Scalloped potatoes are a tasty dish that is a family favorite for many reasons. For one, they make a great side dish and are perfect for holiday meals like Easter, Passover, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Secondly, you can get away with preparing them a day (or even two) ahead of time. This takes some of the stress out of your meal preparations because the potatoes can simply be baked when needed.
But, if you have a family member or guest who cannot tolerate dairy products, your traditional recipe including milk, cream, and/or cheese will not work. Luckily, many innovative cooks have developed delicious dairy-free scalloped potato recipes that are sure to please your family.
Dairy-Free Scalloped Potatoes Recipes
If your household has to go dairy-free, there's no reason to skip this favorite dish as the milk and cheese can easily be substituted. Some recipes use chicken broth or water while others use non-dairy alternatives like soy or almond milk.
- Scalloped Potatoes Recipe: This recipe from CalorieKing uses a buttery spread rather than real butter and a soy drink and cheese to replace the traditional milk and cheese.
- Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Scalloped Potatoes, and Onions Recipe: If you also need to cut gluten out of the potatoes, Faithfully Gluten-Free has an excellent recipe to try. Mayonnaise and a gluten-free chicken broth take over for the dairy.
- Best Ever Scalloped Potatoes (No Dairy) Recipe: A non-dairy margarine and chicken broth are the secrets to this dairy-free recipe from Just a Pinch.
- Dairy-Free Saffron Scalloped Potatoes Recipe: A flavorful scalloped potato recipe, this one uses a butter substitute along with coconut and almond milk. It's surprising how no one can tell the difference.
- Dairy-Free Scalloped Potatoes Recipe: Gluten-Free Goddess has a vegan-friendly recipe that features soy milk though you can certainly try it with almond or hazelnut if you like.
- Dusseldorf Potatoes Recipe: Tahini, turmeric, and Dijon mustard play a vital role in this dairy-free recipe which uses water and soymilk as the substitutes.
A Quick Potato Tip
Red potatoes, a waxy variety, or Yukon Golds are the best choice for scalloped potatoes because they hold together better. While many recipes call for russet potatoes, these tend to turn mushy, which is the last thing you want.
How Scalloped Potatoes Got Their Name
Scalloped potatoes have nothing to do with the shellfish known as a scallop. Some pundits believe the name is a derivation of the Old English word “collops” (or Old French "escalope" or "escallope") which meant to slice meat thinly. It's thought that this was then applied to anything sliced thinly, like potatoes.
Scalloped Potatoes vs. Au Gratin Potatoes
Both scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are made with sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce and topped with crunchy crumbs. So, what's the difference?
- Au grain literally means covered with breadcrumbs and/or cheese and then baked until brown. Vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans, eggplant, or tomatoes can be prepared au gratin. Fish and seafood also can be prepared au gratin.
- Scalloped potatoes refer to potatoes that have been baked in a creamy sauce (like a béchamel or white sauce) and covered with seasoned bread or cracker crumbs.
The big difference between the two is that potatoes au gratin typically have cheese as one of the ingredients. You will, however, see many scalloped potato recipes that call for cheese as well.