Scalloped Potatoes

4.98 from 34 votes
↓ Jump to Recipe 19

This post may contain affiliate links | disclosure policy

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 celebrated for their multiple layers of tender and creamy spuds. It’s a simple recipe that combines thinly sliced potatoes with rich cream. The preparation is straightforward. However, the texture and consistency won’t meet expectations if you don’t select the right ingredients.

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 nicely with the cream. Just slice, layer, and bake!

What are the best potatoes to use?

Several Yukon gold potatoes on a table.

Yukon gold potatoes are the best to use for scalloped potatoes. They are a waxy type of potato which means they hold their shape well after baking. This provides distinctive layers that don’t fall apart when serving. They also have a buttery, creamy texture that complements the sauce. Cut them into ¼” thick slices.

Other potatoes like white, yellow, Red Bliss, or even sweet potatoes can be used. Russet potatoes are also an option. However, they are more starchy and have a flaky texture that breaks apart easier, making them better for mashed potatoes.

Person slicing potatoes on a mandoline.

How do you make creamy scalloped potatoes?

Heavy cream, milk, and spices simmering in a small saucepan.

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. I season the sauce with minced garlic, nutmeg, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let the mixture briefly simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the aromatic flavors into the cream sauce. It will absorb into the potatoes for flavorful bites.

If you want a creamier sauce that coats the potatoes, thicken the sauce with a roux using butter and all-purpose flour. I’ve done this with my potatoes au gratin recipe with successful results. This is a great technique if you want to make a cheesy sauce similar to macaroni and cheese instead of just sprinkling it on.

Assemble

Pouring cream mixture over top sliced potatoes in a casserole dish.

Grease an 8-inch casserole dish with melted butter to prevent sticking. Layer a third of the thinly sliced potatoes in overlapping rolls in the pan. Pour a third of the cream sauce on top, then repeat the process with the remaining ingredients twice—dot butter on top of the potatoes to prevent sticking and prevent the surface from drying out.

Bake time

Small square blocks of butter on top of sliced potatoes.

Cover the baking dish before baking. This traps the steam to soften the raw potato slices faster. Bake at 375ºF (191ºC) until the potatoes are tender, about 60 to 75 minutes. To brown the surface, remove the foil and briefly broil until the surface is golden brown.

How do you make cheesy scalloped potatoes?

This scalloped potato recipe provides a tasty base, and it’s easy to incorporate a cheese sauce if you’d like. My top picks are grated cheddar cheese, gruyere, parmesan, or pecorino Romano. Shred the cheese and add some in between each layer on top.

If you like a cheesy crust, broil for a few minutes before serving for a browned and bubbly surface.

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 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 layers of potatoes doesn’t need extra cheese.

Serve this with

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

Use heavy cream to prevent curdling

The proteins become unstable and separate when milk is heated to near boiling. 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, preventing curdling of the milk proteins.

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes baked in a creamy garlic and herb sauce. Thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes create tender layers in this casserole. 
4.98 from 34 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes
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 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
  • Prepare the Cream – In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add heavy cream, milk, minced garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, occasionally stirring, about 10 minutes.
    Remove the thyme and transfer the mixture to a large measuring cup. Cool to room temperature while preparing the potatoes.
  • Prepare the Casserole Dish – Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-Inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  • Layer the Potato Slices – Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut them into ¼" thick slices. Arrange a third of them in overlapping rows, about 4 rows in the casserole dish. Whisk and then evenly pour a third of the cream mixture over the top.
    Repeat two more times with the remaining potatoes. Cut 1 tablespoon of butter into small cubes and arrange them evenly on top.
  • Bake the Casserole – Cover the dish with foil and place it on a large sheet pan. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the foil and broil on high, about 8" from the top of the oven, until the potatoes are browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Cool Before Serving – Wait 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and black pepper.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Potato Substitutions: Other waxy potatoes like gold (similar to Yukon gold) or red potatoes can be used.
  • Storing: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Reheating: Cover and reheat small portions in the microwave on a high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot. Alternatively, cover and bake at 350ºF (177ºC) until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 people
Calories 207kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 17g (6%)Protein 4g (8%)Fat 14g (22%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Cholesterol 49mg (16%)Sodium 318mg (13%)Potassium 559mg (16%)Fiber 3g (12%)Vitamin A 560IU (11%)Vitamin C 15.5mg (19%)Calcium 68mg (7%)Iron 4.2mg (23%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

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.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
Get 25 simple meals your whole family will love.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




19 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!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      That’s wonderful to hear, Michele! I love that you’ve even stepped it up and purchased a mandoline. You will love it!

  7. Barb says

    BLUF: Oh My Goodness…….these scalloped potatoes were so flavorful and quite easy to prepare and assemble and there is no need to get fussy about the placement of the potato slices.

    Quite by coincidence, I had all the ingredients and was eager to use up the Yukon gold potatoes initially purchased for a soup recipe, heavy whipping creme purchased for a dessert, and fresh thyme purchased for a poultry entree. I always have fresh garlic on hand as it’s one of my kitchen staples.

    I searched the internet for a scalloped potato recipe that was pretty straight forward and it took me a bit of time to read through ingredients, instructions, and reviews. I try to sort through reviews and keeping an open mind.

    I chose not to peel the potatoes……and the results did not disappoint……..

    Thank you for your website…..I appreciate your experience, education and knowledge…..

  8. Penny Wolf says

    I have to tell you that this scalloped potato recipe turned out better than any I have ever made. Flavor, texture, ease of a recipe, it’s all there! I almost thought it was a failure. An hour in I uncovered the casserole and it was still quite loose, but a transformation happened in a mere 15 minutes. It firmed up and was a creamy consistency, potatoes were fork tender but held their shape. I won’t be making scalloped potatoes any other way.
    Thank you

  9. Maria T. says

    I have always liked scalloped potatoes but found the curdled milk that occurred really unappetizing. I used your recipe as my inspiration for this attempt. Didn’t have cream so I used whole milk and added a pre-made roux after sautéing onions and garlic. I sprinkled a light layer of cheddar cheese on top of each layer of the shingled potatoes and milk mixture. I sprinkled Parmesan over the top layer. I baked them the required 70 minutes and put the dish under the broiler. You know, these were the best scalloped potatoes I‘ve ever had. They were creamy with no curdled milk in the area. Next time I’ll try a different cheese, like gyuyere.