Scalloped Potatoes Gratin

By Sally Cameron on September 26, 2012

Holiday Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Whether you call them cheesy scallop potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato au gratin or au gratin potatoes, they are just flat out fantastic. Healthy? Not necessarily. But this recipe is at least healthier, with less fat and calories than the traditional French Potato Dauphinoise which is made with all heavy cream. It’s more for that occasional splurge or special dinner. And worth every bite.

scalloped potatoes gratin |

Growing Up – The Mystery Box

Growing up I loved scalloped potatoes and still do. Mom made them the accepted 1960′s way – from a box. No fresh potatoes. Dehydrated potato “chips” layered into a casserole dish, then covered with a mixture of milk and a powdered mystery packet. Even though I knew no better back then, it still seemed strange. Today I shudder.

The Real Deal Today – Scalloped Potatoes

Decades later, a dear friend and fellow chef introduced me to the real deal – Potatoes Dauphinoise. A classic French dish of thinly sliced potatoes layered with cheese and cream. I still remember the first time I had it. It was heavenly. Sublime. The kind of dish where you close your eyes and sigh with delight while your tastebuds sing.

Being a potato lover I was hooked, until I thought about how much fat and calories were in every bite. After that I rarely made this classic dish, until I began to experiment. Using whole milk versus cream or even half and half helps to reduce the fat and calories. Here is how I make this great classic today. Less fat for sure, but still delicious. Like I said, not healthy, but healthier, so that you can enjoy it once in awhile.

Tools for Accurate Slicing

This casserole depends on slicing potatoes uniformly thin to 1/8″ (3-4 cm). The only way to do that is with a mandolin, hand-slicer or a food processor with the right blade attachment. Mandolins are a terrific kitchen tool for slicing. Potatoes, apples, pears, beets, carrots and other fruits and vegetable can be sliced uniformly thin. They come in all price ranges from $40 – $400. Food processors are faster and a tool I could not live without.

For potatoes, I use the Yukon Gold variety. They have moist flesh and wonderful flavor that work perfectly in this dish. Choose smooth, firm potatoes with no cuts, bruised spots or green areas. Simmer the slices in milk with thyme until tender (just a few minutes), then layer into a casserole with grated gruyere cheese and bake. Heaven awaits.

Helpful Links

This is great served with roast chicken breast, whole roast chicken, pork tenderloin or beef.

For another awesome potato dish try my Baked Parmesan Potato Wedges.


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Scalloped Potatoes Gratin

A classic casserole dish, this recipe for scalloped potatoes is sure to please for special occasions or holidays. Choose aged gruyere cheese for its rich, nutty flavor. Although you might want to eat the entire dish,  a small piece will satisfy. Use half and half versus whole milk for a richer dish. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese is nice for the top before baking for extra crunch and flavor.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword gratin, Potato, scalloped
Servings 6
Calories 265kcal


  • Food processor, mandoline or handheld slicer


  • 2 1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • several pinches of freshly ground or grated nutmeg
  • 4 ounces aged gruyere cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (177 C). Peel the potatoes and slice on a mandolin or hand-held slicer adjusted to 1/8″ (3-4 cm) thickness. Place the potatoes and milk in a 4 quart deep sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and turn heat to low. Watch carefully and don’t let the milk boil over. It’s messy to clean up and happens in the blink of an eye. Simmer over low for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife. Remove potatoes from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
  • Layer half of the potatoes in an 8×8 (20 x 20 cm) square glass or stoneware casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with the nutmeg. Add 2/3 of the grated cheese. Layer on the rest of the potatoes and top with remaining 1/3 of the cheese (and Parmesan if using).
  • Bake casserole uncovered for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve.


Any leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 days. Re-heat covered with foil at 350 degrees (177C) for 15-20 minutes or so until hot. To save time, you can make this dish a day ahead, then heat for your dinner.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 715mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 326IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 1mg
  1. Madonna - September 27th, 2012

    This is an excellent technique. I know they are not that healthy, but I heard Jamie Oliver say we should treat them like chocolate, meaning indulge, but not too often. I think these would be excellent for holidays or company. I too cringe about box food. I remember eating those when I didn’t know any better. Another thing that makes me cringe is canned mushroom soup in green beans and broccoli, oh boy! Because of you we don’t have to do that anymore. Thanks.

  2. Sally - September 27th, 2012

    I like to follow the 90/10 rule Madonna. 90% of the time make healthy, smart choices. 10% of the time have fun!

  3. master chef - September 28th, 2012

    I love this recipe. Well done

  4. Michelle @ Find Your Balance - September 28th, 2012

    Ugh and how about those boxed mashed potatoes???

  5. Sally - September 28th, 2012

    No kidding Michelle! Scary part is they still sell those in the store. Shudder. Potatoes grow in the ground, they do not come in boxes!

  6. Shut Up & Cook - September 29th, 2012

    This is a favorite dish of mine, but you’re right, it’s definitely not exactly healthy, so must be saved for special occasions. Subsequently though, when I do make it, I want it to be excellent! Will give this recipe a try next time the craving calls.

  7. Zakia Hassan - October 22nd, 2012

    Hi! Ive always wanted to make scalloped potatoes, i think im ready to put it on my “to make list”. Im going to buy a mandolin, which brand do you use/recommend?

  8. Sally - October 22nd, 2012

    Hi Zakia. Mine happens to be a Matfer. I’ve had it for years. If you buy a good one, it will last forever. They come in all price ranges, so it depends on your budget. Just make sure it’s adjustable as you want potatoes slices that at 1/8″ thick. Check out a store like Sur La Table. They have many options. Also do a google search. I saw the Matfer for $180 and free shipping. Check around for good prices. It’s a nice tool to add to your kitchen. When learning to use one be very careful you don’t slice the tips of your fingers off. They come with hand guards for a reason. Good luck, and please report back.

  9. Zakia Hassan - October 22nd, 2012

    thanks! yes the one i have now does not adjust – which sucks! ill do some research and let you know what i choose. Thanks!

  10. Zakbirch - June 3rd, 2015

    this looks amazing… my son would love it. and you clearly have the same appreciation for the mountain of parmesan to top.

  11. Sally Cameron - June 5th, 2015

    Busted…I do love Parmesan!

  12. Lisa Moe - April 22nd, 2020

    Making this right now. I’ll let u know!

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