Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes like grandma made. Creamy cheese sauce and layers of potato, all topped with more cheese and a classic sprinkle of paprika.
A great comfort side dish for almost any meal.
Potatoes—Peeled russet potatoes
Cheese—shredded cheddar cheese, but Monterey Jack or Gruyere are other good choices.
Pantry ingredients—All-purpose flour, milk, butter, and salt
Optional ingredients—cayenne pepper and paprika
Featured comment from Kathy:
"Fantastic!… Thank you for a great recipe. Perfect for an Easter dinner during social distancing.."
Scalloped potatoes are a great side dish with tender potato slices in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with cheese and paprika. It is a classic older recipe that is easy and delicious with wholesome taste with simple ingredients but may need a little adaptation to modern ways that I have done.
This smaller recipe is great for smaller households but can be doubled or decreased to a smaller "cooking for two" friendly size.
For other scalloped potato recipes, see my Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes. Or if you want ham added, please see my Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes and Ham for a different recipe that is top-rated and designed with ham in mind.
This is based on a recipe from the 1971 Florence Junior League Cookbook (not online). I expanded on the instructions to simplify and make them less intimidating and adjusted the ingredients to modern ingredients.
👨🍳How to make scalloped potatoes
- Peel, slice, and rinse russet potatoes.
- Make a roux of flour and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add milk and salt and whisk until thick. Add cheese and mix until smooth.
- Layer half the potatoes into a casserole dish and top with half the cheese sauce. Repeat another layer and top with shredded chees and a sprinkle of paprika.
- Bake until the potatoes are "fork-tender"—about an hour or a little more.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
⏰How Long to Cook
One hour and "fork-tender" is the standard recommendation for scalloped potatoes. But we want creamy melt-in-your-mouth tender for us, so we add another 20 minutes. Cover if needed to keep from browning too much.
Adding ham and making a thicker casserole will also increase the total cooking time.
Peeled russet potatoes are suggested. You may leave the peel on if you use a thinner skin potato, like Yukon Gold.
Shredded cheddar cheese is the normal choice, but Monterey Jack or Gruyere are other good choices.
The most common addition is ham. It is OK to add sliced-up ham, but check out my specific recipe, Old Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.
This classic recipe lacks a lot of things we commonly use now. First is the lack of garlic and onion, which is mandatory in most modern recipes.
There is also no added salt, but there is plenty of sodium in milk and cheese. And more can be added at serving. Other common seasonings, like thyme and rosemary, are also not in this recipe.
Having listed the things not present, I did NOT miss them. I continue to make this recipe as written but cook it a bit longer for a creamy potato texture.
↕️How to make a smaller "for two" or larger recipe
This is already a smaller recipe, half the size of many scalloped potato recipes, and is cooking for two friendly for us since we love leftovers.
To change the size of the recipe, adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. But it does NOT change the text of the instructions. So, you need to do that yourself.
For a half-size "cooking for two" scalloped potato recipe, change the serving number to 4 in the recipe card. And you need a small baking dish. If you have it, a 6X4 baking dish, but smaller baking dishes tend to be odd sizes. A bit bigger will be thinner and cook faster; a bit smaller will be thicker and take longer.
Cooking time for a smaller casserole will be faster, so watch the browning and tenderness.
For a large double-size recipe, change the number of servings in the recipe card to 16 and use a 9 by 13 standard casserole dish. Cooking time will be a bit longer.
Serving Scalloped Potatoes
I like to serve this recipe as a side dish to a larger meal like Ribeye Roast, Crock Pot Honey Glazed Ham, or Roasted Turkey Breast. But most commonly, I use it with pork, like Pan Seared Oven Roasted Pork Chops, 30 Minute Boneless Pork Ribs, Pan Seared Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin, or Grilled Boneless Country Style Ribs.
❄️Storage and reheating leftovers
Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3-4 months.
We prefer this to be reheated in an oven instead of a microwave, which seems to change the texture.
How to make scalloped potatoes ahead of time
This casserole can be made ahead by completing assembly but sealing airtight instead of cooking. Refrigerate for up to 2 days ahead or freeze for 2 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking.
Scalloped is anything baked in a casserole with a sauce that could be cheese or any other sauce.
Au Gratin means "with cheese." So this recipe could be called Scalloped, Au Gratin, or Scalloped Au Gratin. Take the cheese out and use a white sauce, and you have Scalloped but not Au Gratin. Now you know.
I use "scalloped" since it is correct, and I have called this forever. But Au Gratin is accurate and a bit more specific.
There are several reasons.
1) Potato slices are too thick for the cooking time. Cook longer or cut thinner.
2) You are cooking a thicker casserole, perhaps in a smaller pan. Use a larger pan or cook longer and tent.
3) You added an acidy ingredient, like sour cream. Only add after the potatoes are soft.
4) You are cooking on too high of rack in a non-convection oven. Lower the rack.
5) You want softer and creamier potatoes than just tender. Cook longer and cover with foil for the first part of cooking. So, my scalloped potato and ham recipe for a discussion.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°, not convection.
Slice 4-6 medium russet potatoes about ⅛ inch thick slices. If you have crazy ninja knife skills, you can do this by hand, but a mandolin is a good thing here (BE CAREFUL.) The setting on mine for this is "thin." You need to end up with about 4 cups of potato slices. Rinse in a bowl of cold water and leave in the water until needed, then pat dry with paper towels.
Start the sauce with 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When melted, add 3 tablespoons flour and whisk for a few minutes to make a roux. Add 1 ½ cup milk. Frequently whisk for a couple of minutes and add 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional.) Bring to a light boil, and this will start to thicken in a few more minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup of shredded cheese. I used cheddar. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat.
Layer half of the potatoes into a casserole dish (6 by 9 inches) that has been coated with PAM cooking spray. Put them in individually so they are not stuck together. Do not just dump them in.
Pour half the cheese sauce over the first half of the potatoes.
Add the second half of the potatoes, then the rest of the cheese sauce. Now top with ½ cup of cheese. Give a light sprinkle of paprika.
Bake until potatoes are "fork-tender"—a done potato is 200°-210°. This will be about an hour or a little more. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes
- 4-6 medium russet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons AP flour
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅙ teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
- 1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese - or cheese of choice
- 1 sprinkle paprika - optional
- Preheat oven to 350°, not convection.
- Slice 4-6 medium russet potatoes about ⅛ inch thick slices. You need to end up with about 4 cups of potato slices. Rinse in a bowl of cold water and leave in the water until needed, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Start the sauce with 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When melted, add 3 tablespoons flour and whisk for a few minutes to make a roux. Add 1 ½ cup milk. Frequently whisk for a couple of minutes and add 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional.) Bring to a light boil, and this will start to thicken in a few more minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup of shredded cheese. I used cheddar. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat.
- Layer half of the potatoes into a casserole dish (6 by 9 inches) that has been coated with PAM cooking spray. Put them in individually so they are not stuck together. Do not just dump them in.
- Pour half the cheese sauce over the first half of the potatoes.
- Add the second half of the potatoes, then the rest of the cheese sauce. Now top with ½ cup of cheese. Give a light sprinkle of paprika.
- Bake until potatoes are "fork-tender"—a done potato is 200°-210°. This will be about an hour or a little more. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- All cheese is measured by the volume of shredded cheese. One cup equals 4 oz. by weight not 8 oz.
- Use the potatoes you like, but Russets are standard, but Yukon Gold is also a good choice. You need about 4 cups of potato slices that will obviously vary by the size of the potatoes.
- Be sure to rinse and soak the potato slices for a few minutes and put them in the dish individually to prevent sticking.
- This recipe uses a 6 by 9 baking dish, about 1 ½ inches deep. If you double, use a 9 by 13 standard casserole. Half size is discussed in the post but needs a baking dish of about 4 by 6 and will cook faster.
- You can add ham to this but also check the specific Old Fashion Scalloped Potatoes and Ham recipe.
- We like our scalloped potatoes cooked longer for a creamier texture. We add about 20 minutes and tent with foil near the end to prevent over-browning — Cook to your taste but get to at least fork-tender.
- Be sure to allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and 3-4 months frozen.
- Like many casseroles, the next day, these are even better.
- Reheat in the oven covered is better than a microwave.
- If you use a mandoline, BE CAREFUL, and follow the instructions. I have seen significant injuries.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published January 19, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.