Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme

A baking dish of scalloped potatoes.

When my extended family gets together for a dinner,  everyone participates by bringing a dish.


My grandfather, Bem Bem, normally is in charge of the roast.  RoseMarie makes a mean ratatouille.  Katrina handles dessert — she does it so well


Me?  I’ll make a few dishes, but I’m always asked to bring the scalloped potatoes.  This may seem pretty pedestrian, but sometimes basic is just what we need.  Something familiar and homey.  These scalloped potatoes are simple, but they deliver.

scalloped potatoes

While they are synonymous with big family gatherings — they are also perfect for more intimate  suppers.  I’ve served them in buffet-style casseroles as well as individual ramekins.  This recipe is versatile.

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scalloped potatoes

It adapts to all seasons and goes with virtually any protein.  I’ve served them with rack of lamb, oven roasted ham, various incarnations of pork tenderloin,  even grilled veal chops and fish.  To me, this simple preparation elevates the humble spud to “special-food” status.  You don’t get the same ooh’s and aah’s from a plain baked potato.

scalloped potatoes

Use the slicing attachment on your food processor or a mandoline to make quick work of slicing the potatoes.  Layer the potatoes, onions and bechamel ending with the last of the sauce and a few pats of butter.

I cover with foil for the first part of the baking, so it doesn’t get too dark on top, then reduce the  heat and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender and beautifully enveloped in the herbed bechamel.

Scalloped potatoes on a baking sheet.

Sometimes simple is best and these scalloped potatoes really taste like home.    There’s no cheese in this recipe (but I’ll look the other way, if you want to toss in some shredded gruyere).

More potato side dishes you’ll love:

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3.87 from 23 votes

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme

Thinly sliced potatoes in a creamy, herb-spiked béchamel sauce. It’s what you want on your holiday table!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bechamel, potatoes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6


  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves chopped fresh
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium onion diced


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Using a whisk, swirl the butter around in the pan until it’s almost melted. Add the flour and stir briskly to incorporate the flour and butter. Sprinkle in the mustard and salt and continue to cook for one minute over medium heat. Whisk in the milk and continue to stir, until the liquid comes to a rolling boil. Constantly stir and scrape the bottom of the pan while the sauce continues to cook and thicken, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme leaves and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Spray an 8×8″ baking dish with vegetable spray. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the béchamel (milk mixture) into the bottom of the dish.
  • Sprinkle lightly with onions. Arrange potatoes in the bottom of the dish, overlapping as you go. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the onions. Pour 1/4 of the béchamel evenly over the potatoes. Continue layering in the same manner: Potatoes, onions, béchamel; potatoes, onions, béchamel. Finish with a layer of potatoes, topped by the last bit of béchamel.  Dice the last teaspoon of butter and dot over the top of the casserole.
  • Place baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet. Spray a piece of tin foil on one side with vegetable spray. Tent the foil over the potatoes and place into the hot oven. Set timer for 45 minutes.
  • After timer goes off, reduce heat to 350 degrees and remove the tin foil. Continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes.
  • Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


this recipe can be doubled.


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 765mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 20.5mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 5.3mg

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  1. Lisa, I’m excited to try this recipe! I have a question about the instructions – it says to set aside one tbsp of butter, but I couldn’t see where it’s supposed to be added back in. Looking at the pictures, it looks like you’ve added some butter to the top of the dish before it gets put in the oven – is this correct?

    1. Yes, Roy – that’s exactly what I do. Just sprinkle a few dots over the casserole! I hope you enjoy it!

    1. This is probably one of my most popular recipes – for a reason — they’re delicious!

  2. Can this dish be made ahead of time? Does it work warmed back up? Thanks!

    1. That’s a great question, Mallory. Yes, it can be made ahead. Just stick the casserole into the refrigerator until about 2 hours before you want to eat. Let them sit on the counter for 20 minutes or so while the oven heats and then bake. They can be cooked and rewarmed as well, but I prefer them the first time around – and baked when I’m ready to eat.

  3. So do I add the thyme and black pepper along with salt and mustard? I don’t see it anywhere in the instructions. Please and thank you

  4. Boastful Food says:

    Beautiful and delicious! Great recipe for the upcoming holidays.

  5. Daniela Anderson says:

    I absolutely love potatoes, and funnily enough l was just thinking about making this dish today. I’ve never thought of adding onion, it must bring such a lovely flavour though. I really have to make it now!

    1. These potatoes are a must for any family/friends/gathering!

  6. Claire Jessiman (@foodiequine) says:

    I am prepared to fight for the crispy topping bits on a dish like this!

  7. This looks so creamy – wow – thought for sure there’d be cheese in it but delighted as there isn’t as I’m lactose intolerant and fake cheese isn’t yum at all but I can easily sub the milk. Love the idea of everyone bringing a dish – a family pot luck!

    1. Ewww – I agree, fake cheese doesn’t do it for me either! Let me know how you like it! We usually divvy up responsibilities for all the family occasions – it makes it easier on everyone.

  8. carineclaudepierre says:

    I will try this recipe with sweet potatoes as I don’t eat much potatoes. It looks very tasty!

    1. I’ll bet it would be fantastic with sweet potatoes!

  9. CookingOnTheWeekends (@cookingweekends) says:

    These look so divine! The epitome of comfort!

  10. Oh this looks simply marvelous and I would SOOO toss in some Gruyere! Delicious!

  11. Everyday Sarah Jane says:

    This dish looks gorgeous AND delicious! A perfect holiday side fit for any table! Can’t wait to try. XO

  12. Another beautifully photographed recipe tutorial. Creamy potatoes are one of my weaknesses!

  13. What a perfect Thanksgiving side!! Everyone’s favorite at my home too..

  14. cookingtheglobe1 says:

    This is how a perfect side dish looks to me. I am a fan of potatoes, and if they are combined with fresh thyme… I am sold. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. I love potatoes, too — but we don’t eat them often, so this is a treat!

  15. CookingOnTheWeekends (@cookingweekends) says:

    Wow, this recipe looks so amazing. Perfect for any gathering is right! Such a cozy, delicious, comfort food.

  16. Meal Makeover Mom Janice says:

    It was fabulous! Thanks. 🙂

    1. So glad you enjoyed them!

  17. Meal Makeover Mom Janice says:

    Making today for Easter!!

  18. Lex Seguin says:

    Your notes should say this recipe can and should be doubled. I think we’ll be making these for Christmas.

  19. Betty Burdick says:

    5 stars
    Scalloped potatoes – one of my favorites! These look delish and such a perfect side dish.