A classic recipe for cheesy au gratin potatoes. This recipe brings together thinly sliced potatoes, onion, butter, cream and cheddar cheese to create a delicious side dish. This is our family recipe and it’s good enough for everyday or a special holiday.
Potatoes au Gratin is a classic, warm, cheesy, comforting French classic dish that consists of layers of potatoes nestled in between a creamy, luscious cheese sauce and then baked until golden and bubbly.
The Difference Between ‘Gratin’ and ‘Scalloped’:
There seems to be some confusion between a ‘gratin’ recipe and a ‘scalloped’ recipe. Classic gratins involve topping a dish with either cheese or buttery breadcrumbs and baking or broiling in the final minutes until crispy.
Scalloped Potatoes are simply heavenly! They are much simpler of a dish, usually requiring only the potatoes and a basic cream sauce of milk and heavy cream. The recipe my family uses also infuses garlic and nutmeg.
What You’ll Need to Make The Best Potatoes Au Gratin:
- Potatoes – Yukon Gold or any yellow potato works best for this dish. I do not peel my potatoes, I prefer the more ‘rustic’ look. However, you can peel them if you wish.
- Onion & Garlic- I always add onions to this recipe, only to soften them not brown them. Some recipes call for adding the onion in raw, however I find taking the additional step of softening them is much better.
- The Cheesy Sauce – I believe in using full fat in recipes like this. Using only heavy cream however is a bit much on the waistline, therefore I incorporated milk in the equation. The cheese of choice is Cheddar, but you can certainly add in a little Gruyere or Parmesan cheese for more flavor.
- The Topping – A mixture of breadcrumbs and some remaining Cheddar cheese go on top with about 10-15 minutes remaining in the cooking time.
Tips for Making Potatoes Au Gratin:
- The first thing any culinary student learns in culinary school are knife cuts. Even cut food ensures it will all cook evenly and at the same time. I use a mandolin to get my potatoes as even and as thin as I can. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can certainly do it by hand.
- Shred your cheese from a block of good quality cheese. The pre packaged cheeses have emulsifiers in them to prevent clumping.
- Lower the heat on the stove when adding the cheese (or remove it all together)
- Warm the milk and cream in the microwave until room temperature – this will help prevent any curdling.
- Season each layer of potatoes with salt and pepper before adding the cheesy sauce.
- Pour the cheesy sauce over the potatoes one layer at time. A 9×9 baking dish can hold 4 layers, while a 9×13 will hold 3 layers.
- Cover it tightly with foil and bake it on the middle rack in a preheated oven at 350° checking it at 45 min by poking the potato with a fork. Then remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb/cheese mixture over it and place it under the broiler to get nice and bubbly.
Can I Make these the Night Before?
- You most certainly can. Simply bake them as stated. Allow them to cool completely. Take them out of the fridge and let them stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing them back in the lower heated oven (300° – 325°) uncovered or until heated through. If the potatoes look dry, add a few tablespoon of milk to the SIDES of the pan and allow to trickle down.
How to Store Potatoes Au Gratin:
- To store: Simply place some aluminum foil over the potatoes and refrigerate. They will stay good for 3 days.
- To freeze: This dish is better frozen in individual portions to reheat in the microwave. However, the entire can be frozen and reheated in the oven at a very low temperature.
What to Pair with these Potatoes:
What’s so great about a comforting dish like these potatoes is that they can be made alongside your everyday dinners or front and center at Easter and Thanksgiving!
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Perfectly Roasted Garlic & Herb Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Marinated Flank Steak
- Not Yo Mama’s Green Beans
Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
A classic recipe for cheesy au gratin potatoes. This recipe brings together thinly sliced potatoes, onion, butter, cream and cheddar cheese to create a deliciously cheesy and comforting side dish.
- 6–7 Medium Sized Yukon Potatoes (3″ to 4-¼″ dia.)
- ¼ Cup Butter, unsalted (and a little for greasing the pan)
- ½ Cup Sweet Onions, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, left whole
- 1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat White Flour
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼–½ teaspoon White Pepper
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Cups Good Quality Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided into 1 ½ cups and ½ cup
- ¼ Cup Bread crumbs, seasoned
- ½ Cup remaining cheese from above
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×9 or 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or grease with softened butter. Set aside.
Making the sauce:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the ¼ cup of butter and add the onion. Season with a little salt and pepper. (You don’t want the onion to brown so keep the heat low and let the onions soften for about 4 minutes).
- Add the whole cloves of garlic.
- Add the flour and let that cook for at least 1 minute to burn off any raw flour taste, whisking to prevent burning.
- Add the milk, a little at a time, while whisking constantly. Add the heavy cream and do the same.
- Remove the garlic and set on a paper towel.
- Slowly add the cheese (you can remove it from the heat also and keep stirring until the cheese is melted).
- Keep the sauce warm while slicing the potatoes.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
- Rub the inside of the baking dish with the garlic that was removed.
- Pour a little sauce on the bottom of the pan and begin layering the potatoes and pouring sauce over them until 3 layers have been completed (for a 9×13″ dish) leaving some sauce to pour on top.
- Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 40-45 minutes.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb/cheese mixture on top and continue baking for 10 minutes, turning on the broiler for the last 5 minutes if desired.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Calories 395; Fat 29 gr; Cholesterol 62 mg; Sodium 408 mg; Carbs 24 gr; Fiber 3.2 gr; Protein 14.8 gr
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: side dish
- Method: Baking
Don’t limit yourself to just cheddar cheese. I only had about a half a cup so I added Colby jack and Gruyere – I know quite the mix. but it was amazing.
this one is just what I was looking for to serve our guests at dinner tomorrow with a rotisserie chicken and beans. I knew I didn’t want mashed potatoes and this was perfect!!