Scalloped Potatoes

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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!

serving spoon lifting scalloped potatoes from a baking 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!

person slicing potatoes on a mandoline

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.

pouring heavy cream over top sliced potatoes in a casserole dish

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.

small square blocks of butter on top of sliced potatoes

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.

top down view of a serving spoon in a baking dish with scalloped potatoes

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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Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes baked in a creamy garlic and herb sauce. Thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes create tender layers in this casserole. 
Pin Print Review
4.39 from 18 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Servings 8 people
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 ¼ pounds yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • 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.

Recipe Video

Notes

Other waxy potatoes like gold (similar to Yukon gold) or red potatoes can be used.

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Nutrition Facts
Scalloped Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 207 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 49mg16%
Sodium 318mg13%
Potassium 559mg16%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 3g12%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 560IU11%
Vitamin C 15.5mg19%
Calcium 68mg7%
Iron 4.2mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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13 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Deborah Morgan says

    I think the potatoes should be par boiled first, about half cooked or else they take forever to cook. The rest of the recipe works fine, I add more cheese because I’ cheesy!!

  2. Barbara says

    Would you recommend using a mandoline for the potato slicing? Good point about the heavy cream that I didn’t know. Thanks! I’m a very experienced cook (by that I mean many years of cooking for my family) but always nice to pick up a tip from a food science expert or culinary chef! Have made scalloped/ au gratin potatoes only a few times…but looking forward to trying this!

  3. Denise says

    I made these last night and they were delicious! Everyone in the family loved them. I used a mandoline to slice the potatoes which was great so all slices were even. Will definitely make again! Thanks for the recipe.

  4. pamela henderson says

    Hello Jessica.
    Tried your scalloped potato recipe. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn our the way I thought it would. It confuses me sometimes when there is a lot of preamble before the actual recipe ingredients are at the bottom of the information.
    I understand that there is a reason for this however when I use my computer when I am following a recipe, consequently scrolling for the key information is time-consuming and somewhat frustrating. I noticed in your comments that you said you made a roux for the sauce. Maybe that is where I went wrong. Never used cream/garlic mix, etc., before. Must admit I don’t recall seeing anything in the ingredients [unless I missed them] for a roux except butter. Regards

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Pamela- I appreciate your feedback! I did not use a roux, I mentioned in the post that it’s another way to thicken a sauce for more of an au gratin type potatoes vs. scalloped. What texture were you hoping to achieve?

  5. Dorothy Eide says

    I was disappointed with this recipe, not what I was expecting. The flavor was nice but there was no creamy sauce that scalloped potatoes usually have. The potatoes absorbed all of the sauce. Also there was not enough sauce for the amount of potatoes. It was more like steamed potatoes.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Dorothy- I appreciate you’re feedback! I think you may be looking for more of a roux-based potato dish that has a creamier consistency. I have an au gratin potatoes dish that is similar but with a heavier cream sauce. Search “potatoes au gratin” on my website for the details.

  6. Michele Hyson says

    I have made this a few times now- perfect EVERY time – and just purchased a mandoline to create more even slices! Love it! Thank you!

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