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. Even though I haven’t made it yet, I’m giving this 5 stars because it looks so good and sounds fairly simple…I’ve got the ingredients to make this…I bought medium cheddar before reading the comment that says sharp cheddar melts better. Maybe you could edit the recipe to specify that? And I have whole milk. Figured it was a happy medium between non-fat milk and half & half. 🙂 My potatoes are russets and on the smaller side, so I’m going to boil them for 15 minutes instead of 20. I’m making a batch for Christmas Eve dinner and another batch for Christmas lunch. I’ll prep the lunch batch when I’m making the dinner batch. Wish me luck!

  2. What are your thoughts of cooking in crockpot? I’d like to make for Christmas also thinking of using red potatoes and golds.

  3. This recipe looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it. I’m planning on making it tonight to bring to my potluck at work tomorrow, would this dish be okay to be reheated tomorrow to be ate?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. Yes that would be ok, but you’d want to carefully reheat it so the cheese doesn’t curdle.

  4. So much potential but wrong, wrong! Potatoes underdone and zero flavor despite multiple check-ins. Cannot recommend. And yes my potatoes were sliced thinly enough. Flavorless and raw.

    1. Sorry to hear that. We have been using this exact recipe for 50 years and they are always delicious. Did you boil the whole potatoes? Or perhaps you didn’t boil them long enough. Salt is the other factor in the flavoring.

  5. The cheese sauce looks odd to me but I followed all the instructions! 🙁 is it supposed to be thick and chunky? That’s how it came out for me :/

    1. It should be nice and smooth. It may have cooked for too long or been too hot when you added the cheese. That can cause it to break.

  6. Do this dish supposed to be creamy or cheesy? I make this dish a lot. But reading these comments seeming if its supposed to be on the creamy side..I make a creamy but more cheesy sause and my in-laws love it..I do however, use cream of mushrooms instead of half and half or a lot of milk..again,it comes out perfect..

    1. I prefer to make the sauce from scratch rather than using a premade soup. It’s supposed to be on the creamy side.

  7. Made these tonight with ham. So tasty! I shredded a block of a cheddar/gruyere cheese = so good. I used 1 1/3 cup milk. It wasn’t the full size of the recipe (11×7 pan) but I’d add the full 1 1/2 cups next time. The milk was perfect with the gruyere – just enough richness! Added some chicken bullion seasoning to the sauce. Very tasty! Next time I might add garlic and/or onion.

  8. My mother-in-law requested this for Thanksgiving. Can I use whipping cream instead of half and half? I only have whole milk 2% and whipping cream available and prefer a creamier scalloped potato, but i could not find a recipe that uses both cream and cheese.

    1. Yes, you can really use any combination of milk/cream. Whipping cream would be fine, and would be a little richer.

  9. I peel the potatoes and put in the microwave for them to cook faster, after about 10 minutes I add the cheese mixture and put in oven for half he, this speeds the cook time of the potatoes.

  10. Thank you very much for providing this recipe! I roughly followed it and the results were delicious. By roughly, I mean that I don’t measure and I don’t time anything… I just eyeball and estimate, which is my preferred method of cooking. I used red potatoes, sliced and peeled before boiling. The texture ended up being perfect.

  11. PERFECT!! Ok, so I followed the directions to the T and my hubby just loved them. Scallopped potatoes are his favorite and I don’t make them often because ive never found a really great recipe… UNTIL NOW! THE best part is It only took, from start to finish, a little less than an hour. This is defenitley going into my bookmarks. Thanks so much for sharing! Your grandma would be proud!!???

  12. I CANT WAIT TO TRY MAKING THESE FOR THE FAM! My mouth is watering just looking at the photos ah!! Going home Tonight to make them for dinner ??

    1. My grandma actually used to always use Velveeta back in the day. I personally prefer the cheddar cheese sauce. You wouldn’t need to make the roux if you use Velveeta.

  13. I made this dish to go with grilled steaks for our 4th of July dinner. I peeled and sliced the potatoes BEFORE I found this recipe so I boiled the thinly sliced taters for just a few minutes and drained and followed the recipe from then on. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, I know I did! Simple but delicious! Next time I might experiment by adding some type of seasoning just to add a punch of flavor.