Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes

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An easy recipe for slow cooker au gratin potatoes— simple and delicious comfort food. Plus a secret tip to keeping the potatoes crispier in the crockpot. These potatoes make for the perfect Thanksgiving side-dish — they can be made ahead and save that precious oven space!

Calling all potato au gratin fans!! This recipe is our new favorite twist on a classic family recipe. Potatoes au gratin have always been a favorite in my family, but now they can be made in the CROCKPOT! It’s totally revolutional, right?! Not only is this great news for next summer (yummy potatoes and no turning on your oven!), but it’s also a great idea for Thanksgiving. While your oven is stuffed to the brim with everything else, you can have these going in the crockpot.

It’s also got a few other twists from the classic family recipe. Like NO cream of soups are needed! Tons of au gratin potato recipes call for lots of processed ingredients and these, while not the epitome of healthy by any means, have much better ingredients.
Because there are no cream of soups (but we still want that ultra creamy and cheesy sauce famous in au gratin potatoes) you will need one additional pot. But don’t be scared away from this recipe!! Making your own cheesy cream sauce for this au gratin is seriously easy. It takes less than 10 minutes honest!

It’s some easy whisking of ingredients and before you know it you’ve got your own homemade simple cheesy sauce. And it is so delicious!

For this recipe I used a few lower fat products and seriously did not even miss any flavor! After making a simple roux with butter + flour, the recipe calls out to whisk in some milk. I used low fat (1% milk). I wouldn’t recommend skim milk or a non-dairy milk, but for a richer au gratin you could use 2% or whole milk. Don’t do heavy creams as those will likely curdle in your crockpot.

After the milk is whisked in you’ll add some sour cream. I used Horizon organic sour cream which is SO delicious. It’s super rich and creamy!! I used the lowfat version and didn’t miss any flavor. But, again, you could absolutely use full-fat sour cream if you prefer that or for a richer final dish. 🙂

And the secret to keeping these from getting soggy? It’s SO easy! Top your crockpot with a few layers of paper towels! Genius, right?! I learned that trick from a crockpot apple crisp recipe I tried once and it works for these as well.

The paper towels absorb lots of liquid which keeps the potatoes from getting “soggy.” I change out the paper towels halfway through the cooking time because by that time they are completely wet through. After the potatoes are cooked through, leave off the lid for just a bit to help the top get slightly more crisp. These aren’t as crips at the edges and top as oven-baked au gratin potatoes, but pretty close for a crockpot recipe!

P.S. Please don’t hate me for talking about Thanksgiving when we are only halfway through October. It’s the curse of food blogging I suppose…or maybe I’m just crazy. Probably a little of both… But don’t worry, I have a witch treat coming soon. 🙂

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Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes

4.82 from 27 votes
An easy recipe for slow cooker au gratin potatoes-- simple and delicious comfort food. Plus a secret tip to keeping the potatoes crispier in the crockpot. These potatoes make for the perfect Thanksgiving side-dish -- they can be made ahead and save that precious oven space!
Print Recipe

Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes

4.82 from 27 votes
An easy recipe for slow cooker au gratin potatoes-- simple and delicious comfort food. Plus a secret tip to keeping the potatoes crispier in the crockpot. These potatoes make for the perfect Thanksgiving side-dish -- they can be made ahead and save that precious oven space!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Author Chelsea


  • 4 cups (~5 potatoes) (570g) very large Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes peeled and sliced
  • Lots of seasoned salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk (I use whole)
  • 1/2 cup (114g) sour cream I used low-fat
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (135g) extra sharp cheddar cheese*
  • Fresh parsley or chives


  • VERY generously spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray. I used a 6-quart slow cooker for the recipe. Note that smaller crockpots may not be able to cook through all the potatoes evenly so you will have to halve (or cut in thirds) this recipe.
  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into medium thick slices (see picture for general width). Measure the potatoes -- you should have about 5 cups total.
  • Place a layer of potatoes at the bottom of the crockpot. Generously (or to your preference, but don't skimp on the salt or it will be more bland) sprinkle on seasoned salt and pepper. Layer another layer of potatoes and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Repeat this process until all the potatoes are layered in the crockpot.
  • In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add in the butter. Melt completely and then vigorously whisk in the flour until a thick dough forms. Whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add in the garlic and onion powder and continue to whisk.
  • Very slowly add in the milk whisking as you add it. In between milk additions whisk the mixture and allow it to thicken.
  • Once all the milk is added in and the mixture is completely smooth and thick, add in the sour cream. Whisk to add. Add in the freshly grated cheddar cheese and whisk until completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add some more salt and pepper here if desired.
  • Pour this cheese sauce evenly over the potatoes. Shake the slow cooker to get the creamy cheese sauce evenly throughout the crockpot. Do not stir it in.
  • Place 3 paper towels on top of the crockpot (this will absorb lots of moisture and keep the potatoes crispier) and then place on the lid.
  • Place on high (my experimentation with low heats were unsuccessful.) for 3-5 hours depending on the heat of your slow cooker. Slow cookers cook at different temperatures and speeds! Mine took just under 3 hours -- check frequently to avoid burning the edges or over cooking the potatoes so they are mushy.
  • Halfway through the cooking time, change out the paper towels for fresh ones.
  • Once the potatoes are tender and cooked through, remove the lid and garnish with fresh parsley or chives and additional seasoned salt and pepper. Allow to cook without the lid for 15-20 minutes to get a bit crisper on top if desired.
  • This recipe is for classic au gratin potatoes -- feel free to add more toppings or seasonings as you enjoy your au gratin potatoes. Some ideas are to chop up an onion and add that in (I would sauté it in olive oil first), add some red pepper flakes for heat, some cooked and chopped bacon, paprika, more or different flavors of cheeses...

Recipe Notes

*Avoid the pre-shredded cheeses as it will make this dish greasy. (Most pre-shredded cheeses have a wax coating.)

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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Recipe Rating


  1. This is the perfect side dish for every occasion! I’m thinking this should make an appearance on my family’s Thanksgiving table this year. So much yum!

    1. Can I put this together the night before and leave in the refrigerator and then cook the following day?

    1. I haven’t tried doubling it, but I’m not sure how well that would work in evenly cooking the potatoes. Sorry to not be of more help!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this recipe a few months ago for a church event and doubled it. It was delicious! It took about 5 hours instead of 3 so it took longer but they turned out great. I am making it again.
        Thanks for sharing!!

        1. 5 stars
          I want to try this for our Easter dinner and was wondering about doubling the recipe. Thanks for your input here!

    2. I am cooking now. Probably too much flour as it did not become like dough. However I plan on putting in bakeware toward the end; so I can brown in the oven and serve in a better dish rather than crockpot. Practicing a couple times. Have you ever finished in a bqking / serving dish?

    1. I’m sorry, I haven’t used red potatoes in this recipe and can’t say for sure how they would turn out.

  2. This is an awesome recipe! I stumbled across your website and who would have thought I’d find such a good recipe! I’ll have to make this again for my friends and family

  3. I’m wanting to make a gluten free version of this, do you think using heavy whipping cream instead of flour would work? Any other tips? Thanks!

    1. Actually I don’t think it will unfortunately. I think the heavy whipping cream might curdle in the slow cooker. 🙁

  4. 5 stars
    Stumbled upon this recipe, it looks delicious so I’m trying it today as part of Easter dinner, I doubled the recipe as I am feeding 12, I tasted the cheese sauce before adding it to the crock pot … yumm

  5. 5 stars
    Made this last night (early) for our Easter meal. Definitely use lots of salt and pepper for seasoning. She’s right. I used a small, two-person crockpot, filled it to the brim with potatoes, and they taste great. Had to cook longer, but I kept checking with a fork for tenderness. When making the cheese sauce, I added extra garlic for flavoring. Definitely need to switch out the paper towels 1/2 way through. Will reheat this morning and then take the lid off for crisping. Was always hesitant to make scalloped potatoes, but can’t beat how they cook themselves! Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. So happy to hear this recipe was enjoyed and worked out well for you! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I made these for Easter dinner and they were delicious! Perfect and so easy – I love that they were cooking away in the crockpot and I didn’t have to worry about them while I was working on the rest of the meal. I didn’t quite double the recipe – maybe 1 1/2ed it and it still turned out perfectly. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That is so great to hear!! I’m so happy these were so well enjoyed for Easter 🙂 Thank you for the comment!

  7. I’m making this today. It just started cooking.

    To crisp and brown the top, I’m thinking of taking my crock pot out and placing the inside under the broiler for a few minutes.

    Has anyone, you know, done this?

    1. I think that sounds like a fantastic idea! I haven’t had any readers report doing it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work 🙂

  8. I just turned the crock pot on a few minutes ago. Can’t wait to try them with our barbecued pork chops tonight.
    I have made chicken and dumplings in the crock pot and at the end when I put the biscuits on top I do put it in the oven. I am going to try putting the potatoes in the oven today to brown them a little.

  9. I’m sorry for the silly question but when you say put the paper towel under the lid does this mean the paper towel ends will be slightly hanging outside of the pot and draped across the pot not touching the potatoes? I’m trying to visualize this. How many pieces of paper towels are you using, a nice stack?

    1. Yes! Hanging outside of the pot at the very top (not touching the potatoes). I use a pretty good stack — 5 or 6 🙂 Hope that helps!

  10. I’ve never used a crackpot bag/liner thing. Thinking of using one. Do you think that would meet up this recipe? Like getting it crisp at the end?

    1. 5 stars
      Th is recipe works beautifully with a plastic liner. I won’t use my crockpot without one anymore because it’s so much easier to clean up.

  11. 5 stars
    Made this for Christmas Brunch this morning. It was delicious and beautiful. Made a perfect crust on the edges. Will double next time as it went fast!! Thanks for this delicious and easy recipe.

  12. Made this yesterday for Christmas and it was outstanding! I doubled the recipe, used full-fat sour cream and it cooked perfect in about 5 hours on high. Nobody could get enough…Definitely a keeper! Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Have you ever added beef to this recipe? I’m looking for a dinner-in-a-pot idea for my 2 young kids and I think they’d love this. I have some browned hamburger I might add in the layers to see how it turns out. Sounds like a great dish…can’t wait to try it tonight!

  14. Could put ham in with the potatoes. We buy the ends and pieces that are vacuum packed. They are chunks and stay moist in the potato & green bean recipe we use. Ham & escalloped potatoes was always a favorite of mine

  15. Can you make this ahead? I am trying to figure out something I can cook, then transport to the family dinner some six hours away…. I worry it would all get soggy. Is it possible to (par-cook) ? Looking forward to trying this tonight!

    1. Yes 🙂 Id do 350 degrees F in a 2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake 1 hour, uncover, bake 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Enjoy 🙂

  16. Looks like a great recipe! I am going to try it this week in smaller proportions, since it’s just the 2 of us. How much cheese do you think is needed by weight?

  17. When I did everything on the stove according to directions the mixture was brown. Is this normal?? If not, what happened? I started on med-high and quickly turned it to medium ,because it was too high.

    1. No, that’s not normal. What pot were you using? If it wasn’t very thick, the heat may have been too high

  18. 4 stars
    I made this yesterday. It is good, but I gave it a 4 instead of 5 because the sauce is too thick to go down into the potatoes fully. Most of the potatoes come out tasting buttery, but not cheesy. I had to chop it up and stir it to spread the cheese throughout. Once I did that, I would compare it to what you get from a box mix by saying that this recipe gives a lot more potato flavor, but not as much soft/liquid cheesy sauce all over. I used mild cheddar blocks (Kraft) and the cheese flavor was not as strong as I expected. If I make it again, I will use less flour, more milk, and sharp cheddar instead of mild. That said, it is good, and the recipe yields a lot of food. I’m glad I made it, and I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it’s something I’ll start making regularly. Thanks for posting the recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Two suggestions: Layer in about half the potatoes and pour in about half the sauce, then repeat. Or even break it into thirds. Also, shake the crockpot from side to side to encourage the sauce to filter down through the layers. Try my first suggestion before decreasing the amount of flour because I think the sauce may become too watery.

  19. 5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and my family raved about it. It was the first dish finished and they’ve been begging for more ever since.

      1. 5 stars
        It’s been nearly 2 years since I found this recipe and it’s a regular “special” in my home. I’m making it again tonight but in the oven, your sauce is the only one we use for cheese anymore.

  20. When I put it together, which took me about 40 minutes, I thought “There’s not enough cheese sauce.” When it was done it was perfect and amazing! I’m so glad it worked out for our Christmas dinner to go with prime rib.

  21. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times, and we love it. I use gruyère instead of cheddar, but otherwise leave it as is. It’s great comfort food. The sour cream adds a great touch of deliciousness.

    Just a note: instead of spraying my slow cooker, I use the plastic liners that Reynolds makes. They work really well, and there’s almost no cleanup necessary afterwards.

  22. 5 stars
    My guests RAVED about these potatoes!!! Truly wonderful, the best that I’ve ever made, Thank You SO much Carolyn

  23. 5 stars
    These potatoes are SO yummy! They are easy to put together and make an excellent side to a grilled steak or any other grilled meat. Since they are cooked in the slow cooker instead of the oven, that means you don’t have to heat up your kitchen during the summer. These cooked evenly, and perfectly in my slow cooker. LOVE THEM!

  24. Please offer email format for sharing recipes. I don’t do much on social media and don’t want to print out everything as I am trying to cut back on paper use. Thanks!

  25. Could I make the cheese sauce ahead of time. I’m thinking of making these on a camping trip and assembling the ingredients in the crockpot 2 days into the trip.

    1. I’m not entirely sure without testing it personally, but I think that would work fine; you’ll likely need to thin the sauce a little bit!

  26. Making this tomorrow for Sunday School Christmas luncheon. When you say “seasoned salt” do you mean like a Lowery’s? Not just regular Morton salt?

  27. 5 stars
    I used this as my starting point and it was awesome with my changes (and I’m sure it would be delicious as written too!) For the sauce I increased the milk to 1.75-2 cups milk, the garlic and onion powder to 1 tsp each and the cheese to 2 cups (due to added ingredients.) I mixed in 1 and a 1/2 chopped sautéed onions into the sauce. I increased the potatoes to approx 5.5 cups and added approx 3 cups of cubed ham. I layered about half the potatoes in the bottom, sprinkled seasoned salt and pepper (not a lot due to the salt in the ham), added 1/2 the ham and then spread about 1/3 the sauce. Then repeated for a second layer of potatoes, seasoned salt and ham and then spread the rest if the sauce on top. It took approx 3.5 hours on high covered and then 30 minutes uncovered on high. I used a crock pot liner for easy clean up (I swear by those things!) Absolutely scrumptious!!! I served it with steamed broccoli and it was a perfect meal. Thank you!

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