Scalloped Potatoes – cheesy, creamy dish made with round slices of potato simmered first in a flavorful cream mixture then baked to perfection with cheeses on top. The perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving spread! Creamy, flavorful and saucy!
Scalloped potatoes are hands down my favorite American comfort food. When I’m feeling the blues and craving for something creamy, I like to whip this version up. It is such a convenient food and, may I say, most of the ingredients are in your fridge or pantry anyways – no need to rush to the grocery store.
This recipe has become my standard recipe for scalloped potatoes – I adapted it from Cooks Illustrated version. In addition to the typical ingredients onions, garlic, thyme, cream and milk, you can include bacon, if desired . (Want an easy way too cook bacon? Check out my Oven Baked Bacon recipe)
This makes for a rich, flavorful creamy scalloped potatoes that cannot be beat. Oh yeah… and top it off with cheese!!
It always yields a perfect amount of ooey gooey goodness.
What’s the difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin?
These two seem awfully similar. In fact, most would consider them as one. They both have rounds of sliced potatoes wrapped in a creamy, rich white sauce and baked in a casserole dish. But surprisingly, there is a thin line that sets them apart.
Au gratin turns out to be defined as “covered with breadcrumbs or cheese”, while scalloped potatoes is more like “bake with milk or sauce”. Most au gratin potatoes recipe would call for sprinkling grated cheese in between each layers and topping it with cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Moreover, potatoes in a scalloped potatoes are sliced thicker compared to au gratin potatoes. You can read it more of their differences HERE.
What I exactly do know though is it is pure comfort food either way! I mean, how can you not fall in love with potatoes,milk and cheese??
Can I make scalloped potatoes ahead?
Yes, you sure can. This scalloped potatoes is a great Thanksgiving make-ahead side dish. Simply bake the dish as directed, then allow it to cool before you cover it with a foil. Refrigerate for up to three days. When ready to serve, just pop it in the oven at 350 F and bake while covered with foil for about 30 minutes.
These scalloped potatoes taste great the next day, assuming you have any leftovers. I have to say that, I have absolutely no will power when it comes these potatoes.
To cut down on cooking time, I use a food processor (if I am cooking for a crowd) otherwise a mandolin will do just fine. The potato slices are parboiled in the aromatic creamy sauce to cut down on the cooking time and assure evenness of cooking.
I had to take the pictures over again! Sshhhh. My sister-in-law and I could not help digging in. You can’t blame us! From the toppings, potatoes, and down to that last spoon – everything is spot on delicious.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
Sauté onions, garlic thyme with bacon fat and butter for about a minute or more until fragrant. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
Pour in cream, and milk followed by salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Bring to the cream mixture to a boil and simmer over medium heat.
Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool down a little.
You may (optional) discard onions and thyme (use a sieve for this process). Transfer cream mixture in to a Dutch oven.
Add sliced potatoes into the creamy mixture. Cover Dutch oven adjust heat temperature to a simmer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until potatoes is almost tender when pierced with fork.
Then transfer to a baking dish, add cheese or sprinkle after baking. Bake until potato mixture is bubbling around sides and the top is golden brown.
Remove and immediate sprinkle bacon (optional).
Watch How To Make It
Recipe was first published on November 2016 and has been updated with new photos and write up.
- 2-3 strips bacon(diced) (optional)
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 thyme sprig 1teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon salt or more adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 4 oz. cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese to sprinkle to top
- Pre heat the oven to 350° F.
- If using bacon add In a large skillet, cook the bacon until just crisp. (About 3-5 minutes) Remove bacon from pan and set aside
- Drain the oil an leave about 2 tablespoons or more of bacon drippings in the skillet
- Then add butter, followed by onions, garlic and thyme
- Sauté for about a minute or more until fragrant. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
- Pour in cream, and milk followed by , salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- Bring to the cream mixture to a boil and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool down a little.
- You may(optional) discard the onions and thyme (use a sieve for this process). Transfer cream mixture in to a Dutch oven
- Add, sliced potatoes into the creamy mixture. Cover Dutch oven adjust heat temperature to a simmer. Cook for about 10-15minutes until potatoes is almost tender when pierced with fork
- Then transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese if desired . Bake until potato mixture is bubbling around sides and the top is golden brown. Remove and immediate sprinkle with bacon
- Sprinkle with cheese and bacon and let it cool before serving.
Tips & Notes:
- I recommend that you do not use pre-shredded cheeses in this recipe as they don't melt easily. Aside from Cheddar or Parmesan, you can also use Monterrey Jack, Gruyere or Fontina cheeses.
- Russet potatoes are the best choice for scalloped potatoes as they are starchy and the sauce clings well to them.
- Use a mandolin as much as possible to achieve even slices and even cooking.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.