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Scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish.
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Scalloped Potatoes

At parties and shindigs throughout the Midwest, Scalloped Potatoes are always the first thing to disappear from the table. This recipe uses a quick, made-from-scratch cheese sauce that's thickened with milk and flour, similar to a mac and cheese sauce.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 327kcal

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 one-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 and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
  • Layer half the sliced potatoes in bottom of prepared casserole dish. Top with half the cheese sauce. Layer the second half of potatoes on top and top with remaining cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. Potatoes: Starchy russets are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes. The thinner the potatoes are, the faster they'll cook; plus the cheese sauce finds its delicious way in-between the slices. A mandoline works well for making uniform slices, but please be careful using it!
  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. Prevent curdling: High-starch potatoes and full-fat ingredients keep the sauce from separating. Besides, you only live once, and it's the holidays.
  4. 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.
  5. Make ahead: This recipe can be made ahead, unbaked, and refrigerated up to three days in advance. Just wrap it up and stow it in the fridge. You can also pre-bake the casserole. Bake and let it cool completely to room temperature.  Then cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. When you're ready to eat, reheat the casserole (covered with foil) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
  6. Freezing: Make the potatoes according to the recipe, then take them out of the oven a few minutes before they are finished. Allow the dish to cool, then cover or wrap in foil and freeze. Frozen potatoes store for up to two weeks. To finish baking, uncover  and remove from oven when the top is brown and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  7. Favorite flavors: For a heartier side dish that verges on main course, layer in thinly sliced ham between the potatoes. Crumble cooked bacon over the top of the casserole or mix it in with the potatoes. 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 745mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 632IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 1mg