These creamy Scalloped Potatoes are infused with bay and thyme and are baked in a delicious cream sauce. We parboil the potatoes so they only cook in the oven for 15 minutes! This is a great side dish to serve for Easter dinner or for any holiday meal.

More family favorite potato side dishes include my twice baked potatoes and funeral potatoes.

A white plate with scalloped potatoes in a creamy sauce topped with melted cheddar cheese and fresh thyme.

What’s the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes?

Scalloped potatoes are sliced potatoes that are baked in a cream- or milk-based sauce. The word “scalloped” is a reference to how the potatoes are cut: into slices.

Au gratin potatoes are typically baked with layers of cheese in between the potatoes and topped with a cheesy layer — and sometimes bread crumbs — to form a type of crust. The term “gratin” is French for scraping or grating and “gratine” refers to a crust.

To sum it up, scalloped potatoes are baked in a cream sauce and au gratin potatoes having lots of cheese and a crusted top. Either way, both are delicious! 

A fork amongst a plate of scalloped potatoes topped with cheddar cheese and fresh thyme, against a light gray background.

Ingredients 

You need a few basic ingredients to make these old fashioned scalloped potatoes:

  • Butter — If you use salted, you could cut back on the salt. You won’t want the dish too salty. You can always add more salt when it’s served.
  • Onion, finely chopped — I’d opt for a yellow or white onion.
  • Garlic cloves, minced — Minced garlic will give us a stronger garlic flavor than garlic powder would. But it isn’t too in your face, don’t worry.
  • Chicken broth — You can use vegetable broth instead if you’d like. 
  • Heavy cream — If you want a lighter sauce (that also isn’t as thick) use half and half instead.
  • Salt — To bring out the flavor.
  • Ground black pepper — To taste.
  • Russet potatoes — Peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3mm thick) use a mandoline for uniform slices
  • Bay leaves — Keep these whole so they are easy to remove.
  • Sprig of Fresh thyme — Sprigs of thyme are different from ground thyme seasoning. The sprig will infuse into the dish while cooking and then you can remove it.
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded — You can switch things up by choosing a different cheese if you’d like. See the recipe tips section for ideas.
A white bowl full of raw thinly sliced potatoes.

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes

  1. Cook the onion and garlic.
  2. Stir in the broth, heavy cream, sliced potatoes, and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes until almost tender, 7-12 minutes. The potatoes are ready when the tip of a knife can be easily slipped into a potato slice with just a little resistance.
  3. Transfer the potato mixture to a butter 9″x13″ inch baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes. The top will be golden brown and the sides will be bubbling.
  5. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving.
A large black pot full of heavy cream, thinly sliced potatoes, sprigs of thyme, and bay leaves.

Tools Used for This Recipe

Dutch oven

Garlic mincer

Cheese grater

Mandoline slicer: This is a HUGE time saver! The slices are the perfect thickness and you can cut a lot in a matter of minutes. Please take caution when using a mandoline slicer, they are sharp!

Melted cheddar cheese over thinly sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce against a gray background.

Recipe Tips

This recipe is a great side for Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. It’s often a common Sunday meal side dish in my family, too.

You can pair this recipe with my chicken dijon, Mississippi pot roast, or lemon honey glazed salmon recipes.   

Variations

Swap the heavy cream out for half and half if you want a lighter sauce. Just know that the sauce won’t be as thick.

Change things up by using a different cheese, such as white cheddar, gruyere, or Monterey jack. If you want a little kick, go for a pepper jack.

You can make scalloped potatoes without cheese by simply omitting the cheese.

Storing

Store the dish covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. 

This is a difficult dish to freeze since the sauce is completely dairy-based. Dairy doesn’t freeze well. When thawed, it separates, affecting consistency, texture and flavor.

A white plate full of scalloped potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese and fresh thyme.

More Delicious Potato Recipes

If you make this recipe and love it, I would be so grateful if you come back to leave a 5-star rating and review. It makes it easier for others to find my recipe. Thank you! ❤️

A fork amongst a plate of scalloped potatoes topped with cheddar cheese and fresh thyme, against a light gray background.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Thinly sliced potatoes are par boiled in a thyme and bay leaf infused sauce. Trasnfer the mixture to a casserole dish, top with shredded cheese then bake for just 15 minutes! It's a fast and easy scalloped potato recipe that everyone will love. I like to serve this as a side dish for holiday meals, special occasions, or just regular weeknight meals! It's versatile and delicious.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes - peeled and sliced 1/8" inch thick (3mm thick). I use a mandolin for uniform slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese - shredded

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Butter a 9"x13" inch baking dish.
  • In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. 
  • Stir in the chicken broth, heavy cream, salt, pepper, sliced potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer the potatoes until almost tender about 7-12 minutes. The potatoes are ready when the tip of a pairing knife can be easily slipped into a slice with just a little resistance. (Don’t overcook the potatoes otherwise your recipe will turn out mushy and way too soft). 
  • Discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. 
  • Transfer the potato mixture to the prepared baking dish. Do your best to get the potato sliced into an even layer. 
  • Sprinkle the cheese overtop and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and top is golden brown. 
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

Notes

Recipe adapted from ATK. 

Nutrition

Calories: 389kcal (19%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 27g (42%)Saturated Fat: 17g (85%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 93mg (31%)Sodium: 656mg (27%)Potassium: 726mg (21%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 979IU (20%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 193mg (19%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Did you make this recipe?snap a photo and tag @saltandbaker in your posts and stories so I can see what you’re making!