These creamy, velvety, and oh-so-buttery Scalloped Potatoes will become the little black dress of your dinner table! Fabulous enough for a holiday party and easy enough for a weeknight meal, you should definitely keep this luscious Scalloped Potato recipe front and center in your arsenal.
What Are Scalloped Potatoes?
Quite simply, scalloped potatoes are sliced potatoes layered in a deep dish and baked in a thickened milk sauce flavored with spices. You bake the potatoes until they’re fork tender, about an hour in a 350°F oven, depending on the size and depth of the casserole dish. (The deeper the dish, the longer it takes to cook.)
The difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes
Though they look very similar, there are two key differences between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes.
- First, scalloped potatoes are cut about twice as thick as au gratin.
- Second, scalloped potatoes are simply potatoes baked in a milk sauce. Au gratin potatoes are layered with cheese and are also topped with cheese and bread crumbs.
Ingredients for Scalloped Potatoes
The beauty of this dish is its simplicity. You only need a few pounds of potatoes and a few cups of seasoned milk sauce to make it a straight stunner. So what ingredients do you need to make Scalloped Potatoes? I’m glad you asked!
- Potatoes– of course! But not just any potato. You want a potato that holds its shape when baked, like a Yukon gold, a red, or a russet potato. You can also use sweet potatoes!
- Butter and Flour – together, these ingredients make a roux, which thickens the milk sauce. Substitute the butter with cooking oil or vegan butter to keep things dairy-free. If you can’t do flour, add the milk to the pan and warm it while you dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the chicken stock. Add the chicken stock to the milk and bring to a boil for one minute as you stir constantly. Then add the seasonings.
- Milk– is the foundation of the creamy sauce that flavors the scalloped potatoes as they bake. It’s best to use whole milk, as the less fat you have in the dairy, the more likely the sauce will break or become grainy. If you prefer a dairy-free sauce, substitute the milk with coconut milk, but again, go full fat. You need that fat to help thicken the sauce and add a velvety texture.
- Chicken Stock – adds depth to the milk sauce. You can substitute it with vegetable broth if you prefer.
- Spices – flavor the sauce and in turn, flavor the potatoes. I use a touch of nutmeg, onion powder, and garlic powder to create depth and a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a little heat. You can, of course, substitute these with your favorite spice blend. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the blend and taste the sauce before adding more.
Do you have to blanch scalloped potatoes?
No, you don’t HAVE TO blanch scalloped potatoes. I blanch my potatoes because it shortens their baking time and ensures I don’t get a mouth full of crunchy half-cooked gray potatoes after an hour of baking. You see, slicing 3 pounds of potatoes by hand takes a minute. (Yes, you can use a mandolin, but we keep our equipment use very basic in the Budget Bytes kitchen.) Raw potatoes turn grayish brown when exposed to air, so you should keep them under water to keep them from oxidizing. At that point, you might as well boil them in salted water for a few minutes to add flavor, prevent browning, and shorten their baking time while you’re at it.
How To Make Scalloped Potatoes Ahead Of Time
You can make scalloped potatoes up to a day ahead of time. Follow every step, but only bake them for 45 minutes. Under-baking the potatoes means when you warm them up the next day, they won’t transform into mush. Cool the potatoes, place plastic wrap or parchment paper right on the surface, wrap the dish well with plastic or foil, and refrigerate. About an hour before you want to serve them, unwrap and bring them to room temperature on the counter, about 20 minutes. Then bake the uncovered dish until a fork inserted into the potatoes meets zero resistance, about 20 minutes. Make sure to rest them for 15 to 20 minutes before serving, so the sauce has a chance to firm up.
7 Tips For Making The Best Scalloped Potatoes
- Choose the right potato: waxy with thin skins, like Yukon gold, russet, or red. They will keep their shape during baking, so you don’t end up serving mush.
- Slice all of the potatoes to the same thickness, so they cook evenly. Go for about 1/4 inch thick.
- Keep the potatoes under water to prevent browning. Salt the water to add flavor and bring them to a boil for five minutes to help them cook faster in the oven.
- When adding liquid to a roux, in this case, milk and chicken broth, it should be hot to prevent the butter from clumping and creating lumps.
- Only use glass or ceramic casserole dishes. Metal dishes can turn your potatoes gray.
- Even if you’re in a rush, don’t cook the potatoes at high heat. It will cause the milk sauce to curdle. If you’re short on time, blanch the potatoes a little longer before layering them in your dish.
- As soon as you can slip a fork into the potatoes without any resistance, take the casserole dish out of the oven. If you overcook scalloped potatoes, they turn to mush.
What goes with scalloped potatoes?
Here are some easy and budget-friendly recipes that are great for serving with scalloped potatoes:
How To Store Leftover Scalloped Potatoes
Place leftovers in an airtight container with plastic wrap or parchment paper covering their surface. Store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. While you can freeze scalloped potatoes, the cream sauce can get a touch grainy when reheating, and the texture of the potatoes does change a bit. If you freeze them, portion them, and store the potatoes in an air-tight container with parchment or plastic wrap on the surface to prevent freezer burn. They should keep for up to 2 weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
How To Reheat Scalloped Potatoes
Bring the potatoes to room temperature on the counter (about 20 to 30 minutes) before placing them in a 350°F and baking them until they start to steam. You can also warm up leftovers in a microwave at 50% power. Depending on the microwave and portion size, it should take 2 to 4 minutes. Just look for the steam.
- 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (6 to 8 medium potatoes)* $3.29
- 6 1/2 tsp salt, divided $0.18
- 5 Tbsp salted butter* $0.70
- 5 Tbsp All-purpose flour* $0.04
- 2 cups milk* $0.50
- 1 cup chicken broth* $0.16
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground $0.01
- 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.03
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03
- 1 pinch nutmeg $0.01
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper $0.01
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 casserole dish. Fill a large pot with a gallon of water and add 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) of salt. Peel and slice potatoes 1/4 inch thick, add to the salted water, and boil for five minutes. Strain the potatoes.
- Mix the milk and chicken stock in a microwave-safe dish and warm the liquid until it’s barely steaming. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, constantly stirring, until the paste begins to bubble.
- Add the hot milk and chicken stock mixture, stirring as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil.
- Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat, and cook the milk sauce for two minutes more. Remove from the heat.
- Layer half of the potatoes in the pan and cover with half of the sauce.
- Repeat the layering process for the final layer.
- Spread the sauce on top of the potatoes in an even layer, from edge to edge. Cover the dish with aluminum and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are bubbly and golden brown and a knife inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
*Substitute butter with cooking oil or vegan butter.
*If you can’t do flour, add the milk to the pan and warm it while you dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the chicken stock. Next, add the chicken stock to the milk and bring it to a boil for one minute as you stir constantly. Then add the seasonings.
*Use whole milk, as the less fat you have in the dairy, the more likely the sauce will break or become grainy. If you prefer a dairy-free sauce, substitute the milk with full-fat coconut milk.
* Substitute chicken stock with vegetable broth if you prefer.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes – Step by Step Photos
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 casserole dish or any 2-quart baking dish. Fill a large pot with a gallon of water and add 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) of salt. Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick, then add them to the salted water to prevent browning. Bring to a boil and blanch for 5 minutes before taking the potatoes off the heat. Strain the potatoes.
Mix 2 cups milk and 1 cup chicken stock in a microwave-safe container and heat for 1 minute, or until steaming. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then add 5 tablespoons of flour. Cook, constantly stirring, until the paste bubbles but does not brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the hot milk and chicken broth mixture to the pan, stirring as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Lower the heat, and cook for two minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
Pat the drained potatoes dry before layering half in the casserole dish. Top with half of the milk sauce.
Add the final layer of potatoes to the casserole dish and top with the remaining sauce.
Distribute the sauce evenly over the top of the potatoes, making sure they are covered edge to edge. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Covering them helps trap steam, so the potatoes cook evenly.
Remove the aluminum and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are bubbly and golden brown and a knife inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance. Allow the potatoes to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. It’s optional, but I like to garnish the dish with a tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley. Get ready to start collecting compliments! This recipe is a win!
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