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. Hi Kristin, I have to make enough for about 26 people for tomorrow night, 2 questions: should I triple the batch and can I do them in a Roaster oven?
    I was thinking of making today and just reheating tomorrow afternoon…any thoughts?

    1. You can triple the batch and bake in three separate pans, but I haven’t ever baked in a roaster oven. Not sure that would work.

  2. How long in advance can I make this dish for same day serving? For instance can I put together in morning, refridge them then cook around late afternoon?

  3. This recipe sounds easy and delicious so I’m going to give it a try for Christmas this year. I want to cook the potatoes the day before so they will be cold when I go to peel them and make the dish. Do you see a problem with this?

  4. Hi! Do you think you could make these (including baking) a day ahead, refrigerate, and then reheat on the day you are serving?

  5. Can i peel the potatoes first before I boil them but not boil them to long or then they’ll be mashed potato’s instead then slice them after words?

  6. I’m so excited to try this for our Christmas dinner. Have you tried peeling the potatoes before par boiling? Thank you for the recipe?

  7. My scalloped potatoes are dry and under cooked. If I add milk to it and cook it again for half hour will that work? I want to serve it tomorrow

    1. I’m not sure why they would come out dry as I’ve never had that problem. But because this recipe uses a cheese sauce, it’s tough to reheat.

  8. These are a fan favorite. After a disastrous attempt last Christmas at scalloped potatoes that seemed to take hours to cook and a sauce that never firmed up, I tried your recipe for Thanksgiving and pre-boiled the potatoes. The dish cooked up right on time and everyone loved the flavor of the sauce. I just made a triple batch today for our family party tomorrow after requests for extra to take home. This one is a keeper.

  9. hi there! I am looking to make some dishes ahead of time for a big Holiday gathering. Your recipe looks incredible and I love the idea of cooking the potatoes ahead of time. I have a quick question: Do you think it would be ok to prepare everything and then freeze it before baking? I could then thaw the day before the event and bake when ready? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  10. These are TO DIE FOR!!! I used whipping cream instead of the full amount if milk. So i used 3/4c of milk and 3/4 of heavy whipping cream.

  11. I made these yesterday for Thanksgiving. They were so good, everyone loved them. As a side note, I will be using the cheese sauce part of this recipe to make macaroni and cheese. It’s that good. Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna, Because potatoes can vary quite a bit in size, it’s difficult to say how many are in a pound. I usually buy the 5 pound bag and use roughly half of the bag. But if you want to be precise, I’d suggest weighing them at the grocery store.

  12. I just made this dish today for Thanksgiving dinner. I followed the directions except that I used shredded Parmesan cheese on the top because I didn’t have any more cheddar. I also added about one cup of cubed ham. It was delicious and everyone really liked it. I will definitely make this dish again.