This is not just one of the easiest scalloped potatoes recipes – it’s also one of the best tasting! It’s a cheesy potato side dish that is delicious whether enjoyed for an everyday dinner or a special holiday meal.
This post contains affiliate links that we may earn us compensation. Click here to read our full disclosure policy.
What’s the difference between Scalloped and Au Gratin Potatoes?
Scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are both deliciously creamy potato side dishes, so you might be wondering: just what’s the difference between them?
The potatoes in both dishes are thinly sliced and both include a creamy sauce. But the difference between the two is fairly simple – it’s cheese! When you prepare potatoes au gratin, cheese is sprinkled in between the layers of the potatoes. It may also be topped with cheese and/or breadcrumbs, which are browned in the oven.
Now, you might find the difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes even more confusing. Check the internet and you’ll find LOTS of scalloped potato recipes with cheese. Well, don’t call the potato police — because our recipe is one of them!
What are the best potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes?
The main ingredient in scalloped potatoes is, of course, potatoes! But what type of potatoes are best for scalloped potatoes?
The potatoes that we recommend are Russet potatoes. But another good potato choice is Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes. Whichever one you choose, the results will be delicious!
Scalloped Potatoes without a Roux
Most scalloped potato recipes require you to make a roux. The roux (pronounced “roo”), is made by cooking together melted butter and flour. I make a roux for many sauces, including my homemade cheese sauce and gravies. It’s not hard to make, in my opinion, but I know some beginning cooks find it difficult.
One thing that makes this the easiest scalloped potatoes recipe is that you don’t have to make a roux. It’s a step you get to completely skip! You will use a bit of flour that will help the casserole to make its own creamy sauce, but no need to cook together the butter and flour.
Scalloped Potatoes Ingredients
The ingredients for our easy scalloped potatoes are six simple, common ingredients that are available at most grocery stores. The ingredients are:
- Potatoes: You will need about 3 cups of thinly sliced potatoes, which is about 5 medium-size potatoes. We recommend using Russet potatoes, but Idaho or Yukon Gold are other good options.
- Finely Chopped Onion: You’ll need about 1/2 of a medium-sized onion. We recommend using a yellow onion (sometimes called a brown onion) for this recipe, but we’ve also used sweet onions and they worked out great too.
- Flour: To thicken up the milk and create a creamy sauce, you’ll need 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. The flour is seasoned with salt and pepper and layered in between the slice of potato.
- Milk: You’ll be using 2 cups of whole milk for this recipe. Even if you don’t use whole milk for daily use in your home, we don’t recommended that you use low fat or non fat milk in this recipe. Go full-fat for best results.
- Butter: The top of your potato dish will be topped with about 3 tablespoons of butter, that has been cut into cubes. Try to have at least 8 cubes, so you’ll have enough to scatter on top.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: We recommend using a block cheese that you grate yourself, rather than pre-shredded. You’ll need about 1 cup. If you don’t have sharp cheddar, you can use regular cheddar cheese and even other cheeses that melt well, but sharp cheddar gives it a great flavor.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
- Scrub and peel your potatoes. Using a mandolin food slicer or a sharp knife, thinly slice the potatoes about ¼ inches thick. Finely chop the onion.
- Using butter, generously grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8″ baking dish. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
- In the bottom of your baking dish, lay a single layer of potato slices, with minimal overlapping. If needed, break pieces of potatoes to fill in open areas to cover as much space as possible. Top potatoes with 1/3 of the onions and a sprinkle of the flour mixture.
- Repeat the layers in the same order until you have 3 layers of each. Top the dish with the cubed butter pieces.
- Heat the milk until just before boiling. Pour the milk over the layers in the baking dish.
- Top everything with shredded cheese and cover the baking dish with foil.
- Bake covered for about 50 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Once they are tender, uncover and bake until the cheese bubbles and browns. Remove the dish from the oven, and let it stand for 15 – 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Scalloped Potatoes Tips
- When making scalloped potatoes, it’s important that your potatoes are sliced thinly (1/8-1/4″ thick) and evenly. I enjoy cutting vegetables by hand, so I usually prefer to hand slice my potatoes with a sharp knife. If hand slicing isn’t your thing, a mandolin food slicer or food processor can be a huge help. Not only will it help you to get even potato slices, but it can save you time.
- Our recipe calls for peeling the potatoes, but you can skip this step. Scalloped Potatoes are just as good with the skins still intact and it gives the dish an awesome rustic style.
- You can substitute the whole milk with half & half or heavy cream, if you prefer.
What to serve with Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped Potatoes are the perfect side dish for so many meals. As a potato dish, they are typically most often served with a main dish of meat.
We’ve also served them all of the following below:
- Ham: In our house, we have scalloped potatoes most often when we are serving ham, such as for Easter or Christmas.
- Pork Chops: Whether it’s a simple pan-fried pork chop or an oven-fried pork chop, they go along deliciously with scalloped potatoes.
- Whole Roasted Chicken: A whole roasted chicken (with crispy skin!!) is one of my favorite meals and we almost always serve it with some kind of potato side dish, like scalloped potatoes.
- Steak: We love grilled steaks! My husband makes amazing 8 Minute Steaks on our Big Green Egg and scalloped potatoes with them make the ultimate meal!
- Meatballs or Meatloaf: Both meatloaf and meatballs are a perfect pairing with scalloped potatoes. We especially like our Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach with them.
Scalloped Potatoes Variations
Potatoes are extremely versatile, so there are lots of different add-ins and ways that you can change up this basic recipe. Here’s a few of them:
- Add cooked and crumbled bacon to the layers
- Increase the amount of cheese in this recipe and add cheese between the layers too
- Use a different cheese that melts well. Some ideas are: colby, monterey jack, swiss, smoked gouda, or havarti. Another idea is to use 2 cheeses – 1/2 of one, 1/2 of another.
- Make it a complete one-dish meal by adding finely diced ham between the layers
- Spice up your scalloped potatoes with the additions of finely diced jalapenos