Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

November 12, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
Author Notes

These scal­loped pota­toes were a hit on Easter Sun­day with friends and fam­ily, so why not Thanksgiving? These are not your aver­age scal­loped pota­toes as there are deli­cious caramelized onions lay­ered in between the sliced pota­toes and cheese. A lighter ver­sion can be made with milk and a béchamel sauce instead of the whip­ping cream, see direc­tions at the end of the recipe. You can also double the recipe if you have lots of guests, making the potatoes in two 8 x 12-inch casseroles.

Thanksgiving 2020 Update:

I was a finalist in the 2013 recipe contest, “Your Best Potato Recipe,” with my recipe for Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions in 2013. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but the world is a very different place now. What hasn’t changed is my love for this comfort dish; seven years later, I still make it a few times a year. What has changed is who is at the dinner party or holiday meal.

The last time I made it was this past summer, for my husband and I plus two close friends of ours—it’s a favorite dish of theirs. We felt safe with them after not having invited anyone into the house in months, a bizarre reality. We’ve already had the conversation regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at our place and the email we will have to send out pre-arrival to confirm no one has symptoms of COVID-19, nor anyone they have had contact with recently.

Cooking and baking have always been a comfort to me, and I’ve been doing a lot more of it through the pandemic lockdown. In almost a desperate way we ran around to grocery stores finding ingredients like flour, sugar, and yeast to feed that comfort. Many others did the same, some baking for the first time, experiencing that neat feeling of accomplishment in the finished product and sharing it with their lockdown companions.

In times like this, the one constant we have is food. It’s a wonderful positive way to bring comfort to your loved ones with a familiar well-loved recipe or excitement in trying something new. How lucky are those who have just discovered this age old craft, a sweet positive during this trying time in the world. —Katheryn's Kitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Katheryn’s Kitchen is a Food52-er from Canada who is new to the finalists' circle.
WHAT: A gratin you’ll want to make for every holiday dinner, and beyond.
HOW: Simmer, slice, then layer everything up, lasagna-style, and bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With an ingredients list so short, you won't be prepared for the elegant, distinguished, utterly incredible gratin that comes out of the oven. And after you take it out, we'd guard it if we were you -- our editors went at this with spoons straight out of the dish. —The Editors

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large Spanish or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 pounds), peeled
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
In This Recipe
  1. In saucepan, bring cream, gar­lic, pep­per­corns, thyme, and salt to just under boil; reduce heat to low, cover and sim­mer for 15 min­utes. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. Heat your oven to 300° F.
  3. Mean­while, in skil­let, heat oil over medium-low heat and cook onion, stir­ring often, until light brown, about 45 min­utes. Slice pota­toes as thinly as pos­si­ble (using a man­do­line if avail­able).
  4. Layer 1/4 of the pota­toes in greased about 8 x 12-inch glass bak­ing or casse­role dish; top with 1/3 of the onion and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat twice. Top with remain­ing pota­toes. Strain cream mix­ture over pota­toes, shak­ing casse­role to dis­trib­ute evenly. Sprin­kle with remain­ing cheese.
  5. Bake in 300°F oven on a baking sheet (to catch drips) until ten­der and a knife inserted into the dish pierces pota­toes eas­ily, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Make-ahead: Let cool, then cover and refrig­er­ate for up to 2 days. Reheat, tented with tin foil, in 375° F oven for 30 minutes.)
  6. Tip: For a lighter ver­sion, steep gar­lic, pep­per­corns, thyme, and salt in 2 cups of (500 mL) milk. Then make béchamel sauce: In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons but­ter over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stir­ring, for 1 minute. Whisk in strained milk mix­ture, and sim­mer everything for 5 min­utes until slightly thickened. Pour over pota­toes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Peggy Griswold
    Peggy Griswold
  • Mae
  • allans
  • Katheryn's Kitchen
    Katheryn's Kitchen
  • vvvanessa

45 Reviews

Sb55 November 25, 2020
Hi! Making this tomorrow! Can you please clarify number 3? Cook oil and onion for 45min? Do I add the potatoes to this too? Thank you!
Meisen November 25, 2020
The onions are caramelized by themselves. The raw potatoes are layered with the onions and cheese and cook in the oven.
Sb55 November 26, 2020
To clarify cook onions in oil for 45min?
jennygallo November 21, 2020
I'm wondering about adding peas. Any advise or thoughts?
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. November 21, 2020
I would never have thought of adding peas but they would go well with caramelized onions, maybe add at the same time you add the onion layer, I mean why not, I love peas!
jennygallo November 21, 2020
Thank you for the swift reply! Trying on Thanksgiving :)
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. November 21, 2020
Happy Thanksgiving!
jennygallo November 27, 2020
Your recipe was SO good! Love the impact of the infused cream. And the peas worked great. I sprinkled them over the onions in each layer .... maybe 1 1/4 cup in total. I think I'd do this with frozen drained spinach or chopped kale too another time. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. November 27, 2020
So happy you enjoyed it and I'm not surprised the peas tasted delicious, great idea! I would saute fresh spinach or kale and season first before adding to the potatoes, will add more flavour perhaps but up to you. Thanks for leaving this message, very kind of you.
Karen G. December 23, 2019
Has anybody used russet potatoes instead of Yukon gold? Do you think it would be okay? I just bought 6 lbs. for mashed potatoes, but I think this sounds so much better!
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 23, 2019
Hi! They may fall apart more easily than the Yukon gold. I would use them but maybe cut a little thicker so they hold up and try not to overcook. I cut these super thin when using yellow potatoes.
Karen G. December 23, 2019
Thank you for your quick response. I’ll definitely try the thicker cut on the russet potatoes.
Olga L. November 23, 2018
This was the 🌟 of dinner yesterday. I made it in individual shallow cast iron skillets, but otherwise mostly stayed with the recipe. I would double the caramelized onion next time. Also, I ran it at 350 cause I don't have double ovens, and it was totally fine - done in about 1 HR 15 min on the lower rack (turkey breast was up top). A friend said that their family does scalloped potatoes for xmas every year and it's the first time he had a version that beats theirs hands down.
Peggy G. February 27, 2018
Top With Caramelized Bacon before baking or halfway thru baking so it does not get too crispy.
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. February 27, 2018
Nice idea!
Busy M. February 13, 2016
Ok this is absolutely phenomenal. Comes together quickly, easily customizable (I used goat milk and manchego for my cow allergic kid, added ham), toss a salad while it bakes and dinner is ready! Totally my go to scalloped potato recipe forevermore.
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. February 13, 2016
Busy Mama thank you so much! I love it when people adjust written recipes to their specifications and likes, I do the same all the time. A recipe is just something to reference as far as I am concerned.
Mae October 26, 2015
The cream sauce is fantastic! I made it with almond milk, followed the instructions on the bottom. I also used more cheese than the recipe calls for, maybe another 1/2 cup. It was just me and my boyfriend, and he doesn't like onions. He told me he likes caramelized onions, but he picked them out of this. I'd give it five stars though!
allans April 8, 2015
Made this for some picky eaters on Easter. Big hit! Everyone had seconds.
shoestringmama December 1, 2014
Made these for Thanksgiving and they were awesome! I should have doubled the recipe as they were that good. I used sweet onions and would double those next time just because they whittled down so much ... but man were these ever good and got rave reviews - thank you for sharing. SO worth making!
sheila M. April 14, 2014
Yes, I know, I google recipes with the onions caramelized to see if anyone had ever done it.
sheila M. April 14, 2014
Great, I was wondering if you could caramelize the onions - it could only improve the flavour. I will double this for Easter. I may also add browned sliced mushrooms.
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. April 14, 2014
Actually the recipe does call for the onions to be caramelized- adding mushrooms might be nice too, I love mushrooms.
Sam S. December 30, 2013
Made this for Christmas dinner and it was a huge hit! Will definitly be adding this recipe to my favorites book! I doubled the recipe so we could have leftovers and it was even better the 2nd time around.
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 30, 2013
Thanks Sam, I'm so happy you and your family enjoyed the potatoes! I really appreciate your comments. Happy New Year! Katheryn :))))
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 18, 2013
Daniela- there are definitely no eggs in this recipe-it will not turn out with eggs-will curdle -sorry
Beatriz-Translated last paragraph for ligher version is:For a lighter ver­sion, steep gar­lic, pep­per­corns, thyme, and salt in 2 cups of (500 mL) milk. Then make béchamel sauce: In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons but­ter over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stir­ring, for 1 minute. Whisk in strained milk mix­ture, and sim­mer everything for 5 min­utes until slightly thickened. Pour over pota­toes.
Beatriz December 15, 2013
Hope someone could translate into English (sorry).
Step 6. For the ligntest version: Add garlic, peppercorns, thyme and salt "a un plato con uno o dos huevos batidos. Pasar todo por la batidora. Echarlo por encima a la fuente donde están las papas, cebollas y queso. Meterlo al horno, vigilando para que no se queme (puede taparse con papel de aluminio).
Many thanks
Daniela B. December 18, 2013
Step 6. for a lighter version: In a stand mixer or blender place one or two eggs, garlic, freshly ground black pepper, thyme. Pulse to combine. Pour the mixture on the potatoes, onion and cheese. Bake. Cover with foil if it gets too brown on top.
Meisen December 15, 2013
I've been making these for years. They are a family favorite.
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 6, 2013
Thanks Pegeen, let me know if you try making them, would love to know what you think.KK:))))
Pegeen December 6, 2013
This looks delicious. Congratulations!
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 5, 2013
Thanks so much Vanessa, hope you enjoy!
vvvanessa December 5, 2013
Congrats! This looks perfect. So smart to use caramelized onions and gruyère. I can't wait to make this, and I'm not even going to wait for a holiday!
Author Comment
Katheryn's K. December 5, 2013
Thanks MM- wow Christmas dinner! It might be a nice change from mashed potatoes!