Scalloped Potatoes: LIKE!

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Scalloped potatoes – gotta love ’em.

Potatoes, butter, and milk, baked into a bubbly, golden pan of “I’ll have some more of those potatoes, please” – what’s not to like?

When’s the last time you made scalloped potatoes? Last week? Christmas?

Never?

With Easter on the way, now’s the time to brush up your scalloping skills. Ham and scalloped potatoes? Homerun.

While most scalloped potato recipes have the potatoes baking in a simmering bath of milk or cream, I find that method sometimes results in a watery final product. That’s why I like to substitute a thin white sauce for the milk.

Besides, that allows me to incorporate the flour and salt (often sprinkled on the potatoes, layer by layer); and some onion flavor, in the form of onion powder, right into the sauce.

First job: use the right potatoes for the job. Maybe your mama used baking potatoes, but I like boiling potatoes. After all, they’re essentially boiling (in the sauce) as they bake, and I feel boiling potatoes hold their shape better than baking, in this dish. Round white, red-skin, Yellow Finn, or chef potatoes (not Russet) are your best choice.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan or 2-quart casserole.

I find 4 pounds of potatoes fills a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ pan nicely. Use a bit less if you use a smaller pan.

Peel the potatoes, and slice them 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick; if you have a Cuisinart food processor, use disk #4.

Place the sliced potatoes in a large saucepan with cold water to cover; add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; as soon as the potatoes come to a full boil, set your timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, remove them from the heat.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly, and layer in the prepared pan. Salt the layers as you go, if desired; the salt in the white sauce isn’t assertive. If you’re someone who likes a bit more salt on their food, then do sprinkle some onto the potatoes as you go.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1/3 cup (1 3/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, stirring until smooth.

Immediately start adding 3 1/2 cups whole milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. When all the milk is added, stir in 1 teaspoon onion powder (optional), and 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens just a tiny bit; this won’t be very noticeable, more like the difference in consistency between skim milk and heavy cream. Remove from the heat.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes, pressing them down so they’re nearly covered.

Can you prepare the dish up to this point, refrigerate overnight, and bake the next day? Sure. Either take it out and bring it to room temperature ahead of time; or add about 15 minutes to the baking time, to account for the potatoes being chilled.

Bake the potatoes for 1 hour, or until they’re bubbly and golden brown on top. A sharp knife inserted into the center of the potatoes should find little resistance.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, and serve hot or warm.

Yes indeedy, scalloped potatoes are comfort food at its best.

Now, if it’s just the two (or four) of you, can you cut this recipe in half?

Sure. Use 2 pounds of potatoes, reducing the salt in their boiling water bath to 1/2 teaspoon. Prepare the white sauce as directed in the full-size recipe, reducing the milk to 2 1/2 cups, the butter to 3 tablespoons, the flour to 1/4 cup, and the salt to 3/4 teaspoon. Bake in an 8″ x 8″ pan, or smaller casserole, for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly.

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Classic Scalloped Potatoes.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. "Paul from Ohio"

    What NO CHEESE? Come ON – we need cheese in these! Just add to the white sauce, which is how Emeril taught us/me to make mac and cheese.

    Go for it, Paul – we already have a recipe for “cheesy” scalloped potatoes on our site, so I wanted to make these just plain and simple, the way “the old folks” used to make them for Sunday dinner… Either way is yummy – so your choice. PJH

    Reply
  2. waikikirie

    Looks good. This sounds like a good “basic” scallop potato dish. The ways to “doctor” it up are as limited as your imagination. If your meat/protein you are serving this with is very seasoned/flavorful, this would be perfect. Your don’t want competition on your plate for flavor dominance. You want everyone to play nice on the plate and compliment each other…..Can’t wait to give this a whirl…..
    You betcha. Take the recipe and run with it. I always end up dipping my broccoli in the sauce too. So good! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. "Paul from Ohio"

    Oh yeah, like “the old folks” – meaning me these days I guess. LOL!!!! I’m pretty sure I’ve made the cheesy recipe on your site – (should have remembered that before I posted – sorry)!
    Age is just a number! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. mamsis

    Your recipe is so similar to mine! I never could get the sprinkled-on flour to magically make a white sauce in the oven. The stove top sauce is much more reliable. One thing I do differently – instead of par-boiling the sliced potatoes, I rinse and drain (but don’t dry) them, plop them in my (microwave AND oven safe) casserole dish, cover them with plastic wrap and zap them in the microwave for 4 or 5 minutes. Then I pour the white sauce over the potatoes and bake in the oven. Saves a pot! Sometimes I sprinkle on shredded cheddar near the end, but you’re right, sometimes things have to be PURE!
    Great ideas and tips. Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Yes, like the microwave tip – I debated doing that but wanted to bake in my metal pan, so went to the parboiling instead. Microwave would be even easier, you’re right – thanks for sharing! PJH

    Reply
  5. jms2

    I make scalloped potatoes for our big family dinners. The recipe I use is from my now 40 year-old Betty Crocker’s Cookbook…you know, the solid red one in a 3-ring binder? It is similar to yours PJ in that it uses a white sauce. Two things caught my eye about yours. The first is onion powder in the sauce…brilliant! The second is partially cooking the potato slices in water before laying them in the baking pan. Why do you recommend this?
    At this moment I’m craving those crusty brown potato edges from the top layer. Think I’ll call the kids over for dinner tomorrow night!
    Thanks for the inspiration. joan

    Joan, I found that cooking the potatoes a bit first both cut down on the baking time, and seemed to make the final dish less prone to be watery. My theory (unproven) is that, just as apples release some of their juice when you cook them, so would potatoes – juice that would otherwise be released into the pan and make the final dish potentially watery. And I totally remember that book – in fact, I have it somewhere on my shelves of cookbooks… That and the Better Homes & Gardens binder cookbook from the ’60s. Retro is in! :) PJH

    Reply
  6. sallybr

    haven’t made it in a long time, maybe one year! But the last time I made it, I poured the potato ‘/ milk / cream mixture in big muffin tins and baked it like that (greasing the tin first) – to get some type of Individual portions. Looked very nice, and of course, tasted delicious.

    My recipe if I remember correctly is similar to yours, I added a little bit of cheese, but not much, it was definitely more about the potatoes… :-)
    I like your idea of individual portions. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  7. lillabit2001

    My mom always used the flour-sprinkling method, which I always liked. When I got married, my Betty Crocker Cooking for Two cookbook (almost 40 years old like my big Betty Crocker and my BH & G binders) had both methods in it, but of course, I made it like Mom did. My new husband said it didn’t taste right, like it wasn’t “done.” (Oh tears and hearbreak!!) I found out that his mom used the white sauce method, so that’s how I’ve made it since. And I’ve come to like it better that way–though the flour-sprinkling method is a little less time consuming. I save some time, though by cooking the white sauce in the microwave–it takes five minutes or less, but you have to stir it a few times and keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil over and make a mess in your microwave (learned from hard experience!)

    So glad you found ways to make this taste like you want it! I also prefer cooking the white sauce before going into the pan: I like to “cook” out the flour taste a bit and also smooth things out! Happy Baking, Kim@KAF

    Reply
    1. Gene

      My mother mastered the flour-sprinkling method. Her scalloped potatoes were delicious. When I try it, no such luck. As far as I know she did not parboil the slices, but evidently that is what I need to do and also make the white sauce.

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      It could have been the thinness of the slices or the type of potato she used, Gene. Enjoy this recipe! Elisabeth@KAF

  8. Cindy Leigh

    My mom always added a very thin sliced large onion, and ham if we had leftovers. She would make a humongous sized bowl and it was the main dish, usually with broccoli on the side.
    I prefer the cheesy, with an au gratin topping.

    Reply
  9. auntfoosue

    This recipe was really yummy. I added aoubt a teaspoon or so of fresh thyme and it was heavenly. Thanks for the recipe.

    Oooh that does sound delicious! I would try some rosemary next time as well.-Jon

    Reply
  10. "Cookie Munster"

    Tried many scalloped recipes (incl B.C) without success until Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois. Adding 1-2 tsp of Vermont White Cheddar elevates the cheese flavor without masking the shredded Emmental cheese in J.Child’s version. Look forward to giving this recipe a go as well.

    Reply
  11. LisaM

    They sound great for Easter! I must admit I’m confused by the summary. It says that total baking time is at least an hour 45 minutes, but time in the oven is an hour. Does the total time include the time on the burner? I guess the main thing I’m trying to figure out is on average how long do they generally need to bake in the oven? Trying to plan out my schedule for the morning.

    The dish should take about 1 hour in the oven!-Jon

    Reply
  12. annajvos

    Do you think this would work in a crockpot? I’d love to be able to set this up before church and come back to a cooked dish. I saw one other recipe in which they set the dish up and cook it on low for 5 hours. Do you think that might work with this one?

    Thanks!
    Yes, I think this will work just fine in the crock pot and for that amount of time. If you wanted to speed it up, high for 3-4 hours should work also. What a nice idea! Elisabeth

    Reply
  13. jynx51

    This is pretty much the recipe that I have used for years …. the only change would be …. when making the white sauce, I saute chopped onion and sometimes celery in the butter before adding the flour and milk. (omitting the onion powder)

    Reply
  14. cmwilson

    Has anyone tried this with the skins on? I really hate peeling potatoes. :-)

    The addition of cheese sounds incredibly yummy as well!

    You can certainly keep the peel on, just make sure to wash your potatoes quite well!-Jon

    Reply
  15. bfischer315

    Do you have any gluten free suggestions?

    You should be able to use a starch (potato, tapioca, arrowroot, corn) instead of flour to thicken the bechamel portion of this recipe. There were quite a few gluten free bechamel recipes when I did a quick search on Google so it may be a good starting place as well.-Jon

    Reply
  16. Amy

    Scalloped potatoes are a family favorite, but occasionally, they turn a greyish color…not very appealing. What causes this?

    That depends on when the potatoes are turning grey. If your potatoes are turning grey before cooking then they are oxidizing or they were stored in improper conditions. If they are turning grey after boiling then it could have been your pot. Aluminum pots will sometimes turn potatoes grey or black when boiling in them so it is best to use a stainless steel pot.-Jon

    Reply
    1. Gene

      I have found that sometimes the potatoes I buy are a little green under the skin. If I don’t get all that green off when peeling, they will turn grey when steamed or boiled. They seem to taste ok, just don’t look ok.

  17. Mistyblue1959

    I like the crockpot idea for these! Can you suggest how much of your Vermont cheddar to add to this dish?

    Start with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and see if it meets your flavor and texture preferences – happy baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  18. mstebby

    These were okay. The texture was nice. But they desperately needed cheese. I put in a little fresh rosemary that added a nice touch, but overall they seemed a bland. I also would follow the advice of some of the reviewers and add a little onion too.

    I think that is the beauty of this recipe; it is a blank canvas. You can add cheese, spices, bacon (mmm) or anything you like!-Jon

    Reply
  19. carollee1955

    I made these for Easter and everyone loved them. I used heavy cream instead of whole milk and I added chopped onion for extra flavor. I would definitely make these again!

    Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback – glad the potatoes were a hit! PJH

    Reply
  20. Cheryl Deger

    I just bought 10lbs if russets. I’m going to try your recipe with them. I’m so hoping it will turn out. I love that it can be made to the point of baking the day before. Please please, your fingers crossed they the recipe works with russets. Thank you.

    Reply

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