Scalloped potatoes are one of our favorite festive sides — and for good reason. They’re rich, hearty and cheesy, making them perfect served alongside a roasted ham or prime rib. Plus, you can make a big batch without stress all thanks to your crockpot. This appliance does wonders for cooking scalloped potatoes so they’re perfectly tender and delicious. It also doesn’t require constantly checking on the spuds to avoid overcooking them. All it takes is a few chef’s tips to make this effortless side, which offers a mouthful of creamy and buttery flavors in each bite. Keep reading to learn how to make a simplified version of this classic potato casserole!
What are scalloped potatoes?
Traditionally, this dish involves layering thinly sliced potatoes in a baking pan with a cream sauce, cheese and seasonings. The spuds then get baked until they’re bubbling and golden brown. While this method produces a crispy casserole, you run the risk of making the potatoes mushy if you lose track of time. Luckily, the simple alternative is cooking this dish in your trusty slow cooker as it’s unlikely to overcook or burn.
Why a crockpot is perfect for cooking scalloped potatoes
While ovens use direct heat to cook foods, crockpots take a different approach by using gentle heat. This comes in handy when making scalloped potatoes as it allows the spuds to slowly cook to tender perfection. A crockpot’s deep capacity can also cook a large batch of scalloped potatoes without the chances of anything spilling over. Not to mention, transporting the casserole while it’s in the crock pot is easier than a regular baking dish.
3 tips to make yummiest crockpot scalloped potatoes
Cooking the casserole in a crockpot isn’t the only way to simplify this classic side. Below, Elsa Goldman, associate culinary creative director at Ingredient (a food marketing agency), shares three more tips for producing delicious scalloped potatoes without hassle.
1. Use a mandoline to get uniform potato slices.
While peeling the potatoes is optional, you’ll want to cut the slices to about ¼-inch in thickness so they’re soft once cooked. To achieve this, use a mandoline slicer like the OXO Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer (Buy from OXO.com, $18.99) as it slices the spuds into thin and uniform rounds quickly.
2. Soak the sliced spuds.
Submerging the sliced potatoes in a bowl of water for 30 minutes helps get rid of excess starch and prevent them from sticking. This step ensures the dish cooks evenly, leading to a beautiful end result. Be sure to drain and pat the potatoes dry before layering them to avoid a watery casserole.
3. Turn on the crockpot’s low heat setting.
Since crockpot’s use gentle heat, you can cook the dish on your crockpot’s low setting without worrying that the potatoes will become mushy. Also, this setting gives the flavors more time to meld and produce a flavorful scalloped potato dish.
How to make crockpot scalloped potatoes
This recipe from Lindsey Chastain, founder and CEO of The Waddle and Cluck, requires a little bit of prep since it calls for making a white sauce called béchamel to layer the spuds with. But, it’s worth it as the sauce thickens even more during cooking — resulting in a luscious side that steals the show at your holiday dinner table! (For more crockpot recipes, click through to these stories on kung pao beef, teriyaki short ribs and slow cooker dishes for game day.)
Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes
- 3 lbs. russet or Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced and soaked
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 2 cups milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Yield: approximately 6 servings
- Grease 6- to 8-quart crockpot with nonstick spray.
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour and cook paste (also called a “roux”) 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk, mixing constantly to prevent clumps. Allow sauce mixture to simmer until thickened, around 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Drain and pat potato slices dry. Layer ⅓ of potato slices in bottom of crockpot. Top with ⅓ of onions, small amount of garlic, ⅓ of cheese and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Pour ⅓ of béchamel over potatoes. Repeat layers 2 more times.
- Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, until potatoes are fork tender. Remove lid and cook 30 minutes more to help condense and thicken liquid.
- Cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
5 ingredients to dress up your scalloped potatoes
To give your potato dish a flavor boost, consider using any of these five ingredients.
Sprinkling fresh thyme rosemary, thyme or sage between each layer adds an earthy flavor to the final dish.
2. Cubed ham or bacon
Give the potatoes an extra touch of saltiness by including cubed smoked ham or crumbled bacon.
Sliced mushrooms, bell pepper or drained canned corn are all great veggies to incorporate into this side to make it extra filling.
4. Chili flakes
For a touch of heat, sprinkle some chili flakes onto the potatoes and continue layering as usual.
5. Sweet potatoes
Swapping half of the regular potatoes with sweet potatoes adds a pop of color and slightly sugar kick to the dish.
For more holiday-inspired recipes, check out these stories below:
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