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. Hi Kristin, I can’t wait to try this recipe as it is, thank you so much for sharing your grandma’s recipe!! Have you ever used another kind of cheese?

  2. Your grandma passed down a wonderful recipe. This was so good. So creamy. It melts in your mouth. I will be cooking this again. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  3. The correct way to cook potatoes evenly is to put your potatoes in cold water and then heat the water to Boiling, and do not cover. When you put potatoes into already boiling water this is when the inside of some of the potatoes does not get cooked. I stop both of these hints online from a professional chef and they are correct. Also when I make potato salad now I peel and chop up my potatoes, then I cook them again using cold water to start. I usually sit down at my living room sofa with a bowl of cold water and I peel and chop the potatoes, while I watch TV, throwing them in the cold bowl of water as I do them so they don’t turn brown. Once I’m done I rinse them in a colander and throw them in the cold water in the pan to cook them. Once I use this method it’s great the potatoes are always cooked through. There is nothing worse then hard pieces of potato in salad or a baked potato. For the life of me I cannot remember the reason for not covering potatoes when you cook them I think I had something to do with the starch

    1. Hi Deb, Thanks for your input and suggestions. for this potato recipe, you actually don’t want them to be cooked completely through because they will continue to cook and soften as you bake.

  4. Excellent recipe! I just made some for my family & I and we all loved it. Easy recipe & came out delicious ?! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. The flour is what thickens the cheese sauce. I suppose you could skip the sauce and just sprinkle cheese in layers, but it wouldn’t be creamy at all.

  5. I can’t wait I going to try this with tiny baby new potatoes I’m sure it will be to die for my momma was German as well and boy they are great cooks! Thank you for sharing !!

  6. I plan on making these tonight for a side to dinner. I want to add bacon and onions. Have you tried it that way?

  7. I over cooked the sauce and now it’s so thick it looks like dough.. ugh. It happened so fast. Is there any way I can fix it? Will it taste the same?

    1. Sorry this reply is late, but in the case that the cheese sauce is too thick you might be able to bring it back to a thinner consistency by adding milk to thin it.

  8. I think I may have left the sauce over heat for too long because it was really thick, especially once I mixed the cheese in. The sauce also had a floury taste even though I used your exact measurements. Any suggestions?

    1. I’m guessing you may not have cooked the flour long enough for the roux. If the sauce gets too thick, thin with a little bit of milk.

  9. Par boiling, then peeling/slicing is such a time saver over the traditional style. My husband said it’s the best cheesy potatoe’s I’ve ever made. 🙂 I’ll make again for sure!

  10. These were SO GOOD and so easy! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will definitely be making these again.

  11. These were delicious with our Easter ham. However, I carefully measured out 2 lbs of potatoes, which was about 9 small potatoes, and there weren’t nearly enough to make 3 layers. Maybe I sliced them too thick, but I only had enough for about 1 1/2 layers in my 9×13″ pan.

  12. Hi! I am making these tomorrow for Easter dinner. Can I boil the potatoes tonight and refrigerate them to save time tomorrow? Thanks!

  13. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe from your grandma. Those are the best ones. I am making this recipe tomorrow for my Easter dinner! It sounds delicious! I know you have many happy memories with your grandma, as do I and this just brought me back to the time with me cooking with her!
    Thank you for sharing this with us! Happy Easter!

  14. Made this today and it turned out well . I didn’t have any non fat milk and had to use whole milk ( sauce was a little thick. Hoping if I use nonfat in future it will not be as thick. I did however add really thin raw onion in the layers and it turned out pretty good.

    I will be trying this recipe again .