Easy Cheesy Potatoes (From Scratch!)

Whether you’re looking for a simple side dish for weeknight dinner or a classic to serve alongside oven roasted turkey on Thanksgiving day, these Easy Cheesy Potatoes fit the bill! 

Made with diced potatoes and a made from scratch cheese sauce, this rich cheesy potato casserole is always a crowd pleaser.

cheesy potato casserole with green onions on top

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

I used to think of cheesy potatoes as a holiday-only side dish. Growing up, we always had some form of cheesy potato casserole (whether it was made with hash browns or covered in cornflakes) for special occasions, but we rarely ate them other times of year.

Typically, my mom was The Keeper of the Cheesy Potato Casserole, but now that I’ve learned how easy it is to make, I might be willing to let her pass the baton. Besides, cheesy potatoes are far too delicious to only be eaten 2 or 3 times a year!

Move over Creamy Mashed Potatoes, these are going to become a dinner staple!

scoop of cheesy potatoes taken out of the dish

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Make ahead friendly– Being able to assemble this casserole a day in advance is such a sanity saver for holidays! Or, whip it up in the morning to make dinner time a breeze.
  • No canned soups– I’m not 100% against using canned cream of mushroom soup. After all, I’m a Midwestern girl who grew up on Tater Tot Casserole. But for this recipe, I wanted the flavor of a real, homemade cheese sauce, and it does not disappoint!
  • Feeds a crowd– This is a generous sized casserole that’s great for family gatherings, but the leftovers are also amazing! We love to fry them with a dippy egg for breakfast the next morning.

Key Ingredients

Prep bowls filled with diced potatoes, sour cream, flour, chicken broth, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, butter, green onions, and seasonings.
  • Potatoes– We use Yukon golds for this recipe. They keep their shape a bit better than russets and are less prone to crumbling, but they still have a silky, creamy texture. Plus, Yukon potatoes have a very thin skin, so you don’t need to peel them!
  • Butter– This is the base of our cheese sauce. You can use salted or unsalted butter, but just know you’ll need to watch how much salt you add at the end if you use salted butter.
  • Chicken broth– Feel free to substitute veggie broth if you prefer!
  • Milk– Here’s where we get our creamy sauce! You can use whole or 2% milk. I don’t recommend substituting skim or non-dairy milk.
  • Flour, garlic powder, and onion powder– We use these for thickening and flavor!
  • Shredded Cheese– This casserole has cheese both in the sauce and on top (because WHY NOT??) The best part about making cheesy potatoes from scratch is you can mix up the cheeses based on your tastes!
    • Use sharp cheddar for classic cheesy potatoes.
    • Use 1/2 pepper jack cheese to give the casserole a kick.
    • Go fancy and add shredded Gruyere!
  • Sour cream– For extra creaminess and a little tang, we love to add full fat sour cream.

How to Make Cheesy Potatoes from Scratch

Step 1: Boil the potatoes. Add the diced potatoes to a large pot. Cover with cold, salted water, with about an inch of headway above them. Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 7-10 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, and add to the casserole dish.

Step 2: Make the cheese sauce. In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk, flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. In a sauce pan over medium high heat, bring the butter and chicken to a boil. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the boiling broth, and continue to cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Step 3: Stir in the cheese and sour cream. At this point, you’ll have a rich, creamy white sauce, but we’re making cheesy potatoes after all, so we’ll need to add some cheese! Sprinkle in most of the cheddar and all of the sour cream, stirring until the cheese is melted.

Shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream stirred into a creamy white sauce in a sauce pan.

Step 4: Assemble and Bake. Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top and bake.

Tips for Success

  • Salt your potato water. This is a trick I learned from Bon Appetit. You’ve heard us preach about salting your pasta water, but the same idea applies to potatoes! We recommend adding a 1/2 cup of Kosher salt to the water. (We know it sounds like a lot, but remember a lot of it will be poured down the drain, and we need a lot of salt to penetrate the dense potatoes.
  • Start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly and the outside doesn’t overcook before the insides are tender.
  • Don’t overcook your potatoes. You want them to be just fork tender.
  • Keep an eye on the cheese sauce. It will thicken quickly! Take it off heat as soon as the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
baked cheesy potato casserole with green onions

Storage and Make Ahead Instructions

  • Make Ahead– Cheesy potatoes can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance. Cover the pan and keep it in the fridge until ready to bake. Uncover and bake as usual.
  • Storage– Leftover casserole will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Reheating– You can reheat the casserole in the microwave, but if you really want some AMAZING leftovers, melt a little butter in a skillet and fry the potatoes until browned. So delicious!
  • Freezing– The unbaked casserole can be sealed tight and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake as usual. You can also freeze baked casserole in the same way.
wooden spoon scooping cheesy potatoes

FAQs

Can I use frozen potatoes or hashbrowns instead of fresh?

Yes, though I prefer the texture of fresh potatoes. If using frozen diced potatoes, they should be thawed but not cooked before adding to the casserole.

Do you have to peel the potatoes?

Nope! When I use Yukon golds, I never peel them, and you can’t tell in the final dish at all!

Can I make these cheesy potatoes gluten free?

Yes, use a 1 for 1 gluten free flour substitute for the cheese sauce. That’s the only change needed!

Can you substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth?

Yes! This is an easy swap to make this a vegetarian side dish.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

Yes, full fat Greek yogurt (unsweetened and unflavored) can be used in place of sour cream. I do not recommend using low fat yogurt.

Can I halve this recipe?

Yes. As written, the recipe will make a large pan of cheesy potatoes, perfect for a holiday gathering or larger family. If you’re cooking for a smaller family or don’t want leftovers, halving is a great option.

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How to Make Cheese Sauce from Scratch for Casseroles and More

This cheese sauce is similar to a roux, which is the foundation of many creamy sauces, including the ones in Creamy Mac and Cheese, Buffalo Mac and Cheese, Broccoli Cheese Casserole, and Chicken Pot Pie.

Don’t be intimidated by a homemade cheese sauce! It’s really not difficult, but if you’re looking for a little extra help, here’s a step by step breakdown of the process!

  1. To make the cheese sauce, bring butter and chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together milk, flour, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the boiling broth, and continue to cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened, just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust seasonings to suit your tastes.
  4. At this point, you’ll have a rich, creamy, white sauce, but we’re making cheesy potatoes after all, so we’ll need to add some cheese! Remove the mixture from heat, sprinkle in the cheese and add a cup of sour cream for some lovely tang and richness. Stir until the cheese is melted, and your sauce is ready!
homemade cheese sauce poured over potatoes

What to Pair With Cheesy Potatoes

This is one of our favorite side dishes, both for the holidays and for everyday dinners. For casual meals at home, pair cheesy potato casserole with Mini Meatloaf, Slow Cooker Shredded Beef, Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Air Fryer Pork Chops or Skillet Pork Chops with Tomato Pan Sauce .

We like to serve the cheesy potatoes with a simple Garden Salad, Garlic Green Beans, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, or Balsamic Grilled Vegetables.

For the holidays, pair cheesy potato casserole with Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Easy Prime Rib Roast, or Orange Glazed Ham.

Wooden spoon scooping up cheesy potatoes from a casserole dish.

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Easy cheesy potatoes are a delicious side dish that's perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday feasts! This cheesy potato casserole is always a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Morton's Kosher salt *see note
  • 3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup milk, whole or 2%
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
    2. Add the potatoes to a large pot of cold water salted with the 1/2 cup of Kosher salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 7-10 minutes or until fork tender., then drain and add to the baking dish.
    3. Bring the chicken broth and butter to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
    4. In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk, flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pour the milk mixture into the boiling broth and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Lower the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    5. Stir in sour cream and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar until melted.
    6. Pour the sauce over the potatoes along with most of the green onions. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is browned and mixture is bubbly. Top with the remaining green onions before serving.

Notes

  • I know 1/2 cup Kosher salt feels like A LOT, but we need a lot of salt to penetrate the dense potatoes. It's very difficult to oversalt the water for potatoes. Just like salting pasta water, salting your potato water will infuse the potatoes themselves with good flavor, instead of just covering a somewhat bland potato with cheese sauce.
  • Salted or unsalted butter can be used for this recipe.
  • Substitute veggie broth to make the casserole vegetarian.
  • Gluten free 1 to 1 flour can be substituted for all purpose to make the dish gluten free.
  • Feel free to sub half the cheese for a different flavor (colby jack, pepper jack, gruyere, etc).
  • To make ahead of time, assemble the casserole, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Bake as usual whenever you're ready. (I recommend baking within 24 hours).

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 452Total Fat: 26gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 401mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 16g

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29 Comments

    1. I did! I just eliminated the salt. Mine is still in the oven.ao be prepared that it may take more time.

    1. I’m making this currently, but you can get gluten free 1:1 flour that can basically be swapped for flour in any recipe to make it gluten free. I don’t even search for gluten free recipes anymore, I just sub out the flour and have had no issues. Make sure the flour has xanthan gum if you instead to do any baking but anything advertised to replace flour will.

  1. I tried it and this was excellent! I didn’t have garlic powder, so I used some minced garlic. I also didn’t have onion powder or sour cream, but I used plain yogurt and it turned out GREAT!

    1. I would not recommend using nonfat yogurt. Full fat yogurt might work, but I’m not positive. My concern would be that the non-fat yogurt would curdle and separate when cooked.

  2. Amazingly delicious! I’ve made many cheesy potato recipes over the years, but this sauce was easier and tasted better, and the house smelled so incredibly good while it was baking, my husband came in from outside to ask what I was up to. This will now be my go-to. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. I added a pound of cubed ham and it was a huge hit and super easy for my older kids to throw in the oven on days I have to work late!

  4. The greatest cheesy potato bake of all time! I add sauteed bell pepper and onion to the roux and I have to say it is just amazing!

  5. Wow. Just wow! Have made these 3 times. Today, for Easter dinner. Perfect complement to ham and turkey holiday feast. So delicious. And easy to make. Made yesterday, put in fridge and heated up today. As good as the ham and turkey were, these potatoes were the hit!

  6. Took this recipe to our family get together everyone loved it and wanted the recipe! Thank you for sharing this yummy goodness!

    1. I haven’t tried this in a crock pot, so can’t say for sure. Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try!

  7. This is definitely a keeper! Came out perfectly. I think this is the best potato cheese recipe yet. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the recipe. I halved it as there weren’t any other reviews, and I didn’t want to make a huge batch without testing it on my family. I’m glad to say, everyone loved it. Half a recipe was the perfect amount for the three of us, plus a little leftover for tomorrow’s lunch in the fridge. The full recipe would make a lot, but would be awesome for a special family meal, or for larger families. Definitely adding this one to my recipe binder 🙂 Might add some bacon next time, just to change it up.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you all loved the Cheesy Potatoes! Thanks for giving the recipe a try, and coming back to let me know. The addition of bacon sounds fantastic!

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