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Scalloped Potatoes

There are a few recipes that we love so much that we make them at least once a month. This cheesy, saucy, crispy scalloped potato recipe is one of them.


homemade scalloped potatoes covered in melted cheese in a casserole dish being scooped out with a spoon
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Up your potato game with luxurious, creamy layers of sauce and a golden-brown crispy top in this easy scallop potato recipe. Hints of warm spices and herbs, like thyme and nutmeg, bring out earthly tones while sharp cheddar makes it cozy and comforting. We dream of soft pillowy potatoey insides and crispy outsides – need we say more? And, although elegant, our baked scalloped potatoes are easy to make and ready from the farmer's market (or local grocery store!) to table in about 2 hours. It’s the perfect addition to any holiday meal – our most loved dish on the table even – complimenting our favorite, festive roasted vegetables like this Maple Roasted Squash Salad. Make it your own by adding in your favorite herbs like a sprinkling of rosemary or parsley!

potatoes, butter, garlic, flour, chicken stock, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, milk and cheese in bowls for scalloped potatoes

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What is The Difference Between Scalloped and Gratin Potatoes?

We did the research for you! Both delicious and extravagant dishes contain some of the same ingredients (hello whole milk or cream, butter, and potatoes!) but are slightly different! Technically speaking Potatoes Au Gratin, or Potato Leek Au Gratin contain cheese and originated in France, where au gratin is referring to a culinary term meaning to be topped with grated cheese or breadcrumbs, cream, butter, and then baked until golden brown and crispy. In today’s world, scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin are pretty much interchangeable as we use a good amount of cheese in our recipe for scalloped potatoes.

peeled, sliced and rinsed potatoes being patted dry on a kitchen towel

Why are They Called Scalloped Potatoes?

While the precise origin is unknown, the name for scalloped potatoes is said to derive from an English word, collop, which means to slice thinly. On the other hand, historians have said the name comes from the type of dish it is served in such as the original, oysters with breadcrumbs. The term scalloped, also applies in baking, where apples and other stone fruits can be scalloped to achieve a crispy, golden-brown edge as well.

butter and garlic being cooked in a pan for scalloped potatoes
milk being poured into a skillet with butter, flour and garlic that have been cooked and thickened
shredded cheese being added into a skillet with sauce for scalloped potatoes
sauce for scalloped potatoes in a skillet made with cheese, milk, butter, flour, spices and cheese

Can Potatoes Be Sliced Ahead of Time for Scalloped Potatoes?

If you’re looking for make ahead scalloped potatoes, look no further. This simple recipe for scalloped potatoes can certainly be made ahead of time! Prepare as you would, then, we recommend cooking covered in foil for 60 minutes! Remove from the oven and cool completely without removing the foil. Place it in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before reheating. Bake in a 400°F oven covered until warmed through and the cheese is bubbling about 45 minutes. We don’t suggest slicing the potatoes ahead of time because they are prone to browning when left out!

sliced potatoes layered on the bottom of a greased casserole dish
sliced potatoes and sauce layered in a greased casserole dish to make scalloped potatoes
sliced potatoes and sauce layered in a greased casserole dish and topped with shredded cheese to make scalloped potatoes
homemade scalloped potatoes in a casserole dish made with milk, cheese, thyme, and nutmeg

What to Serve with Homemade Scalloped Potatoes

Cheesy, crispy potatoes go with…everything! As an accompaniment to dinner, scalloped potatoes with cheese pair well with Shrimp Scampi en Papillote, Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf, or Baked Cod with Parsley Olive Tapenade. We even like to elevate it with hearty meats such as Chicken Quarters with Shallots and Olive Salad, Baked Salmon, or Pot Roast with Tart Cherry-Black Pepper Sauce. To make it a vegetarian meal, we suggest serving scallop potatoes with Simple Italian Salad, Chopped Salad With Herb Yogurt Dressing, or Roasted Acorn Squash. And while we like to indulge in our best scalloped potato recipe all year round, it also pairs well alongside our favorite holiday dishes (hint! Check out our 40 best Thanksgiving Dishes!) such as Celery and Pear Hazelnut Salad, Classic Pot Roast, and Glazed Carrots.

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes

Add a little oomph to your holiday meal with these elegant, rich, and creamy easy scalloped potato recipe:

  1. Slice the potatoes! Aim for about ⅛ of an inch for the sweet spot! They’ll go directly into an ice water bath to prevent browning. Pro Tip: Use a mandolin guard! It’s crucial to the dish to get crispy, thin potatoes but protect your hands!

  2. Make the béchamel sauce! This creamy sauce for the absolute best scalloped potato recipes uses garlic, butter, vegetable stock, fresh thyme and cracked pepper, freshly shredded sharp cheese, and a hint of nutmeg!

  3. Arrange! We’ll create three creamy layers of potatoes followed by the cheesy sauce.

  4. Bake and Enjoy! While this scallop potatoes recipe isn’t short on time, it’ll be worth it. Factor in the time by preparing other side dishes while you wait. And don’t forget to uncover and top with cheese for the remaining few minutes to get that ooey-gooey brown crispy top!

homemade scalloped potatoes seasoned with thyme and nutmeg being scooped out of a casserole dish with a spoon

Tools You’ll Need for This Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Our BEST Potato Recipes

Saying we’re obsessed with potatoes would be an understatement. We compiled the 30 Best Potato Recipes which we make on repeat. Our top favorites, especially great for the holidays, are:

homemade scalloped potatoes seasoned with thyme and nutmeg being scooped out of a casserole dish with a spoon
homemade scalloped potatoes seasoned with thyme and nutmeg topped with melted cheese on a plate with a fork

Spectacular Spuds!

Holiday table or dinner party, these spuds are simply delicious! Let us know how they turned out by snapping a quick photo and tagging us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Scalloped Potatoes

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  30 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 25 min
  • Calories: 314


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, plus more for serving, optional
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.

  2. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes ⅛-inch thick and transfer them directly into the bowl of water. When the last of the potatoes are sliced, give them all a good rinse in the water, place them on a dry dish towel and pat until very dry.

  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the butter, stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  4. Very slowly pour in the chicken stock, stirring to combine. Add the thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and nutmeg, whisking to combine, until mixture becomes very thick, about 3 minutes.

  5. Increase heat to medium-high. Working in small batches slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until the sauce has thickened and milk is fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 cup of the cheese until fully combined. Remove from heat.

  6. In the baking dish, arrange ⅓ of the potatoes in an even layer. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Pour ⅓ of the cream sauce over the top. Repeat with half the remaining potatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ the remaining liquid.

  7. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese, cover and bake on center rack for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until the potatoes are soft and the cheese is bubbling, about 40 more minutes.

  8. Remove from the oven, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Top with thyme leaves and freshly cracked pepper before serving.

Note: If you make ahead of time, we recommend cooking covered in foil for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely without removing the foil. Place it in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before reheating. Bake in a 400°F oven covered until warmed through and the cheese is bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories314
  • Protein11 g
  • Carbohydrates37 g
  • Total Fat15 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol44 mg
  • sodium932 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Scalloped Potatoes

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Stephanie Claymore

    Can I freeze and how would I?

    You can freeze in individual portions or you can bake in one of those disposable pans and freeze the entire dish. Then when ready to bake cover with foil and reheat in the oven on 250F for 25 minutes or until hot all the way through. Hope you enjoy!

  • aydennnn

    how many potatos is too many???

    This recipe calls for 3 pounds of potatoes

  • carrie

    can I use heavy cream instead of milk?

    Yes that should work! If you do have some milk on hand, you can use 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk.

  • Susan Bradley

    So delicious !

    Thanks so much, we are so happy you loved it Susan!

  • Tiffany

    WOW!! These were so dang good we could’ve licked the dish. Used Gouda because that’s what i had on hand. Absolutely a keeper!

    YAY! Thanks Tiffany, we are so happy everyone enjoyed them!

  • Kay

    These are delicious. I tested them out and they will definitely be on our thanksgiving table.

    YAY! That is so exciting to hear, glad you loved them!