These Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes are the perfect fall twist on a classic. Instead of simple scalloped potatoes, this version is packed with sweet pumpkin puree, savory cheddar cheese, and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. Perfect for Thanksgiving or any holiday gathering.
Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
I’ll admit, I was hesitant to welcome fall with open arms. In fact, I was full on against it, especially when it came to all things pumpkin. It boggles my mind that I had cherry tomatoes growing faster than I could pick them, sweet corn gracing every produce section, and 85-degree heat as I was simultaneously being beat over the head with advertisements for pumpkin spice lattes (which I don’t even like).
I guess it’s also just hard for this heat-loving, sun-worshipper to say goodbye to sun-kissed tans and watch as all the pools close up for an agonizing nine months.
But…I’ve now finally embraced the fall, probably a little too much if I’m being honest. Because not only do I still have several pumpkin recipes in the blog queue on top of the handful I’ve already published, but I now have a one-track mind on my favorite upcoming holiday – Thanksgiving.
While my creamy dreamy mashed potatoes are always something we have on the table, this year I’m making a potato addition a little on the rebellious side – pumpkin and cheddar scalloped potatoes.
Instead of a simple creamy sauce, the cheddar scalloped potatoes are studded with creamy pumpkin puree, extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and plenty of sweet garlic.
What are scalloped potatoes?
Classic mashed potatoes and gravy is a non-negotiable when it comes to our Thanksgiving, but we almost always have at least one or two other starches aside from the stuffing. It’s generally something in the gratin family, because what better than layers of cheesy, creamy potatoes to commence the greatest eating holiday of the year?
Bust first, what are scalloped potatoes?
Simple scalloped potatoes are as stated, simple. They’re typically just baked with thinly sliced potatoes, heavy cream, a little bit of salt and pepper, and that’s it.
Cheesy scalloped potatoes, often referred to as potatoes au gratin are the same thing with cheese in between each layer.
What I love most about cheddar scalloped potatoes are, they couldn’t be easier to make. I actually might argue they may even be easier to cook than mashed potatoes since you don’t have to worry about lumps or overworking the spuds into a nasty, gluey mess.
What I also love about scalloped potatoes, is the layers don’t have to be perfect, just cut them up as uniform as you can, layer them up and slather them in your sauce and cheese of choice.
Ingredient in Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
Potatoes. Unlike creamy mashed potatoes, which rely heavily on a starchy russet potatoes, cheddar scalloped potatoes, can honestly use any variety. I especially love Yukon gold for cheddar scalloped potatoes, but red potatoes or russets will also work well.
Garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.
Butter +Flour. This is what makes our roux, or thickening agent to make the sweet and savory pumpkin cheddar sauce super thick and luxurious.
Milk. Whole milk is what I recommend, but 2% or skim will also work. Just be aware that the richness will decrease as well. Totally a judgement call.
Pumpkin puree. Any canned or homemade pumpkin puree will work great. I LOVE the subtle sweet flavor of pumpkin and love the way it compliments cheddar cheese.
Cheddar cheese. Cheddar scalloped potatoes wouldn’t be anything without super sharp cheddar cheese. The longer it’s aged, the better.
How to make Pumpkin Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes
Slice the potatoes. Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes to about an 1/8-inch thickness. If you don’t have a mandolin, just use a very sharp knife and try hard to keep the slices as uniform as possible.
Make the cream sauce. Sweat garlic in a little bit of butter until soft and fragrant. Whisk in butter. Cook for a minute to let all the raw flour flavor dissipate.
Slowly whisk in warm milk. Let the mixture come to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and whisk in pumpkin puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Layer the potatoes. Make sure to grease your baking dish really well.Layer about half of the potatoes into the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with half of the pumpkin sauce. Cover with half of the cheese. Repeat! Finish off with a generous dusting of cheese. Cover with foil and bake until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 45 minutes. In the last few minutes of baking, turn the oven on to broil and cook until the cheese is bubbly and brown.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Make sure all your potato slices are uniform. If they aren’t, they may cook unevenly.
- Be sure to season each layer of potatoes! Since they don’t have seasoning, you really need to be liberal with the salt. Add a little bit more than you’d think – we’re seasoning a lot of potatoes!
- Add in a pinch of nutmeg for a bit of warmth.
For more easy potato sides, check out these posts:
4 Ingredient Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter & Brown Sugar: Cooking for Keeps
Cheesy Herb Garlic Scalloped Potatoes: The Cookie Rookie
Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes: Foodie Crush
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 large russet or yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/8-inch slices
- Baking dish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a 1-quart oval baking dish or equivilant size.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over a medium heat. Add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes until soft and fragrant. Whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in warm milk and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk in pumpkin puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Layer half of the potatoes into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread half of the sauce on top. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top. Layer remaining potatoes on top of the first layer. Repeat process.
- Spray aluminum foil with baking spray, cover the baking dish and bake until potatoe are fork-tender. In the last few mintues of cooking, turn the heat on to broil. Cook until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before serving.