Do you think they are just as good if you make the day before and cook day of?

  • Posted by: Johanna
  • November 17, 2023


Wendy November 20, 2023
Been there, done that a long time ago….
If you want to make scalloped potatoes a day ahead, bake them also. Reheat day of, otherwise potatoes will be grey, possibly quite dark grey…
702551 November 18, 2023
I've made countless potato gratins over multiple decades and never once have I thought that day-old leftovers tasted better than freshly made.

Edible? Yes, of course. Very tasty? Yes. But never better than fresh.

That said, this is one dish that suffers relatively little (compared to a lot of other things) when made before. I will look at the other dishes that I'm making that day and decide whether or not this needs to be moved forward but I would still rather bake it in the morning (even if I have to get up early) rather than move it to the prior day.

I suggest you try it out yourself. Bake one, eat a little bit, save some for the next day, reheat, and taste the leftovers. Then decide whether or not it's something you'd find acceptable to serve to your dinner guests.

I've done it before myself but it definitely is not my preference.

Your call.
Katheryn's K. November 18, 2023
They are not leftovers, because the dish is not cooked the day before. When putting together the day before, the potatoes are raw, not cooked, and if you cool down the cream mixture before pouring over the layers of raw potatoes, cooled caramelized onions and cheeses it will be as though you are cooking from scratch the day of. It is nice to prepare some dishes ahead of time because the day of Thanksgiving is busy enough with so many other last minute things.
702551 November 18, 2023
Potatoes will be an unsightly grey -- not something I would put in front of my dinner guests. But I'm not sitting at your dinner table.

Some cooks will prep their potatoes before and store in a bucket of water. I don't care for this since I think it rinses out too much starch from slices. You can store peeled whole potatoes in water but I don't think that's much of a time saving.

Lots of ways to move some of the potato gratin work ahead of time, but all have some generally negative effect on the final product.

The caramelized onions are really the only component I'd make ahead of time (they survive a trip to the freezer). That makes sense and I've done it before.

Again, try out a variety of time management tricks and decide for yourself what's worth it and what isn't. After all, the primary goal of a cook is to please the people sitting at his/her dinner table.

Some of these tricks I'm happy to use for things I serve to myself but some of them I wouldn't use on dinner guests, like mom.
Katheryn's K. November 18, 2023
You do you.
702551 November 18, 2023

Various tactics in time managing something like potato gratin will give different results. Some people will be happy with what happens, some won't.

The main takeaway here is that Johanna try them out and decides for herself what is acceptable *TO HER* at *HER DINNER TABLE*.

Some community members think day-old scallloped potatoes are better than fresh. I do not. Ultimately what I think only pertains to my dinner table and my mouth. I've had enough potato gratins -- both my own and those made by others -- to provide me with an ample sample size for what *I* think works for me.

It looks like I need to repeat myself: it depends on the individual cook and what their expectations are for what they put in front of their dinner guests. The best way to figure this out is to try it yourself.

This isn't specific to potato gratin. It is pretty applicable to everything a person might consume: food, beverage, clothes, smartphones, bath towels, pens, toilet paper, whatever.
Katheryn's K. November 17, 2023
Yes they are just as good I think. Prep up to the point of baking, let cool and refrigerate overnight. Bring back up to room temperature the next day and bake off. I've done so a few times and works out really well and helps take the pressure off the day of the meal. I hope this helps!
Lori T. November 17, 2023
Well, if you make AND bake it the day before, you can reheat it the day of. It will take less time in the reheating than it would in the baking as well, which can be a serious consideration when oven space is at a premium. I would not assemble it and chill unbaked, because if any air gets to the spuds they will go dark. Scalloped potatos are always better the second day anyway, IMO, so this would not be a problem. You could pull them from the oven a little ahead of schedule time, so the top would not be so dark from the reheat though. Or you could assemble them early in the day, and then refrigerate until you want to bake them.
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