Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions are a deeply satisfying side dish. The golden-brown sweet flavor of caramelized onions mixed with gruyere cheese is layered in between slices of Yukon gold potatoes drenched in a creamy sauce.
Scalloped potatoes are no stranger to the Thanksgiving table, however, the creamy cheese potato recipe makes an excellent fall side dish too. This year if you plan on slightly changing up your side dish options for Turkey day then I recommend this version of scalloped potatoes with caramelized onions.
In this recipe, you’ll find the same creamy roux-like base with simple seasonings of salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Layered in between the potatoes along with shredded Gruyère cheese are caramelized onions, which add a sweetened flavor overall.
What are Scalloped Potatoes?
Though the origins are hazy, this dish is thought to have come from England. The name “scalloped” refers to the uniform rows of thinly sliced potatoes that create a scalloped appearance. The potatoes are baked into a roux-like creamy sauce and lightly seasoned with spices.
Ingredients in Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
Similar to traditional scalloped potatoes this recipe has very basic ingredients with the addition of sautéed onions and some white wine or dry vermouth. Though the ingredients are simple they make a richly flavored combination.
- Fats: for this recipe, the onions will be sautéed in both butter and oil to achieve a delicious caramelized texture. Use unsalted butter since the recipe also calls for salt as a seasoning.
- Onion: you can use a white, yellow, or Vidalia onion for this recipe. They all caramelize well and work deliciously.
- Seasoning: the spices used in this recipe are salt, pepper, and bay leaves, which add a subtle hint of flavor to the potatoes.
- Dry White Wine or Dry Vermouth: you can use either white wine or dry vermouth, which will get cooked down in the process, or if you don’t prefer either you can substitute broth.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: for this dish, a waxy potato is best and Yukon gold are the perfect medium-sized potato. Peel and slice them thin.
- Heavy Cream and Whole Milk: a combination of these two creates the deliciously rich base of this side dish.
- Garlic Cloves: the garlic cloves combined with the Gruyère cheese is the perfect flavor combo. The garlic complements the caramelized onions.
- Gruyère Cheese: you can use either Gruyère cheese or Comté cheese for this dish. The best option is to shred the cheese yourself.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
- Caramelize the onions: cook the onions in butter and oil, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated.
- Cook the potatoes: In a large pot or Dutch oven bring the potatoes, heavy cream, milk, and garlic to a simmer. Season with additional salt and pepper. Leaving the lid ajar let the potatoes simmer until just tender and the liquid has thickened about 10 minutes.
- Arrange: Using a slotted spoon, place ⅓ of the potatoes into the prepared dish and spread them in an even layer. Sprinkle ⅓ Gruyère cheese on top and cover with ½ of the caramelized onions. Repeat the layering and finish with the remaining ⅓ cup Gruyère cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the entire dish.
- Cook: Cover the potatoes tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes longer until the top is golden brown.
Tips for Making the Best Scalloped Potatoes
- Make sure to slice the potatoes thin enough. To do this you can use a mandolin or a sharp chef’s knife. The potatoes should be about ⅛ to ¼-inch in thickness.
- Slice the onion thin as well so it caramelized quickly and spread evenly into the layers.
- This dish doesn’t need much seasoning since it has a rich creamy base. If you’d like though you can add additional salt, pepper, and even oregano to the top after the layers are set.
- Cover the baking dish with foil for the first 35 minutes of baking to allow the steam to trap inside and soften the potatoes. Then remove the foil for the remaining 30 minutes to brown the top of the dish.
- This recipe can easily be doubled for a large crowd. Use a 13×9 baking dish if you decide to double up.
To Make Scalloped Potatoes Ahead
The scalloped potatoes with caramelized onions can be made up to 1 day ahead of preparing this dish. Let it cool completely, cover, and then chill. Rewarm the gratin, covered, in a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes, then uncover and cook until the dish begins to bubble around the edges and is warmed through the center.
What are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes?
You generally want to use a waxy type of potato that is around medium-sized. I recommend Yukon gold or Russet potatoes. You do need to peel and slice both potato options.
Can I leave out the white wine?
Yes, of course. If you prefer to leave out the white wine or dry vermouth that is okay. I recommend swapping it for a broth such as chicken or vegetable though.
What is the difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin?
The difference is very minor. Scalloped potatoes are baked into a creamy base with no toppings outside of seasoning, however, potatoes au gratin have a crusty breadcrumb top layer.
Consider trying these Thanksgiving Side Dishes too:
I love the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, but sometimes you just need something slightly different to add a little more excitement. Below are some slightly unique Thanksgiving side dishes to try this year.
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- Creamed Corn
Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
- 10-inch Skillet
- Wooden Spoon
- Large Wide Pot
- Slotted Spoon
- 13×9 Baking Dish with Lid
- Aluminum Foil
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter room temperature, divided
- 1 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 medium Yellow Onions sliced
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- ½ cup Dry White Wine or dry vermouth
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2½ lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled, sliced ⅛-inch thick
- 1½ cups Heavy Cream
- 1½ cups Whole Milk
- 3 Garlic Cloves halved
- 1⅓ cup Gruyère Cheese shredded
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and coat a 13×9 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter or cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large deep skillet over medium heat melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Add the sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, until the onions are coated evenly and begin to sizzle, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the wine and add the bay leaves to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become tender about 20 minutes
- Remove the cover and increase the heat again to medium-high, making sure the liquid evaporates and onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom. Discard the bay leaves and set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven bring the potatoes, heavy cream, milk, and garlic to a simmer. Season with additional salt and pepper. Leaving the lid ajar let the potatoes simmer until just tender and the liquid has thickened about 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, place ⅓ of the potatoes into the prepared dish and spread them in an even layer. Sprinkle ⅓ Gruyère cheese on top and cover with ½ of the caramelized onions. Repeat the layering and finish with the remaining ⅓ cup Gruyère cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the entire dish.
- Cover the potatoes tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes longer until the top are golden brown.
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