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Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes – The Perfect Holiday Side Dish Recipe

This Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes recipe is an easy recipe when you need a side dish to feed a crowd. And this is especially true when you need to bring or serve a side dish for the holidays.

Not only are they a crowd favorite, but they are easy to make, and of course, easy to transport if needed. Plus, they stay nice and warm when served right out of a slow cooker.

Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter, I make a big batch of these creamy and cheesy potatoes in my 6 quart programmable Crock Pot. Then when the potatoes are nice and tender, the crock pot automatically switches to a Keep Warm setting. This allows them to stay nice and warm until it is time to serve them.

scalloped potatoes on plate
Scalloped potatoes are a classic recipe that is served on the holidays. And it couldn’t be easier with this slow cooker recipe.

Even better, this crock pot has lockable handles so that it transports easily. This will help prevent the potatoes from spilling over during the drive to Grandma’s house.

Although you could use the oven to make Oven Baked Scalloped Potatoes, making them in a crock pot is a great way to save room in the oven. That way you can save the space for your Honey Glazed Ham or other dishes that are better tasting when they are baked in the oven.

However, before I get to the actual recipe, I must first clarify the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes. Every year there are always questions about the difference between the two, so let me explain.

Scalloped Potatoes vs. Au Gratin Potatoes

Every time I share a recipe that involves thinly sliced potatoes, cheese and/or breadcrumbs, there is always a debate on what to name them.

Are they scalloped potatoes? Or should they be called au gratin potatoes? So what is the difference between the two popular potato dishes?

Although there is not a simple answer, it basically comes down to two concepts.

In food terms, gratin means ‘crispy baked top’. This can be achieved either through melted grated cheese, breadcrumbs, or a combination of both.

On the other hand, scalloped potatoes are thinly sliced potatoes that have been drenched in a cream sauce and topped with breadcrumbs.

cream sauce
Scalloped potatoes are made using a cream based sauce. Cheese is optional (really?)

Whether or not they contain cheese as part of the cream sauce is up to personal preference. That is exactly why you fill find cheese in this slow cooker scalloped potatoes recipe!

Whenever there is a chance to add cheese, I take full advantage of it!

Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • Peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • Diced onion
  • Unsalted butter, divided
  • All-purpose flour
  • Ground dry mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Milk
  • Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Bread crumbs

INSTRUCTIONS

Preparing The Potatoes

Because this recipe calls for thinly sliced potatoes, I always use my mandolin slicer to cut the potatoes. I have tried to hand cut the potatoes with a sharp knife, but I always get slices with various thickness that don’t cook evenly.

There is nothing worse than thinking that all of the potatoes are nice and tender, but then taking a bite into a thicker potato and it be under cooked.

mandolin slicer
Be sure to use the finger guard when slicing your potatoes with a mandolin slicer!

Using a mandolin slicer not only eliminates that risk, but because they can be sliced so thin, the cooking time that is required is reduced significantly.

But be careful!!! Please, please, please use the finger guard that comes with your slicer!

I neglected to use it on more than one occasion and have sliced the tip of my thumb along with the end of the potato. Not only did it hurt extremely bad for a couple of weeks, I ruined the entire batch of sliced potatoes and I had to start over again!

Once the potatoes are sliced add them to the crock pot. Then add the sliced onions to the potatoes and toss. Set the slow cooker aside while you prepare the sauce.

The Scalloped Potato Cream Sauce

Almost all cream sauces begin with a roux base. And this scalloped potato recipe is no different.

Start by melting the butter and then add in the flour. Whisk until a thick paste is formed. Then whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper and continue to mix until combined.

cheese sauce for slow cooker scalloped potatoes
The cream sauce is the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes.

Next, slowly whisk in the milk and as soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it form into a thick and bubbly sauce.

To prevent scorching the bottom of your pan, be sure to stir it frequently. Because I make the sauce in my hard anodized, non-stick sauce pan, I use a silicone whisk.

This allows me to whisk the milk and roux together without the risk of scraping the bottom of the pan.

Once the mixture is nice and thick, add the shredded sharp Cheddar cheese until it is completely melted. Then pour it over over the potatoes and onions and it is ready to be cooked!

Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. The potatoes are ready when they are fork tender.

Breadcrumb Topping

As we discussed earlier, traditional scalloped potatoes contain a breadcrumb topping. This slow cooker scalloped potatoes recipe is no different.

bread crumbs
We prefer to use traditional, unflavored breadcrumbs for this recipe.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the Italian bread crumbs until they are nice and moist. Then sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over your potatoes.

Cook uncovered for 30 minutes so that the bread crumbs don’t become soggy from the condensation on the lid. The end result, perfectly cooked scalloped potatoes that are ready to feed a crowd.

If you own an Instant Pot and want to transition your traditional Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes recipe into a pressure cooker version, check out my Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes Recipe.

Enjoy! Mary

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Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

scalloped potatoes

Thinly sliced potatoes tossed in a rich and creamy cheese sauce, covered in bread crumbs and baked until tender. This recipe makes for the perfect side dish for any holiday or group event!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Combine your potatoes and onions and place them in a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of your butter.
  3. Once the butter has melted add the flour, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper and stir until combined.
  4. Add the milk to the saucepan and stir frequently until it comes to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring frequently, and cook the mixture until thick and bubbly.
  6. Add the Cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
  7. Pour the cheese mixture over your potatoes and toss to coat.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.
  9. Melt your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with your Italian bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over your potatoes.
  10. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Notes

*All slow cookers cook at different rates. Please adjust the cooking time based on your specific brand of slow cooker. 

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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