What is the Difference?: Au Gratin OR Scalloped

I made Scalloped potatoes the other evening, but it did get me to wonder, what was the difference between Scallop(ed) and Au Gratin.

For Gratin, Wikipedia states: “Gratin is a widely used culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbsgrated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.

For Scalloped, Epicurious.com states: “scallop v. 1. To prepare a food (most notably potatoes) by layering slices of it with cream or a creamy sauce in a casserole. Scalloped foods are often topped with bread or cracker crumbs before being baked.

So, did you notice in the definitions, the words “is topped” regarding Au Gratin and in the definition for Scallop you find “often topped“. Those are the similarities and probably why people could get the two confused.

That may be the similarity, but we’re still looking for difference(s). For the definition of Scallop it reads,  “with cream or a creamy sauce in a casserole”. The true difference that I have seen is that one (Scallop or Scalloped) uses a cream sauce within the casserole dish and the other, Au Gratin, does not.

There you have it. My recipe is as follows for Basic Creamy Scalloped Potatoes:

4 Servings

prep time: 15 minutes cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


4 large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin

1 red onion or sweet onion, sliced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

pinch ground black pepper

4 or 5 Tablespoons butter or margarine


Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Layer the bottom of casserole dish with half potato slices.

Cover potatoes with layer of half of onion slices and then half of the cheese.

Repeat the layering process until all of the ingredients are used up.

Mix milk, flour and pepper together.

Pour milk mixture over the entire casserole.

Place butter tablespoons around on top.

Cover with foil and cut slits in foil

and bake until the potatoes are cooked and the cheese is bubbly; cook 45 minutes covered and then turn oven up to 425°F and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered.

Get a FORK, She’s Done!!!, Enjoy!

About Angela Milani

My love of cooking has taken over. I was on the net one day and saw an ad for a recipe contest. I entered. Then, I entered another. Then another, and so on and when I won a contest... an entire year's worth of tomato products, I was hooked. Since then, I've entered many many different recipe contests. I have won a trip to New York, entries into cook-offs, a recipe published in a Kraft/Paula Deen cookbook and many food products and food related items. I enjoy cooking and entering recipe contests. I hope I spark an interest in others to create something they can be proud of. I'm always getting more ideas from the internet. Wow, I remember not having the internet years ago. It's a God send and I'm trying to cover every inch of the food sites!! Join me in my quest to keep fresh ideas flowing and creating new and exciting dishes.
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