How to Make Scalloped Potatoes à la Leftover with Whatever’s in the Fridge

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By the author of The Flat Broke Cookbook and the editor of How to Feed Your Family No Matter What

Scalloped potatoes are a holiday staple for many families, but this filling dish has the potential to go so much further than the festive feast. For years, I’ve used scalloped potatoes as a delicious leftover catch-all.

The lovely thing about scalloped potatoes is that it doesn’t have to be an expensive dish or a huge quantity (unless you want it to be.) It’s always savory and filling, and the leftovers are potentially even better than the original meal.

I love finding new ways to re-imagine leftovers because using up your leftovers can stretch your food budget like nothing else. Scalloped potato a la leftover is no different.

A little à la leftover inspiration

I made a 2-person Scalloped Potato à la Leftover the other night, and it reminded me that I needed to share the “recipe” with you. As always, I use the term recipe loosely because this is really just a conglomeration of delicious things you have kicking around in the quantity you desire.

My most recent dish consisted of three large potatoes, some onion, some garlic, some oat milk, leftover bratwurst sausage crumbles, and some cauliflower that needed to be used up. I topped it with bread crumbs, baked it at 350, and It was so tasty and delicious!

I’ve also made a breakfast-y version with bell peppers and bacon that was a huge morning score!

How to make Scalloped Potatoes à la Leftover

Here’s a step-by-step for making your own leftover concoction on a dime. If you leave out the meat and use dairy-free milk, then this recipe can be vegan.

Cut up your potatoes, onions, and garlic.

I like to make super-thin slices of potatoes and onion and then dice up my garlic finely. But you do you, Boo. You can cut these things up in basically any way you want as long as the potato pieces are uniform.

Choose a meat.

I use already-cooked, leftover protein for this dish. Some of the things I’ve used:

  • Diced ham
  • Ground beef
  • Bratwurst or other sausage crumbles
  • Chopped spicy salami
  • Shredded chicken (your own or rotisserie from the store)
  • Smoked turkey from the deli
  • Pot roast
  • Cooked, crumbled bacon

Prep your veggies.

I usually use either leftover veggies in this without an overpowering flavor – like the above-mentioned cauliflower – or root veggies.

  • Chop up any leftover veggies to add to your layers.
  • Slice any root vegetables to match the slices of potato. Some root veggie options might be carrot, turnip, rutabaga, or parsnips.

Gather your seasonings.

I almost always use a combination of the following herbs, but your ingredients will determine your choices.

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • teeny tiny sprinkle of nutmeg – only a little bitty bit adds a huge amount of richness to the dish.

Select your milk.

You can use a variety of different kinds of milk for this dish. My two favorites are:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Oat milk

If money is really tight, try this hack. Boil a small potato in water until it’s basically falling apart. Then pop it, water and all, into the blender with a small amount of milk to make the milk go further without just using plain old water.

Now it’s time to build your dish.

Drum roll…now comes the fun part.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and assemble your scalloped potatoes a la leftover.
  2. Grease your baking dish – I generally use butter, but you can also use cooking oil or shortening.
  3. Layer your ingredients, sprinkling all the seasonings but the nutmeg on each layer. Potatoes, onions, other veggies, meat, potatoes, onions, other veggies, meat, repeat. Always end with potatoes.
  4. Pour milk over the entire dish until you can just see it appearing at the sides of your concoction. I don’t usually cover the top layer, but nothing bad will happen if you do.
  5. Top the whole shebang with foil and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes.

Check to see if it’s done. You’ll know because the potatoes and other veggies will be fork-tender.

Top it with goodies.

If you want to make it even better, add a topping. Some ideas are:

  • Cheese
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cracker crumbs
  • Croutons
  • Stuffing mix (it makes a delightful topping, really!)

You can also just take the foil off and add a wee bit of butter to the top and let it get brown.

Cook it for another ten minutes or so, and you’re done.

And that’s all there is to it!

Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving, so it thickens up nicely. Serve this with some steamed veggies or a salad for a balanced, inexpensive meal. If you are full-on pro-carb like me, add some crusty bread to the side.

Have you ever added creative ingredients to scalloped potatoes? What’s your favorite scalloped potato trick to keep them tasty and thrifty? Do you make them as a way to use up leftovers? Let’s talk taters in the comments!

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterestGabMeWeParlerInstagram, and Twitter.

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes à la Leftover with Whatever\'s in the Fridge
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

6 thoughts on “How to Make Scalloped Potatoes à la Leftover with Whatever’s in the Fridge”

  1. Love it!!
    Never would have thought to use stuffing as a topper, but wow!!! I usually use left over stuffing in a waffle maker n crisp them up.
    I can imagine it, lol.
    Thanks much!!

  2. *IF* you have any leftover “leftovers”, I vote for frying them up. We do this not only with potato based leftovers but also with pasta. No food fatigue in this house!
    I’d also not limit myself to one type of protein if bits of this and that in the frig/freezer. Sad to say there are times when you’ll create a dish you’ll never have again due to the type/proportion of odds-n-ends used. But it can be fun to try. IMHO, if something was good the first time around, it will be good the second time, even if not in its “original” form.

  3. I was gifted 5 good sized rutabega. Nobody at the food pantry knew what they were except me, so my friend that runs the pantry gave me all of them. I made something like this with half potato slices and half rutabega slices — came out very well.

  4. I just had a lightbulb: Leftover chili con carne-potato bake! Although I’d probably use broth instead of milk, and throw in a layer or two of cheese. I will need to try that sometime.

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