Thinly sliced Scalloped Potatoes are smothered in a creamy sauce, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs then baked until crispy golden brown on top and bubbling up the sides!
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Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
Level up your holiday meals and special occasions with these perfect cheesy potatoes that the whole family will love.
I know I’m not alone when I say side dishes are really the star of any holiday dinner. I mean a juicy turkey or honey glazed ham is a must but I can definitely get full from all the yummy sides!
This year I can’t wait to serve this homemade scalloped potatoes recipe. It’s slightly modified from the traditional recipe because we’re adding cheese to ours, but I mean, ooey gooey cheesy cream sauce coating each layer of potatoes just makes everything better.
This recipe is a perfect side dish not just for the holidays, but it’s just as good year-round for any night of the week. Keep it on hand because you’ll be wanting to make it over and over again!
- Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and slice them evenly to about ⅛” thick. Keeping them the same size will help get them all nice and tender without having some overcooked or underdone.
- For the roux: Butter, minced garlic, minced fresh thyme, and all-purpose flour. The roux is the base of the creamy sauce which helps to thicken it up and give it flavor.
- Milk: Turns the roux into a béchamel sauce (otherwise known as a white sauce).
- Cheeses: Sharp cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese, freshly grated from a block. We’re dividing them both and adding some to the sauce and keeping some for the topping on the scalloped potatoes.
- Nutmeg: A delicious warm flavor that is very popular in bechamel sauce. It livens it up a bit!
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Crispy crunchy Japanese breadcrumbs which are made from bread without crusts. So they’re much lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs resulting in the best crispy topping!
These scalloped potatoes can be adjusted any way you like! Although I like russet potatoes, use a different type of potato or cheese, skip the cheese altogether, or make it gluten-free. Here are some tasty ideas:
1. For some protein, throw in some crumbled bacon or diced ham.
2. You can add some diced onions or ¼ teaspoon of onion powder when making the roux.
3. Swap the Russet potatoes for Yukon Gold potatoes. They have much thinner and more delicate skin so you can decide not to peel them if you’d like.
4. Use a different kind of cheese. Colby Jack, Fontina, mozzarella cheese or white cheddar are great options. You can use a combination of any of them. You can also sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese!
5. For a richer, creamier sauce, substitute the whole milk for heavy cream or half and half instead. Or go lighter with skim milk.
6. A great alternative to the Panko breadcrumbs is crushed Ritz crackers or cornflakes.
7. Use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
Swap out ½ cup of the milk for an equal amount of sour cream.
How to Make this Recipe
It’s an easy dish to put together with just 20 minutes of prep time and plenty of flexibility to suit your needs!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease an 11×7 or 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then, arrange the sliced potatoes in the dish. You can lay them vertically, overlapping as needed, or horizontally in rows.
Step 2: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it has melted. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
Step 3: Whisk in the flour until it thickens into a light beige paste. It should start to smell slightly nutty. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly until a smooth bechamel sauce has formed.
Step 4: Cook this for about 3 minutes on medium-low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Then add half of both kinds of cheese and the nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Step 5: Then pour the cream mixture over top of the potatoes, making sure to get in between each layer so that none of them are left too dry. Spread it along the edges of the pan to ensure that delicious crispy edge! Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes.
Step 6: At the end of the 50 minutes, you’ll sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top along with the breadcrumbs and continue baking uncovered for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden and crispy and the scalloped potatoes are fork tender.
Tips for Scalloped Potatoes
- For even thin slices of potato, I always recommend using a mandolin slicer to slice potatoes. It’s quick and easy and virtually impossible to mess up. Your food processor may have come with an attachment. But a sharp knife works fine too.
- Always use freshly grated cheese from a block. It’s better tasting and melts better because it doesn’t have any of the anti-clumping coating that pre-shredded packaged cheese has.
- Easily make this dish the classic way by completely omitting the cheese.
- Serve it with a garnish of fresh parsley to brighten it up.
- Allow scalloped potatoes to cool and set for about 20 minutes before serving.
This dish is best enjoyed right away while it’s fresh out of the oven and still warm. However, if you do have any left, keep it stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
You can even freeze it for up to 3 months. Just be sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap first to avoid freezer burn. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
If you’ve got a single serving or two, using the microwave is great. If you’re reheating more than that, or even the entire dish, use the oven until heated through.
Yes! Make it gluten free by swapping the all purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour and omit the Panko breadcrumbs.
We’re on a slippery slope with this recipe because of the added cheese! They’re not quite the classic scalloped potatoes which are made without cheese, but they’re also not au gratin which is usually made with cheese.
The difference is also in how the roux is made. Scalloped potatoes are made with a bechamel sauce with flour and milk. Au gratin potatoes are made with butter, cream, and cheese.
Get ahead during the busy holidays or even a busy weeknight and prepare them in advance.
Do the first bake covered with foil. Remove them from the oven and keep them covered as they cool to room temperature. You can then refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to finish them, add the topping and finish baking as directed.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes sliced about ⅛” thick
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 1 ½ cups shredded gruyere cheese divided
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg dried or freshly grated
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease an 11×7 or 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the sliced potatoes to the dish – lay them vertically or horizontally/ flat in the dish.2 pounds russet potatoes
- In a saucepan, add the butter and heat over medium heat until it has melted.3 tablespoons butter
- Then add the garlic and thyme and cook for additional 1 minute.2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Add the flour into the melted butter and whisk until it thickens for an additional 1 minute.3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly until no large lumps remain. This forms what’s called a bechamel of a roux and milk.1 ½ cups milk
- Cook the bechamel for approximately 3 minutes or until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Then stir in ½ cup of shredded cheddar, ½ cup gruyere, and the nutmeg.1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 ½ cups shredded gruyere cheese, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Stir until the cheese has melted.
- Season the salt and pepper as needed.
- Pour the bechamel over the potatoes in the dish, spreading it between the potatoes and along the edges of the pan.
- (if the potatoes are laying flat in the pan, stir the sauce into coat all the potatoes well.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Then remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle over the remaining shredded cheeses and the breadcrumbs.½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Return the dish to the oven and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are fork tender.
- Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.