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Potatoes au Gratin

Potatoes au Gratin

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Here's a basic, no-frills version that's a snap to prepare. Serve this with roasted meats, fish, or poultry as well as egg dishes as a rich and hearty side dish.

See all casserole recipes.


  • 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thinly on a mandoline or using the slicer attachment on a food processor
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 -2 pints half-and-half or milk and cream
  • Freshly grated Gruyère, Parmesan, or other sharp cheese, to taste

Potatoes Au Gratin

Sally is the author of four cookbooks and is a regular correspondent for the Boston Globe Wednesday Food Section. She also is a food photographer.

Sliced potatoes bathed in luscious cream and topped with golden cheese and breadcrumbs deserve a place at any holiday table.

Potatoes Au Gratin is a decadent but easy-to-make dish to serve alongside roast, turkey, or prime rib. Sliced potatoes layered with onion, thyme, and a little Gruyere cheese are baked together in cream until meltingly soft.

You can make quick work of the recipe by slicing the potatoes with a food processor slicing blade, then blanch the potatoes in cream, load them into a baking dish, and pop them in the oven!

Potatoes Au Gratin

They may be classic for Thanksgiving but they're too delicious not to make year round. Don't be intimidated by the name. Potatoes au gratin are actually really easy to master. You've got this.

Do I need a mandolin?

No, but it will make you're life so much easier. If you don't have one, just be ready to practice your knife skills, and make sure to use a veryyy sharp chef's knife.

What's the difference between potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes?

Great question! Gratins have cheese scalloped potatoes do not. unless they're Loaded Scalloped Potatoes with cheddar and bacon. 😈

Milk or cream?

We like to use a combination of both. Heavy cream adds an unbeatable richness. Plus it makes the sauce kinda velveety. But an all-cream sauce would be intense. So to balance it out, we add milk. (Whole milk, not skim, is preferred!)

What kind of cheese should I use?

That's entirely up to you. Gruyère melts well and has a fantastic nutty flavor. And a nice peppery Parmesan is classic. We like to use both! But there aren't really rules. Fontina, mozzarella, or even a sharp cheddar would all work, too.

Why do I need to cover with foil?

The foil helps cook the potatoes (they kinda steam and boil in the sauce) while the whole gratin is in the oven. We take the foil off during the last stretch of baking to get the top cheese layer golden and crispy.

What if my top isn't browning?

Since the heat in the oven is relatively moderate, your top layer may be stubborn and not want to brown. When this happens, we turn to the broiler. Once your potatoes are super tender and the sauce is bubbling, crank the oven heat and broil it for a couple minutes until the gratin is golden on top.

How do I prevent watery potatoes?

Baked potatoes will release a lot of moisture, causing your final dish to be a little soupy. To help prevent that you can lay your sliced potatoes out on paper towels to help soak up some excess water. The last 15 or 20 minutes of baking you should also bake the dish uncovered. This will help some moisture escape and make your cheese nice and golden!

Let your dish rest for a few minutes after baking. This will allow your potatoes to absorb more of that cream sauce!

1. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2mm thick slices, placing the slices in a bowl and covering them with cream to prevent discolouration. Season the slices with salt and pepper.

3. Brush the base and sides of a shallow baking tray or gratin dish with the melted butter. Remove the potato slices from the cream and place in a circle, covering the middle with another circle of potato. (If using a rectangular dish, overlap the slices in lines down the dish until about 2-3cm deep.) Drizzle a little cream between each layer, and pour over any remaining cream.

How to prevent the sauce from curdling

If you only add milk to the potatoes, the proteins are at risk for curdling over time. Once the protein hits a temperature of 180ºF and above they begin clumping together. That’s why recipes often use milk AND cream because the increased amount of fat helps reduce curdling since there’s less protein. Considering the potatoes are cooked at 400ºF for nearly an hour to tenderize, it’s best to build in a little safety cushion with a roux. The creamy texture added to the sauce is just a tasty bonus!

What Main Dish Pairs with Au Gratin Potatoes?

Au Gratin potatoes makes a great versatile side dish that can be served with just about anything. And of course it’s practically a staple at the holiday dinner table. Serve Au Gratin potatoes with poultry, beef, pork, or fish. And pretty much any vegetable pairs with au gratin potatoes as a second side.

This potatoes au gratin recipe is wonderfully creamy, cheesy and flavorful and has received tons of rave reviews over the years. Several of my friends and family members make this every year on holidays and other occasions and have passed the recipe on to their friends who usually request it after tasting it.

© Bhofack2 | Dreamstime

Let’s get started!

Dice the onions, mince the garlic, and thinly slice the potatoes. You can slice the potatoes by hand or you can use a kitchen mandolin to do the slicing. It makes the job faster and easier and ensures they’re sliced the same width. THIS ONE is the same one I bought in Germany and took back to the States with me – I love it. It’s also Cook’s Illustrated’s “Top Choice”.

THIS ONE is about half the cost and will also do the job just fine.

Heat the butter in a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue simmering and continually whisking the mixture for two minutes.

Add the milk, cream and salt and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a low simmer and continue whisking until the sauce is thickened.

Whisk in the cheese until it’s melted.

Add the onions and garlic.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender (time can vary depending on thickly the potatoes are sliced).

Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.


For another phenomenal side dish, be sure to try our famous ULTIMATE Green Bean Casserole! Featured in magazines and across the web with hundreds of rave reviews, trust me, you won’t want to miss this one!

  • I use Russet potatoes but Yukon Golds will also work and no need to peel those.
  • A mandoline slicer makes life much easier. It ensures uniform thickness for even cooking.
  • You could boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes to cut back on the baking time.
  • This is a perfect make-ahead dish and place in the refrigerator until ready to use

Potatoes au gratin is generally made with Gruyere cheese. It can be a little pricey mozzarella or freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese is a great economical choice. Or a half n half combination of both.

Ruth’s Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat

  • Author: Mollie Kirby
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1 x
  • Category: Sides
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 tablespoons butter plus additional to butter casserole dish
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream add a little more if it doesn’t cover potatoes
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds (about 5 to 6 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (thickness of standard food processor slicing disc)
  • 3 cups total finely shredded cheese: 2 cups Cheddar ( 8 ounces ), and 3/4’s cup ( 3 ounces ) of either Fontina or Provolone along with 1/4 cup ( 1 ounce ) Parmesan, mixed together
  • about 1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt the butter, and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the stock, cream, and potatoes and bring to a good (not a boil) simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the potatoes are nearly tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Gently stir.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered 8 x 8″ or equivalent sized baking dish (or about five to six individual casseroles). Top with the cheese and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 -15 minutes for the casserole (a little less for individual casseroles) or just until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Cool a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Note: Although our family loves this just as is, this is a very creamy dish with cream, potatoes and cheese, and just a little onion, one clove garlic and the bit of chicken stock for additional flavor. It’s fine to taste the sauce before you transfer to the casserole and be sure to adequately season with salt and pepper. If you are a person who prefers a dish that is more highly flavored, feel free to increase the onion and/or garlic to taste.

Keywords: au gratin potatoes, cheddar, Cheese, Chicken Stock, Cook's Illustrated, Cream, fontina, hearty sides, parmesan, Potatoes, provolone, Ruth's Chris, Side, Steakhouse

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I’m sharing my Ruth’s Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat at Fiesta Friday #249 . The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog .

If you’re looking for Holiday dishes or just something fun to make all in one place, stop by and see what everyone has bought to the party!

Au Gratin vs Scalloped Potatoes

You may feel intimidated by the words, Au Gratin, but don’t be! In French, Au Gratin means “by grating” or “with a crust.” This potato recipe is au gratin because we top the thinly sliced potatoes with an extra layer of cheese before baking, giving it a delicious cheesy crust!

Many people confuse au gratin potatoes with scalloped potatoes, and for awhile so did I! They both consist of thinly, round sliced potatoes, baked in a casserole dish. And both are extremely yummy!

The difference is that scalloped potatoes are traditionally cut thicker and covered in a cream sauce, infused with garlic and fresh herbs. And au gratin potatoes are thinner, covered in a cheese sauce and then topped with more cheese or bread crumbs before being baked.

Easy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

Potatoes and cheese. Who wouldn't love a dish like this one? I make my recipe with raw potatoes so technically this is more of a gratin dauphinoise. Still, it does have a nice cheesy crust indicative of a gratin and a creamy base.

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Thinly sliced potatoes are a must especially since they are not pre-cooked. You can buy a cheap mandoline slicer for this. I think it's worth the small investment.

My sauce is made up of a roux to start with equal parts of butter and flour cooked first. Whole milk is added to the roux to make a sauce similar to my tuna noodle casserole dish.

However, this one goes a step further adding grated sharp cheddar cheese and a little salt and pepper to create a delicious creamy cheese sauce.

Two layers of potatoes and the cheese sauce are spread in a buttered casserole dish.

More cheese is added on top.

It comes out nice and crusty on the sides and crispy on top.

Potatoes Au Gratin FAQs

I like a starchy potato such as a russet potato. However, you might also like a waxy potato like a red potato because it holds its shape better.

Yes, we really love sharp cheddar cheese but you could try Gruyere or Swiss. You could even mix a few together or add a little extra Parmesan, blue, or feta in to add even more flavor.

Yes, many people use heavy cream in their recipe. However, I don't think it is necessary and the roux makes the sauce nice and creamy.

This yummy potato casserole dish is a crusty, cheesy, and creamy side dish that will surely get devoured by everyone who tries it. In fact, you might just want to make two because it tastes just as good a day later.