The Canned Soup That Will Make Scalloped Potatoes Beyond Creamy

The long and winding road to the ultimate scalloped potatoes isn't a road that home cooks walk in one day. Scalloped potatoes are an old school, traditional comfort food, well-known and well-loved. In other words, the dish may be a straightforward classic, but the bar is high. Rest assured — there's an unfussy shortcut to next-level creaminess. All it takes is one ingredient, and there's a decent chance you already have it rolling around in the back of your pantry.

When it comes to scalloped potatoes, it's all about the "cream of" soups. We're talking cream of celery, cream of mushroom, or cream of chicken, to be exact. To make the magic happen, combine your "cream of" soup with a little milk to thin it out a bit. Then stir in any dried herbs or seasonings you'd like to add, and thoroughly mix the combination into your scalloped potatoes like a savory bechamél.

The canned stuff makes this scalloped potatoes recipe an easy workhorse. But, the dish is also a great way to use up any leftover homemade "cream of" soup you might have in the fridge. You could even use this trick to make moist baked mashed potatoes in a casserole dish in the oven. We've rounded up a few more ideas to get your brainstorm cooking (pun intended).

Celery for days

Cream of celery soup is delicate, fresh, and mouth-watering, yet slightly salty and vegetal. If you've been snoozing on celery soup over other creamier varieties, it's time to wake up. The flavor may be mild, but its mildness makes the ingredient hugely versatile and more of a textural asset to your scalloped potatoes than a taste enhancement. To amp up the flavor profile, try a combination of cream of celery soup and leftover chicken gravy. Furthermore, top your scalloped potatoes with Parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley flakes. Or, for a more herbaceous finish, garnish with fresh dill and celery salt.

These mild yet flavorful scalloped potatoes make a killer side dish to a meaty entrée like an Easter ham or roasted lemon chicken. Pair the potatoes with pan-seared asparagus, and complete the meal with a full-bodied, herbaceous white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a more light-bodied Vermentino. Your dinner party guests are in for an impressive surprise, and when they wonder what's your secret, the empty can of cream of celery soup won't say a word.

Finger lickin' cream of chicken

Cream of chicken soup is commonly used in recipes like chicken pot pie or chicken and rice. The Campbell's canned variety offers a rich combination of cream, chicken stock, and real chicken meat; it's a flavorful ingredient that will add the same savory meatiness to your scalloped potatoes. This chicken-forward version of the standard tastes delicious topped with golden roasted breadcrumbs and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Scalloped potatoes flavored with cream of chicken soup pack the same comforting familiarity as other casseroles you might anticipate at family gatherings and holidays. Like Mormon funeral potatoes (which also feature cream of chicken soup), this version of the dish is a cost-effective way to satiate a crowd and please picky eaters in one thrifty swoop. As an added bonus for holiday parties, this quick and easy addition doesn't really affect prep time. You'll still be able to slide that casserole dish in the oven while you mingle with guests and family.

Trust us — your potatoes have room for mushroom

Maybe you've slugged a can of cream of mushroom soup into your green bean casserole before. If so, this scalloped potato application will probably feel pretty familiar. Compared to flavor-packed cream of chicken and mild cream of celery, cream of mushroom is a happy medium. The natural umami flavor and earthiness of the mushrooms elevate without overpowering the other flavors in your scalloped potatoes, and the smooth texture of the fungi makes for a thicker dish overall. Serve with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of paprika.

Another major perk of using cream of mushroom soup in your scalloped potatoes is that it's probably the easiest "cream of" soup to make at home. If you're fresh out of canned goods, cream of mushroom has you covered. Simply combine butter, mushrooms, flour, a little veggie or chicken broth, and some half-and-half in a saucepan, then slowly simmer and purée if desired. The whole thing takes roughly 20 minutes to whip up — way faster than a trip to the grocery store. Feel free to get a little creative here, too. Campbell's canned variety uses garlic. Bonus points if you toss a few flavorful, aromatic, sautéed onions into the mix.