Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes — layers of starchy russet potatoes baked to tender perfection in a rich cheese sauce. This cheesy side is must-have at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Sunday night dinner!
No matter the form, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. From velvety Mashed Potatoes to cool creamy Southern Potato Salad to Perfect Crispy French Fries, the humble potato is comfort food king. This Cheesy Scalloped Potato recipe is just one of many benevolence from the crown. It is ridiculously cheesy and seasoned without flaw. The perfect side dish for both holiday and everyday meals.
Scalloped potatoes are not au gratin potatoes
Scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are often referred to interchangeably but they are truly different dishes. The preparation and ingredients are similar but the primary difference is the amount and placement of the cheese and use of cream. Scalloped potatoes are layered with a cheesy roux based sauce while au gratin potatoes are baked in an all cream sauce and optionally topped with cheese. Au gratin potatoes are also usually topped with a gratin, a mixture of bread crumbs, herbs, and butter.
- Use starchy potatoes. Other potatoes can be substituted but russets have more starch to absorb the delicious cheese sauce. Waxy potatoes don’t absorb the sauce well.
- Slice the potatoes thin. You want to get the thinnest potato slices possible so use a very sharp knife or a mandolin slicer (affil link). I use a mandolin on the 3/16” setting for consistently even slices.
How to make scalloped potatoes from scratch
Start by making a roux. In a saucepan or skillet over medium flame, melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Let the flour cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the milk to make the sauce. Lower the heat and add the mozzarella and cheddar. Once the cheese melts, turn off the heat. Stir in the garlic powder, paprika, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt to taste. Set it aside.
Slice the potatoes and layer ½ of them in a 9x13 baking dish covered by ½ of the parmesan cheese. Pour half of the cheese sauce then repeat with the other half of the ingredients.
Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375° in a preheated oven for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and increase the heat to 475°. Bake for another 20 minutes. Broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp and brown the top. Allow the scalloped potatoes to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
How to make scalloped potatoes in advance and store
Leftovers can be packed in proper storage containers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in aluminum foil at 375° for 15-20 minutes.
Scalloped potatoes are easy to make ahead of time. Just make the recipe according to the direction. Let them cool completely in the pan and cover tightly with foil. Sit them in the fridge until needed. When ready, allow the dish to sit at room temperature an hour before reheating. Bake covered at 375° for 25-30 minutes.
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Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- 4 lb russet potatoes sliced thin
- 3 c whole milk
- 1 ½ c parmesan cheese grated
- 1 c mozzarella shredded
- 1 c mild cheddar shredded
- 8 tbsp salted butter
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a skillet over medium flame, melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Let the flour cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk to make the sauce. Lower the heat and add the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Stir constantly 3-4 minutes. Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the garlic powder, paprika, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt to taste. Set it aside.
- Layer ½ of the potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish followed by ½ of the parmesan cheese. Pour remaining potatoes, parmesan, and cheese sauce.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and increase the heat to 475°. Bake for another 20 minutes. If you want a crispier top, broil for 3-5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow the dish to rest for 10 minutes before serving.