Tender slices of potato, creamy sauce, and melted cheese are the key elements of this delicious cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe. This is one of those classic side dishes that show up at every potluck and holiday meal. For good reason, this potato dish is a classic that every mom needs in her easy meal arsenal. While it's ideal for a side dish to many meals, I've been known to have a heaping portion of just this for lunch on occasion.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
I grew up in a family where a summer garden was a must. In our case, that meant that we often had a small area of the yard with a few common vegetables. My grandparents down the road, however, had a huge part of their property sectioned off with a garden, including several rows of potatoes.
The result? While we sometimes would be low on other food items, it was rare that we didn't have potatoes on hand. That meant that when my mom didn't have a lot of meat for a meal, she would bulk things up with sides like scalloped potatoes. A simple sauce, a bit of cheese, and layers of tender sliced potatoes were a regular occurrence at our dinner table.
Thus began my love for this dish. While I've had a number of variations over the years, it all comes back to the basics. Cheese. Potatoes. Sauce. This combination makes the ideal comforting side to any meal on your menu.
What Does Scalloped Mean In Recipes?
The term scalloped in reference to a recipe is describing a thinly sliced item. Most commonly, this is used when talking about potatoes that are thinly sliced and layered with cream sauces or cheese. However, it can also be a reference to other root vegetables.
What Kind of Potato Goes in Scalloped Potatoes?
I have used everything from a classic russet to the new potatoes fresh from my Papa's garden. Every type of potato gives a different result. Russets and Idaho Gold potatoes both are dryer and will work better in this recipe as they don't give off as much water when cooking. This results in your sauce staying as you prefer, and the overall creaminess of the dish working perfectly.
If you have new potatoes, red potatoes, or fingerlings, they can work in this recipe. Just know that they will have a different texture when cooked, and are more likely to fall apart when cooking. Russet potatoes will hold their shape better when sliced like this, but still, turn out tender in cooking.
What Cheese Should I Use?
For this recipe, I use a combination of cheddar cheese and jack cheese. This combination is readily available in my refrigerator already, and the pair blend well with the thyme in the sauce.
You can use a number of cheeses, with no right or wrong choice. The only cheeses I would avoid for this particular recipe would be feta, ricotta, cottage cheese, bleu cheese, or goat cheese. While all of these have good flavor in various recipes I enjoy, I prefer a different type of cheese for this potato dish. Ones that melt and are a bit milder in flavor seem to be my go-to when making scalloped potatoes.
Why Did My Scalloped Potatoes Curdle?
If your sauce has curdled, there are two likely reasons.
- You have layered cream and cheese and not prepared the sauce ahead of time, so it separates when cooking.
- The dish was cooked at too high a heat for too short a period of time. This would make the sauce heat too fast and thus break down easily.
The best solution to this is making a sauce to pour over the potatoes rather than a simple layering of potato, cream, spice, and milk. This gives you a chance to combine the elements of the sauce and slowly heat it so that when poured over the potatoes, it is less likely to curdle or separate in baking.
Variations of Scallop Potatoes
Like I said above, you can use different cheeses in your dish depending upon your preference. You can also use different flavors and additions to make this dish have even more depth. Below are some of my favorite changes you can make to mix this up a bit.
- Mix in sliced bell pepper and cumin to the sauce and then top with a bit of cilantro. This "Mexican" flavor blend is a great compliment to the potatoes.
- Slice mushrooms and saute down before including in the sauce and/or layering between the potatoes and cheese.
- Add sliced ham between each layer for an all-in-one dish.
- Layer potatoes, golden beets, parsnips, carrots, and turnips for a different spin on the dish.
- Add crumbled bacon throughout the layers for a salty hint of flavor.
- Slice leeks and saute in place of or alongside the onions to spread over each layer.
What Goes with Scalloped Potatoes?
What you serve alongside this dish really depends upon your preference at mealtime. Since this is a richer dish with the cheese and cream sauce, I prefer to serve with lighter fare. I personally feel a good balance is necessary to really be able to enjoy the richness in this without being overwhelmed.
Proteins that pair well with this recipe include grilled or baked fish, lean pork dishes, steak or meatloaf, or even a nice salmon or tuna steak. I prefer to mostly avoid deep frying or battered proteins alongside this as they add additional calories and richness that take away from the delicious sauce on the potatoes.
Truly any vegetable pairs well with scalloped potatoes, but my personal favorites include roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or green beans. I've also had these roasted garlic parmesan asparagus spears with this before and found the flavors perfect compliments of each other.
How to Reheat Scallop Potatoes
There is no special method for reheating this dish. If you plan to finish off all leftovers at one meal, then I prefer popping into the oven to heat through and add a bit of caramelization and crisp around the edges.
Otherwise, simply reheat in 30-45 second increments in the microwave prior to serving.
- Russet potatoes
- Chicken broth
- Black pepper
- Jack cheese
- Cheddar cheese.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
Begin by melting butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add in the sliced onions and garlic, and saute these for 4-5 minutes or until tender. For extra flavor, you can caramelize if you prefer.
Now, add in the flour and stir to coat the onions well and incorporate them.
Pour in the chicken broth and whisk to remove any lumps.
Allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes before adding in the milk and whisking to combine and remove any lumps of flour.
Whisk in the salt, pepper, and thyme combining and cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes at a simmer until thickened nicely then remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400°F and prepare a 9x13" pan with butter.
Wash, peel, and slice the potatoes into ⅛" thick slices.
Place half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish.
Then pour half of the sauce over them spreading to cover well.
Sprinkle on half of the cheddar cheese and all of the jack cheese.
Then add the rest of the potatoes, rest of the sauce, and the last of the cheese.
Once layered, cover with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
Top with diced parsley or green onions if desired.
My Favorite Tools
Here are a few tools I found handy when making this recipe.
- 6 Russet potatoes washed and sliced
- 4 tablespoon butter
- ½ onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup Jack cheese
- 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese
- Over medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet;
- Add in sliced onions and minced garlic, then saute for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning;
- Add in flour and stir to coat the vegetables well;
- Whisk in broth and stir for 1-2 minutes to remove lumps;
- Pour in milk, and whisk to combine then cook for an additional 2-3 minutes stirring continually to prevent burning;
- Remove from heat and set aside;
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare a 9"x13" baking dish with butter on the bottom and sides;
- While the oven heats, wash, peel (if desired), and slice the potatoes into ⅛" thick slices;
- Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish, then top with half the sauce, all of the jack cheese, and half of the cheddar cheese;
- Repeat a second layer with the rest of the potatoes, remaining sauce, and last of the cheese;
- Cover with foil and place into heated oven for 20 minutes;
- Remove foil and put back into the oven for an additional 25 minutes;
- Top with chopped parsley or green onions before serving.
Mix up the cheeses to fit what you have on hand or your personal preferences.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 450mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g
My Favorite Side Dishes
If you are looking for more great sides for upcoming meals, check out these and bookmark or pin for later!
- Easy Loaded Potato Skins
- Potato Pierogi Recipe
- Beetroot and Feta Salad
- Creamy Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
- Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower
- Easy Cheesy Zucchini Rice Casserole
- Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes