Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » Perfect Potatoes au Gratin

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin

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4.5 from 2 votes
These luxurious Potatoes au Gratin, baked in a rich sauce with cream, cheese, and a hint of garlic are the perfect side dish for almost any meal.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Finished potatoes au gratin in a white baking dish.

Cheesy Baked Potatoes au Gratin are always a family dinner favorite. These potatoes baked in a rich sauce with cream, cheese, and a hint of garlic are the perfect side dish for almost any meal.

Rich, indulgent and cheesy Potatoes au Gratin are a long time favorite side dish for lots of folks. You simply can’t go wrong with this nearly perfect recipe that will fill your home with the most amazing aroma as they bake in the oven.

Finished potatoes au gratin in a white baking dish.

Even more perfect, the recipe takes only about 20 minutes to prepare and the rest of the work is done by the oven! Great for holiday celebrations and dinner parties!

Potatoes au Gratin is, in my opinion, one of the world’s great food pleasures. Potatoes cooked in cream laced with cheese and a bit of garlic. Oh, my, my, my.

And once you know a basic Potatoes au Gratin recipe, you can embellish it any way you want. Add some crumbled bacon to the mix. Or change the fresh herbs. Try different kinds of cheese. Use Cheddar instead of Gruyere and Parmesan.

Take it a bit further by turning it into more of a casserole with some cubed leftover ham or broccoli. Or both. I think it might be nice with leftover roast chicken and tarragon. See? Use your imagination to turn this classic into your own creation!


  • Cheese, cream, and potatoes. Need I say more?
  • Versatile. Goes with almost anything.
  • Kid-friendly. It’s so good, all you’ll hear at the table is silence :-) And maybe a couple of “yums!”.

About the Ingredients

A labeled photo showing all the ingredients needed for the recipe.
  • Potatoes (You’ll have best results with russet potatoes. Russets are starchier and have less moisture than other potatoes. They also stick together better resulting in a better overall texture to the finished recipe.)
  • Heavy Cream (I actually use heavy whipping cream – yes, it’s a really indulgent recipe – but half and half does work as well.)
  • Garlic (You’ll need a nice fat clove of fresh garlic.)
  • Gruyere cheese (Please splurge on quality cheese for this recipe, especially if you’re making it for a holiday and special meal. You’ll be glad you did.)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (Same note for Parmesan as for the Gruyere. Get the real thing for making this.)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Potatoes au Gratin

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place an oven rack in the top position.

Prep the Potatoes and the Baking Dish

Step 1. Peel the potatoes. Slice them crosswise into about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices.

COOK’S TIP 
Slicing the potatoes is very easy to do with a mandolin if you are comfortable using one. If not, just stick with a good, sharp knife. As you work, drop the potato slices into a bowl of cold water. This will stop them from discoloring.

Step 2. Use the flat side of a knife to crush the garlic clove(s).

Step 3. Firmly rub the crushed garlic on the inside surfaces of a 10-inch gratin dish or small baking dish.

Step 4. Then, rub the inside of the dish with the butter.

Layer the Gratin

Step 5. Drain and pat the potato slices dry with paper towels.

Step 6. In the bottom of the gratin dish, arrange one layer of potatoes in an overlapping manner. Add a good sprinkle of salt and ground pepper, along with a little of each of the herbs and some of each kind of cheese.

Step 7. Make two more layers with the potato slices, salt, pepper, herbs, and cheese. End with the last of the two cheeses.

Add Cream

Step 8.

Step 8. Carefully drizzle the cream around the sides of the dish. Don’t pour it over the top. You don’t want to move the cheese that’s on top.

Bake

Step 9.

Step 9. Place the dish, uncovered, on the top oven rack and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until the cream has been absorbed by the potatoes and the top is crisp and brown.

Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Finished potatoes au gratin in a white baking dish.

Serving Suggestions

Almost anything goes with Potatoes au Gratin. I could make a list a mile long of the best main dishes to pair with this recipe, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Of course, there’s the classic pairing with prime rib and perfectly grilled steaks. And it’s always a welcome side with the Thanksgiving turkey or even with everyday fried chicken. Add a delicious slice of caramel cake to finish and you’ve created a masterpiece.

Storage and Make Ahead Information

  • To make ahead: You can make this recipe a day in advance, cool it completely, refrigerate it and reheat the next day. It’s often even more delicious after reheating.
  • Storage: Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Freezing is not recommended.
Finished potatoes au gratin in a white baking dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of potatoes are best for this recipe?

I recommend a starchy potato such as russets for potatoes au gratin. Their texture helps the gratin hold together better than a waxy potato. Yukon Golds can also be used but, in my opinion, russets are better.

Why are my potatoes watery?

If your recipe turns out a bit watery, first it could be the type of potato you used. Remember, you want a starchy, fluffy, potato for this. Waxy potatoes won’t absorb the cream in the same way. You may also just need to cook the recipe a little longer until all the cream is absorbed.

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Recipe

Finished potatoes au gratin in a white baking dish.

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin

These luxurious Potatoes au Gratin, baked in a rich sauce with cream, cheese, and a hint of garlic are the perfect side dish for almost any meal.
4.50 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 206kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 large garlic clove crushed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter softened
  • salt and pepper 1
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese freshly grated
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Place an oven rack in the top position.
  • Peel the potatoes. Slice them crosswise into about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Use the flat side of a knife to crush the garlic clove(s). Firmly rub the crushed garlic on the inside surfaces of a 10-inch gratin dish or small baking dish. Then, rub the inside of the dish with the butter.
  • Drain and pat dry the potato slices. In the bottom of the gratin dish, arrange one layer of potatoes in an overlapping manner. Add a good sprinkle of salt and ground pepper, along with a little of each of the herbs and some of each kind of cheese.
  • Make two more layers with the potato slices, salt, pepper, herbs, and cheese. End with the last of the two cheeses.
  • Carefully drizzle the cream around the sides of the dish. Don't pour it over the top. You don't want to move the cheese that's on top.
  • Place the dish, uncovered, on the top oven rack and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until the cream has been absorbed by the potatoes and the top is crisp and brown.
  • Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Ingredients:
  • Potatoes – You’ll have best results with russet potatoes.
  • I use heavy whipping cream, but half and half does work as well.
  • Please splurge on quality cheeses for this recipe, especially if you’re making it for a holiday and special meal. Purchase a good brand of Gruyere and authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano. You’ll be glad you did.
Tips:
  • Slicing the potatoes is very easy to do with a mandolin if you are comfortable using one. If not, just stick with a good, sharp knife. As you work, drop the potato slices into a bowl of cold water. This will stop them from discoloring.
  • To make ahead: You can make this recipe a day in advance, cool it completely, refrigerate it and reheat the next day. It’s often even more delicious after reheating.
  • Storage: Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Freezing is not recommended.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 510IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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9 Comments

  1. Is this recipe for a 9×11 pan or smaller? I’m planning to make this for Christmas Eve with my husband’s family.

    1. A 9×13 baking dish works great. The size doesn’t really matter much. You just need a dish large enough to hold your potatoes :-)

  2. This was my mother’s favorite potato dish and every time I make it I think of her! Haven’t made these in a while and seeing them reminded me of how much I love them too! Will definitely be making in the near future!!

    1. Nancy – one of the things I love most about food blogging is posting recipes that remind people of their childhood and of people they love. This is certainly one of those recipes for me as well. I do hope you’ll make it soon and think of your mother with every bite!

  3. Can you recommend any particular brand of mandoline? I have never purchased one, for fear of the loss of several fingertips ( you know how uncoordinated I am). But, this recipe really needs that instrument for the delicately thin sliced potatoes. Thanks for sharing.

    Miss P

    1. Miss P – I have a handheld one from OXO. It’s easy to store, goes in the dishwasher, and has the guard to keep your fingers well away from the blade. It’s also inexpensive :-)