Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made!

If there ever was a universal comfort, at least in the Midwest and maybe even the rest of the country, it has got to be Scalloped Potatoes. Rich and creamy, bubbly and hot golden brown deliciousness, pulled right from the oven and placed at the table! I mean c’mon! This is the recipe for Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made.

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made


Or at least, this is how my Grandmother made scalloped potatoes, and my Mother, and since I’m a Grandmother, too, this recipe has served our family well. This recipe is recipe came straight from the 1950’s edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. These are the same potatoes I had growing up, served at many, many functions from family get-togethers to church dinners to funeral luncheons. Scalloped potatoes are more than a side or a meal at our house, they’re a tradition.

About Scalloped Potatoes Like the Ones Your Grandma Made:

You might notice in the photos, I cooked up Scalloped Potatoes, the original way, as a side dish. It can go so well as a side for so many meals. But at our house, the words Scalloped Potatoes are always followed by the words “and ham.” That makes simple scalloped potatoes more than a side; all of a sudden it’s a meal. A little sweet, salty ham just marries with those potatoes so well. It’s just about magical.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham is our go-to recipe whenever we have a little leftover ham from any holiday. If you’d like to see what else we do with our holiday hams, see my “Twelve Days of Ham” which started out, originally with 12 recipes for leftover ham but has grown and grown over the years.

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Making Scalloped Potatoes Like the Ones Your Grandma Made:

The most important thing about making Scalloped Potatoes is to make sure the white sauce is done just right. I do have a whole post on White Sauces And What To Do With Them and it does have troubleshooting tips if you’d like to take a peek. Make sure to cook that flour well or the taste of raw flour will spoil the whole dish.

Melt the butter, let the foam dissipate and before it begins to brown, add the flour. And stir, preferably with a whisk until the flour starts to look dryer and loses that floury taste; a minute or two usually does it. You can actually take a small pinch and give it a taste if you’re in doubt. If the flour’s too raw, you’ll know it, believe me. After the raw taste is gone, it still won’t taste good (yet) but it will not be awful like it is when the flour is raw. Then it’s time to add the milk, a bit at a time, whisking like mad until it smooths out before adding each new addition.

After that, all you need to do is layer the potatoes, salt and pepper and onions (and ham if using and cheese if you want to) in a buttered casserole ending up with plain potatoes on the top. Plan to save some nice uniform slices of the potato for the top if you care about looks. Then pour the sauce over all and let it seep into the dish.


Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes & Ham:

And while I love tradition, there’s a little innovation that I’m pretty sure Grandma never had. Cheese. See, back in Grandma’s day, cheese wasn’t either on or in or maybe both on and in everything like we like it today! But I think Grandma would have loved Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and my kids sure did, whether the potatoes were served as a side or served as Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.

The cheese can be added between the layers of potatoes as the dish is assembled or tossed into the white sauce or both. Yes to both, please, lol! You can use cheddar, which is wonderful or maybe you’d like to experiment with something else? A little Parmesan or Gruyere, maybe Fontina another fave? Maybe a mix of cheeses.

All you do is take about 4 ounces (or more) of grated cheese and toss some between each layer and/or add 4 ounces of grated cheese to the sauce after it’s done. Take the sauce off the heat and slowly let the cheese melt in, adding bit by bit and stirring as you go.

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Saving Money on Scalloped Potatoes Like the Ones Your Grandma Made:

Buy your potatoes in larger bags, pick out the smaller, misshaped potatoes for mashing or for recipes like this where size doesn’t really matter and save the more regular-sized ones for baked. Store in a loosely closed paper bag away from onions.

Onions keep well, so try to buy on sale. Aldi is a good place to find reasonably priced onions. If you’ve bought too many onions to use, don’t let them go bad. Slice or dice them, saute and portion into Ziplocs labeled “onions” and freeze. You’ve just saved yourself a step for next time you make a dish. If you use half an onion, consider if you can sauté the rest and put it in a Ziploc in the freezer. If not store in the door where you’ll see it when you’re cooking next.

Milk is about $2.50 a gallon in my area on sale, the cost for this recipe runs about 18 cents. Buy on sale – unopened it keeps a week to 10 days past it’s “sell by” date – then you can pick up one for the beginning of the week, and another at the end of the week for the week following. Be careful with your milk, and even opened it will last a lot longer – pour, lid and put away, don’t bring it to the table or leave it on the counter while you eat dinner or down your cereal and you’ll notice it stay fresh last MUCH longer.

Butter can seem like a bit of a splurge, cost, and calorie-wise – but for taste and health, I’d rather use real butter than trans fat laden margarine or oils. Yes – they do have trans fat, even if the label says they don’t. Buy on deep specials, often around the holidays with store coupons or pick up at Aldi or your buyer’s club and freeze; it will stay fresh for months.

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made

Scalloped Potatoes Like the ones your Grandma Made


Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made!

This is the classic 1950’s Scalloped Potatoes.

  • Author: adapted from Betty Crocker
  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 4 - 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Casseroles
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 lb of potatoes, peeled and sliced (6 medium)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • If desired, add a cup or so of chopped ham and/or cheese between the layers and/or a cup of shredded cheese to the sauce.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the white sauce, first, so it’s ready when the potatoes are cut. The potatoes will oxidize if left and the dish can be too watery if they’re soaked in water.

White Sauce:

For the sauce: In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in flour and cook one to two minutes. Pour in milk, whisking nearly constantly until thickened.

Use the spoon test: when a spoon is dipped in the sauce, turn it over, rounded side up. Run a finger from the handle to the edge of the spoon. If it leaves a track that doesn’t fill in, the sauce has thickened properly. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper, and cheese if using.

Potatoes and Assembly:

Butter a 2 qt casserole dish. Pare potatoes and slice thinly.  Layer potatoes in casserole with onion, and salt and pepper; add another layer of potatoes, sprinkle on the onion, salt and pepper, then top with a layer of potatoes. It’s nice to save enough nicely cut potatoes for the top layer, using the odder cuts in the bottoms layers where they won’t show.

When you get to the top layer, arrange the potatoes neatly, starting around the edge of the dish and slightly over lapping, ending up in the center for a gorgeous presentation.

Pour sauce slowly over potatoes – take a knife and nudge the layers a bit, so the sauce seeps down throughout. Bake, uncovered for one hour to one hour and 20 minutes, until soft and tender all the way through when tested with a knife and lightly browned on top. Let stand several minutes before serving.

Makes 6 one cup servings, or 12 smaller 1/2 cup servings.


  • If adding ham or cheese, sprinkle between the layers at the same time as the onion. Don’t add ham or cheese to the top layer, unless you wish to add a little cheese in the last five minutes or so of baking.
  • If using cheese in the sauce, add to the sauce when the sauce is finished, off heat, and stir in a little at a time. Don’t use too much cheese or it will be too thick to seep through the layers
  • The recipe can be halved if you’re looking for something more comparable to the size of a box of scalloped potatoes, just bake for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • A pinch of nutmeg in the sauce gives this “a what is that?” flavor that’s wonderful.  White pepper is always a good substitution for black in bechamel sauces.
  • A sprinkle of chives or finely sliced green onion between the layers gives a bit of freshness.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup w/o ham or cheese
  • Calories: 240
  • Sodium: 474
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 7

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Casserole, Cheese, Family Recipe, Grandma's Recipe, Ham, hearty sides, leftover ham, Leftovers, milk, planned leftovers, Potatoes, Sides, White sauce

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

you might also like


Scalloped Potatoes the Old fashioned 1950's Betty Crocker version, just like your Grandma made! These are still the best after all these years! Add ham or cheese to make these a hearty meal. #ScallopedPotatoes #ClassicScallopedPotatoes #GrandmasScallopedPotatoes

22 thoughts on “Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made!

  1. Anselette

    I just made this with oat milk and gluten free flour. Not as great as the original probably but they were pretty darn good! Thanks!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Wow, what a challenge! So glad to hear it worked out well!! Thanks for stopping back and commenting! Maybe it will help someone else, too. 🙂


  2. Peggy Jaeger

    This isn’t the old fashioned way my grandma’s made scalloped potatoes. There was no white sauce made, it was sliced potatoes layered, first layer had salt pepper and flour sprinkled on,,then another layer of potatoes and another layer of salt, peppers and flour, until potatoes and flour used up in layers. Then milk was poured over all and baked. Made its own sauce in the oven and the natural water from the potatoes would cook into the sauce too. Butter dotted the top. But can’t seem to find a recipe that isn’t done like stove top style except the potatoes are cooked in water first and milk, flour,,salt, pepper and butter added. I want the old fashioned all baked in the oven recipe……

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Peggy, I used to make them that way, too. I made them once for my Mom b/4 she passed away and she wasn’t happy with my deviated recipe! She grew up on this one.
      But I might have it written down in my box. We’re heavy into some home projects before we get hit with 16 to 24 inches of snow on Thursday, so I hardly have a minute and am exhausted, although I’m doing more directing than work, but I can do some digging around and see if I can find that recipe over the weekend. I might have it written down and I might have it in one of my cookbooks. Sorry I can’t look right away. I loved that because it was easy and it was buttery deliciousness!

      • FrugalHausfrau

        I’m actually starting to remember it more, now, gosh it’s been about 20 years since I made them, but I think the casserole has to be well greased, the first layer goes down, then it’s dotted with little pieces of butter, I think about a tablespoon per layer then if I remember right, it was about a tablespoon of flour over each layer, too. I remember you can’t use too much flour or it tastes floury but if memory serves it’s about equal amounts of butter and flour. And a little salt and pepper on each layer. I can’t tell you how many potatoes for sure, about two to two and a half pounds sounds about right and then you dot the top with butter but no flour. Then pour in milk slowly until you can just see it start to peek between the layers of potatoes, then cover tightly and bake about the same amount of time as this recipe, till it’s tender when pierced with a knife, then uncover for the last few minutes. I think I usually cheat a bit and turn on the broiler to brown the top up a little. That’s optional.

        I hope that helps – does it sound about right to you? In the meantime, when I get a chance, I’ll look around and see what I can find!


        • FrugalHausfrau

          Peggy, I just keep on remembering more! I think you use about a tablespoon and a half of butter and flour if you are making a smaller like 8×8 casserole but double that for a larger ones and I usually take very thinly sliced onions (cut a small onion in half and then slice wafer thin) and strew them across each layer except for the top. They just kind of dissolve away to nothing but give a little more flavor. Ok, done, now and back to yard work!! Hope that helps!

        • Raylene

          This is how my mom used to make them as well…never remade a sauce…thanks for the recipe..going to give it a try and hope it turns out half as well as Mom’s!

      • pattie

        We tried the recipe with making a white sauce first and pouring over the potatoes and onions. While it is good, my friends and family prefer the original recipe used over years and years that Mollie wrote in. The only thing different from our family recipe handed down for more than 4 generations, is that cake flour should be used as it makes the dish creamy and will not curdle the milk.

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Hi Patty, that Mollie is me, (Frugal Hausfrau) and I really appreciate your comment about the cake flour! I HAVE sometimes gotten a curdled, clumpy appearance with the method of sprinkling the flour over the potatoes! I’m so excited about your hint! Have a great day!

  3. Hi Frugal. Love the way you conserve. I still have sliced ham (fr. the holidays in the freezer). I’ll certainly try this dish in the near future. Talking about freezer, I just used up some cooked Irish potatoes to thicken a chicken soup. I have never stored onions that way…..nice to know.

    Thanks for the tip bits.

  4. Clifton

    It hurts me to think as a child I ate some form of scalloped potatoes and baked beans at some form of social gathering almost monthly, and then some at home too. This is where we are going, budgets blown on ridiculous items (Premade pancake batter) and nothing tastes good. (I’d kill for some sausage with sage and pepper) thank you for this recipe. I am a Sunday cooking father, (My wife is a wonderful cook) This one my children and I made. It already smells good, and hasn’t even cooked yet. With ham and added some cheese to the sauce. All from kitchen staples and left overs too.

    • Hi Clifton, thanks for commenting! It sounds like your a cook after my own heart – and I hope you & the kids enjoy the scalloped potatoes. My kids always liked this much better with the cheese, although my Grandma would never have thought to put it in! 🙂

      I absolutely agree – people buy stupid stuff & think it’s the only way or the cheapest way! Pancakes are a perfect example – pay more for a box of crap full of additives than you would if you mix together baking powder, flour & salt! Well, I just got on my my horse, didn’t I! 🙂

      I hope you’ll keep reading and commenting & I’m always looking for great ideas for frugal meals!

Hearing from you makes my day! Comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.