Forget Scalloped Potatoes, THIS is the creme de la creme of all potato recipes – Potatoes au Gratin! Also known as Dauphinoise Potatoes, this French classic is made with layers upon layers of finely sliced potatoes, cream, butter and cheese with a hint of fresh thyme.
Adapted from a Julia Child’s recipe, this is luxurious and thoroughly indulgent. Bonus: It’s the ultimate make ahead potato side dish!
POTATOES AU GRATIN TRUMPS SCALLOPED POTATOES
Potatoes au Gratin? Or Scalloped Potatoes?
The key difference between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes is that scalloped potatoes are made with a flour-butter-milk roux, whereas Potatoes au Gratin are made with 100% indulgence: cream, butter and cheese.
So I ask you again: Potatoes au Gratin? Or Scalloped Potatoes?
There’s no contest. Cream trumps flour Every. Single. Day. 😂
Potatoes au Gratin for the win!!!
ALL THE ESSENTIAL FOOD GROUPS PRESENT
I was going to say that it’s quite remarkable how so few ingredients can make something so luxurious. But the reality is, it’s pretty hard to go wrong when potatoes, cream, butter and cheese are involved.
We’re working with all the good stuff today!
BEST KIND OF POTATOES FOR POTATOES AU GRATIN
This is the sort of potato dish where we want the potatoes to breakdown and become lovely and soft under that golden cheesy crust, so we need to ensure we use starchy potatoes. Australia – I use Sebago (those dirt brushed potatoes). America – Russet is perfect, and for those of you in the UK, King Edward or Maris Piper are perfect. Or any other starchy potatoes – Dutch creams, King Edwards or red delight.
To be honest, as long as you do not use a waxy potato then it’s going to work great – I’ve used all sorts over the years. Waxy potatoes are the kind used for potato salads and if used in Potatoes au Gratin, the layers sort of slip apart and you’ll have paper-thin-potato UFO’s flying all over the place.
Been there, done that. Not good, my friends.
HOW TO MAKE POTATOES AU GRATIN
Thinly sliced potato is layered with a cream-butter-garlic mixture, sprinkled with thyme and the mandatory cheese in every layer. Bake covered for 75 minutes (yes really, it takes that long), then uncovered just to make the cheese on top lovely and golden.
While it might seem daunting to thinly slice 1 kg / 2 lb of potatoes, this is the sort of task where you’ll quickly get into a rhythm. By the 3rd potato, you’ll be slicing like a pro!
Though having said that, a mandolin will make short work of it….
I am yet to meet a form of potato I don’t like. And of all the ways to cook potato, this is my favourite.
But Potatoes au Gratin are a classic that I’ll love forever and ever. First made using Julie Child’s recipe which then evolved slightly over the years to what it is today. A slightly more streamlined assembly process, the addition of garlic and… I upped the cheese.
Do you think Julia would approve?? 😂 – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Recipe video above. The ultimate potato bake!!! Potato + cream + cheese with a hint of garlic and thyme created by the French = pure heaven. Based on Julia Child's Potato Dauphinoise recipe. This is THE perfect make ahead potato dish.
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) cream , full fate (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter , melted
- 1.25 kg / 2.5 lb starchy potatoes , Russet, Sebago, Maris Piper (Note 2)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 1/2 cups (250g) gruyere (or mozzarella) cheese , grated (Note 3)
- 2 tsp thyme leaves , fresh (optional - but highly recommended)
Place butter, cream and garlic in a jug. Mix until combined.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8"/3 mm thick. Or use a slicer!
Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a baking dish (Note 3), then pour over 1/3 of the cream, scatter with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle with 3/4 cups cheese.
Repeat for the 2nd and third layer, but do not finish with cheese on the top layer (will add later).
Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 1 hr 15 min or until the potatoes in the middle are soft (use knife to test).
Remove foil, top with cheese. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
1. Cream - full fat cream is best. Heavy / thickened or even a full fat pouring cream are all great. For a slightly lighter version, use half and half (or use 1/2 cream, half milk). Don't try this with just milk.
2. Potatoes - Australia: Use Sebago (dirt ones sold everywhere), US: Russet, UK: King Edward or Maris Piper
OR any other starchy potatoes. Dutch creams, King Edwards or red delight. Great all rounders like golden delight, coliban and red rascal are also great.
3. Cheese - Gruyere is the best as it provides flavour and browns beautifully on top. Julia Childs uses gruyere. It's quite expensive so for everyday purposes, mozzarella is an idea alternative but if you do, add an extra pinch of salt on each layer.
Any other melting cheese will also work fine - Monterey Jack, cheddar and tasty are all cheeses I have used and love.
4. Baking Dish Size - I use a 1.5L / 1.5 Qt / 6 cup, 18 x 26 cm x 5 cm / 7 x 11 x 2" oval shape, or thereabouts but it's full to the brim so a slightly larger one would be more ideal. A 26 cm / 11" skillet also works great. A 20cm/8" square pan is too small. Larger dish is fine - just means the potatoes au gratin isn't as deep
5. Make ahead: Near perfect for make ahead! The best way (in my experience) is hold back about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture. Bake covered in foil, then cool with foil on. Pour over reserved cream, top with cheese, cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate. Remove from fridge 1 hour before, reheat covered in foil in a 180C/350F oven for 20 - 30 min or until hot, then remove foil and bake until cheese is golden. To speed things up you can microwave it then pop it in the oven (this is dense so takes quite a while to reheat in the oven, depends on depth of baking dish you use).
6. Source: Adapted from Julia Child's Dauphinoise Potatoes recipe. Hers is slightly more fiddly to put together, involves scattering finely diced butter on each layers (which I simplified by melting), only rubs garlic on baking dish (I use 2 whole cloves), and she uses less cheese. Mine gradually evolved over time from her original recipe to what mine is today!
7. Nutrition assumes 10 servings.
Au Gratin Potatoes recipe originally published December 2014, new photos, recipe video and updated post. Recipe slightly streamlined.
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