Skip to Content

Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes

These Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes – thinly sliced potatoes layered with onions and a creamy sauce and baked to golden brown perfection – are the ultimate comfort food side dish!

Every home cook should have a really good traditional scalloped potato recipe in their collection…and this is it. They’re perfect for holidays, special occasions and Sunday dinner (or even a weeknight dinner if you have the extra time)!

Yes, homemade scalloped potatoes do take longer to make than many other potato side dishes. You’re looking at about 2 hours from start to finish.

BUT all of the steps are very easy, and most of the time needed is oven time (prep time is only about 20 minutes), which means that you can go about doing other things while they cook.

You’ll start by making a quick bechamel sauce from butter, flour and milk. Then you’ll thinly slice the potatoes and dice some onions. Layer it all together in a baking dish, dot the top with butter, and bake for about 90 minutes.

During that time, the potatoes will become tender and covered in the creamy white sauce. The onions will permeate the entire dish and add lots of great flavor. And the top will get gorgeously golden brown.

Once you take ’em out of the oven, you’ll need to gather up just a little more patience and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you dig in. The waiting is both the easiest and the hardest part.

Scalloped potatoes are absolutely worth it, though. And they’re proof that even recipes with just a few simple and basic ingredients can be some of the best!

the ingredients needed to make easy classic scalloped potatoes

Ingredients You Need

  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk (whole)
  • Cooking spray
  • Potatoes (I use Yukon Golds; Russets can also be used.)
  • Onion (white or yellow)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

You’ll notice that there’s no cheese in this scalloped potatoes recipe. That’s because, when you add cheese, you’re really making au gratin potatoes. See the Substitutions & Variations section for details on how to make that easy modification!

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

How to Make Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes

1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

3: Add the flour.

3 numbered images; number 1 is a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit, number 2 is of butter melting in a saucepan, and number 3 is of flour added to the melted butter in the saucepan

4: Whisk to combine the butter and flour, then continue cooking and whisking for one minute.

5: While whisking, slowly add the milk and continue whisking until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

6: Increase the heat and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer, whisking constantly, for one minute or until the sauce has thickened (it should coat a spoon). Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

3 numbered images; number 4 is of the butter and flour cooking in the saucepan, number 5 is of milk, salt and pepper added to the butter and flour mixture in the saucepan, and number 6 is of a spoonful of the thickened sauce over the pot

7: Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the dish. Season with salt and pepper.

8: Evenly sprinkle half of the diced onions over the potatoes.

9: Spoon half of the sauce evenly over the potatoes and onions.

3 numbered images; number 7 is of the sliced potatoes in the baking dish sprinkled with salt and pepper, number 8 is of onions on top of the potatoes in the baking dish, and number 9 is of sauce over the potatoes and onions in the baking dish

10: Arrange the remaining potatoes over the sauce; season with salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle the remaining onions over the potatoes.

11: Spoon the remaining sauce evenly over the potatoes and onions. Dot the top with butter.

12: Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

3 numbered images; number 10 is of the second layer of potatoes and onions in the baking dish, number 11 is of the second half of the sauce over the potatoes and onions in the baking dish and topped with 8 squares of butter, and number 12 is of the baking dish covered in foil

13: Bake for 45 minutes.

14: Remove the aluminum foil from the baking dish.

15: Continue baking, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown (about another 45 to 60 minutes, but you can start checking them at 30 minutes).

3 numbered images; number 13 is a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit, number 14 is of the partially baked scalloped potatoes with the foil taken off, and number 15 is a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit

16: Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to thicken and the potatoes to set up a bit for easier serving.

17: If desired, sprinkle the top with chopped fresh parsley. This is optional, but it does add a nice touch of color.

18: Serve immediately and enjoy!

3 numbered images; number 16 is of the finished scalloped potatoes resting on the countertop, number 17 is of the finished scalloped potatoes sprinkled with parsley, and number 18 is of scalloped potatoes on a white plate with a fork and text that says enjoy

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. For the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • My top choice of potato for scalloped potatoes are Yukon Golds because they are semi-starchy but hold their shape well.
    • Russets are my second choice, and I’ve used them lots of times. They are more starchy and can fall apart easier.
    • I don’t recommend using waxy white or red potatoes because they can take longer to cook and have a firmer texture.
  • Slice the potatoes thinly, about ⅛ inch thick (thicker slices would take longer to cook). Make sure all the slices have a uniform thickness so that they cook evenly.
    • If you have a mandoline slicer, this is the perfect time to use it. But a good sharp knife also gets the job done.
  • To prevent your raw sliced potatoes from turning brown (a harmless natural reaction that occurs when potato is exposed to air), wait to slice them until right before you are going to put them in the baking dish.
    • If you want to slice them earlier, put them in a bowl of cold water. Drain well and pat them dry before using so your scalloped potatoes aren’t watery.
  • Be sure to season the layers of potato with salt and pepper. Potatoes need salt to taste good. Without it, your scalloped potatoes can end up bland and disappointing.
  • If the top isn’t as brown as you would like once the potatoes are tender, you can put the baking dish under the broiler for a minute or two (just make sure your baking dish is broiler-safe).
    • Conversely, if the top is getting too brown but the potatoes are not done, cover the dish again with foil.
  • Scalloped potatoes are best when made fresh, so I don’t recommend making them ahead!
scalloped potatoes in a white baking dish sprinkled with parsley and a kitchen towel and serving spoon on the side

Substitutions & Variations

  • If you’re not into onions, you can leave them out…but just know that you will lose some flavor. Consider adding onion powder or other seasonings to make up for it.
  • For extra richness, you can replace some of the milk – I would say no more than half – with heavy cream.
  • Feel free to add any extra seasonings to the sauce that you might enjoy, such as garlic, roasted garlic or garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper, or even a pinch of nutmeg.
  • To make Potatoes Au Gratin (aka cheesy scalloped potatoes):
    • Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and add 1 to 1½ cups of freshly shredded cheese. Stir until it is melted and proceed with the recipe. Sharp cheddar or Gruyère (or a combination of the two) would be excellent choices.
    • Add buttered breadcrumbs to the top, about ½ cup (I like panko) mixed with 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle them on during the last 20 to 30 minutes of the cooking time when the potatoes are uncovered.
  • Want to turn your scalloped potatoes into a meal? Try my Cheesy Scalloped Potato and Ham Casserole.
scalloped potatoes in a baking dish with a serving spoon with a plate of scalloped potatoes next to it

Storing Leftovers, Reheating & Freezing

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover scalloped potatoes, once cooled, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

Reheating

The best way to reheat scalloped potatoes is in the oven.

Place the potatoes in a greased baking dish and cover with foil (you can add a little bit of milk or water to the top of the potatoes for extra moisture if you’d like). Let them sit at room temperature to take the chill off while you preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake until heated through.

You can also reheat them in the microwave (not my preferred method because the potatoes can heat unevenly and become too soft or rubbery, or the sauce can break). If you’d rather use the microwave, place the potatoes on a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and cook on a lower power setting until heated through.

Freezing

Although you can freeze scalloped potatoes, I don’t recommend it. The sauce can break and become grainy after freezing and thawing, and the potatoes can become overly soft and mushy.

scalloped potatoes on a white plate sprinkled with parsley and a fork on the side of the plate with the baking dish of scalloped potatoes in the background

What to Serve With Classic Scalloped Potatoes

You can serve scalloped potatoes with just about anything!

Although they’re often reserved for holidays or other special occasions – they go great with everything from an Easter ham to a Thanksgiving turkey to a Christmas prime rib and so much more – I say they’re too good not to make more often.

They’d be perfect for a Sunday dinner of roast beef, pork roast or roasted chicken. You could also pair them with a weeknight dinner, such as meatloaf (one of my favorite combos), pork chops, chicken cutlets, a steak, or even fish such as salmon. So many possibilities!

I hope you try this Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

michelle signature

Check out my Side Dish Recipes page for even more ideas!

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

close up of a scoop of scalloped potatoes being lifted out of the baking dish

Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes

These Easy Classic Scalloped Potatoes – thinly sliced potatoes layered with onions and a creamy sauce and baked to golden brown perfection – are the ultimate comfort food side dish!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6
Calories: 283
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • cooking spray
  • 2 pounds potatoes, Yukon Gold or Russet, peeled and sliced ⅛ inch thick (see Notes below)
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan (I use a 3-quart saucepan) over medium-low heat.
  • Add the flour and whisk to combine; continue cooking, whisking constantly, for one minute.
  • While whisking, slowly add the milk and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    At this point, I usually add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and about ½ teaspoon of pepper. If using table salt, use a little less since it is saltier (you can always add more later).
  • Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer, whisking constantly, for about one minute or until the mixture has thickened (it should coat a spoon). Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  • Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray (I use an 11x7x2-inch dish).
  • Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the baking dish; season with salt and pepper.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of the diced onions over the potatoes.
  • Spoon half of the sauce evenly over the potatoes and onions.
  • Arrange the remaining half of the sliced potatoes over the sauce; season with salt and pepper.
  • Evenly sprinkle the remaining diced onions over the potatoes.
  • Spoon the remaining sauce over the potatoes and onions.
  • Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 8 pieces. Dot the top of the sauce with the butter, evenly distributing the pieces.
  • Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the center of the oven, covered, for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil from the dish and continue baking, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the top is nicely golden brown (about another 45 to 60 minutes, but you can start checking them at 30 minutes).
    If the top isn't as brown as you would like once the potatoes are tender, you can put the baking dish under the broiler for a minute or two (just make sure your baking dish is broiler-safe). Conversely, if the top is getting too brown but the potatoes are not done, cover the dish again with foil.
  • Take the potatoes out of the oven and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to thicken and the potatoes to set up a bit for easier serving.
  • If desired, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the top.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • My top choice of potato for scalloped potatoes are Yukon Golds because they are semi-starchy but hold their shape well. 
    • Russets are my second choice, and I’ve used them lots of times. They are more starchy and can lose their shape easier.
    • I don’t recommend using waxy white or red potatoes because they can take longer to cook.
  • Make sure the potatoes are all the same thickness so that they cook evenly.
  • To prevent your raw sliced potatoes from turning brown (a harmless natural reaction that occurs when potato is exposed to air), wait to slice them until right before you are going to put them in the baking dish.
    • If you slice them earlier, put them in a bowl of cold water. Drain well and pat them dry before using so your scalloped potatoes aren’t watery.
  • Please refer to the post for additional recipe tips, substitutions and variations, serving suggestions, and information on storing leftovers, reheating and freezing.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.

Recipe Rating