Tender sliced potatoes swim in a luscious cream sauce that is flavored with garlic, onions, and thyme. These Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes have layers of melted sharp cheddar cheese that are absolutely divine. Comforting is its best characterization. The recipe is really simple and perfect for a special brunch or holiday celebration you have planned.
Another potato recipe that is sure to be a hit on your holiday table is my Hasselback Potato Recipe which is loaded with cheesy goodness. And of course, Garlic Mashed potatoes are always a deliciously creamy addition to any entrée you will be serving.
The difference between Scalloped Potatoes, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, and Au Gratin Potatoes
Scalloped, Cheesy, and Au Gratin Potatoes are "comfort-food" side dishes that are similar in that most people use their names interchangeably. All three use sliced potatoes that are layered with a creamy white sauce. There are though a few distinguishable differences.
- Scalloped Potatoes include layered sliced potatoes and use cream sauce that is infused with herbs. This traditional dish does not include cheese. These potatoes are topped with breadcrumbs.
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes are similar to the scalloped potatoes dish, but as the name dictates, include cheese in between the layers. They do not use a breadcrumb topping.
- Au Gratin Potatoes slice the potatoes thinner than the scalloped potato recipe but include cheese between the layers. They also use a breadcrumb topping.
Scalloped Potatoes Ingredients
- Potatoes (obviously). I like red potatoes with skins on them because it makes for a prettier dish. Yukon gold is probably the most popular and then you'll find russet on the list.
- Onions. You can use any type of onion. I'm always drawn to sweet onions and in this recipe, they work particularly well because they soften easily.
- Garlic. Sliced thinly or minced, either way, you just want to get that garlicky flavor interwoven between the potatoes.
- Grated Cheddar Cheese. I used cheddar but you could use any cheese that melts well.
- Fresh Thyme. I used thyme in this recipe, but rosemary, sage, or even oregano (or a mixture of all of them) would add nice flavors.
How to Make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Sauté Onions over medium heat and stir often. It takes about 8-10 minutes for the onions to become tender and translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add garlic. Once the onions are tender add thinly sliced garlic and cook for only 30-60 seconds so as to not burn the garlic. Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon out the onions and set them aside.
- Make the Cream Sauce. Start with making a roux which is a thickening agent consisting of 1 part melted butter to 1 part flour cooked over medium heat. Whisk in milk, salt, and pepper and cook until it begins to thicken, stir constantly. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer for three to five minutes.
- Slice the Potatoes. The easiest and quickest way is to use a mandoline slicer. Choose a thickness between ⅛ and 3/16th of an inch on the dial. As you're slicing, place the potatoes in a large bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning brown. If you don't have a mandoline, you can use a sharp knife, just make sure each potato slice is fairly consistent in thickness.
- Layer the potatoes, onions, thyme, cream sauce, and cheese. Smear butter on both the sides and bottom of a three-quart baking dish. Layer half the potato slices on the bottom, and continue with onions, thyme, cream sauce and cheese. Then do it all over again.
- Cook the Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. Loosely cover the potatoes with foil so the steam building inside will cook them easier. Cook for 30 minutes, until the edges are bubbly. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for 30 more minutes until the cheese is browned and the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme.
Which Potatoes are Best for this Recipe
Red potatoes and Yukon potatoes are my favorites for making Scalloped Potatoes because they tend to hold up well to the baking process. I went with red ones in this recipe because I love the red color poking out of the cheese. Russets are another potato that is commonly used in scalloped potatoes. They're less convenient though because you need to peel their tough skin.
Make Scalloped Potatoes ahead of Time
These can definitely be made ahead of time and stored either in the refrigerator or freezer. You'll want to cook the Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes as directed until right before the cheese is browned. Remove them from the oven and cool completely. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. They are good for up to three days in the refrigerator and up to one month in the freezer.
Reheating the Potatoes
When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, cover with more foil and bake the potatoes in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or until they are warm throughout. Remove the foil and let the cheese on top brown. The same goes for leftovers.
Variations for this Scalloped Potato Recipe
- Use Leftover Ham. My Glazed Baked Ham recipe would make great leftovers to add to scalloped potatoes. Use the chunks of cooked ham between the layers of potatoes.
- Other Cheeses. You can use any cheese that is good melty cheese. I prefer one that is more pungent like Gouda, Fontina, or Gruyere. All three of these are good for Scalloped Potatoes. Don't choose the pre-grated cheese, because it has a coating that keeps the cheese separated in the package but prevents it from melting well.
What to Serve with Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Roasted Racks of Lamb with Apricot Mustard Sauce
- Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens
- Herbed Crown Roast of Pork
- Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin
- Boneless Leg of Lamb
- Glazed Baked Ham
- Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
- Pork Roast Stuffed with Roasted Red Peppers
I think you'll agree that this recipe is easy, cheesy, and yummy! Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes are a classic traditional dish that has been around for generations and served over the years during holidays, like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Once you dish these out, the nostalgia of holidays past will fill your heart with memories of long ago.
Other Potato Recipes
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Cheesy Scalloped Potato Recipe
Tender sliced potatoes swim in a luscious cream sauce that is flavored with garlic, onions, and thyme. These homemade Scalloped Potatoes have layers of melted sharp cheddar cheese that are absolutely divine. Comforting is its best characterization.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 side dish servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Baking
For Sautéd Onions and Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 ½ large Sweet Onions, Sliced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 6 large Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced or minced
For Cream Sauce
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- ¼ cup Flour
- 3 ½ cups Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
For Scalloped Potatoes
- 3 pounds Red Potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped (extra for garnish)
- 2 ½ cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
- Butter, for greasing the baking dish
For Sautéd Onions and Garlic
- Heat a deep skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet, swirl, and heat.
- Add 1 ½ large thinly sliced sweet onions to the skillet and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the onions until they are tender and translucent, 8-10 minutes.
- Add 6 thinly sliced or minced garlic cloves and sauté for 30-60 seconds being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
For the Cream Sauce
- In the same deep skillet used for the onions, heat the skillet over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter.
- Once the butter is melted, sprinkle ¼ cup of flour and whisk until smooth.
- Pour in 3 ½ cups of whole milk, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the Scalloped Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish. Layer half of the thinly sliced potatoes (1 ½ pounds), half of the sautéd onions, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, half of the cream sauce and 1 ¼ cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese.
- Finish with one more layer of potatoes, onions, thyme, cream sauce, and top with the cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are bubbly.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the cheese is nice and browned and the potatoes are tender when stuck with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional chopped thyme for garnishing.
- Serve warm and ENJOY!
- I chose red potatoes with the skins on because it makes for a prettier (in my opinion) dish. Yukon gold is probably the most popular and then russet would be next.
- You can use any cheese that is good melty cheese. I prefer one that is more pungent like a sharp cheddar. Gouda, Fontina, Gruyere, all three of these are good for Scalloped Potatoes.
- Don't choose the pre-grated cheese, because it has a coating that keeps the cheese separated in the package but prevents it from melting well.
- Any fresh herbs will work in this recipe. Rosemary, sage, or even oregano (or a mixture of all of them) would add nice flavors.
- A roux is a thickening agent consisting of 1 part fat to 1 part flour cooked over medium heat and forms the foundation of many gravies and sauces.
- Each potato slice should be fairly consistent in thickness. You also want them somewhat thin so as to cook through quicker.
- If you have a choice, go with a mandoline slicer. I promise it will make your job so much easier. I used a thickness between ⅛ and 3/16th of an inch on my dial.
- But if you only have a knife, then you are still in luck. Just try to get the thickness of each potato slice as even as possible and thin.
- As you are slicing the potatoes, place them in a large bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning brown while you continue to slice. When ready to assemble the layers, drain the water and dry the slices with paper towels.
- You can make these scalloped potatoes ahead of time and reheat them. The best way is to cook them as directed and let them cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to one month.
- When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, cover with more foil and bake the potatoes in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or until they are warm throughout. Remove the foil and let the cheese on top brown. The same goes for leftovers.
- Serving Size: 1/10 of Recipe
- Calories: 280
- Sugar: 9 g
- Sodium: 646 mg
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 37 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 25 mg
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