Scalloped Potatoes is a very simple dish, with very simple ingredients, but it's hard to get perfect! Why? Because potatoes are difficult to get all the way done when they are stacked in layers. Say goodbye to underdone potatoes! Problem solved.
I don't know about you, but I love Scalloped Potatoes. Real Scalloped Potatoes. You know, the ones without cheese. Real Scalloped Potatoes!
Now, if you ask my husband, he would say, "cheese, please!" That's him. I'm me.
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I don't think there is anything better than layer after layer of thinly sliced potatoes smothered in a rich, spice & herb infused, cream sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
I'm not knocking cheese. I love cheese. If you want to put cheese in or on top of your scalloped potatoes, please do it! Just don't call them scalloped potatoes because they are now Potatoes Au Gratin and I love those, too!
What is the difference between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes?
Cheese. Cheese is the difference. Mostly.
Some will say that the potatoes in Scalloped Potatoes are cut thicker, some will say potatoes in Au Gratin Potatoes are cut thicker. Some will say that both have a bread or cracker topping.
Personally, I don't put a bread or cracker topping on either. I can see how people would enjoy that, though.
From my limited research -- and I say limited because not much is on the internet about this topic -- I've concluded that I'm going to make up my own differences and call it a day.
So, the differences between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin, besides cheese (that's a given), is in the preparation of the dish; at least for me. Remember, these are just my personal opinions since no one on the internet seemed to be an authority on this topic.
When I make potatoes au gratin, I use a roux. So, my cream sauce starts with flour and butter and then I build a cream sauce also known as a Béchamel sauce. To the Béchamel sauce, I add cheese. Several different kinds of cheese and I turn the Béchamel sauce into a cheese sauce. If you used white cheeses, like Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or even white Cheddar, you would now have a Mornay sauce.
The next time you see a dish called Chicken Mornay or Vegetable Mornay on a menu, you'll smile and say, cheese sauce. See, fancy isn't so fancy is it?
So, I pour the cheese on the sliced potatoes and bake, then I put more cheese on top and bake some more. That is how I make my Au Gratin Potatoes. I have an easy and delicious recipe for Au Gratin Potatoes in my cookbook which you can take a look at if you are interested: Flavors of Fall ~ Ninja Foodi Cookbook
Scalloped Potatoes, on the other hand: different technique altogether. I thinly slice my potatoes even thinner than with my Au Gratin Potatoes. Now, I might have this mixed up and maybe Au Gratin Potatoes should be sliced thinner than scalloped, but you know what? It doesn't matter. You cut your potatoes any which way you want and it will still be delicious!
The biggest difference besides no-cheese in my Scalloped Potatoes is that I don't use a roux either. My potatoes are baked in an infused heavy cream and that is it. The starch from the potatoes helps to thicken the dish and the spice & herb infused cream flavors it. This brings me to the next topic: choosing the right potato.
Which type potato should I use for Scalloped Potatoes?
I use Russets and only Russets, but you can use Yukon Gold if you prefer. These both are starchy potatoes, but I do think the Russet has an edge on the Yukon Gold in the starch department, as well as the tenderness department.
Yukon Gold potatoes hold their shape better, but I like the texture of Russets in my Scalloped Potatoes.
I don't recommend using red potatoes or any other type of small potato because they aren't starchy enough to help thicken the cream sauce. However, if that is all you have, you can use red potatoes. You will want to make a roux and thicken your cream before pouring over the potatoes.
You can peel or not peel your potatoes, that is completely up to you. In this recipe, I peeled them because I wanted a uniform look of white potatoes with a white cream and hints of green from the leeks.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes in the Ninja Foodi
The first thing we are going to do is infuse our cream with spices and herbs. This is important and I really hope you don't skip this step. Of course, you can season your hot cream and just pour it over the potatoes, but it won't be the same.
I can't explain it, but by taking the time to infuse the cream, you are only giving little hints of the spices and herbs, none are overwhelming and it just creates the best sauce for scalloped potatoes, in my opinion. A little nutmeg is also wonderful in scalloped potatoes. I left it out of this recipe, but feel free to add a pinch or two to your cream. It is a delicious addition for sure!
Add 3 cups of heavy whipping cream to the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and turn the sear/sauté on high.
Cut the ends off of each garlic clove and smash them with the side of your knife blade.
Add about ¼ cup or 6-8 fresh thyme stems, ½ Tbsp black peppercorns (whole), 2 bay leaves, 6-8 cloves of smashed garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. You don't want the cream to boil, so, when you start to see steam and little bubbles breaking through the surface, turn the heat off and give it a stir. Then, just let it sit and steep.
Butter your baking dish & slice your leek or onion into thin slices.
In this recipe, I used my All Purpose Baking Dish. It measures about 8.75" x 2.75" and is the perfect size for this quantity of scalloped potatoes. You can use any dish as long as it is pressure safe and oven safe, but if your dish is smaller, you may have to decrease the amount of potatoes.
Peel and slice the potatoes very thinly. The ideal thickness will be between 1/16" and ⅛" thick. Using a mandoline will product the most consistent results, but you can do this with a sharp knife. If your potatoes are thicker, increase the pressure cook time to 15 minutes.
Here is a quick video on how to slice the potatoes with a knife and a mandoline.
Begin layering your potatoes by lining the bottom of the baking dish with the potato slices overlapping about ½" until the bottom is covered. It usually takes about 1 potato to make a layer. Sprinkle with salt. Add a thin layer of leeks or onions.
Repeat this layering until you have used all of your potatoes. Reserve some leeks or onion slices for the top. You will end up with 7-9 layers of potatoes.
Strain the cream through a strainer. I like to use a fine sieve strainer, but a colander will work as well. Wash the inner pot and put 1 cup of water into the inner pot.
Cover the potatoes with a Silicone Cover or aluminum foil. Set on the rack in the low position in the inner pot. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure for 10 minutes on high. Remember, if your potatoes are a little thicker or not cut with a mandoline, increase the time to between 12-15 minutes. If you aren't sure, set the pressure time for 12 minutes. When the pressure time is done, immediately release the pressure.
Remove the potatoes and check for doneness by inserting a butter knife through the center of the potatoes. If you meet any resistance, they are not done and will need to be pressure cooked longer. This is very important because, in the short time we bake the potatoes, they will not have time to soften up. So, make sure they are soft at this point. I would recommend pressure cooking for just 1-2 minutes because the short time it takes the pot to come up to pressure will also help cook them.
Pour the cream over the potatoes just until they are covered. You don't have to use all of the cream. Gently push the potatoes down under the cream as much as possible.
Cover the potatoes with the silicone cover or foil and place the pan on the rack in the low position. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes.
Uncover and continue to bake at 325° F for another 15 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly. Press down to allow the thin cream to come up to the top. Do not worry that your cream is still really liquidy, the next step takes care of that.
Add the remaining leek slices/onion slices, press down on the potatoes to allow the thin cream to come to the top and continue to bake at 325° F for another 5 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Remove the rack from the Ninja Foodi and let the potatoes cool for about 15 minutes. This will allow the cream to thicken.
SERVE & ENJOY! I hope you love this recipe!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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Scalloped Potatoes in the Ninja Foodi
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup thyme leaves on stem, about 6-8 stems
- ½ Tbsp peppercorns whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1-2 tsps sea salt find grind, divided
- 3 lbs Russet potatoes
- 1 leek or 1 sweet onion
- Cut the ends off of each garlic clove and smash them with the side of your knife blade.
- Pour 3 cups of heavy cream into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi. Add thyme leaves, peppercorns, bay leaves, smashed garlic cloves, ¼-½ tsp of sea salt to the cream and stir. Turn on the sear/saute on high and bring the cream to a simmer. When you start to see bubbles, turn the Ninja Foodi off and let the cream sit so the spices infuse into the cream.
- Butter your baking dish.
- Peel and slice the potatoes very thinly. The ideal thickness will be between 1/16 and ⅛" thick. Using a mandoline will product the most consistent results, but you can do this with a sharp knife. If your potatoes are thicker, increase the pressure cook time to 15 minutes.
- Thinly slice your leek or onion.
- Begin layering your potatoes by lining the bottom of the baking dish with the potato slices overlapping about ½" until the bottom is covered. It usually takes about 1 potato to make a layer. Sprinkle with salt.
- Add a thin layer of sliced leeks or onion.
- Repeat this layering until you have used all of your potatoes. Reserve some leeks or onion slices for the top. You will end up with 7-9 layers of potatoes.
- Pour the cream through a strainer to remove the spices and let sit until ready to use. Wash out the inner pot.
- Cover your baking pan with foil or a silicone cover. Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot and place the baking pan on the rack in the low position. Put the rack into the Ninja Foodi and put on the pressure lid. Turn the valve to seal and set on high pressure for 10 minutes. *if your potatoes are thicker, increase the time to 12-15 minutes to ensure they are cooked through. When the time is up, immediate release the pressure.
- Check for doneness by inserting a knife into the potatoes. The knife should easily go through the potatoes. If you meet any resistance, your potatoes are not done and you will want to pressure cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the cream over the potatoes just until the potatoes are covered. You may not use all of the cream. I push the potatoes down some to make sure most of them are covered. Cover the potatoes and place the pan on the rack in the low position. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to bake at 325° F for another 15 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly. Press down to allow the thin cream to come up to the top.
- Add the remaining leek slices/onion slices and continue to bake at 325° F for another 5 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Remove the rack from the Ninja Foodi and let the potatoes cool for about 15 minutes. This will allow the cream to thicken.
- Serve and Enjoy!