As far as sides go, this scalloped potatoes recipe is my all-time favorite.
The humble potato is so versatile and will taste great just about any way.
But scalloped potatoes are such a creamy luxury, and every time I make them, they’re the first to go.
They get devoured even faster when they’re topped with extra cheese!
Whether you like smoked cheese or mature cheddar, plenty of bacon or oodles of garlic, this dish is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.
Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
This dish consists of thinly-sliced potatoes layered with onions, cheese, butter, and milk.
Some recipes include a separate cheesy sauce for extra indulgence.
But I love the simplicity here.
Making a cream sauce from scratch can be time-consuming. But here, the oven does all the work.
By sprinkling flour over the potatoes and pouring over milk and butter, the sauce will bubble and thicken as the potatoes cook.
You could even use a dairy-free milk and butter alternative for a wonderful vegan-friendly dish.
Though there are a few different ways to make scalloped potatoes, the basic ingredients all remain the same:
- Potatoes – I would recommend Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes for this dish. Both have just the right amount of starch, and the Yukons will hold their shape well after cooking.
- Onions – Like with most meals, onions are a must. I would advise against using red onions, as they don’t have the same flavor when cooked, and they don’t soften in the same way. I would suggest a good white or yellow onion or even a sweet Spanish onion.
- Flour – This is the key to the thick sauce. Instead of making a roux, the flour will cook with the butter and milk to create a wonderfully thick sauce right in the pan.
- Butter – Although the flour and milk will thicken without it, butter adds a richness that you just can’t get without it.
- Salt and Pepper – This will be to taste. I like to add it to the milk and taste that before pouring it into the dish. When in doubt, add less than you think. You can always sprinkle extra over the top when it’s done.
- Whole milk – With cooking, it’s always best to use full-fat! For a vegan alternative, try adding some coconut cream to dairy-free milk for a creamier texture.
Tips for the Best Potatoes
This recipe is super easy, and comes together in around 30 minutes. But there are some ways to make it fool-proof!
- When slicing your potatoes, be sure to keep them relatively thin. Thick potatoes will need far longer to cook through when layered in the dish.
- Cut the onions thin, too, so that they will soften enough during the bake time.
- A great way to achieve uniform thin slices is to use a mandolin. They are inexpensive and can be used for all kinds of slicing with an adjustable blade.
- To cut down on the cooking time, try microwaving the potato slices for five minutes before layering them in the dish. Add a touch of water to the bowl and be sure to cover with cling film.
- You could also try boiling them. Just be sure to drain them well.
- As mentioned, Yukon gold is my best option when it comes to this dish. They cook perfectly and hold their shape, whereas other potatoes would turn to mush.
- Another option would be to use red potatoes since they are much less starchy than other varieties.
- Rub the dish with a clove of garlic before greasing to impart some subtle flavor.
- Butter the dish before adding in the potatoes so that they don’t stick.
- For a lovely brown and crisp top, broil the dish for a few minutes when the cooking time is up.
Can the Potatoes Be Made Ahead?
This is such a great make-ahead dish!
Follow the instructions below, but be sure to cook with foil over the top and do not broil at the end.
Once the dish has cooled completely, wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready for them.
Pull the dish from the fridge about a half hour before you want to bake and add in a little extra warm milk.
Cook for around 30 minutes, until the potatoes are heated through once more.
I wouldn’t recommend prepping this dish and leaving it uncooked in the fridge because the potatoes will turn brown.
Variations for Scalloped Potatoes
This recipe is an excellent base and an easy starter if you’ve never made scalloped potatoes before.
Once you see how easy it is, there are endless possibilities to modify and make this dish even more irresistible.
- Try adding caramelized onions instead for a whole new flavor.
- Whenever I make a creamy sauce, I like to infuse the milk or cream by simmering with onions, garlic, and other aromatics (rosemary, thyme, etc.), for maximum flavor.
- This recipe doesn’t include cheese, but I would always suggest adding some, both inside the dish, layered with the potatoes, and plenty on top.
- Solid, mature cheddar cheese is always my favorite choice since it’s the most flavorful, but a good combination of Gruyere and parmesan would also work wonders.
- Since you’re going all in, you’ll never be sorry that you added bacon.
- Try adding some chopped jalapenos, cheddar jack cheese, and a sprinkling of taco seasoning with the flour for something really different.
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