The Best Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

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These vegan scalloped potatoes taste like creamy, cheesy layers of potato pillows melting in your mouth! Unlike standard scalloped potatoes (bland and dairy-laden), these are packed with so much flavor and don't weigh you down! The perfect indulgent holiday side dish!
Prep Time: 50 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
5 from 11 votes

When I put out a call for holiday recipe requests, the most popular answer was scalloped potatoes, so I knew I had to share a Vegan Scalloped Potatoes recipe! These basically taste like creamy, cheesy potato pillows melting in your mouth, and I want to sing from the rooftops “This dish is amazing! Make it now!”.

Unlike so many standard scalloped potato recipes (e.g., bland), this one is packed with so much good flavor, from caramelized onions and an herb-infused béchamel sauce, to a little chili heat and loads of savoriness. After 7 recipe tests in 10 days, I can confidently say this recipe absolutely slaps.

Even better: while these potatoes are certainly indulgent, you can eat a good amount of them without feeling weighed down. They’re dairy-free, vegan, nut-free, and easy to make gluten-free and soy-free.

cheesy vegan scalloped potatoes in casserole pan with slice being lifted up by a spatula

How to make the BEST Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

When I first started exploring scalloped potatoes, I was very wary that this recipe would work. After all, most traditional recipes are heavy on the dairy but skimpy on the flavor: slice up some potatoes; make a roux out of butter, flour, and milk; season with salt and pepper; and (sometimes) add cheese. That’s it!

As a result, my first few attempts at keeping this recipe “classic” were a flop. Muted flavors that bored me to tears. So I knew I needed to “Nisha-ify” this recipe with tons of flavor.

Slice the potatoes very thinly and cook long enough

One of the most common complaints about scalloped potatoes is that they don’t cook evenly: some potatoes are super soft, others a bit crunchy and undercooked.

Why this happens: Many recipes tell you to (1) slice the potatoes 1/4″ thick and/or (2) to cook the dish for just 1 hour. In our first three recipe tests, we baked the dish for 1 hour, and all three had some share of undercooked potatoes, especially the version with 1/4-inch thick slices.

What you need for perfectly cooked scalloped potatoes: (1) Slice the potatoes 1/8″ thick. This is SO easy and quick with a mandoline; I can’t imagine doing it any other way. We use this inexpensive handheld mandoline and it ensures even thickness on each slice. (2) Bake the dish longer: first, covered with foil for 1 hour (to prevent burning and enable steaming), then uncovered for 20 minutes (or up to 30 minutes).

Use a creamy plant-based milk

We need to replace the high-fat content of whole milk, and I found the best option was full-fat oat milk (we love the one from Oatly). A creamy cashew milk would also work. But IMO, soy milk is too sweet (even the unsweetened varieties) and almond milk is not creamy enough.

Infuse the milk with herbs and spices

Plain milk ain’t very interesting, so let’s give it a flavor helping hand. First, I tie together fresh sprigs of sage, thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf into a bundle (AKA a bouquet garni, my favorite technique for infusing soups with flavor, like this Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale). I add herb bundle to the milk, along with a touch of nutmeg and cayenne, as well as peppercorns & salt.

Everything simmers together for 7 to 8 minutes and is then strained to infuse the milk. One sip of that milk and you’ll see why it makes for a much tastier dish!

cheesy vegan scalloped potatoes in casserole pan with slice cut out

Use fresh onion and garlic in the roux

In our first few recipe tests, we skipped the fresh onion in an effort to save time. BIG mistake. The time spent dicing and cooking the onion is SO worth it. It infuses every bite with a savory sweetness that only caramelized onions can bring.

And of course, garlic! I was shocked that most recipes for scalloped potatoes don’t include garlic.

Takeaway: Sautéing a diced onion until it’s almost caramelized and then a generous amount of garlic before making the roux makes this dish super flavorful. Don’t skip!

Add extra savoriness

Some traditional scalloped potato recipes contain cheese, which naturally contains umami. To bring in those deep savory flavors in a plant-based way, I rely on a couple ingredients.

First, nutritional yeast. A half cup sounds like a lot, but remember, we’re working with four pounds of potatoes! It adds an amazing cheesiness that even your omnivore guests will love.

Second, a tablespoon of white miso paste. Test #5 of this recipe was the first time we added miso, and we immediately noticed more savoriness and complexity of flavor.

Finally and optionally, vegan parmesan cheese. If you have access to it, it takes this dish over the top! That said, we have tested the recipe without it, and it was still very tasty.

Use Yukon Gold Potatoes for the most potato flavor

Russet potatoes seem like a good choice for scalloped potatoes because their high starch content naturally thickens the layers. However, they present two cons: (1) Russets have very little flavor and (2) they absorb a lot of liquid, so they actually eat up quite a bit of sauce, leaving you wanting more sauce.

Yukon Gold potatoes, on the other hand, are less starchy and have more potato flavor. In our test, the version with 100% Yukon Gold potatoes was notably more flavorful and saucier than the version with 50% Russets & 50% Yukon Gold.

Let it rest!

First off, if you immediately slice into this dish, it’ll burn your mouth. So there’s that. Also, the flavors still need a bit of time to meld together. Finally, allowing the dish to rest thickens it up and “sets” those casserole-like layers. This is especially important when using all Yukon Gold potatoes, as they have a higher water content than Russets and need a little time to rest.

closeup shot of cheesy vegan scalloped potatoes in casserole pan topped with chives

Step-by-Step Instructions for Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Add the milk, bouquet garni (fresh herbs tied together with kitchen twine), nutmeg, cayenne, peppercorns, and salt to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently simmer on low for 7-8 minutes. Strain the milk.

Make the sauce. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in a bit of vegan butter until fully golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the rest of the butter and cook the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the flour and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes until it’s a bit pasty. Gradually pour in the infused milk, whisking as you go. Simmer 3-5 minutes, until it has thickened.

Stir in the nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and miso and whisk to incorporate.

Layer half of the potatoes (peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick) in a greased 13×9″ baking pan in an overlapping fashion. For reference, half of the potatoes was three layers of potatoes for us.

Season the potatoes pretty well with salt and pepper.

Add half of the sauce on top and use a silicone spatula to evenly spread out across the potatoes.

Add the remaining half of the potatoes in overlapping layers, and season with salt and pepper. Spread out the remaining sauce on top. Top with vegan parmesan cheese, if using.

Bake at 400ºF/204ºC for 1 hour, covered with foil. Uncover the foil and rotate the pan by 180º. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is deeply golden brown and potatoes are fully softened.

women's hands in yellow oven mitts serving vegan scalloped potatoes

Top with a bit of flaky sea salt and chopped chives. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

slice of vegan scalloped potatoes topped with chives on green plate

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make these vegan scalloped potatoes gluten-free?

Just use a gluten-free all-purpose flour in the roux (we like King Arthur’s). Or you could try using half the amount of cornstarch (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons).

What brand of vegan parmesan do you recommend?

Our favorite is from Follow Your Heart! It’s sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Vons, Foodtown, Target, and smaller specialty stores. It doesn’t have a weird artificial taste and melts SO good in this recipe.

I don’t have vegan parmesan. Can I still make these?

Yes, definitely! Even without the parmesan, this dish still looks remarkably cheesy and bubbly on top when removed from the oven, and thanks to a generous amount of nutritional yeast, it has some pretty good cheesy vibes.

I don’t have kitchen twine to make the bouquet garni. What can I do?

Just add the herbs to the milk and strain the milk as instructed. The twine just makes it easier to fish out the herb bundle at the end.

Can I omit the miso paste to make this soy-free?

Yes. You’ll miss out on some savory complexity of flavor, but this dish still has a lot of flavor going for it. Also, be sure to use a soy-free vegan butter, such as Earth Balance soy-free vegan butter, Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks, Flora Plant Butter, or ForA Butter.

Can I use Russet potatoes instead?

We recommend Yukon Gold potatoes for the best flavor and sauciness. That said, you can use half Russets and half Yukon Golds and it’ll still be good (just don’t use all Russets – they will absorb a lot of the sauce and make this dish much drier).

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftovers, once cooled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Transfer to a heatproof baking dish or food storage container, cover with foil, and reheat at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Can I make scalloped potatoes ahead of time?

Sure, you can bake them up to 3 days in advance. Once cooled, cover the baking dish tightly with foil (or use a pan that has a lid) and refrigerate. On the big day, cover the pan with foil and bake at at 350ºF/175ºC for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are warmed through. For a crispier top, remove the foil after 20 minutes and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

How can I turn this into a main dish?

Grab your favorite vegan sausage (I like Beyond Meat hot Italian and Field Roast Italian) and brown it in a pan. Layer it on top of the potato layers before adding the sauce! If you do this, consider reducing the salt in the sauce.

What should I serve with scalloped potatoes?

If it’s a big holiday meal, this Vegan Wellington would make an epic pairing! Or, a stuffed winter squash, like this Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash or Wild Rice Stuffed Squash.

For something lighter, a green salad or some steamed or roasted broccoli, asparagus, or green beans would be great. For a heartier salad, try this Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad.

If you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, the Lemony Asparagus with Gremolata, Garlicky Broccoli, Sicilian-Style Chard, Sweet and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage (all in chapter 4) would be nice veggie choices!

closeup shot of cheesy vegan scalloped potatoes in casserole pan

Looking for more vegan holiday side dishes?

cheesy vegan scalloped potatoes in casserole pan with slice being lifted up by a spatula

If you love these Vegan Scalloped Potatoes, please be sure to rate and review them below! Your feedback is always so valuable :)

The Best Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

5 from 11 votes
These vegan scalloped potatoes taste like creamy, cheesy layers of potato pillows melting in your mouth! Unlike standard scalloped potatoes (bland and dairy-laden), these are packed with so much flavor and don't weigh you down! The perfect indulgent holiday side dish!
Prep Time: 50 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Keyword: potatoes
Serving size: 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes*
  • 1 large sprig of sage (8 to 10 leaves)
  • 8 to 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups (720 mL) full-fat oat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or freshly cracked black pepper)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • cup (42g) all-purpose flour**
  • 1/2 cup (35g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard***
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste, at room temperature****
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup vegan parmesan (optional but recommended)*****

For serving

  • flaky sea salt
  • 1 big handful of chopped chives

Instructions

  • Peel and wash the potatoes. Dry well. Use a mandoline to slice them ⅛” thick.******
  • Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Grease a 13×9” square baking dish with a bit of oil on the bottoms and up the sides.
  • Make a bouquet garni – tie your sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in kitchen twine.
  • In a medium saucepan, add oat milk, bouquet garni, nutmeg, cayenne, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a simmer and then turn heat to low and gently simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Once cooled, strain and save the infused milk.
  • In a deep 10 or 12-inch frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegan butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Once melted or hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Stir fairly frequently until the onion is fully golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter or oil. Once melted, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is golden and aromatic, stirring frequently.
  • Add in the flour and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes to cook the flour into a paste. Gradually pour in the infused milk, whisking as you go to prevent clumping. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking often, for 3 to 5 minutes, until creamy and thick but pourable (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add in the nutritional yeast, mustard, and miso, and whisk until smooth. The sauce should be quite thick at this point. Take off the heat.
  • Add half of the potatoes to the bottom of the prepared pan in overlapping layers (it took us 3 layers to go through one half of the potatoes). Season the potatoes pretty well with salt and pepper. Top with half of the sauce and smooth it out evenly with a silicone spatula.
  • Add the remaining potatoes and season again with salt and pepper. Top with the rest of the sauce. Take a silicone spatula and and scrape any sauce stuck on the sides down into the potatoes (this helps prevent the sides from burning). Scatter the vegan parmesan evenly over the top.
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the sauce is bubbly around the edges. Remove the foil and rotate the pan by 180º. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until a fork inserted all the way to the bottom gives no resistance and the top is a bit browned.
    Note: The top should be nicely browned by now, but if not, you can briefly stick it under the broiler for 2 minutes (watch closely!).
  • Sprinkle it with a bit of flaky salt and top with the chopped chives. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. It will thicken more as it rests.

Notes

*In our tests, we preferred Yukon Gold potatoes for the most flavor. You can also do 2 pounds of Yukon Golds and 2 pounds of Russets, but I don’t recommend doing only Russets. They will eat up too much of the sauce and it’ll end up dry.
**To make gluten-free, use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend or half the amount of cornstarch (2 TBSP + 2 tsp). 
***Dijon mustard adds an ever-so-slight tang that cuts through the rich creaminess. 
****At room temperature so it’s more pliable, which makes it easier to incorporate into the sauce. 
***** Our favorite vegan parmesan is from Follow Your Heart. It tastes great and melts wonderfully. 
******This is the mandoline we use. It’s inexpensive and works amazingly well. It makes the job of slicing 4 pounds of potatoes rather quick. If you have a food processor slicing disc that goes down to 1/8″, you could also use that. 

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30 comments on The Best Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

  1. Barb C

    5 stars
    You knocked it out of the park with this recipe Nisha!! Gravy is scrumptious and so flavor able..

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Barb. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  2. Joanne

    5 stars
    I made this for Christmas. I had fresh sage but all the other herbs and spices were dry. I just dumped them all in the milk, then strained them out to make the roux. But I followed the directions exactly (other than the bouquet garni). I didn’t think there was enough sauce, or that just two layers of it were going to penetrate all of those potatoes, and it was way too thick. BUT, (oh, me of little faith) it was fabulous! Tender, tasty, sublime! I’ve been reheating leftovers for lunch and it’s delish. Thanks for the great recipe, Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Joanne. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  3. Araya

    5 stars
    Loved it! thank you, i would have never tried this but the way you went step by step and talked about the journey was what got me started and interested to try it out. Mustard and miso really added the depth of flavor to this dish! It was super soft, and creamy, with crunch from the edges and the bit of the top. And of course, it was delicious!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Araya! We’re glad you loved the scalloped potatoes!

  4. Hanna

    5 stars
    Made this today and i am amazed! I had scalloped potatoes loads of times at my grandmas and moms and those are way better and vegan :)) I’m in love. definitely gonna make this again. Thanks for all the work you put in for this!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hanna, So glad to hear you loved this recipe! You’re so welcome for writing it :)

  5. s

    5 stars
    I used the sauce part for a pot-pie with all the veg odds and ends I had left in the fridge and it worked so well! Tastes even better the second day.

  6. Sarah D

    This was heavenly! Such a deep savory, lovely, intoxicating dish. We made it with the mushroom Wellington and around the dinner table on repeat… “this is so good!” It did take some time to prep… but food that tastes great takes time. I love that it’s not a throw together in 20 minutes dish. I will reserve it for special dinners.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Sarah! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  7. dory la dame

    5 stars
    Amazing! I only had russet potatoes and saw the note about it only later or else I would’ve made twice the amount of sauce. I also swapped half the potatoes with rutabaga as I had to use it up. I used dried herbs, cos it’s just impossible to get fresh ones and it was still amazing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Dory, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  8. Heather Roffey

    5 stars
    Made this for Christmas dinner. As advertised, potato pillows that melt in your mouth. I really appreciate the extra details of Nisha’s recipes. For example, oiling the inside of the 13 x 9 dish allowed the little potato pillows to jump onto my spatula with no resistance. The mandoline was a huge time saver and made every mouthful homogenously scrumptious. I was a bit worried that I did not have enough onion roux because I was unable to spread it to the sides of the dish for the middle and top layers. However, the final creation was perfectly browned and the lack of roux on the edges was inconsequential. Salted chocolate tart for dessert completed our Rainbow Plant Life Christmas dinner.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Heather. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  9. živa

    5 stars
    Thank you for this great recipe, my family loved it, I did however have to use at least double the amount of oatmilk to make enough sauce. I could not find full fat oatmilk at the store so I just used regular and maybe that had something to do with it!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Živa! And interesting, we’ll have to look into that. Thanks for letting us know!

  10. kelly

    What if we can’t find fresh herbs?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Kelly, you can use dry herbs but you’ll need to use much less because dried herbs are significantly more potent. Use 3/4 tsp dried sage, 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme, and 1/4 tsp dried rosemary. Enjoy!

  11. Gretchen

    5 stars
    Turned out amazing and I loved the flavor of it. Before, I’ve never been a fan of scalloped potatoes because they were always so boring and bland. Your recipe is a game changer :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so happy to hear that, Gretchen! Thanks for trying the potatoes!

  12. Marie

    Hi! I really want to try this recipe and was wondering; Is it possible to substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs? Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yes, Marie! You can use dry herbs but you’ll need to use much less because dried herbs are significantly more potent. Use 3/4 tsp dried sage, 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme, and 1/4 tsp dried rosemary. Enjoy!

  13. Tania

    What brand of nutritional yeast do you use? I tried another recipe for scalloped potatoes that included a similar amount of nooch and it was awful. I used Sari. So I’m gunshy now of using it and wonder if the brand you use would taste better.

    1. Nisha

      Hi Tania, it could be the brand! I like using Bragg’s, Anthony’s, or Frontier Co-op brands.

  14. Dana Lawlor

    Hi! This sounds amazing and really want to try for Xmas. Can I make in advance and reheat? Oven space is at a premium!! Thanks so much

    1. Kristen

      From the FAQ above: Can I make scalloped potatoes ahead of time?

      Sure, you can bake them up to 3 days in advance. Once cooled, cover the baking dish tightly with foil (or use a pan that has a lid) and refrigerate. On the big day, cover the pan with foil and bake at at 350ºF/175ºC for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are warmed through. For a crispier top, remove the foil after 20 minutes and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Dana, yes you should be good to make it a day ahead! Sorry for the late reply!

  15. s

    5 stars
    I had everything on hand and tried it (with some added eggplant slices) and it was SO GOOD. I’ll make it for Christmas :D

    just an FYI you wrote “uncovered” instead of covered in the first dark box where you write about slice sizes.

    1. Smriti

      I am planning to make this for Christmas lunch this year as well. Thanks for leaving a comment- feeling motivated and excited now!

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