rib roast.
- Potatoes - I prefer russet potatoes in this dish. The shape is easier to work with and the texture is perfect. You can sub Yukon gold if you prefer but I would avoid red potatoes for this dish.
- Milk - I'm using milk in this recipe to lighten it up just a bit, but I'll admit, sometimes I go with heavy cream instead for an even richer sauce.
- Chicken broth - Use a low sodium or no-salt broth to help control the salt level.
- Cheese - I like to use cheddar in this dish. I went with a mix of white cheddar and yellow. A blend of Gruyere and Parmesan is also a great choice.
- Onion and Garlic - These provide a boost of flavor to the sauce.
- Butter and Flour - The base of the sauce is a béchamel so you'll make a light roux from equal parts flour and butter to thicken the sauce.
How to slice your potatoes
One of the main keys to this dish is getting very thin and even slices of the potatoes. The easiest way to achieve this is with a mandolin. If you don't have one I'd highly suggest adding one to your kitchen. They're fairly cheap and come in handy when doing many slicing tasks. Just watch those fingertips! I'd recommend a cut resistant glove if you don't have one.
You can also use the slicing blade of a food processor if you like. You may need to cut your potatoes in half to get them into the feed tube.
Of course, you can also use a knife. You'll want to aim for around ⅛ inch thick slices.
How to prepare the sauce
- Start by sautéing your diced onions in melted butter in a saucepan over medium heat for around 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Next add your minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until it becomes fragrant. Be sure to stir while the garlic cooks as it can burn easily.
- Then make the roux by stirring in the flour with the butter and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. You do want to keep the sauce fairly light so don't let the roux get too dark.
- When the roux is ready, add the milk and broth and stir constantly for around one minute until smooth.
- Bring to a low simmer and cook for another 4-5 minutes until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in a half a cup of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
How to assemble the dish
Begin by spooning a small amount of the sauce into a baking dish and spread it evenly. then add a single layer of potatoes slightly overlapping each one. Add around ⅓ of the remaining sauce and spread evenly then top with ½ cup of the cheese. Repeat the process for 2 more layers for a total of three layers.
How to cook scalloped potatoes
Bake the dish at 375°F for around 1 hour. The potatoes should be fork tender and the sauce should be bubbly. If the cheesy top begins to brown too much towards the end cover the dish loosely with foil.
After baking let the dish sit for around 10-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit more during that time.
Make ahead instructions
If you want to make the dish ahead you can bake it through then allow it to cool completely and cover.
They will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you're ready to serve, heat it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until warmed through.
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 pounds potatoes sliced about ⅛ inch thick
- Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Then add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until light brown.
- Add the milk and broth whisking constantly for around 1 minute until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a low simmer and stir occasionally for another 4-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup of cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon a thin layer of the sauce into the baking dish and spread evenly. Add a single layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping. Top with around ⅓ of the sauce then ½ cup of cheese. Repeat for 2 more layers.
- Bake uncovered for around 1 hour until potatoes are tender. If top begins to brown too much during cooking you can loosely cover with foil.
- Let stand for around 10-15 minutes before serving.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.