Scalloped potatoes baked in a creamy garlic and herb sauce. Thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes create tender layers in this casserole. A crowd-pleasing and easy side dish!
Scalloped potatoes are a timeless side dish that’s celebrated for its multiple layers of tender and creamy spuds. It’s a simple recipe that bakes together thinly sliced potatoes with rich cream. The preparation is straight forward, however, if you don’t select the right ingredients, the texture and consistency won’t meet expectations.
The biggest challenge is preventing the dairy-based sauce from curdling. The good news is that this is easy to avoid by using heavy cream which I then like to simmer with chopped garlic and thyme to infuse more flavor. Yukon gold potatoes create a luscious, fork-tender texture, that pairs like a dream with the cream. Just slice, layer, and bake!
How to make homemade scalloped potatoes
- Thinly slice potatoes to ¼-inch thick pieces for even cooking.
- Simmer heavy cream with garlic, thyme, and salt.
- Butter a baking dish and layer potatoes into overlapping rows.
- Pour cream sauce over the potatoes.
- Repeat layering two more times with the remaining potatoes and cream.
- Add chopped garlic to the top of the casserole.
- Place small pieces of butter on top to prevent sticking to the foil.
- Bake covered for 1 hour.
- Remove foil and bake to lightly brown the surface.
What are the best potatoes to use?
Yukon gold potatoes are the best to use for scalloped potatoes. They are a waxy type of potato which means it holds its shape well after baking. This provides distinctive layers that don’t fall apart when serving. These potatoes also have a buttery, creamy texture that complements the sauce.
Other types of potatoes can be used like white, yellow, Red Bliss, or even sweet potatoes. Russet potatoes are also an option, however, they are more starchy and have a flaky texture that breaks apart easier.
How do you make creamy scalloped potatoes?
Use heavy cream and a small amount of whole milk to make these scalloped potatoes creamy. After experimenting with whole milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream, I found that heavy cream gave the best velvety consistency without curdling. Whole milk made the dish watery, while half-and-half gave improved texture, but the milk became unstable and little chunks of milk proteins were visible. Heavy cream with a little bit of whole milk to lessen the thickness gave the perfect, super creamy consistency with no curdling.
Another way to make creamy potatoes is to thicken the sauce with a roux. I’ve done this with my potatoes au gratin recipe with successful results. This is a great technique to use if you want to make a cheesy sauce similar to macaroni and cheese, instead of just sprinkling it on.
What’s the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes?
Scalloped potatoes are typically thicker in size, about 1/4-inch compared to 1/8-inch thick pieces for au gratin. In addition, traditionally scalloped potatoes do not contain cheese, while gratin potatoes do contain cheese. However, over time the two names have been used interchangeably which is why it’s easily confused. I kept this recipe classic and felt that the combination of heavy cream and waxy potatoes don’t need extra cheese.
How do you make cheesy scalloped potatoes?
This scalloped potato recipe provides a tasty base and it’s easy to incorporate cheese if you’d like. Grated cheddar cheese, gruyere, parmesan, or pecorino Romano are my top picks. Shred the cheese and add some in between each layer on top. If you like a cheesy crust, broil for a few minutes right before serving for a browned and bubbly surface.
The piping hot potato casserole is a stunning addition to any meal. I like to serve them with pan seared ribeye steaks, beef stew, or roasted chicken. Once you nail this recipe, experiment with different herbs, cheeses, or different kinds of potatoes for variety.
More side dish recipes
Use heavy cream to prevent curdling
When milk is heated to near boiling, the proteins become unstable and start to separate. It’s a visible change that looks like cottage cheese. Even though this doesn’t affect the taste, the texture is compromised. Using a higher fat dairy product like heavy cream can better tolerate the higher temperatures in the oven over an extended period of time, preventing curdling of the milk proteins.
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- Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Simmer heavy cream, milk, minced garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
- Remove thyme and transfer milk mixture to a large measuring cup. Cool to room temperature while preparing the potatoes.
- Wash and peel potatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-Inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
- Arrange a third of the sliced potatoes in overlapping rows, about 4 rows in the baking dish. Whisk and then evenly pour a third of the milk mixture over the potatoes.
- Repeat two more times with the remaining potatoes.
- Cut 1 tablespoon of butter into small cubes and arrange them evenly on top.
- Cover baking dish with foil and place on a baking sheet pan.
- Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Remove the foil and broil on high, about 8-inches from the top of the oven until the potatoes are browned on top, about 5 minutes.
- Wait 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and black pepper.
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