These adorable Potato Gratin Stacks are the mini version of Potatoes au Gratin (Dauphinoise). Layers of thinly sliced potato baked in a muffin tin with cream, cheese, garlic and thyme, the best bit are the crusty caramelised cheesy edges!
Serve as a potato side for dinner. Breakfast with eggs. Party food bites. So many possibilities!
Mini Potato Gratin Stacks (Dauphinoise)
All you need to know is that these Mini Potato Gratin Stacks are cheesy, creamy and ridiculously irresistible. I mean, let’s be blunt. Potatoes + cheese + cream + garlic + butter. BAM! That’s a home run right there!
Actually, they’re a mini version of French Potato Gratin / Dauphinoise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everything is better in mini form, not just because it’s cute. But because you get the whole thing to yourself.
Besides not having to share, making these in mini form means you get nice golden cheesy edges on each piece which might be my favourite part. No golden edges when you make Dauphinoise the usual way!
What you need to make Mini Potato Gratin Stacks
Here’s what you need to make these:
Potatoes – Use starchy or all-rounder ones so they become fluffy when cooked and absorb flavour. Sebago (the common dirt brushed potatoes in Australia), Russet (US), Dutch creams, King Edwards and red delight are all ideal.
If you use waxy potatoes, the layers sort of slip apart when you cut into them.
Shape – Opt for long thin ones so you have less offcuts when trimmed into a cylinder shape to cut slices that fit the muffin thin.
Cheese – Gruyere and Swiss cheese are my favourites here, for their melting quality and flavour. Any cheese that melts will work just fine – cheddar, Colby, tasty cheese. I tend not to use mozzarella because it doesn’t have as much salt / flavour as other cheese but you can if you wish.
Shredded and sliced – I find it best to use slices of cheese between the potato layers and shredded cheese on top.
Cream – Thickened / heavy cream works best because it’s thicker so it pools on the layers better.
Garlic – For flavour, to infuse the cream sauce.
Thyme – Classic herb flavouring for Dauphinoise.
How to make Mini Potato Gratin Stacks
Assembling each gratin stack does take a little more effort than making one big bubbly Dauphinoise for sharing. But it’s worth it – especially for the golden cheesy edges that you never get when you make one big gratin bake!!
1. Cutting the potato slices
Peel and trim – Peel the potatoes then cut the base so it is stable when standing upright. Then trim the potato to make a (rough!) cylinder shape. It doesn’t matter if they are not a perfect round – mine aren’t!. Once they are cooked, you can’t really tell if your potatoes are a little more hexagon-y or octogon-y, or even rectangular or triangular!!!
Check size – The cylinder should be the size of the muffin tin holes.
Potato cylinders – Repeat with remaining potato. To fill a standard 12 hoc muffin tin, you will need 3 potato cylinders cut from 1.2 kg / 2.4 lb of potato.
Slice thinly – Using either a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut the potato into 2mm / 0.1″ thin slices.
Separate slices – Use your fingers to separate the slices as they have a tendency to stick. We want to make sure the creamy sauce seeps between all the potato layers!
Cream sauce – Melt the butter in a saucepan then sauté the garlic for 20 seconds or until it smells amazing. Then add the cream and salt, and simmer for 30 seconds to bring the flavours together.
Now, we’re ready to assemble!
2. Assembling the gratin stacks
Fill halfway – Place a stack of potato slices in the muffin tin hole so they come up halfway.
Pour over cream – Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of cream over the potatoes. No need to be exact here, just use about half the cream.
Cheese slices – Top with a slice of cheese.
Potato and cream – Top each stack with another stack of potatoes so they are just higher than the rim of the muffin tin. We want to make them taller because they sink slightly once cooked.
Then drizzle the remaining cream over each stack.
Thyme – Sprinkle each stack with most of the thyme. Reserve a bit to sprinkle on at the end. A hint of fresh thyme is a really nice finishing touch!
Cover and bake – Cover loosely with foil then bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the potato is cooked. Check by inserting a knife all the way to the bottom – there should be no resistance.
Cheese then oven – Top with the shredded cheese and return to the oven uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and there are some lovely golden spots on the surface.
Garnish with thyme & serve! Sprinkle the top with the remaining thyme, then serve immediately!
What to serve with Mini Potato Gratin Stacks
You will want to eat them straight out of the oven, and they are certainly tasty enough to do so! But actually, they are intended to be a side dish.
I tend to pull these out for special occasions when we want a side dish that’s a bit special. Think, holidays and celebratory gatherings, alongside things such as:
the most glorious buttery, herby, garlicky roast chicken
the roast pork of your dreams (because it’s completely encased in crackling)
a grand Thanksgiving Turkey (brined is the only way!)
a big juicy steakhouse steak
If you make these for just-a-usual-midweek-dinner, I wish I was you. I could eat these everyday and never tire of them. There’s a reason my nickname was Potato Girl when I was growing up!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Cheesy Potato Gratin Stacks (Muffin Tin)
- Oil spray
- 1.2 kg / 2.4 lb starchy potatoes , large long ones (Note 1)
- 30g /2 tbsp butter , unsalted
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1/2 cup heavy / thickened cream
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 3/4 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 75g / 2.5 oz gruyere cheese sliced into 12 squares to fit into muffin tin (or other melting cheese, Note 2)
- 3/4 cup gruyere cheese (or other melting cheese), shredded
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C (all oven types).
- Brush muffin tin with butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat then use what you need to lightly brush the muffin tin holes with butter. (Remaining butter is for the cream sauce)
- Cream sauce: Into the remaining butter, add garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add cream and salt then bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 seconds, then remove from stove and keep warm.
- Slice potato: Peel potatoes. Trim base so it stands upright. Then cut into cylinder shapes that fit the muffin tin. Cut into 2mm/ 1/10" slices using a mandolin or sharp knife.
- Assemble stacks: Place potato slices into the muffin tin so they go halfway up the muffin tin holes. Try to match by size to make them into neat stacks.
- Cream: Drizzle each potato stack with 1 tsp of cream mixture – use 1/2 of the mixture.
- Cheese slice: Top with cheese slice.
- Top with potato, cream then thyme: Top each stack with remaining potato slices so the height is about 1cm / 1/3" above the rim of the muffin tin (they sink once baked). Drizzle with remaining cream mixture and sprinkle with most of the thyme (reserve some for topping).
- Baked 40 minutes: Cover loosely with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until potato is cooked through. A small sharp knife should go through without any resistance.
- Top with cheese, bake 10 minutes: Remove from oven, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake without foil for 10 minutes or until golden.
- Garnish with thyme: Sprinkle with remaining thyme.
- Stand 5 minutes then remove to serve. Use a tablespoon or butter knife to help scope them out. (Note 3)
- To Serve: Dinner – serve as a side. Finger food – serve warm as is. Breakfast – serve with eggs and bacon.
Originally published September 2015. Updated November 2021 with improved recipe, new instructional photos and better video.
Life of Dozer
Happy to help with the washing up….!
This is how I deal with dishes on big recipe development days for the cookbook – pile them into tubs to keep them out of the way then do giant loads at a time. The amount of dirty pots and pans we generate on big cook days is pretty phenomenal…!!!