Indulgent Scalloped Potatoes

by Kristen on February 14, 2012 · 19 comments

in Recipes, Vegetables

We don’t eat tons of potatoes here at Chez FG (no particular reason, really!), but when we do, one of our favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes.

Of course, I use a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, because Cook’s is awesome.


This version of Scalloped Potatoes is not remotely low-fat (however, it is delicious!).

In fact, it calls for 3 cups of cream plus a cup of whole milk. However, I have varied the proportions of milk to cream (2 cups cream, 2 cups milk) when necessary, and the potatoes have still been quite good. I would not, however, advise you to replace all of the cream with milk. If you want to use milk instead of cream, you’ll need a difference sort of recipe, one that has some method of thickening the sauce.

If you’re like us and only eat these a few times a year, though, I say use the 3 cups of cream. Live a little!

A handy thing about this recipe is that it actually doesn’t take two hours to bake. Basically, you slice the potatoes very thinly (a food processor is really, really helpful), cook them in the sauce on the stovetop for 15 minutes, and then put them into the oven for about 20 minutes. Because the potatoes are so thinly sliced, they really do bake through that quickly.

If you don’t own a food processor, this recipe will be much more difficult to manage, just because it’s hard to slice potatoes evenly, and because slicing this many potatoes takes a while!

Alrighty. Here’s how to make these.

First, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-duty pot, and add the chopped onions. Cook them until they’re softened and brown, then add the garlic and cook for about half a minute.

Then stir in the cream, milk, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

I never happen to have fresh thyme around, so I just use about 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.

Next, add the potatoes.

See how thinly sliced they are? 1/8 of an inch.

Cover the pot and bring the potato mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until a paring knife slips in and out of a potato fairly easily. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Transfer potatoes to a 9×13 inch pan.

I got a little carried away with the stirring this time around, so my potatoes got a bit broken up. They tasted just fine in the end, though!

Sprinkle potatoes with shredded cheese, then bake for 20 minutes. Let the potatoes cool down just a bit before serving.

If you want to make the potatoes ahead of time, cool and refrigerate them after you transfer the potatoes to the 9×13 inch dish, and then bake them when you’re ready to serve. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to allow about twice the amount of baking time since the potatoes will be starting out cold.

Scalloped Potatoes
Printable Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion , minced
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pounds russet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Heat oven to 350° F. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Add garlic and saute for half a minute. Stir in cream, milk, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir in potatoes.

Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until a knife slips in and out of the potatoes fairly easily. Remove bay leaves and discard. Transfer potatoes to a 9×13 inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Cool for a few minutes before serving.


Today’s 365 post: Gettin’ rid of stuff!

Joshua’s 365 post: Wizardry and Something for Ms. Samantha

Leave a Comment

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah T February 14, 2012 at 8:10 am

I agree – these scalloped potatoes are fantastic. They’re my go-to side dish for when we host big family gatherings. I’ve had luck finishing them in the crock pot. I’ll cook the potatoes in the milk, cream, and broth, then transfer it all to the crockpot, put it on low, and top it with the cheese. It doesn’t get that yummy, cheesy crust but it holds well and frees up the oven for the turkey/ham/brisket/whatever.


2 Elsa February 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

These look delicious! I make scalloped potatoes often in our house because we eat a lot of potatoes and mashed potatoes gets a bit old after a while. They are so easy to make and much more tasty than the store bought stuff.


3 Cate February 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

Mmm, these look delicious! We eat a lot of one-pot meals so I don’t make side dishes as much as I’d like to, but I’ve really wanted scalloped potatoes lately. Yum!


4 K February 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

Oh man, scalloped potatoes are the best. I haven’t made them in forever! They’re good with 1/3-1/2 sweet potatoes in the mix too.


5 Kate February 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

I am so glad to see a recipe post! Your recipes turn out great every time, and you explain the techniques you use so well.


6 Randi February 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I use a different cook’s recipe that has a similar method, but uses chicken stock and heavy cream. It was from the ATC cookbook.


7 Fleur February 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I love scalloped potatoes and make them for special occasions. I use a mandolin to cut my potatoes thin and uniformly so that they cook evenly. YUM!


8 {Adventuresindinner} February 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

This is my favourite too! How could you go wrong with whole milk and heavy cream.


9 EngineerMom February 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I love scalloped potatoes! I actually enjoy the 60+ minute baking time because it gives me a chance to clean up the kitchen and go pick DH up from work without worrying about something getting overcooked.

I make “cheesy” scalloped potatoes – just add about 3/4c. shredded sharp cheddar and 1/2 tsp powdered mustard to the sauce before adding the potatoes.

We use red or yellow potatoes and leave the skins on (for a bit of fiber!). They don’t break apart as easily as russet potatoes.

A good santoku knife makes slicing the potatoes by hand a snap, and if you don’t peel them, it’s actually pretty quick. I slice mine thinner than 1/8 – paper thin if I can manage it to speed up cooking time.

The recipe I use most of the time starts with 2 T butter and 2T flour, then adds 3 c. 2% milk, some chicken bouillon powder, and some diced onion, if anyone’s looking for a recipe that uses mostly milk. The sauce isn’t very thick before you bake it, more like the consistency of coffee cream, but baking definitely thickens it up.


10 Heather :) :) :) February 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

OH, my father would LOVe this…He loves cheesy scalloped potatoes. Happy Valentine’s Day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)


11 GretalRabbit February 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Somehow I’ve never heard of scalloped potatoes, they sound awesome! Like the potato version of macaroni cheese :) Must try them soon, thanks for the recipe.


12 Kristen February 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

They are super yummy!


13 Katie February 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Oh wow, I love potatoes and cheese… but I have never had scalloped potatoes that weren’t made from a box. (You know, with those plastic-y dried potato slices?) I’m kind of afraid if I made these, I would love them a little too much. : )


14 Kristen February 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Yes. But you should totally try some…you don’t know what you’re missing!


15 christina February 16, 2012 at 4:32 am

Maybe you don’t make a lot of potatoes because you can bake so many awesome dinner accompaniments! I make these for Christmas or New Year’s and have slice by hand or mandolin. Using a waxy style yellow potato lessens the breaking up but maybe doesn’t provide as much starch, so I cook in the oven a bit longer.


16 Esther March 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm

These look great! Do you think they would freeze well?


17 Kristen March 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I really don’t know. I’ve never tried to freeze potatoes before, but it seems like their texture would suffer.


18 Robin hudak March 27, 2013 at 9:27 am

Hi there. Recipe sounds great! I needed one where i could make ahead the night before and then finish up EASTER sunday morning ready to take to my in-laws house. I was wondering from the person who put them in the crock pot, how long on low? If i put them on the morning around 8 or 9, is 5 hours on low to long? I wont be home to supervise (at church). I cant screw these up. I was in charge of scalloped potatoes one yr. And let them turn dark grey (left them in fridge without cooking)…have to redeem myself!


19 Sarah T March 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I don’t really remember how long I’ve put these into the crock pot for. Five hours might be a bit too long – since they’re mostly cooked when you put them in the oven/crock pot. Maybe 2-3 hours? I am recalling that the cheese got a bit oily/separated when I had them in the crock pot – but that can be fixed by stirring them before serving. Hope this helps and they turn out yummy for you!


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