Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (Au Gratin)

These Easy, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes are smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and baked to perfection. With a quick shortcut, this classic side dish takes less than an hour from start to finish. They are sure to be a hit at your holiday feast.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes are our favorite way to make potatoes. My cheesy potato recipe is a perfect side dish to pair with any meal, especially Easy Baked Glazed Ham and the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe. While they are technically au gratin potatoes, you’ll love this recipe no matter what you call it!

An overhead image of cheese covered sliced potatoes with paprika and parsley

EASY, CHEESY SCALLOPED POTATOES RECIPE

My grandma was known for her comfort food cooking. From authentic German Spaetzle and Hungarian dishes to American classics like these Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, each recipe she cooked was her pride and joy.

In our family she was known for certain dishes, like her Shortcut German Potato Salad and her Zucchini Bread, among others. She never had to follow a recipe – she knew each one like the back of her hand. Which of course leaves us trying to recreate the flavors she made. Thankfully we cooked with her enough that we are usually successful.

I remember the first time I cooked this Scalloped Potatoes recipe on my own. It was for a Christmas party that I was hosting at my home, and it was the first Christmas since my grandma had passed away. My boss was bringing the ham, so I knew I had to make my grandma’s cheesy potatoes recipe. I did and they tasted just like hers…which of course made me cry as I ate them!

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes in a large casserole dish with a wooden spoon

How to Make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I love this recipe because it’s super easy and tastes better than any cheesy potato casserole I’ve ever had. That could be due to the massive amounts of fresh Cheddar cheese in the rich, creamy sauce, but who knows?

  1. BOIL THE POTATOES. Most potato casserole recipes I’ve seen (au gratin or scalloped) use raw potatoes and bake the casserole for over an hour, up to an hour and a half or more! The potatoes take quite a while to cook so that lengthy time was necessary. My grandma boiled the potatoes whole and unpeeled for about 20-25 minutes, to cook them most of the way through. Then she would peel them when they were cool enough to handle and slice them with a paring knife.
  2. MAKE THE CHEESY SAUCE. Make the cheese sauce – a basic bechamel sauce with grated cheddar added – while the potatoes are boiling. Start with a roux (melted butter and flour, cooked until golden), add milk and simmer until thick. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese until it melts. Since this is a cheesy potato recipe, the cheese is important! Make sure you are using fresh shredded off the block sharp cheddar cheese.
  3. LAYER AND BAKE. Layer the sliced potatoes and cheese sauce in a large casserole dish and top with more grated cheddar and some ground Hungarian paprika for color. I like to add fresh minced parsley as a finishing touch, but either of these garnishes can be left off. Bake as directed until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the cheesy potato casserole is hot throughout.

A collage of images depicting steps for making au gratin potatoes

Recipe Tips and Questions

Since first posting this recipe back in 2016, we get lots of questions and reviews. I tried to address some of the most frequent questions and comments.

Why do you boil the potatoes first?

The par-boiling of the potatoes ensures that the potatoes will be creamy and soft and cooked all the way through in under 30 minutes of baking time. Unevenly cooked potatoes is the most common complaint about casseroles that start with raw sliced potatoes. You won’t have that problem with my Grandma’s Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes!

What type of potato is best?

Russet potatoes or Yukon Golds will work best for this recipe. Both will hold their shape well during cooking and will be easy to slice. I recommend peeling, especially if you’re using russets because the skin is tough, but if you’re using yukons, leaving the peel on would be fine.

Make Ahead and Freezer Instructions for Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

  • Freezing the cooked casserole: Cool the potatoes completely and place in an airtight container. You could also freeze them in the pan, then pop them out and wrap them in foil. This applies to a full pan or leftovers. To reheat, thaw in a pan in the fridge overnight. Place into the baking dish and cover with foil to keep them from drying out. Bake as the recipe directs.
  • Freeze without baking: Prep the entire recipe right up to the baking, but instead cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and place the whole potato casserole into the freezer for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then bake as directed.
  • Make Ahead instructions: If you’d like to prep this Scalloped Potatoes recipe a day ahead of time you can certainly do that. Layer the casserole as directed, cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate overnight. Bake as directed.

These potatoes will last several days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat a large portion in the oven at the same temperature until hot, or in the microwave for individual portions.

Keep in mind that any time you are baking a casserole straight out of the fridge, it may be necessary to add baking time. To avoid this, let the casserole sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking.

Hey! These Are Au Gratin Potatoes

Technically, that is correct. Scalloped Potatoes are made with a creamy sauce while au gratin potatoes are covered with cheese. However, since we kind of combine these two methods, I feel confident calling them Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. Plus, that’s what Grandma always called them, and we don’t mess with Grandma!

This Easy Scalloped Potatoes recipe was a hit at my dinner party, and they’re sure to be a hit at yours. They are delicious with ham, turkey or even as a fancy side for your favorite steak. They also pair well with a beautiful London Broil.

A big scoop of cheesy potatoes on a wooden spoon

Here are some more delicious potato recipes to check out:

And for more amazing side dishes, try these:

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Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes are the perfect side dish! Par-boiled instead of baked raw, these cheesy potatoes will always be cooked to creamy perfection.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 285kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups nonfat milk or half & half
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Paprika for garnish
  • Fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F and grease a 13"x9" baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Scrub potatoes and place them, whole, into the boiling water for 20-25 minutes. They don't need to be fully cooked, but should be easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the water and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is golden brown; about 2 minutes. Stir in milk and cook, stirring often, until thickened; about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Gently peel potatoes and slice into ⅛ inch rounds.
  • Place ⅓ of the potatoes overlapping in a single layer in the baking dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon about ⅓ of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes. Repeat for two more layers. Pour all of the remaining cheese sauce over the top layer of potatoes. Spread to ensure all of the potatoes are covered.
  • Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded cheddar (if desired) and paprika (about ⅛ teaspoon, just for color).
  • Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped chives or parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

If the cheese sauce seems too thick, add more milk, just a little bit at a time, whisking it each time until you like the consistency. It should be thick, but still somewhat pourable. 
Potatoes should be able to be pierced through with a sharp knife, but not falling apart. 

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 11gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 252mgPotassium: 572mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 555IUVitamin C: 6.4mgCalcium: 277mgIron: 1.4mg
Keyword cheesy scalloped potatoes

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Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Great recipe! I boiled potatoes first to give them extra time to cool and the recipe turned out wonderful!

  2. Great recipe.I did add more milk and butter and some Cajun seasoning to the cheese sauce! Also, any cheese sauce lives chopped onion sauteed!! Will do again. I sliced the potatoes before hand and cooked about 5 minutes. K

  3. My first time making scalloped potatoes and this was a great recipe! Easy to follow and simple to make. My russet potatoes were small so I only boiled for 15 mins. Everything else, I followed exactly. Came out fantastic! I will be making this again and again. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I’m waiting for mine to come out of the oven right now. I can tell its going to be awesome! This is the first time I’m making scalloped potatoes so I’m really excited. I can’t say if my kids will like it (they can be picky) but if they don’t… more for me and my husband lol!

  5. I’ve made this recipe many times… we love it!! I usually add a little more milk than the recipe calls because the sauce thickens up a ton and I like to make sure it goes further over time the potatoes. I do tweak the seasoning a bit but for the most part it’s the same and munch go to!!!!

  6. 6i love this. My family lobes potato anything so fining new ones is always hard. Thank you and im making it again tonight.

  7. Made this for Easter. Guests were not very impressed with this recipe and in fact it ended up being a glutenous mess of potatoes and thick cheese doughy sauce similar to Velveeta cheese. I thought that 20 minutes boiling the potatoes would be too long and it was — should be closer to 10-12 minutes. Also discovered 1/4 cup flour is way too much and should be more like 2-3 tbsp. Had to add a lot more half and half to the cheese mixture which was not pourable by any means. There were no crunchy ends — tasted and looked like mashed potatoes with a white yellow gravy paste. Some things are just better off not rushed.

    1. Hello, we made this same dish for Easter (we’ve made it exactly as written for 40 years) and it was great. No, they aren’t crispy ends. Since I wasn’t in your kitchen with you it’s tough to say what went wrong. It could be as simple as the size of the potatoes you used or the brand/type of cheese. For example, fresh cheese is way better than bagged, which is why it’s specified in the recipe. The taste would be because of the extra half and half you added. Sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you. Feel free to reply and let’s see if we can figure out what went wrong.

    2. Unfortunately, I made this today for my husband’s father’s day. We were both very disappointed. I boiled the potatoes for 30 minutes, let them cool, sliced them, not extremely thin, but it still took over an hour to cook, and the taste was terrible. Even my husband said it tasted too much like flour and not cheesy.

      1. Sorry to hear that, it sounds like the flour wasn’t given enough time to cook. Additionally, the potatoes should be sliced on the thinner side, then they won’t take so long. Either way, over an hour is much too long for the cheese sauce and could cause it to break, altering the taste.

  8. How much longer would I need to cool it if it had been refrigerated over night? (Thank for this by the way!! You are saving me!!)

    1. I haven’t tried this, so I’d guess at least 15-20 minutes. Or let them sit out for 30 minutes before putting them in the oven.

    1. No, it sounds like it may have curdled for either being cooked too long or being too hot when the cheese was added.

  9. I peeled and sliced the potatoes using my mandolin. I cooked the potatoes for 15 minutes, drained, and let them cool slightly.

  10. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for Easter dinner, doesn’t sound too complicated, can you prepare this dish the night before and bake it the next day?

    1. Yes! You definitely can. You would want to let it cook a little longer since it would be cold from the fridge.

  11. I doubled the recipe and used the buttery Gold potatoes from Costco. I didn’t peel the potatoes because we like the skins. The sauce got a little thick because it was doubled so I just added more milk to thin, turned out great. Also, I added granulated garlic to the sauce. I have 8 children and they ALL loved this-which is hard to come by. Will be making again!

  12. Loved your recipe. I tweaked it a little bit. I peeled and sliced the potatoes using my mandolin. I cooked the potatoes for 15 minutes, drained, and let them cool slightly. They were easy to assemble in the casserole.

    1. No, the potatoes are boiled with the peel on, which actually makes them easier to peel. Peeling them prior to boiling would result in a mushy potatoes (like you’d make for mashed potatoes).

  13. hi! i need to make a double batch…would it be easier to just cook in two separate dishes?

    thanks & merry christmas!!!
    amy~

    1. I haven’t ever made them that way, but it can be done. I know it takes over an hour typically when the potatoes are raw. Not sure how that would affect the cheese sauce.

      1. You can use raw potatoes. It doesn’t change the cheese sauce..been making these since the 60’s. You do have a longer cook time about 1 1/2 hours. They are worth the effort.

        1. My pre-cook method is just a shortcut, you can cut off a good 40 minutes by precooking the potatoes.

    2. I boiled the potatoes last night, peeled them, and put them in the fridge. I was able to slice them with the mandolin just now without any issues.

  14. I was afraid the potatoes might turn that yucky grey color or something. I’ll be making this for Christmas dinner too go with our ham so will be happy I can do everything but the baking the day before! Thank you!

  15. This recipe is excellent. My entire family loved it! Do you think it would work to boil the potatoes ahead of time, put in the fridge and finish the recipe the next day?