Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (Au Gratin)

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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

4.50 from 87 votes
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

For all side dishes go HERE and for the Recipe Index go HERE

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. help..want to make this for Easter..can i make and bake night b.4 as am traveling with them thanks..

  2. Does this need to be covered with foil while baking? I plan on making this for Easter but I am going to half to double the recipe. That shouldn’t be a problem right?

    1. Nope, it doesn’t need to be covered. If you’re going to double the recipe, make it in two separate pans.

  3. These look delicious-and this recipe has been chosen as our official Easter potatoes! Been looking through cookbooks and online, and parcooking the potatoes and ease of prep have made this the winner. We’re having glazed ham so these will be perfect, everyone loves cheese here. Thanks.

    1. Yes! You’d want to let it sit out for maybe 30 minutes to take the chill off before baking. Be advised, the cheese sauce could end up a bit thicker though.

  4. My family LOVES these potatoes. Easy to follow recipes. I’ve tried three recipes so far and have not been disappointed. U are the best and I thank u for sharing. God bless u.

  5. I read a lot of comments that people may have been overlooking the roux/cheese sauce, so I was careful ( I think) not to do that, but my cheese sauce turned out stretchy and kind of like that children’s slime that everyone is crazy about.it was really hard to spread because it all kept sticking together and also to everything it touched. Did I maybe undercook it? Is that what it’s supposed to be like? It is in the oven right now, so we’ll see how it turns out soon!

    1. That can result from a few different factors, like the amount of cheese used or the amount of flour. It sounds like it thickened too much, so at that point you can add a little more milk to thin it out.

  6. Just made this. I infused the milk with cloves of garlic and added diced shallots to the butter but otherwise, followed the recipe. It was good. If you like your potatoes softer, you would like this recipe. I would call them mashed potato scalloped potatoes. I wouldn’t boil the potatoes longer than 20 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Made this dish, followed the recipe to the red…..but my potatoes were a bit on the harder side, maybe needed to boil them longer or cut them thinner before baking??? Either way the flavor was awesome just needed to cook the potatoes a bit more.

    1. Both of your suggestions could be correct. Glad you still enjoyed the flavor. You could also have kept baking them a bit longer, but generally they are pretty soft by the time you’re slicing them.

  8. Made these this evening and they were perfect! I used baby potatoes and half & half, and halved the recipe overall (with only about 1 pound of potatoes). I otherwise followed the directions to the letter and was very pleased. Delicious! Will make again, for sure. Thank you for posting!

  9. Just came across your recipe I am lactose intolerant so do you think almond milk will work for this recipe I will sauté onion first and then add to the cheese sauce that would be the only other thing I would alter I too also used velveta in the passed but have gotten away from processed cheese as it’s very unhealthy I will be adding ham as I have left over ham and need to use it up can’t wait to try this I read some of the negative posts about the flavor of the cheese sauce it’s all about the process and taking the time to cook the sauce at a low temp so you don’t scorch it can’t wait to try this the par boiled potatoes is a wonderful idea thank you been looking for a good recipe for scalloped potatoes for some time this sound perfect have a blessed and wonderful 2018

    1. Hi Gina, Thanks for your kind words! I don’t know about the almond milk since I don’t use that myself. I’d replace with a lactose free milk if you have that, as almond milk is sweet.

  10. This is a dish I will continue to make with just a few tweaks.

    Disclaimer: It is not my intention to speak ill of this recipe; the first time through any recipe is a learning experience. I and my guests loved these potatoes! They further bind my diners to my way of cooking 😉

    I peeled Yukon Gold ‘taters before boiling for 25 minutes (next time I’ll use the mandoline to slice them, and cook them for a shorter period of time).

    Meanwhile, I made the roux.

    Not to state the obvious, but there are 16 tablespoons in a cup.

    When I make gravy, my roux ratio is 2:2:16 (by reduction 1:1:8), that is, 2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp flour, 16 Tbsp liquid multiplied by how many mouths I have to feed.

    So I was suspicious when this recipe called for 4 Tbsp butter, 4 Tbsp flour and 24 Tbsp liquid, a 1:1:6 ratio. This makes a much thicker roux, and adding cheese will make it thicker still.

    Sure enough, after making the roux and adding the cheese, I had something more akin to pate a choux than sauce (yes, I make creampuffs, too).

    I added another 1 1/2 cups milk and about a cup of water. So, now I had a quart of sauce. Bland, though, because it was not seasoned.

    How many times have contestants been chopped for lack of seasoning? Unacceptable!

    So I added salt and pepper and a grind of nutmeg. Now it was buttery, cheesy goodness!

    After assembly, I had about a cup of sauce left, and there was plenty on the ‘taters. Into the oven they went, and happiness ensued. They did brown a bit around the edges, and the additional cheese on top is a terrific idea. Mandatory in my world!

    Served with ham, steamed Brussels sprouts and homemade sourdough rye bread, these were some delicious potatoes. Not my Grandmother’s potatoes (that sorcery was not passed down to me) but everyone raved about them.

    1. Hi Ken! I appreciate your constructive criticism. Every cook is different, and every kitchen is different! We love the recipe as written but I’m thrilled that you found a way to make this dish that worked for you.

  11. The scalloped potatoes were amazing.. I made them for Christmas dinner and was not disappointed.Simple and amazing! I added garlic and Parmesan cheese.. loved it