Scalloped Potatoes

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At dinners and parties throughout the Midwest, Scalloped Potatoes are always the first thing to disappear. This recipe uses a quick, made-from-scratch cheese sauce that’s layered with plenty of potatoes.

Scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.

I wasn’t terribly fond of Scalloped Potatoes growing up, but they usually came from a box. The real thing, made from scratch, is a dairy-carb lover’s dream: Layers upon layers of tender potato rounds swimming in creamy-cheese sauce. What’s not to love?

This dish is perfect for a celebration or holiday meal, but it’s easy enough that you can make it during the week if you are craving a little pick-me-up. And if you have leftover ham, chicken, or turkey, feel free to stir it in.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for scalloped potatoes.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: Starchy russets are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes.
  • Cheese: A block of cheddar, shredded, seems to work best. Pre-shredded cheese can contain ingredients that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly. However, if you have a brand of shredded cheese that you rely on, go ahead and use it.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter until foaming. Whisk in flour until cooked through, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk until smooth. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until thickened. Stir in 1 cup cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne if using (I like 1 teaspoon salt , ½ teaspoon pepper, and a dash of cayenne).
Cheese sauce for scalloped potatoes.
  1. Layer half the sliced potatoes in bottom of prepared casserole dish.
Buildlng scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.
  1. Top with half the cheese sauce. Layer the second half of potatoes and top with remaining cheese sauce.
Buildlng scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.
  1. Add remaining ½ cup cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika.
Scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.
  1. Bake uncovered until heated through and the cheese and melted and browed, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 servings of scalloped potatoes, ½ cup per serving.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: This recipe can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated (unbaked) up to 1 hour in advance. Bake as directed in the recipe. If you make the recipe further in advance than one hour, you may have a lake of grainy gray or brown liquid in the pan. This isn’t harmful but may look unappetizing. If this happens to you, just drain off the liquid and proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • Mix up your mix-ins: For a heartier side dish that verges on main course, layer in thinly sliced ham between the potatoes or crumble cooked bacon over the top of the casserole. Thinly sliced onion or leeks can be added to the layers of potatoes for a little extra flavor. Garden herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or chives are always welcome too.
Scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.
Christmas Dinner with Scalloped Potatoes and Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls (not pictured: Prime Rib).

Recipe FAQs

Can you make scalloped potatoes in a slow cooker?

If you need valuable oven space and have the extra time, this recipe is easy to make in a crock pot or slow cooker. Just prepare the liner of the pot as you would the casserole, then build the dish following the same instructions. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. They don’t get as toasty or crispy on the top, but they’ll still taste fabulous.

Can you pre-bake scalloped potatoes?

To pre-bake the Scalloped Potatoes, bake them according to the recipe, then cool completely to room temperature. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Reheat the casserole (covered with foil) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.

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Favorite mains for scalloped potatoes

A baking dish full of scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes

At dinners and parties throughout the Midwest, Scalloped Potatoes are always the first thing to disappear. This recipe uses a quick, made-from-scratch cheese sauce that's layered with plenty of potatoes.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 8 servings (½ cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 246

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds potatoes thinly sliced (see note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated, divided (see note 2)
  • paprika for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter until foaming. Whisk in flour until cooked through, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk until smooth. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until thickened.
  • Stir in 1 cup cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne if using (I like 1 teaspoon salt , ½ teaspoon pepper, and a dash of cayenne).
  • Layer half the sliced potatoes in bottom of prepared casserole dish. Top with half the cheese sauce. Layer the second half of potatoes and top with remaining cheese sauce.
  • Add remaining ½ cup cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered until heated through and the cheese and melted and browed, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Potatoes: Starchy russets are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes.
  2. Cheese: A block of cheddar, shredded, seems to work best. Pre-shredded cheese can contain ingredients that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly. However, if you have a brand of shredded cheese that you rely on, go ahead and use it.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 8 servings of scalloped potatoes, ½ cup per serving.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. Make ahead: This recipe can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated (unbaked) up to 1 hour in advance. Bake as directed in the recipe. If you make the recipe further in advance than one hour, you may have a lake of grainy gray or brown liquid in the pan. This isn’t harmful but may look unappetizing. If this happens to you, just drain off the liquid and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (½ cups each)Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 197mgPotassium: 566mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 425IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 221mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. These are very delicious, but they are not scalloped potatoes, they are potatoes au gratin. There is no cheese in scalloped potatoes, and certainly no cheese on top! I will definitely make them again, though. They turned out great.5 stars

    1. Hi Heather, I’m so happy you loved it! It’s commonplace now for scalloped potatoes to contain cheese and the terms to be interchangeable. I understand where you’re coming from, though! Take care! – Meggan

  2. I made this recipe the day before wanted to use it when I took it out of the fridge raider it had a bunch of brown water like stuff in it. I dump that watery stuff I haven’t baked it yet so I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

  3. I’m confused. In the notes section you indicate potatoes can be assembled and refrigerated up to 3 days before baking, but you responded to marina in the comments section to slice potatoes and keep in cold water, assembling just prior to baking? Which is it?

    1. Hi Linda, the response was from an old comment. This was updated this year and can be made ahead of time. I hope you enjoy it! – Meggan

  4. I just wanted to remark, not to a specific recipe (although I could) but rather to how well put together you sight is.

    Easy to follow
    Easy to get further specifics
    Detailed
    Simple

    Thank you. Love it.5 stars

  5. Hi. These sound yummy. One question, I want to make these today for tomorrow’s dinner. Will the potatoes turn dark/black if made ahead of time?

    1. Hi Marina, I would say you could prep the potatoes ahead of time and keep them submerged in water. It is possible they’d be fine if you built the whole casserole ahead. I think they would be, but since I haven’t tested it, I don’t know for sure. I’d hate to ruin your potatoes. So to get ahead, just prep the potatoes and refrigerate them in water. Thanks! -Meggan

  6. Thanks for this special recipe. It’s in the oven, and smells yummy! We’re from Michigan, and always appreciate the Midwestern stories as well. Have a great day!5 stars

  7. Made these scalloped potatoes tonight and added diced ham to each layer. It was straight fire! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ SOOO good that I ate too much and I’m in physical pain. My husband already said we definitely need to make these again soon.

  8. This recipe looks very easy to make. I am looking forward to try it on Saturday, 9-28-19. Then I will let you know how it tastes and worked out for our Lords Kitchen Day.5 stars

  9. I was taught that scalloped potatoes have NO cheese,and au gratin potatoes have cheese…..Yet so many recipes today are including cheese. Am I mistaken in my thinking?

    1. Hi Diane, you are actually spot on in your thinking. You’re right. And I didn’t even know! I’m from Wisconsin things end up having cheese that might not otherwise have it or need it. However, I consulted my culinary textbook from school and you’re right. Potatoes, bechamel, nutmeg, butter, salt and pepper. That’s it. I should probably redo my recipe. Thank you for pointing that out!