Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (2023)

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Simmer thinly sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce with onions and fresh herbs, then load them with sharp cheddar cheese to make these irresistible Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes! Plus, with make-ahead instructions these are a foolproof freezer-friendly side dish for a holiday meal or even a special weekend menu.

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  • 🥇 Why make-ahead potatoes are great!
  • 🥔 Ingredients
  • 🔪 How to make cheesy scalloped potatoes
  • 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 For a crowd
  • ❄️ How to make ahead and freeze scalloped potatoes
  • 🙋 Questions and Answers
  • 📖 Other great side dishes
  • 👋🏻 Connect with us!
  • 📋 Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

Before you keep reading, let's settle a debate. Are these au gratin potatoes or scalloped? Traditionally au gratin potatoes have a layer of cheese on the top while scalloped potatoes have breadcrumbs on top. So maybe this is a hybrid? These make-ahead cheesy scalloped potatoes are cheesy throughout the entire dish - not just on top. 😋

If you are looking for another potato recipe that can be made ahead and put in the refrigerator or freezer, try this Twice Baked Potato Casserole. It is loaded with bacon, cheddar, sour cream, and onions. Delicious!

The obsession (too strong a word? I don’t think so!) with this classic dish began many years ago when we found them in our Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. Over time we have altered the recipe to find the quickest way to make these homemade scalloped potatoes with cream, as well as the best way to make the sauce as cheesy as possible.

What began as a perfect side dish on Easter, because they are easily made ahead, has now become a Christmas dinner staple, as well as one of my go-to make-ahead potato side dish options whenever I am serving a crowd. Serve with a Roasted Ham covered in Pineapple Ham Glaze for the best meal!

🥇 Why make-ahead potatoes are great!

Scalloped potatoes aren’t hard to make, but they can be problematic. This recipe addresses each problem to create a masterful recipe from basic ingredients.

  1. Potatoes browning: Typically they must be made right before serving or else the potatoes turn brown. By simmering the slices of potatoes in a sauce before baking, the potatoes can be made well in advance without discoloring.
  2. Cheesy layer only on top: Instead of getting a deep cheesy flavor in each bite, only the top layer gets some. This is fixed by adding the cheese into the sauce before the potatoes go into the baking dish.
  3. Tedious preparation: Slicing, dicing, and shredding can add up to a lengthy amount of prep time. Using a food processor (affiliate) cuts the prep time in half (or more!). Feel free to use a knife though if you do not have a food processor.
  4. Uneven cooking time: If the potatoes are not cut evenly some of the slices will begin disintegrating before others are tender. Using a food processor makes this an efficient process.
  5. No Flour: Often scalloped potatoes contain flour in order to thicken the sauce. If you want to avoid gluten then this recipe is for you. It is made without all purpose flour so it is naturally gluten free.
Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (2)

🥔 Ingredients

Butter: Salted or unsalted will work.
Onion: Yellow or sweet onion are best.
Thyme: Fresh thyme leaves are best but you may substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in a pinch.
Salt & pepper: Kosher salt and ground pepper.
Russet potatoes: These are the perfect potatoes to use in scalloped potatoes because of their level of starchiness. If you use yukon gold or red potatoes the sauce may not get thick enough.
Chicken broth: Adds a layer of flavor to the sauce without being extra heavy.
Heavy cream: Just enough to make the sauce rich and creamy. Whole milk or half and half will not be thick enough for this recipe.
Bay leaves: Fresh or dried leaves.
Cheese: Sharp cheddar adds the most flavor but any cheddar will do. Someday I am going to try these with a smoked cheddar. Sounds divine!

🔪 How to make cheesy scalloped potatoes

Before cooking, prep the ingredients in the food processor (affiliate):

Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (3)
  • In a food processor (affiliate) fit with a chopping blade, pulse large chunks of onion until evenly minced. Empty the food processor and rinse it out.
  • Insert the ¼ inch slicing disk into the food processor. Putting one potato into the feed tube at a time, slice them all evenly. Empty the processor and rinse thoroughly.
  • Insert the shredding disk into the processor. Shred all the cheese. Now the cooking is ready to begin.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor each step may be done with a sharp knife or mandoline slicer and cheese grater. The prep will be a bit longer, but this recipe is worth it!

Heat a deep pot over medium to medium-high heat. Melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the minced onion and cook until soft, which is about 4 minutes. Then add in the garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Cook for approximately 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken broth and then the heavy cream.

At this point if I think the onions are too large (some people in the family don’t care for the texture of onion) I will put a stick blender in the pot and blend until almost smooth. This is a completely optional step.

Now it is time to add in the potato slices and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

(Video) CREAMY SCALLOPED POTATOES - How to make SCALLOPED or AU GRATIN POTATOES Recipe

Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (4)

Discard the bay leaves and stir in the cheddar cheese. Mix the cheesy cream sauce thoroughly until all the cheese is melted.

If serving immediately, pour the cheesy scalloped potatoes into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish and bake at 425 degrees oven for 15 minutes. If making ahead, see the FAQ section below.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 For a crowd

When making these cheesy make ahead scalloped potatoes for a crowd, here are a couple tips.

  1. If you double the recipe and put it into a larger casserole dish, they will take longer to bake. Be sure to give yourself up to an extra half an hour just to be safe. Or put each batch into a prepared baking dish and bake as directed. It's absolutely not necessary but if you like pretty serving dishes like I do, this white one (affiliate) has become a favorite.
  2. The potatoes brown very quickly, so when I am doubling or tripling the recipe I like to get the broth and cream heating before slicing the potatoes. That way I can add them directly from the food processor into the pot of liquid.
Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (5)

❄️ How to make ahead and freeze scalloped potatoes

Cheesy scalloped potatoes with cream are perfect for preparing ahead for either the refrigerator or the freezer. Once the potatoes are in the greased 9x13 pan, allow them to cool completely. Wrap with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

After freezing, allow the potatoes to fully thaw in the refrigerator. This can take 24 hours so give them plenty of time.

Once thawed, remove the potatoes from the refrigerator an hour before baking and let them begin to come to room temperature. Remove the layer of plastic wrap, but replace the tinfoil layer. Cook for the first 30 minutes with the tinfoil on and the last 20-30 minutes with the foil off.

They hold well for at about an hour so I put them in the oven extra early just in case they need a few extra minutes baking time to heat thoroughly.

🙋 Questions and Answers

What are the best potatoes to use for scalloped potatoes?

Russet potatoes are perfect for these scalloped potatoes. The natural starch helps to thicken the sauce. This is a no flour recipe. The sauce will thicken up on its own.

How to store leftover scalloped potatoes?

Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

👨🏼‍🍳 Tips & Tricks

  • Use a food processor for quick prep time.
  • Move quickly after prepping the potatoes or they will discolor.
  • Be sure to slice potatoes in an even thickness so that they cook evenly.
  • Before baking from frozen, make sure the dish is fully thawed or the edges will get done before the middle.
Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (6)

📖 Other great side dishes

  • Try this easy version of twice baked potatoes. All the flavor with way less work!
  • Buttery dinner rolls using frozen rhodes rolls? Look no further! This recipe is easy and delicious!
  • Loaded with flavor, this version of cranberry rice is perfect for the holidays!

👋🏻 Connect with us!

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and star rating to let us know how it is!We’d also love to connect with you onFacebook,Instagram, orPinterest. Tag @borrowedbites or hashtag #borrowedbites to show us your food!

📋 Recipe

Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream) (7)

Make-Ahead Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (with cream)

Simmer thinly sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce with onions and fresh herbs, then load them with sharp cheddar cheese to make these irresistible Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes! Plus, with make-ahead instructions these are a foolproof freezer-friendly side dish for all your special menus or even a special weekend meal.

5 from 13 votes

Print Pin Rate

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Cooling: 10 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

(Video) Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes - Cheesy Potatoes - Easy Recipes

Servings: 6

Calories: 429kcal

Author: Borrowed Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • pounds russet potatoes washed and peeled
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 ounces cheddar cheese

Instructions

Make-Ahead Instructions

  • Spray 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray.

  • In a food processor, mince onion, slice potatoes ¼ inch thick, and shred cheese, making sure to clean out the processor bowl in between ingredients.

  • Melt butter over medium to medium-high heat in a deep pot. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes or until soft.

    2 tablespoon butter, 1 small onion

  • Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.

    2 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper

  • Add broth and cream. *Optional: If the onion is too chunky for your preference use an immersion blender to blend until mostly smooth.

    1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup heavy cream

    (Video) Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes made Creamy and Easy

  • Add potatoes and bay leaves. Simmer, then cover and simmer stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

    2½ pounds russet potatoes, 2 bay leaves

  • Discard bay leaves. Add cheese and stir until the cheese is fully melted. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.

    5 ounces cheddar cheese

  • NOTE: If baking immediately without refrigerating or freezing first, jump down to the "Baking Immediately Instructions." If making ahead, continue with the next step.

  • Once the potatoes are in the greased 9x13 pan, allow them to cool completely. Wrap with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of tinfoil. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • If frozen, allow the potatoes to fully thaw in the refrigerator before serving day. This can take 24 hours so give them plenty of time. Once thawed, move to next step.

  • Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator an hour before baking and let them begin to come to room temperature. Remove the layer of plastic wrap, but replace the tinfoil layer. Cook for 50-60 minutes at 425°F, the first 30 minutes with the tinfoil on, and the last 20-30 minutes with the foil off. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Baking Immediately Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.

  • Follow steps 1-7 above.

  • Once the potatoes are poured into the greased pan, bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

  • We love comments! Please come back and leave us one after you’ve tried this recipe.

Notes

Tips & Tricks

(Video) LIFE-CHANGING SCALLOPED POTATOES - AKA THE BEST POTATOES I'VE EVER MADE | SAM THE COOKING GUY 4K

  • Use a food processor for quick prep time.
  • Move quickly after prepping the potatoes or they will discolor.
  • Be sure to slice potatoes in an even thickness so that they cook evenly.
  • Make sure they are fully thawed after freezing or the edges will get done before the middle.

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 737mg | Potassium: 914mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1054IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutrition information is provided by a third party and is an estimate only. Use your own nutritional calculator for more specific measurements.

Tried this recipe?Leave a rating or pin it for later!

(Video) CHEESY SCALLOPED POTATOES! STEP BY STEP!❤

FAQs

Can I cook scalloped potatoes ahead of time? ›

I love that these scalloped potatoes make a great make-ahead side dish as well! Bake the scalloped potatoes as directed and allow to cool. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, cover with foil and bake at 350º F until heated throughout, about 30 minutes.

How far in advance can you slice potatoes for scalloped potatoes? ›

If raw, once the potato is cut you can store in the refrigerator, covered with water for 12-24 hours. Be sure to keep submerged in water to prevent slices from turning gray or brown.

How do you keep cream from curdling in scalloped potatoes? ›

The best way to prevent curdling in scalloped potatoes is to start with high starch potatoes, such as Russets, that will help to thicken the sauce, use very fresh cream or half-and-half rather than whole or low-fat milk, and thicken the cream with flour or corn starch to make a sauce rather than topping the ingredients ...

Can you make scalloped potatoes ahead of time and freeze them? ›

❄️ How to make ahead and freeze scalloped potatoes

Wrap with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. After freezing, allow the potatoes to fully thaw in the refrigerator.

Can you prep potato gratin the day before? ›

Can I made potatoes au gratin in advance? Absolutely. Prepare everything into your casserole dish and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Press the wrap directly on the potatoes to prevent them from browning, although some discolouration may happen on the top.

Why did my scalloped potatoes turn GREY? ›

My potatoe are sort of purple or gray

Your potatoes have oxidized, which means you prepped them too far ahead. If you want to peel and slice your potatoes in advance be sure to cover them with cold water so that they are not exposed to air, which will make them discolor.

How can I keep my mashed potatoes warm ahead of time? ›

The ideal temperature to keep mash potatoes warm is 300 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when you're using an oven or crock pot. But, to keep it warm without overcooking, make sure to put it in a pan or bowl covered with foil before placing it inside the oven.

How long can peeled potatoes sit in water in the refrigerator? ›

You can store peeled potatoes in water in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Peeled potatoes left out by themselves at room temperature, on a refrigerator shelf or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap will still get dark overnight, so submerge them in a bowl of water, cover and refrigerate.

How long can peeled potatoes sit in water at room temperature? ›

How long can peeled and cut potatoes sit in water before cooking, before they begin taking on too much water? A: We usually recommend no more than 24 hours. You can keep the potatoes from absorbing the water by making sure the water is not salted, and is chilled (you can even add ice to the water).

Why does cream split in dauphinoise potatoes? ›

Potato dauphinois requires slow cooking on a medium temperature. If the heat is too high, the cream will split, resulting in a horrible, disappointing mess. Somewhere around 200C (180C Fan) is perfect. The gratin might take closer to 90 minutes to cook through properly, but it will be worth it!

What is the difference between potato gratin and dauphinoise? ›

Potato dauphinoise is made with uncooked thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a cream sauce, whereas potato au gratin is made with pre-cooked thinly sliced potato in a cream sauce. The only real difference is one is pre-cooked, and the other isn't.

Is curdled cream safe to eat? ›

And while it's perfectly safe to eat sauces that have curdled, it's not especially appetizing. Here are a few strategies to combat curdling: If a dairy-based sauce curdles, immediately halt the cooking process.

How long do cheesy potatoes last in the fridge? ›

Storing leftovers.

Place any leftover potato casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.

How long can you keep scalloped potatoes in the fridge? ›

These potatoes will keep in the fridge for about 4 days and reheat well in the microwave, oven or in a frying pan! If you want to freeze them longer, yes, scalloped potatoes can be frozen! Almost any casserole dish can be frozen perfectly with a little know-how.

Why won't my scalloped potatoes get soft? ›

If you have a lot of sour cream in your scalloped potatoes or add something acidic, your potatoes may not soften. You can cook the potatoes with heavy cream or milk and then, after they soften, stir in sour cream. If you have a lot of very acidic tomatoes in a paella, the rice may never soften.

How long does creamy potato bake last in fridge? ›

Recipe Notes

Storage: cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days or place serving-sized portions in small airtight containers and freeze for up to 1 month.

Can you prep potatoes ahead of time for roasting? ›

If you want to get ahead, why not boil them in advance, then toss in a little oil and store in the fridge until you're ready to roast them. There's no need to bring them back up to room temperature, just toss them into hot fat straight from the fridge.

How do you keep dauphinoise potatoes from turning black? ›

When slicing they were exposed to air (which will cause them to quickly turn dark). One method to avoid this is to peel the potatoes, place in water covering the potatoes, remove and slice on a cutting board with a knife that is steel (some blades have iron in them and till will turn the potato dark).

Can I par boil potatoes in advance? ›

As if better flavors and saved time were not enough to convince you to parboil, you can even prep your potatoes early this way. Parboiled potatoes are good for up to one to two days after you remove them from boiling.

Why do parboiled potatoes go black? ›

According to the American Journal of Potato Research: After-cooking darkening is caused by the oxidation of the ferri-chlorogenic acid in the boiled or fried potatoes. The severity of the darkening is dependent on the ratio of chlorogenic acid to citric acid concentrations in the potato tubers.

How do you keep parboiled potatoes from turning black? ›

A: Place the potatoes in water to cover and add some acidity like a teaspoon of concentrated lemon juice or white wine vinegar to keep from browning.

How do you reheat scalloped potatoes? ›

For easy reheating of scalloped potatoes, individual portions can be reheated in the oven at 300-325 °F for 20-30 minutes or in the microwave or in the oven at 50% power for 3-5 minutes. While the oven method yields the best results, the microwave is the fastest.

Can potatoes be peeled and cut ahead of time? ›

The short answer is yes. You can absolutely peel potatoes ahead of time.

How long can cooked scalloped potatoes sit out? ›

You want to be able to eat your potato without worrying if you are going to get food poisoning or botulism. Here's how you can ensure that your baked potatoes are safe to eat. DON'T let your potato sit out in the open at room temperature for over four hours regardless of whether or not it is wrapped in aluminum foil.

How long do scalloped potatoes need to cook? ›

Scalloped potatoes should bake for about 4o minutes at 350F while covered. Then you'll remove the cover and bake for 40 more minutes. In total, it will be about an hour and 20 minutes of bake time.

Are scalloped potatoes good the next day? ›

Scalloped potatoes are definitely a recipe worth keeping in your arsenal, especially for nights when you deserve an extra special treat. These are scrumptious served warm from the oven but I think they get even better as they cool. In fact, I actually prefer them cooked and reheated the next day.

What is the best way to reheat cheesy potatoes? ›

Reheating on the stove or in the oven is the best way to get your leftovers warm without making them soggy. Cover your potatoes with a layer of foil or an oven-safe lid. Preheat your oven to 350 F, and place the dish on the middle rack. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are warmed all the way through.

Should you cover scalloped potatoes when reheating? ›

Summary. The best way to reheat scalloped potatoes is in the oven. Reheat the scalloped potatoes for approximately 20 minutes in a foil-covered baking dish.

How do I prepare potatoes the night before? ›

Peel potatoes using a vegetable peeler. It's best to leave them whole, but you can go ahead and cube or dice them if you want — just don't slice them too thin. Fill a bowl with cool water, submerge the potatoes, then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator overnight.

Can I make mashed potatoes ahead and reheat? ›

Make-ahead mashed potatoes are a great option for the holidays. You can do nearly everything — boil, peel, and mash; stir in milk and salt — up to two days ahead. Before serving, reheat. Adding butter at the last minute makes them taste freshly mashed.

How can I keep my mashed potatoes warm ahead of time? ›

The ideal temperature to keep mash potatoes warm is 300 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when you're using an oven or crock pot. But, to keep it warm without overcooking, make sure to put it in a pan or bowl covered with foil before placing it inside the oven.

How long does creamy potato bake last in fridge? ›

Recipe Notes

Storage: cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days or place serving-sized portions in small airtight containers and freeze for up to 1 month.

How long do creamy potatoes last in the fridge? ›

Properly stored, cooked potatoes will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. How long can cooked potatoes be left at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; cooked potatoes should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature.

How long can cheesy potatoes last in the fridge? ›

Storage Tips

Place any leftover potato casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. To reheat. Pop individual servings in the microwave and cook for 30 second intervals until it's warm.

Why won't my scalloped potatoes get soft? ›

If you have a lot of sour cream in your scalloped potatoes or add something acidic, your potatoes may not soften. You can cook the potatoes with heavy cream or milk and then, after they soften, stir in sour cream. If you have a lot of very acidic tomatoes in a paella, the rice may never soften.

What is the difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes? ›

Scalloped potatoes are much simpler. Most recipes call for the potatoes to be baked in a basic cream sauce (usually a mix of milk and heavy cream), and that's it. Potatoes au gratin are a bit more decadent. They are made with lots of cheese sprinkled in between the layers of potatoes and also on top of the casserole.

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