Rich from heavy cream, whole milk and shredded cheese, these are the Best Scalloped Potatoes on earth. Just ask my husband!
With the addition of some Easter leftovers, baked ham and heavy cream, this baked ham and potato casserole hit all the marks. It’s creamy, tender, savory and undeniably irresistible.
Best Scalloped Potatoes
It was an America’s Test Kitchen email mentioning their holiday scalloped potatoes that got my attention. Rack of lamb was on our Easter menu, so I had cooked a ham earlier in the week, leaving us with a multitude of leftovers. Ham sandwiches weren’t cutting it anymore. The aha moment was to transform traditional scalloped potatoes into a ham and potato casserole.
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes, Potatoes Gratin or Au Gratin?
Well, if you want the official culinary definition, scalloped potatoes are typically thicker sliced potatoes baked in cream. No cheese is added. Potatoes Gratin, with au gratin translating to a dish topped with cheese and breadcrumbs in French, are potatoes with those exact toppings. Note that gratin potatoes are often sliced a bit thinner than scalloped potatoes.
But like with these “cheesy” scalloped potatoes, the rules are broken all the time. Though my “scalloped potatoes” might be more appropriately named potatoes gratin, call them whatever you want! This is one rich and creamy side dish you’ll want on your menu ASAP.
Tips for Making the Best Scalloped Potatoes
These scalloped potatoes are foolproof. If you’ve ever made a potato casserole, and remember going back and forth to the oven, poking the potatoes with a knife to find out if they’re tender, this recipe eliminates that tedious step.
- These potato slices are actually simmered in a seasoned mixture of cream and whole milk until they’re almost tender. Adding a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper makes for a flavorful sauce. A bay leaf would be nice or even a few gratings of fresh nutmeg.
- PRO-Tip: Cooking the slices first shortens the time in the oven to 20 minutes, just enough time for the cheese to melt and top to brown.
- PRO-Tip: Slice your potatoes about 1/8 inch thick. Thinner slices will end up falling apart.
- Use a benriner slicer to make even slices. A mandoline or a chef’s knife works well, too.
- I used half sharp cheddar cheese and half Gruyere, a Swiss cheese. Feel free to mix things up with just one cheese or a mixture of your favorites.
- Adding ham is totally optional. These scalloped potatoes are terrific even without it!
More Potato Recipes:
- Easy Potato Casserole
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Grilled Potato Packets
- Hasselback Potatoes
- Potato Gratin
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Side Dish Recipes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a large pot, then saute the onion and sauté until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and remove from heat so the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the cream, milk, thyme, salt, pepper and potatoes, return to heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.
Remove the thyme, then place the potato mixture into a shallow, 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
Bake until the cream has thickened and the top is browned, about 20 minutes.