Main Dishes

Scalloped Potatoes with Dairy-Free Cheese and Bacon

scalloped potatoes on green glass dish

I’m not a fan of white potatoes. Even properly seasoned, they often taste bland to me, slightly mushy and dull.  As a child, I loved scalloped potatoes with cheese sauce because the potatoes were thin and coated with cheese. No mush anywhere.

Dairy-free cheese was completely absent from supermarkets a decade or so ago, which made it impossible for me to make this dish. Recently, many dairy-free cheeses have been introduced, some of them fairly close to the real thing. These “cheeses” are made from tapioca, cashews, almonds, pea protein, coconut and other faux cheese ingredients.

When I stumbled upon Anna Olson’s delectable recipe for potatoes au gratin in Set for the Holidays, I decided to attempt making this dish. I added bacon for extra flavor to offset the lack of sharpness in the dairy-free cheese.

I used a mixture of “parmesan,” “mozzarella” and “cheddar” dairy-free cheeses. These products don’t melt well on their own, but grated and whisked into a hot béchamel, they dissolve into a pleasant, if not biting, cheesy sauce.

To turn this side dish into the main course, I ground up a pound of bacon in a food processor, then sautéed it until it turned into brown crumbles that I layered with the sliced potatoes and the cheesey sauce. Layering in a pound of frozen peas or spinach would turn this recipe into a hearty one-dish winter meal.

Scalloped Potatoes with Dairy-Free Cheese and Bacon

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: 90 minutes

Dairy-free "cheese" blended into a béchamel tastes close to the real thing in this hearty winter dish that layers the "cheese" sauce with ground bacon and thinly sliced potatoes.


  • 4 cups dairy-free milk (I use coconut milk)
  • 6 tablespoons dairy-free butter
  • 6-7 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dairy-free grated parmesan
  • 1 cup dairy-free grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup diary-free grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound bacon, ground in a food processor
  • 4-5 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced (about 3 pounds)



Grease a 9x11 baking dish with dairy-free butter. Set aside.


Sauté the bacon in a frying pan until medium brown.


While the bacon is cooking, heat the milk in a small saucepan to just below a simmer.


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.


Add the flour all at once, and whisk thoroughly. The mixture should form a thin paste. Add more flour if it's watery looking. let it cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until it's steaming hot.


Whisk in the milk. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens.


Add the mustard and garlic.


Add the cheese slowly, whisking to prevent clumps from forming.


Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper).


Turn the heat to very low, cover and keep the sauce warm.


Lay 1/3 of the sliced potatoes over the bottom of the prepared dish, overlapping slightly.


Using a slotted spoon, sprinkle the bacon evenly over the potatoes.


Ladle 1/3 of the sauce over the potatoes and bacon.


Repeat with two more layers of potatoes, bacon and sauce.


Cover with parchment paper, then with aluminum foil.


Bake for 1 hour. It will be very hot and bubbly.


Remove the parchment and foil for the last 10 minutes to let the sauce get a little brown on top or put it under the broiler for one minute.


You can make this dish a day ahead. Bake it at 350 degrees F for one hour, let it cool, and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take it out and reheat it at 300 degrees F for 40 minutes. Take the parchment and foil off for the last 10 minutes to brown the top.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

I leave the skins on the potatoes, slice them thin, then lay them flat, overlapping slightly, on the bottom of a baking dish.

sliced potatoes with skins on layered in the bottom of a ceramic baking dishn

Brown the ground bacon. Use a slotted spoon to drain the grease before spreading the bacon on top of the sliced potatoes.

Make three layers of potatoes, bacon and sauce.

sliced potatoes on bottom of baking dish with ground bacon spread on top

Ladle the dairy-free cheese sauce over the potatoes and bacon.

cheese sauce on top of ground bacon and sliced potatoes in ceramic baking dish

Bake for an hour, then eat!

scalloped potatoes with bacon and dairy-free cheese sauce in a ceramic baking dish and silver plated spoon

Springhouse Turtle Eats


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