Choose the right potato and you’ll master this classic Easter dish.

 

Whether ham or lamb (or something else entirely) is on your Easter table, chances are, there’s a baking dish of scalloped potatoes sitting right beside it. This rich and cheesy side dish is an Eastertime favorite and will pair wonderfully with just about any main dish that’s on the menu.

Scalloped potatoes are similar to a potato gratin—they both contain layers of thinly sliced potatoes that are baked in a creamy sauce until golden and bubbly—but there’s one difference: cheese. Scalloped potatoes are extra indulgent because of the addition of cheese (often Parmesan, but sometimes Cheddar, goat cheese, or other types of cheese) to the sauce.

Even fancied-up scalloped potato recipes are pretty straightforward, but there’s one thing that’s key to mastering this recipe: you must choose the right potato. A starchy potato such as a Yukon Gold or a Russet is best for scalloped potatoes because it will help thicken the sauce and bake up nice and tender. Waxy red skinned potatoes are less starchy and are likely to be too firm even after they have been baked. 

While the potatoes do help thicken the sauce, it’s important to note that the consistency isn’t as thick as a regular white sauce or cheese sauce. It’s a bit thinner, so when you serve the cooked scalloped potatoes, you’ll have to spoon up the sauce and pour it over each individual portion.

Once you’ve chosen the right potatoes, grab a sharp chefs’ knife (or a mandoline, if you have one) and carefully slice them as thinly and evenly as possible—ideally 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Potatoes that are too thick or thin will bake up unevenly, and you want the layers to cook up tender all the way through.

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