Au Gratin Potatoes

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Au Gratin Potatoes start with thinly sliced golden potatoes that we layer in a luxuriously creamy and ultra-cheesy sauce. This deeply savory potato side dish is sure to be a hit anywhere it’s served!

Try some of our other favorite potato sides like these Smashed Potatoes, Creamed Potatoes, or Roasted Potatoes!

Overhead view of Au Gratin Potatoes

Our Favorite Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

In my mind, the best au gratin potatoes are ultra creamy with loads of cheese, perfectly tender potatoes, and plenty of rich flavors. These potatoes check all those boxes! Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • We’re using buttery Yukon gold potatoes.
  • There are three types of cheese — hello flavor nuance!
  • The most gorgeous cheesy-cream sauce makes these potatoes ultra creamy.
  • A touch of fresh thyme adds a wonderful earthy flavor that beautifully complements the potatoes and sauce.

Au Gratin Potatoes are the ultimate potato side dish (ok, yes, along with Mashed Potatoes) and the best type of comfort food around. They’re a must-have at every holiday table and this recipe is sure to be a new family favorite!

Say good-bye to Au Gratin Potato Box Mixes — you’ll never want to go back after trying them from-scratch! Au gratin is a French term for food that is sprinkled with breadcrumbs or grated cheese, or both, and browned. This recipe doesn’t include bread crumbs, but we more than make up for it with our three-cheese blend.

QUICK TIP

We love Au Gratin potatoes so much we added them to this delicious Ham and Potato Pot Pie and this One Hour Easter Dinner

Au Gratin Potatoes FAQs

1What does au gratin mean?

Au gratin is a French term referring to a dish that is baked with a topping of some sorts — cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs or Panko.

Au gratin translates from French as “with gratin.” Gratin is the topping used.

The au gratin topping should be golden brown which is usually achieved by broiling the dish at the end of baking.

2What makes a dish a gratin?

A gratin is a dish topped with cheese or breadcrumbs/Panko that have been mixed with butter. This topping is broiled until crisp, so the term “au gratin” signifies any dish that has been prepared this way.

3What is the preferred cheese to use for a gratin?

Gruyère, sharp Cheddar, and Parmesan make up my favorite combination. Here are some other options:

  • Fontina
  • Swiss
  • Havarti
  • Mozzarella

4How do I know if the sauce is thick enough?

The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Lift up the spoon and immediately trace a line across the back of the spoon with your fingertip. If the line retains a clear track, the sauce is thick enough. If not, the sauce needs to be cooked a bit longer.

5What is difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes?

Au gratin potatoes have grated cheese and scalloped potatoes don’t. 

Scalloped potatoes use thinly sliced potatoes layered and baked with milk or cream.

Au gratin potatoes are layered with cheese and more cheese is added to the sauce.

While both dishes use sliced potatoes, au gratin potatoes are sliced thinner than scalloped potatoes.

 

6What's the difference between au gratin potatoes and cheesy potatoes?

Cheesy potatoes use diced or cubed potatoes instead of thinly sliced potatoes like you’ll see in Au Gratin Potatoes.

7What goes well with Au Gratin Potatoes?

Au Gratin Potatoes are generally part of a big meal. They’re great for holidays and special occasions, so the sides are usually pretty substantial.

  1. A meat main course like beef, pork, or chicken
  2. With this Cornbread recipe or dinner rolls on the side
  3. Roasted vegetables like Roasted BroccoliRoasted Asparagus, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  4. A big green salad like this everyday Salad RecipeGarden Salad, or Italian Salad.
  5. A homemade dessert to finish things off — try Crème BrûléeCheesecake Bars, or Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

View of the sliced potatoes

How To Make Au Gratin Potatoes

This recipe is intended to show you how easy au gratin potatoes can be. Even though the name may seem fancy, the preparation is nothing too intricate or complicated. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Prep potatoes (see “quick tip” box below).
  2. Prep cream sauce. We start with a roux (butter plus flour) and gradually add in some milk. Once the sauce is nice and thickened, we mix in some cheese–the perfect creamy, cheesy sauce to bathe the potatoes in!
  3. Assemble. The potatoes are layered alternating with (more) cheese and fresh thyme.
  4. Bake. These potatoes require a good amount of oven time, so this is a dish that requires planning ahead. After they’ve mostly baked through, we finish ’em off with (more) cheese and bake again to cheesy potato perfection.

QUICK TIP

The potatoes require a bit of time to prepare, but if you’ve got willing kiddos to help (or a captivating podcast), the prep will fly by.

Preparation Tools

Set the Mandoline slicer at 1/8th-inch thickness and be impressed how quickly you’ll have the 6 cups of potatoes needed for this recipe.

 

Best Cheese For Au Gratin Potatoes

Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, and Gruyère make for the winning combination in Au Gratin Potatoes.

Truly, I think I’ve tested just about every cheese (that is practical) for this potato dish and these are the three I keep coming back to:

  1. Sharp Cheddar — or extra sharp. Sharp (and extra sharp) indicates a more aged cheese that will deliver a richer and more pungent flavor.
  2. Gruyère. There is nothing that compares to the nutty, creamy, rich, and salty flavor this cheese brings to the table. Nothing beats it! That said, it is spend-y and can be replaced in equal parts with more Cheddar.
  3. Parmesan cheese. This cheese adds such a nice savoriness, saltiness, and complementary flavor to the Cheddar. It also adds a final layer of “seasoning” to the dish.

QUICK TIP

Grate your own cheese! Already-grated packaged cheese will give the sauce a powdery texture and won’t melt as nicely (Pre-grated cheeses have a powder coating to keep shreds from clumping in the bag).

Closeup view of Au Gratin Potatoes in a creamy sauce

Au Gratin Potatoes With Yukon Gold

Similar to testing all the cheeses, I’ve also experimented with several varieties of potatoes.

Yukon gold (also called gold, Yukon, or yellow potatoes) are our hands-down winner in this recipe.

Yukon gold potatoes are small to medium-sized potatoes with a light yellow flesh, delicate skin, and an irresistible creamy flavor and ever so slight sweetness. They’re the perfect contrast to the deeply savory cheesy cream sauce.

Au Gratin Potatoes in a casserole pan

STORAGE

Make It Ahead Of Time

Bake, covered in foil, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and cool at room temp with the foil still on (to retain moisture). Once cooled, remove foil and add the cheese on top. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

When ready to serve, set it out on the counter for about an hour to come up to temperature. Then cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for another 20-30 minutes or until hot. Remove foil and bake until topping is golden and cheese is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Broil for 1 minute at the end and voila — ready to go!

What To Serve With Au Gratin Potatoes:

QUICK TIP

Want to save oven space? Try our Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes instead!

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Au Gratin Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
Au Gratin Potatoes start with thinly sliced golden potatoes that we layer in a luxuriously creamy and ultra-cheesy sauce. This deeply savory potato side-dish is sure to be a hit anywhere it's served!
Print Recipe

Au Gratin Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
Au Gratin Potatoes start with thinly sliced golden potatoes that we layer in a luxuriously creamy and ultra-cheesy sauce. This deeply savory potato side-dish is sure to be a hit anywhere it's served!
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword au gratin potatoes, au gratin potatoes recipe, potatoes au gratin
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings, as a side
Chelsea Lords
Calories 484kcal

Equipment

  • Mandoline slicer
  • Potato peeler
  • 9x9-inch baking dish

Ingredients

  • 6 packed cups (2 lbs.) gold potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced (Note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (~2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons white flour
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk (or 2%/1% -- See Note 2)
  • 1 cup (3 oz.) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (3 oz.) grated Gruyère cheese (or use more Cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Note 3)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried), optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9x9-inch (or 2-quart) pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Peel and thinly slice potatoes (1/8-inch thick). For speed and accuracy, I use a mandolin slicer. Tightly pack potatoes in measuring cups to ensure a full 6 cups.
  • SAUCE: In a large nonstick pot, melt butter over low heat. Once melted, add garlic. Sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Sprinkle in flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute until smooth (don't let it brown). Very gradually pour in 1 cup milk while whisking constantly. Once completely smooth, increase heat to medium-high and gradually add in the other cup of milk. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Season to taste (I add 1-1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper).
  • SAUCE, CONT.: Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until mixture is nicely thickened (Note 4). Remove pot from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in Cheddar cheese, mixing gently until melted and smooth. Add in the prepared potatoes and stir to coat.
  • ASSEMBLE: Add 1/3 of the potatoes to prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese and 1/3 of the fresh thyme leaves. Add another 1/3 of potatoes on top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese and 1/3 of fresh thyme leaves. Add remaining potatoes and then remaining thyme.
  • BAKE: Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove foil and use a table knife to pierce the middle of the pan to test if the potatoes are tender. (If not, bake a few more minutes and check again.) Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Optional: Broil for 1 minute at the end. Remove and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving (sauce will thicken as it stands!) Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Potatoes: Yukon gold (also called gold, Yukon, or yellow potatoes) are our hands-down favorite potato to use. Russet potatoes will also work. Peel potatoes, rinse in cool water then use a Mandoline slicer set at 1/8th-inch thickness to cut the potatoes and measure to get 6 packed full cups. 
Note 2: Milk: We like whole milk best; it delivers the richest end result. 2% and 1% will work, but we do not recommend skim milk or plant-based milk alternatives.
Note 3: Parmesan: Packaged grated Parmesan (in the can) is very salty and won't melt as nicely in this recipe. We highly recommend grating a block of Parmesan cheese on the small holes of the grater for ultra-fine cheese shreds. Alternatively, use finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Note 4: Thickness check: The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Lift up the spoon and immediately trace a line across the back of the spoon with your fingertip. If the line retains a clear track, the sauce is thick enough. If not, the sauce needs to be cooked a bit longer.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 383mg | Potassium: 897mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 836IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 647mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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