Although I love scalloped potatoes, sometimes I crave something with a more vibrant flavor. Bacon Ranch Potato Casserole will make your taste buds sing. The tang of ranch dressing and sour cream is the perfect solution to perk up those bland potatoes. Additionally, how can you go wrong with bacon and Cheddar cheese? Nothing short of awesome!
You might consider the preparation method to be a bit odd. I’ve heard many a lament from home cooks complaining that their scalloped potatoes turn gray when starting with sliced raw potatoes. Par-boiling the potatoes for a short time not only keeps the potatoes from turning gray, but it also shortens the cooking time. Check out my Notes before you begin.
Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potato Casserole Recipe
2-1/2 pounds whole baby red potatoes
1 large sweet onion, cut in half, then sliced thin
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 packet (1 ounce) dry ranch dressing mix, unprepared
1 cup heavy cream, milk, or half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 cups fine-shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/8 cup bacon bits (optional)
1/2 teaspoon (about) sweet Hungarian paprika
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a large pot, cover whole, unpeeled (see Notes) potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. (They will still be firm in the center.) Turn off heat. Add sliced onions and let rest for 1 minute. Drain potatoes and onions thoroughly in a colander. Let them cool until you can handle them. (This may be done the day before. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.)
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels. Break into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
Whisk together dry ranch dressing mix, cream or milk, butter, and oregano until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch glass or ceramic casserole dish with butter-flavored oil or vegetable oil.
Slice the potatoes crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds. Layer half of the potatoes in the prepared dish. Spoon half of the ranch mixture over the potatoes and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Top with the onions, bacon pieces, and half of the fine-shredded Cheddar cheese. Layer the remaining potatoes on top, followed by the remaining ranch mix. Spread to cover. Top with remaining Cheddar cheese and optional bacon bits. Sprinkle lightly with sweet Hungarian paprika.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
• You may use regular-sized red potatoes, if you wish. I usually don’t peel them. I like the added color and nutritional fiber of the skins, plus, it saves time. Peeling is optional. The potatoes may also be sliced thinner, but be aware that you won’t get full coverage of the sauce.
• Yukon Gold potatoes may be substituted for the reds. The reds and golds, which are a waxy variety, hold together better than russets and Idahos, which can get mushy and mealy.
• Feel free to use your favorite shredded cheese or cheese blend, although I wouldn’t recommend mozzarella. I find it too stringy for this method.
• Use turkey bacon, if you prefer. Ham is also a great substitute for the bacon. Or simply omit the meat altogether.