Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Kale and Leeks

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Creamy Scalloped potatoes is a layered potato bake of thinly sliced russet potatoes, kale, and leeks. From start to finish this creamy potato bake takes only an hour and the result is a rich, decadent scalloped potatoes in thick perfectly seasoned cream sauce.

a 9x13 casserole dish with creamy scalloped potatoes that's golden brown on the top and chopped parsley

I love potatoes. All varieties, all the ways to eat them – creamy garlic thyme mashed potatoes, french fries, skillet lemon potatoes, roasted in the oven – they’re versatile and delicious! But, one of my all time favorite ways to have potatoes is in a super creamy scalloped potato dish.

This particular version was first inspired by a popular Irish potato dish colcannon around St. Patrick’s day. It’s typically mashed potatoes that are mixed with kale or cabbage and leeks, or onion. Those flavors translate so well into other recipes like Colcannon inspired twice baked potatoes, and this creamy layered potato bake. We love it so much, it’s a family favorite year-round, especially as a Thanksgiving or holiday side dish.

Scalloped potatoes or Potato Gratin?

The difference between scalloped potatoes and a gratin is small and often irrelevant. Technically, a gratin has a layer of breadcrumbs on top and may or may not contain cheese. I’ve seen many a scalloped potato dish doing the same thing. I say call if what you like, enjoy the heck out of it, and add it to the useless argument bag right along with cobbler vs crisp.

Fun fact, you can cook almost any vegetable ‘au gratin’. It’s just a cooking technique consisting of thinly sliced layered vegetables with cream, breadcrumbs, or cheese (or all of them) and baked until browned on top. Broccoli, leeks, or a delicious roasted cauliflower and gruyere gratin are just a few suggestions.

The Ingredients for Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Since this was inspired by colcannon, I thought I’d keep the ingredient list fairly similar and simple to that style of mashed potato. You’ll need potatoes, kale, leeks, butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper. That’s really it.

Unless you’re going to be a stickler about the breadcrumbs/cheese thing, then you’ll need those too. 😉

a wooden cutting board with a bunch of kale, two potatoes, a bottle of cream, a leek, and parsley
  • Potatoes – I use russet, which are a high starch potato that are delicious with cream, and particularly economical. It takes about 2 medium to large potatoes. You absolutely can use red or white waxy potatoes, I’ve made it with all three. Just choose your favorite!
  • Heavy Cream – You truly cannot make this dish without it. It’s the flavor, the creaminess, the binding power that keeps it in casserole form.
  • Kale – A hearty green that stands up to the cream and the oven without turning into a soggy mess. You can use any type of kale you like.
  • Leeks – A member of the onion family, but milder, and fabulous when sauteed, they add a lovely pop of flavor to a very cream heavy dish. Look for a leek with a high proportion of white to dark green.
  • Salt & Pepper – These are certainly necessary in an otherwise simple dish to make it taste good!

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes in Cream

Once you get everything prepped this dish takes about an hour to get on the table. This is a big creamy potato bake, easily serving a group of 6 to 8, possibly more! You can also half it easily if you’d like. It’s definitely a dish you can make ahead, and then pop in the oven the next day to serve.

Step 1 – Prep Ingredients

Before you get cooking, clean, chop and measure all your ingredients.

a bowl of kale, a bowl of thinly sliced potatoes, and a bowl of chopped leeks on top of a wooden cutting board on top of a white granite counter
  1. Wash and chop kale. I do a rough chop here, since it all gets sauteed and baked. A whole bunch of kale will appear to be a lot, it cooks down, so trust me!
  2. Wash a slice leeks. Best method is to cut either end off of the leeks, keeping only the white and light green parts. (Save the scraps for homemade stock!). Slice in half lengthwise, then shop into quarter inch half moons. THEN wash and drain off excess water.
  3. Use a mandoline slicer for the easiest slicing of your potatoes. Peeling is not necessary, but if you prefer no skins go for it.

Bonus tip: To wash leeks most easily, slice first then add to a bowl and fill with water. Gently swish, the dirt will sink to the bottom. Then scoop leeks from the top of the water (they float), and discard the water. Using a salad spinner is the easiest way to rid both the leeks and the kale of excess water.

Step 2 – Cook

Once you’re prepped it’s a simple 2 part cooking process.

Cooking Part 1…

  1. Add sliced potatoes, salt, and cream to a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer until potatoes are just fork tender. Don’t cook to the point of them falling apart as they continue to get tender in the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the leeks in a bit of oil or butter (your choice), when they get tender, add in kale and saute until they’ve cooked down and are tender. Be sure to season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for layering later.
  3. When potatoes are tender, strain through a colander over a bowl, reserving the cream. Set potatoes aside to cool (spreading on a baking sheet helps), and return the cream to the pot. Boil until reduced by half, taste and add more salt if needed.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°, then layer!
a 9 by 13 baking dish with potatoes topped with kale and leeks
a baking dish with thinly slice potatoes covered in cream.

Cooking Part 2…

  1. Begin with a 9×13 baking dish, no need to butter or prep it in any way.
  2. Layer half the potatoes on the bottom of the dish, then top with all of the kale and leek mixture. Spread evenly.
  3. Pour half the cream mixture over the kale and leeks.
  4. Layer the remaining potatoes on top and pour over the rest of the cream.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top.
  6. Top with parsley, or fresh chives, if you have it and feel like it! Then serve!!
a plate with a slice of scalloped potatoes on top of a white granite countertop in front of a wooden cutting board with a casserole dish on top of it.


How do you reheat scalloped potatoes?

To reheat simple place in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes.

Can I freeze scalloped potatoes?

Generally I don’t recommend freezing cream based dishes, the cream tends to separate when thawed and while safe to eat, looks rather unpleasant. If you’d like to, freeze, well covered, for up to three months then allow to thaw in fridge before reheating as directed above.

How do scalloped potatoes thicken?

The use of high fat cream, like heavy cream, is the key to a thickened final dish. As it reduces in the pot before baking it will get really thick and then as it bakes it will thicken further to a dense sauce.

Can I use non-dairy milk or lower fat milk?

Because the thickening needed I do not recommend simply substituting a low fat, or non-dairy milk. Instead, try this Vegan Scalloped Potatoes from Nora Cooks, designed for those types of milks.

Why did my scalloped potatoes curdle?

A common cause of a curdled dairy based sauce is too high of a heat. Using heavy cream, due to the high fat content, in this recipe should prevent that. Avoid the highest setting on your burners, and the temptation to crank the oven up for quicker cooking.

Recipes to serve with Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Here are a few delicious mains from my fellow awesome bloggers to serve with your creamy potatoes..

If you’re looking for a side or two to add to the table, check these out!

Whatever you choose to serve this with and whoever you decide to share this, you’ll be more than happy! I sincerely hope you enjoy this recipe, until next time, Happy Eating!

a blue casserole dish with golden brown scalloped potatoes topped with parsley on a cutting board on a white granite counter

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Kale and Leeks

Mikayla M.
Scalloped potatoes in cream, baked into tender, thick delectable side dish.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 524 kcal


  • 2 large russet potatoes or 3 lbs potatoes
  • 2 C leeks about 1 leek
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 C heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs butter or oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs parsley optional


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Peel and thinly slice potatoes on mandoline, or by hand carefully to ensure consistent thickness.
  • Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with heavy cream. Add a good couple pinches of salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat until just barely fork tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, cut the dark green tops from the leeks. Discard or set aside for stock making. Slice leek lengthwise then slice into half moons, about 1/4" thick. Rinse and pat dry.
  • Wash and dry kale, then remove leaves from the thick stalks. Roughly chop.
  • Heat butter in large saute pan over medium low heat. When butter is melted add leeks and a pinch of salt. Saute gently until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent charring.
  • When potatoes are mostly soft, pour into a colander placed over a bowl to catch the cream.
  • Spread the potatoes out on platter or sheet pan to cool and return cream to pan. Simmer on low until reduced by half, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add chopped kale to the leeks and stir to coat kale with the oil. Cover with lid to steam.
  • Once kale as softened, remove lid and saute until tender. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  • When cream has reduced, layer half the potatoes in an 9×13 pan. Top with kale and leek mixture. Pour over half the cream. Layer remaining potatoes and top with the rest of the cream.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. Add chopped parsley if desired and serve.


Calories: 524kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 5gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 93mgPotassium: 492mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 3418IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
a casserole dish of layered potatoes baked in cream and topped with parsley

Original post 3/10/2019, Updated 10/4/2019

Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.

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  1. I like the idea of the vegs,
    Sounds like a lot of extra steps that are not needed.
    Why not just saute the vegs,
    Butter the pan, Layer the potatoes, a bit of grated nutmeg, vegs, cream, potatoes vegs nutmeg, cream and then some grated parm or favorite hard cheese.
    Bake until bubbly
    Happy Thanksgiving

    1. Hi Kate, I’m glad you like the sound of the added veg. I can appreciate wanting to save some time! For this recipe (and really every time I make scalloped potatoes now), I find the extra steps of cooking the potatoes in cream and then reducing the cream ARE needed for the best possible flavor and texture, rather than just efficiency. My recipes are designed with those things in mind first and foremost. I also don’t include nutmeg or cheese in this, though they may be lovely additions! I hope your recipe turns out well, if you ever try mine, I’d love to hear how it goes. Happy Thanksgiving!