Ultimate Scalloped Potatoes are a classic comfort side dish! A true favorite for Sunday dinners, holidays or any night of the week, these thinly sliced, layered potatoes bake up tender and full of flavor in a rich homemade cream sauce with a sprinkle of onion and oodles melted cheese!
When you hear “ultimate,” you know the recipe has to be irresistible! It’s sure to have that little extra something that creates amazing flavor, decadent texture and all the right things to create the perfect melt-in-your-mouth moment.
And when it comes to ultimate, this Scalloped Potatoes recipe does not disappoint. A smidge of cream cheese added to the cream sauce is it’s little secret to perfection. Does that make it a tad less traditional? Yes, it does. But it’s so worth it.
What is the Difference Between Scalloped & Au Gratin Potatoes?
The difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes lies in their names. “Au Gratin” literally means with a crust. In cooking, it refers to a dish with a browned topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese. Many people also identify “au gratin” with a cheese based sauce.
While “scalloped” simply points to how the potatoes are sliced- round, thin medallions. Scalloped potatoes are also traditionally baked in a cream based sauce.
So does the cheese in this recipe count it out as a “scalloped” recipe? Absolutely not! The cheese factor is one of great debate. And many scalloped potatoes recipes have it.
Looking for a delicious au gratin recipe? Try this amazing reader favorite- Meat & Potatoes Ranch Au Gratin !
What You Need To Make Ultimate Scalloped Potatoes
- butter– These first 3 ingredients make the simple base of your sauce.
- minced garlic
- chicken broth– Adds a little extra flavor to the cream sauce.
- heavy cream or half & half– Heavy cream is the most decadent choice here, but half & half (a mixture of whole milk & cream) produces a rich sauce too.
- cream cheese– This is our cream sauce “cheat.” It adds an extra richness in flavor and texture to the sauce.
- potatoes– Yukon Gold or Idaho Russets can be used. Yukon Golds, however, hold that signature medallion shape better when baked. For a twist, Red Potatoes can also be used. They hold their shape well too, and because their skin is tender, they don’t have to be peeled!
- yellow or Vidalia onion– A key component to the flavor of this dish, but they must be sliced very thin (slivers) so that they don’t overpower.
- sharp cheddar cheese– Color, flavor… melted cheese is everything!
- salt, pepper, chives or parsley– Keep it simple & let the sauce be the star.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes
Prep. Gather ingredients. Slice potatoes and onions. To slice my potatoes thinly and quickly, I use a mandolin. It’s a simple tool that makes sure all my slices are cut to the same thinness so that they cook evenly throughout the dish.
Sauce. In a medium sauce pan melt butter and brown garlic. Whisk in flour to make a roux (fat+ flour= thickener for a sauce or gravy). The broth, cream and cream cheese are whisked in to finish the sauce.
Layers. In a greased 9×13 pan, layer potatoes, onions, cream sauce and cheese.
Bake. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes until cheese begins to brown and there is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven & garnish with clipped chives or chopped parsley.
Can You Make This Potato Side Dish Ahead Of Time?
Yes, which makes it perfect for holidays like Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, even potlucks and Sunday dinners! Plus, I actually think it tastes better when made ahead of time. Something just happens with those flavors as they sit!
Simply bake ahead of time, cool, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove from fridge, bring to room temp, then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
Other Potato Recipes You’ll Love
- Lyonnaise Potatoes- Skillet Potatoes & Sweet Onions
- Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese & Garlic
- Baked Cheesy Smashed Potato Bites
- Creamy Dill Potato Salad
- Easy Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole (with no canned soup)
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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Ultimate Scalloped Potatoes
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 C chicken broth
- 2 C heavy cream or half & half
- 2 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 6 medium potatoes, sliced very thin
- 1/2 medium yellow, or Vidalia, onion, cut into slivers
- salt & pepper
- 1.5 C shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped parsely or clipped chives as garnish, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with non stick cooking spray.
- Sauce. In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, melt butter. Add minced garlic and lightly brown. Whisk in flour. It will soak up the butter and garlic and form a paste. Whisk in chicken broth. Continue to whisk until all lumps are gone. Mixture will become very thick again. Whisk in cream. When well incorporated, add cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Cook on medium low for 2-3 minutes, whisking to prevent scorching, until sauce thickens up.
- Layers. In the bottom of the 9×13 pan, layer in 1/2 of the sliced potatoes. Cover with ALL of the slivered onions. Salt & pepper the potatoes and onions and pour 1/2 of the cream sauce over them. Top with 1/2 of the shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat layers of potatoes, cream and cheese to finish dish.
- Bake. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes until cheese begins to brown and there is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Garnish with clipped chives or chopped parsley. Serve!