Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes

June 24th, 2014

Julia Child's Scalloped Potatoes 1


This is familiar territory for me;  a cast iron skillet, warm lighting for the shoot (forget that natural light when it is late evening), decadent potatoes with a history from Julia Child and a heady scent in the air.  I made this as a side dish for the steak that David was cooking on the grill.  Each time that he returned to the house from the deck, he said “Man, it smells good in here”.  Sometimes tried and true recipes are all you need. And I was tired of baked potatoes with my steak.

Julia Child's Scalloped Potatoes 2


Cooking the potatoes in an iron skillet seemed rustic and smart.  Cast iron holds the heat so well.  Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois, or scalloped potatoes to us, has stood the test of time and is still one of my favorite scalloped potatoes recipes.  I did make some changes to the recipe.  I used russet potatoes instead of boiling potatoes and I used Gruyere cheese instead of Swiss.  I also added fresh thyme to the casserole.  My thyme plant is thriving this year.

Julia Child's Scalloped Potatoes 3


Steak, decadent potatoes and a cool crisp salad.  What a wonderful dinner.


2 pounds russet potatoes

A fireproof baking dish about
10-inches in diameter and
2-inches deep

1/2 clove garlic
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup boiling milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick.  Place in a basin of cold water.  Drain when ready to use.

Rub the baking dish with the cut garlic.  Smear the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel.  Spread half of them  in the bottom of the dish.  Divide over them half the salt, pepper, thyme, cheese, and butter.  Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer, and season them with salt, pepper and thyme.  Spread on the rest of the cheese and divide the butter over it.  Pour on the boiling milk.  Set baking dish over heat and when simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed, and the top is nicely browned.

Printable Recipe




16 responses to “Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes”

  1. BabyJune says:

    Those look amazing! A classic indeed. 🙂

  2. larry says:

    Looks like the real deal scalloped potatoes Penny.

  3. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I love scalloped potatoes Penny, but I have never tried Julia’s recipe or made them in cast iron! It sounds perfect!

  4. Sam Hoffer says:

    I totally agree – Julia’s Gratin Dauphinous has weathered the test of time and is the very best recipe for scalloped potatoes. Actually It’s the only recipe I use now. It’s not surprising that we’re definitely on the same wave length; I use thyme and gruyere too.

  5. gonnawantsecond says:

    These look amazing! I’ve been on a scalloped potato bend lately. Can’t seem to get enough of them!

  6. Lemon Tart says:

    Your changes are perfect. Gruyere has so much more flavor, and I am jealous of your thriving thyme bush. I seem to be able to propagate basil, and grow oregano, and rosemary, and mint, but no luck with thyme, my favorite. Nothing cooks like an iron skillet.


  7. Susan says:

    This looks so appealing in the cast iron skillet, Penny! I can see making this ahead, letting it sit for a while and cutting it like a pie to serve. Another perfect entertaining idea for a side to something on the grill. I don’t know why but my thyme has been slow to take off this year. Probably all the rain and lack of sunshine!

  8. KathyWalker says:

    You are right….a change in potato is needed at my house too! This would be a most delicious side!!

  9. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    Way better than a baked potato! Your scalloped potatoes look yummy and had to be extra delicious with the Gruyere cheese.

  10. Lindaraxa says:

    I’ve made this many, many times and like your twist of cooking them in a cast iron skillet. I always make it with russet potatoes…much better. Coincidentally, guess what we are grilling tonight…steak! I was planning to accompany with roasted potatoes but you have changed my mind.

  11. cheri says:

    Cast iron makes everything taste better, love this recipe!

  12. Lisa says:

    Is it ok to make in a casserole dish? I don’t have a cast iron skillet :-/

  13. The Queen says:

    Love the look of this, can’t wait to try it.

  14. […] Along with my sisters, I learned to cook with those pots, the three of us making scalloped potatoes a la Julia, layering thin slices of russets into the casserole, its milky enamel lining a cool reprieve from […]

  15. Ginger says:

    Julia’s scalloped potatoes are timeless, for sure! Instead of Swiss, I use a combination of Gruyere and Emmenthaler, lemon thyme (so much better then regular old thyme) and a hint of tarragon.

  16. […] Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes are a classic.  With simple ingredients you can transform the lowly potato into a gourmet treat.  Nobody does it better than Julia.  Also, if you haven’t read any of the books about Julia Child you can find them on Amazon. […]

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