Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

5 from 2 votes

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This cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe is a true family favorite! Delicate potato layers are smothered in a rich, creamy sauce and handfuls of melty cheese. It’s an excellent make-ahead side dish, guaranteed to feed a crowd!  

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Cheesy scalloped potatoes are a classic comfort food dish, perfect for any occasion! They’re my go-to side on Easter, Mother’s Day, or whenever I’m in the mood for a cozy meal. 

Despite their impressive presentation, my easy, cheesy scalloped potatoes are pretty simple to make! 

  • Flavor – Scalloped potatoes are the ultimate savory side dish. My recipe for cheesy scalloped potatoes calls for cilantro, which helps to cut through some of the richness and provides a bright, fresh flavor. 
  • Texture – A smooth cream sauce ensures the potatoes stay perfectly moist and tender, and melted cheese gives the entire dish a luscious mouthfeel. 
  • Crowd-pleasing – I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t like potatoes combined with cream sauce and melted cheese. 

Scalloped potatoes complement practically every main dish! I love serving them with this perfect prime rib or glazed spiral ham

If you have an Instant Pot, try this 45-minute Instant Pot scalloped potatoes recipe, too. 

Key Ingredient Notes:

  • Potatoes Russet, Idaho, or Yukon gold potatoes are your best choice when making cheesy scalloped potatoes. They have a high starch content that, when cooked, gives the potatoes a creamy, soft, melt-in-your-mouth consistency. 
  • Flour – This helps to thicken the sauce. I promise your potatoes won’t taste floury!
  • Garlic A non-negotiable flavor addition! The only question is, how much!? To get the best punch of flavor, I highly recommend mincing freshly peeled garlic right before using it.
  • Milk and heavy cream – When combined, milk and heavy cream create the perfect creamy, rich sauce that’s not too heavy. Any milk works, but whole milk or 2% milk will give you a richer result. 
  • Cilantro – This might sound like a bizarre addition to scalloped potatoes, but you have to trust me on this one. It adds a delicious, slightly peppery, herbaceous flavor. However, if you’re someone who has that gene that causes cilantro to taste like soap, then by all means, skip it! Or, you can substitute the cilantro with flat-leaf parsley.
  • Cheese Creamy, buttery Havarti cheese and melty mozzarella run the show here. Both cheeses melt beautifully and add a nice velvety texture to the dish. The combination of two different types of cheese makes this recipe for cheesy scalloped potatoes far better than any frozen or store-bought option. 
Ingredients needed to make cheesy scalloped potatoes.

How to make scalloped potatoes:

Before you get started, preheat your oven to 400°F, and spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. I recommend using a dish that’s at least 2 inches deep!  

1. Prepare the potatoes

  • Wash and peel 3-4 medium-sized russet potatoes.
  • Cut the potatoes into very thin slices, about ⅛-inch thick. I like to use a mandoline slicer for this step as it helps to make uniform slices!

2. Make the creamy roux mixture

  • Whisk the flour, garlic, salt, and pepper with ½ cup of heavy cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl until well combined. 
  • Stir in the remaining heavy cream, milk, and cilantro. 

Avoid lumps

Mix the flour with just a small amount of cream first to prevent any lumps and create a smooth, saucy consistency.

Thinly sliced potato rounds and an herbed milk mixture.

3. Layer the potatoes, cream, and cheese

  • Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the prepared baking dish, overlapping them as needed. 
  • Pour half of the creamy roux mixture over the potatoes. 
  • Sprinkle half of each cheese evenly over the potatoes and cream mixture. 
  • Layer on the remaining potatoes, cream, and cheese.

4. Bake the cheesy scalloped potatoes  

  • Tightly cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Remove the foil. Then, bake for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.  
  • If desired, broil under high heat for about 2 minutes for a crisp, golden-brown top. 
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 
Four images showing the process of creating cheesy scalloped potatoes.

Tips for Success:

  • Use Russet, Yukon gold, or Idaho potatoes. These varieties have a high starch content, which results in the best texture for this dish. 
  • A mandolin is a game-changer for achieving super thin, uniform potato slices. This ensures that the potatoes cook quickly and evenly. 
  • Using a combination of different types of cheese adds more flavor. Feel free to try making cheesy scalloped potatoes with other cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, fontina, or gruyère. You can’t go wrong if you choose a melty cheese!   
  • This is a basic version of scalloped potatoes, perfect for customizing. I encourage you to play around with the seasonings and herbs! 
  • Let the scalloped potatoes rest before serving. Resting allows the sauce to thicken and makes it easier to serve.   

Make-Ahead Tips:

This cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe is the ideal make-ahead side dish. You have a few options here: 

  • Prep ahead and bake later: Fully assemble the casserole, cover it tightly with foil, and refrigerate it for up to 1 day. Then, bake the scalloped potatoes as instructed when you’re ready to serve them.
  • Bake ahead and reheat: Baking cheesy scalloped potatoes in advance is also an option. Assemble and bake the casserole as instructed, and let it cool. Then, cover the dish with foil, and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to serve the casserole, reheat it in the oven at 400°F for about 30 minutes. Keep the potatoes covered with foil to prevent excessive browning! 
  • Slice your potatoes in advance: Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water, making sure to submerge them fully. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. When you’re ready to prepare your casserole, rinse the potatoes with fresh water, and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels.   
A plate of cheesy scalloped potatoes with a fork sticking out of a bite.

Storing Tips:

  • Store leftover scalloped potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat leftovers in the oven or microwave. Microwave in short intervals until your desired warmth is reached. Warm in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350°F, covered with foil to prevent browning.  
  • Cheesy scalloped potatoes don’t freeze well, as freezing causes the texture and flavor to change significantly. 

Scalloped Potatoes FAQs:

What type of potatoes are best for scalloped potatoes?

Starchy potatoes, such as russet, Yukon gold, and Idaho, are best for making scalloped potatoes. They become tender as they cook and soak up the creamy sauce, resulting in a velvety, luscious texture. Low-starch potatoes remain firm and don’t soak up the sauce, which obviously isn’t the consistency we’re going for!  

Why is my scalloped potato sauce runny?

If you stored your sliced potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent discoloration, drain them well and pat them dry with a paper towel. The extra water on the potato slices could be the reason your sauce is runny. Also, the flour in the sauce mixture helps to thicken the sauce, so don’t skip it!  

How do you know when scalloped potatoes are fully cooked?

Scalloped potatoes are finished cooking when they’re fork-tender. If a fork pierces through easily, you know they’re done! 

What is the difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes?

Both au gratin and scalloped potatoes are prepared with thinly sliced potatoes and a cream sauce. Some scalloped potato recipes contain cheese (like this one), but it’s not always a key ingredient. On the other hand, all au gratin potato recipes contain cheese and a crunchy breadcrumb topping.  

Are scalloped potatoes the same as cheesy potatoes?

Au gratin potatoes are also lovingly referred to as cheesy potatoes. Since not all scalloped potato recipes contain cheese, it’s not safe to assume scalloped potatoes and cheesy potatoes are the same dish. 

Why are my scalloped potatoes still hard?

If your scalloped potatoes are still hard, they may need more time in the oven, more liquid added, or you may have used the wrong type of potato. 

A baking dish full of cheesy scalloped potatoes topped with cilantro.
5 from 2 votes

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

This family favorite cheesy scalloped potatoes are famous for its creamy richness and delicate cheesy layers. Excellent make-ahead side dish for a crowd!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 8 servings


  • 3-4 medium russet potatoes Note 1
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves Note 2
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk Note 3
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro chopped Note 4
  • 4 oz (120 g) mozzarella cheese grated Note 5
  • 4 oz (120 g) Havarti cheese grated



  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray at least 2-inch deep large casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch thin slices. (TIP: Use a mandoline slicer for even slices.)
    3-4 medium russet potatoes
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup of heavy cream, flour, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined. Then stir in the remaining heavy cream, milk and cilantro.
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, ½ cup loosely packed cilantro
  • Arrange half of the potatoes in prepared baking dish. Then pour half of the cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle half of each cheeses in even layer.
    4 oz mozzarella cheese, 4 oz Havarti cheese
  • Layer the remaining potato slices, pour the remaining cream mixture and sprinkle the cheeses.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. If desired, broil for about 2 minutes for beautiful golden color.
  • Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: Choose starchy potatoes like russets or Idaho potatoes. But all-purpose potatoes, like Yukon gold works great too! You’ll need about 2 lbs of potatoes, washed and peeled (or just scrubbed well).
Note 2: I highly recommend grating freshly peeled garlic right before using for the best punch of flavor!
Note 3: Any type of milk works. For richer result, use whole or 2% milk.
Note 4: Cilantro might sound like a bizarre addition in scalloped potatoes, but you just have to trust me on this one, it’s delicious. But you may skip it too.
Note 5: Creamy buttery havarti cheese and melty mozzarella run the show here. Both cheeses melt beautifully and add nice creaminess to the dish. Plus, combination of 2 different cheeses adds more flavor.
Make-Ahead Tip:
Scalloped potatoes are perfect make-ahead side dish for different occasions. And you can take one of two routes:
– Prep ahead and bake later: You can assemble the casserole, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Then bake it right before serving.
– Bake-ahead and reheat: You can also bake it a day in advance. And when ready to serve, reheat it in the oven at 400°F for about 30 minutes.
Storing Tip:
Refrigerate leftover scalloped potatoes in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Scalloped potatoes don’t freeze well.


Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 283kcal
Carbohydrates: 19g
Protein: 10g
Fat: 19g
Sugar: 3g
Sodium: 656mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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  1. 5 stars
    This looks amazing. I originally found your recipe on realhousemoms recipe website. I noticed the two cooking times were different, and was wondering which one we should follow?

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe… I use 6 oz. Cheddar & gruyere…and 3oz gruyere from trader Joes. Do 3 layers instead of 2. Also par boil sliced potatoes for 7 mins. Always make ahead without baking..cover & put in fridge. Take out 30mins b4 baking. Always get request from guest for the recipe

  3. Hi there!  If you want to make ahead of time, would you make it all the way and then just heat up when you are ready?  If so – Whats the process of reheating?

    Or do you make it to the 30 minute mark, and then continue cooking for the 20 minutes uncovered??


    1. Hi, Steve. I usually make it through step 8, before baking, and refrigerate until the next day. And then proceed with the baking directions. Since the potatoes are covered with milk mixture, they won’t turn color or anything. Hope this helps.

  4. Looking forward to more cheese recipes!! Need to pick up some Havarti but this is a must try. Cheese and bacon are my favorite add-ons. And you are correct! Flavor IS everything!

    1. Barbara, hope you give this a try. It’s soo good. And I love Havarti, but you can also use any other cheese you like.