Scalloped potatoes, with their creamy layers and golden-brown crust, are a timeless comfort food. This classic dish combines the simplicity of potatoes with the richness of cream, creating a flavorful and satisfying side that complements a variety of meals. Whether it’s ham or pot roast or chicken, scalloped potatoes add a comforting component to any meal.
While I have never had anything against scalloped potatoes, I would have never considered them a favorite dish of mine. My husband, on the other hand, could eat them for days. While I may never sway from the mashed potato as my favorite way of serving the spud, I have to admit the scalloped potato is mover higher up on my list of favorites.
How To Make Easy Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped potatoes require just a few simple ingredients, but as with any kind of cooking, the quality of the ingredients is important:
Potatoes: Choose starchy potatoes like russets or Yukon Golds, which have a creamy texture when cooked.
Cream/Milk: The backbone of the dish, cream adds richness and a velvety consistency to the layers of potatoes. Since we use raw cream, it tends to be very thick. For this reason, we use a 50/50 ratio of cream and milk. You can also just use heavy cream or whole milk.
Cheese: While optional, add cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan. We like to use a raw farmer’s cheese. The mild flavor of farmer’s cheese pairs nicely with any dish.
Butter: A modest amount of butter contributes to the dish’s creaminess and helps achieve that golden-brown crust on top.
Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and optional flavors such as garlic or herbs like thyme or rosemary elevate the flavor profile.
Prepping the Potatoes:
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, aiming for uniform thickness to ensure even cooking.
Soak the potato slices in cold water for about 15 minutes to remove excess starch, which helps prevent the dish from becoming too gluey.
Creating the Creamy Base:
In a saucepan, gently heat the cream or milk mixture and butter. Stir in your chosen seasonings and let the mixture simmer to allow the flavors to meld.
Layering the Potatoes:
Begin by greasing a baking dish with butter.
Arrange a layer of potato slices at the bottom, slightly overlapping each other.
Add a ⅓ of the salt and cheese (optional) and pepper or other seasoning to taste.
Repeat the process, creating layers until you run out of potatoes.
Baking to Perfection:
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 45 minutes.
Uncover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are tender.
Resting and Serving:
Allow the scalloped potatoes to rest for a few minutes before serving to let the flavors settle and the cream to set up.
Garnish with fresh herbs for a finishing touch.
The Best Scalloped Potato Recipe Variations
While the traditional scalloped potatoes recipe is a timeless favorite, there are a few different variations of the dish:
Cheesy Spin: Experiment with different cheeses like parmesan, gruyere, farmer’s cheese or a blend of your favorites to add a unique flavor profile.
Veggies: Introduce layers of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or caramelized onions for a different texture and flavor.
Add Protein: Incorporate cooked bacon, ham, or shredded chicken between the layers for a heartier version of the dish.
Herb-Infused: Infuse the cream mixture with fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or chives to impart a fragrant aroma to the dish.
Tips for Making the Best Easy Scalloped Potatoes
- Consistent Slicing: Use a mandoline or a sharp knife to ensure consistent thickness when slicing the potatoes. This ensures even cooking throughout the dish.
- Properly Greased Dish: Grease the baking dish generously to prevent sticking and make for easy serving.
- Soaking Potatoes: Soaking the potato slices in cold water not only removes excess starch but also prevents discoloration.
- Balancing Flavors: Taste the cream mixture before pouring it over the potatoes to ensure the right balance of seasonings. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Covering While Baking: Covering the dish with foil during the initial baking period prevents the top from browning too quickly, allowing the potatoes to cook through.
The Best Easy Scalloped Potatoes
- 9x13 pan
- 3 lb Potatoes (thinly sliced) Yukon Gold or Russet work best
- 1 cup Cream
- 1 cup Milk whole milk is best
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Cheese (optional) cheddar, farmer's cheese, or parmesan
- 1-2 Tbsp Butter (optional)
- 1/2-1 tsp Pepper, Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic (optional) to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice potatoes in thin even slices to ensure they all cook at the same rate. Let them sit in cold water for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
- Add milk, cream, 1/2 tsp of salt, and any other seasonings you would like to use to a small sauce pan. Heat the mixture on a low-medium heat until it just begins to bubble along the edges. Make sure to stir if frequently and do not allow it to boil.
- While the milk mixture is cooking, grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan with butter. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes on the the bottoms making sure they overlap each other and leave gaps for the liquid. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and any pepper or seasonings you'd like and 1/4 cup of cheese.
- Repeat this process for adding another layer. Layer the lat 1/3 of the potatoes on top.
- Pour the milk mixture over top of everything and add a little more salt to the top to taste.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes covered. Then uncover and back for another 25-35 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and the top is golden brown.