These scalloped potatoes, a classic, constitute creamy, easy, cheesy, simple side dish awesomeness. And they’re quick and easy to toss together–even more so than you’d expect. As welcome on weeknights as they are on holidays.
These scalloped potatoes are over-the-top creamy and cheesy in the best possible way. They’re also easy as can be. Thinly sliced potatoes are simply boiled in cream, smothered with cheese, and baked until crisp on top and tender throughout. Best of all, they come together in a snap and can be assembled ahead. Enough said.–Angie Zoobkoff
The Right Pan For This Recipe
We were sorta surprised when we first read this recipe. Although many recipes make ample scalloped potatoes to fill a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, this recipe fills a modest 8-inch square baking dish. Yep, the same one you use for brownies. Much as we love the cheesy and easy awesomeness of scalloped potatoes, we actually prefer it this way. For starters, unless you’re feeding an army, you don’t have to figure out how to wedge a ginormous pan of leftovers in your fridge. Second, scalloped potatoes are, disappointingly, never quite as good when they’re rewarmed. And last, that’s a lot of potatoes to peel! So although the photo above is for a rectangular baking dish, trust us, a smaller square pan is what you want here. You won’t need the bigger one unless you double the recipe. Although an 11-by-7-inch baking dish would also work with this recipe as it holds the same volume as an 8-inch square.
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter plus more for the baking dish
- 1 (8 oz) onion chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and sliced 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
- 1 cup store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded (about 1 cup), or more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and lightly butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square or an 11-by-7-inch (28-by-18-cm) baking dish.
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, stock, cream, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, 7 to 12 minutes. The potatoes are ready when the tip of a paring knife can easily be slipped into a slice with just a little resistance. Don’t overcook the potatoes or you’ll end up with mushy scalloped potatoes.
- Discard the bay leaves and carefully transfer that luscious potato and cream mixture to the buttered baking dish. Use the back of a spoon to gently press the potato slices into a fairly even layer. (You can cover and refrigerate the scalloped potatoes for up to 24 hours.)
- Sprinkle with the Cheddar and bake until the sauce is bubbling, the edges of the potatoes are crisp, and the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (If the scalloped potatoes were refrigerated, cover the dish tightly with buttered aluminum foil and bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven until warm throughout, 25 to 45 minutes. Uncover, top with the Cheddar, and continue to bake uncovered until the Cheddar is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.)
- Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes before scooping into it with a spoon and heaping creamy cheesy potato goodness onto plates.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Holy hell, are these scalloped potatoes good. They’re super rich in a good way and not in an OMG-I-can’t-move way. We’re potato people, so I served these as a main dish with various toppings—like super deluxe baked potatoes—and everyone came away happy. They’re a lovely holiday or special or fancy side dish as well as an option for weeknight dinners thanks to those make-ahead directions.
They only took about 30 minutes to get from whole spuds to the casserole dish. Next time, I’ll try whole milk instead of cream since whole milk is always on hand and maybe the potatoes will be less heavy. I’ll also decrease the amount of dried thyme. If I chose to use fresh, I’ll toss in the whole stem and pluck it out when I fish out the bay leaves. I’ll also slice the potatoes a hair thicker as they cooked quickly (I only needed about 7 minutes simmering) but clumped a bit while simmering and got a little too soft while baking.
The casserole stays warm quite a while and tastes just fine on the warm side of room temperature, making it lovely for a buffet.
This scalloped potatoes recipe was easy to make. The result was a crispy-on-top, tasty dish of scalloped potatoes.
I used yellow potatoes instead of russet. Using a mandoline made quick work of slicing. It took about 10 minutes in the oven for the edges to get crispy and bubbly. I used an Emile Henri pan so I just transferred the potatoes from the stove to the oven in the same pan.
Originally published December 19, 2020