Italian potato casserole is a family favorite made from just a few simple ingredients.  Thinly sliced potatoes are layered with onions, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, and Sicilian oregano and baked until toasty.  Perfect as a side to grilled meat, or pair with a salad for a light main course.

Italian potato casserole with spatula in baking dish.

This Italian potato casserole is one that has been passed down for generations in my family.

My grandmother’s family was from the Basilicata region which is where this dish hails from.

With its simplicity and explosive flavor, it’s no wonder why it’s spanned time and continents.

We love serving this as a side to grilled chicken thighs or seared ribeyes, and then use the leftovers for breakfast alongside some scrambled eggs.

You could also add sliced zucchini or cheeses like mozzarella or caciocavallo making it a bit more substantial and perfect as a lighter main course.  Pair it with a green salad or a chopped salad for a full meal.

Ingredients shown: Pecorino, onions, potatoes, breadcrumbs, anchovies, garlic, oregano, and tomatoes.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375f and set the rack to the middle level.  In a bowl, mix together 1 cup plain breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano, 5 anchovies turned into a paste, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 3 tablespoons Pecorino, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Set the seasoned breadcrumbs aside for the moment – they will be used for the top layer.

Italian potato casserole recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Slice 2 1/2 pounds of yellow potatoes (Yukon Gold work well),  2 medium or 1 large white onion, and 5 plum tomatoes (or about 1 1/2 pounds worth).  Top tip: If you have a mandoline, I strongly recommend you use it to speed up the process.  But always be careful using that type of kitchen tool.
  2. Drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil into a 9 by 13″ baking dish.  Wipe the sides of the dish with a paper towel to distribute the oil.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Place 1 layer of potatoes, overlapping as you go, into the bottom of the dish.
  2. Then add 1 overlapping layer of onions and finally tomatoes.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil then season with a portion of the kosher salt, oregano, and Pecorino.
  2. Repeat the process along with the seasoning until all of the ingredients are used up.  Top with the seasoned breadcrumbs and drizzle a bit more extra virgin olive oil.  The breadcrumbs should be well moistened.  Note: 2 layers work better than 3 and allow a quicker and more even cooking.  You could put extra ingredients into a second smaller baking dish.  But, you can absolutely do 3 layers – which is what I am showing here in these pics.

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. Bake for 50-70 minutes.  After 50 minutes check for doneness by piercing with a knife to make sure the bottom potatoes are soft.  If not, let it cook for another 10-20 minutes.  Most of the liquid should be evaporated at this point.  If the breadcrumbs aren’t golden brown you can broil for the last 1-2 minutes but watch very carefully.  Wait for at least ten minutes before serving so that the juices settle.  Enjoy!

Top tips for Italian style potato and tomato casserole

  • The potatoes.  We recommend using a waxier potato, such as Yukon golds.  Russets may be too soft and crumbly for this casserole.
  • The anchovies.  We used 5 anchovy filets for this recipe as they provide such an incredible burst of salty flavor.  If you’d like to omit them and make this vegetarian, you can do so.  You may wish to use another ingredient, such as capers, to add an additional flavor dimension.
  • The oregano.  Sicilian oregano is so good and really adds a ton of unique flavor to this dish.  It’s sold in Italian specialty stores or you can just buy it online.
  • The breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are for the top layer only, but if you really want you can sprinkle them throughout.  We reserve them for the top so they can get brown and crispy.  Before baking, make sure they are moist enough, and when done baking if they’re not brown enough, you can broil for 1-2 minutes or so but be sure to watch very carefully so they don’t burn.
  • Let it sit.  As with other dishes that require baking, like lasagna or scalloped potatoes, Italian potato casserole is best when it sits after removing from the oven.  Letting this sit for at least 10-15 minutes will allow any juices to absorb back into the potatoes.

Italian potato casserole with spatula in baking dish on wooden cutting board.

More perfect baked sides

Here are a few of our very favorite baked side dishes to pair with any main course!

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Italian Potato Casserole

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes are layered with onions, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano, and Sicilian oregano and baked until toasty. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes sliced
  • 2 medium white onions sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Sicilian oregano
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided

Seasoned breadcrumb mixture (mix together)

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano
  • 5 tinned anchovies turned into a paste
  • 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375f and set the rack to the middle level. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the seasoned breadcrumbs and set aside.
  • Drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil into a 9 by 13 baking dish. Place 1 layer of potatoes, overlapping as you go, into the bottom of the dish. Then add 1 overlapping layer of onions and finally tomatoes. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil then season with a portion of the kosher salt, oregano, and Pecorino.
  • Repeat the process along with the seasoning until all of the ingredients are used up. Top with the seasoned breadcrumbs and drizzle a bit more extra virgin olive oil. The breadcrumbs should be well moistened.
  • Bake for 50-70 minutes.  After 50 minutes check for doneness by piercing with a knife to make sure the bottom potatoes are soft.  If not, let it cook for another 10-20 minutes.  Most of the liquid should be evaporated at this point. If the breadcrumbs aren't golden brown you can broil for the last 1-2 minutes but watch very carefully. Wait for at least ten minutes before serving so that the juices settle. Enjoy!

Notes

  • A large shallow baking dish with only 2 layers works better and cooks quicker than a deep dish with 3 to 4 layers of ingredients, but both will work.
  • Distribute a portion of the seasoning on each level.  Depending on how many levels are made, a bit more or less seasoning might be required.
  • Cooking times are a rough estimate.  Bake until most of the liquid evaporates and the bottom potato layer is tender.
  • For more browning, the dish can be broiled for the last 1-2 minutes, but watch carefully.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.3g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19.5g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 924mg | Potassium: 1122mg | Fiber: 7.8g | Sugar: 8.7g | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this in Christmas Eve as as side dish for chicken and fish. it was a big hit with my family. I am definitely keeping this recipe.

  2. I plan on making this, but I have people in my household that will eat anchovies or capers. Any other suggestions? It looks delicious to me!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this potato casserole tonight, layered just as you suggested and OH! received rave reviews. I will definitely be making it again before the week is over.
    So very delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve tried many of your recipes and never disappointed!

  4. 5 stars
    In the past week I have made this 3 times for various gatherings, it has been a big hit every time.

    1. I made this for Christmas Eve to have with Chicken and Baked Fish. It was a big hit with my family, so yummy. Definitely a keeper to my recipe box. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday. I knew it would be good but I didn’t know it would be THAT good!! BTW, I did use a mandolin for the potatoes and sliced them very thinly. I had multiple overlapping layers of potatoes and it worked out just fine. I did the two layers of ingredients as you suggested. Delicious recipe. Grazie!