Potatoes au Gratin – forget scalloped potatoes, THIS is the creme de la creme of all potato recipes!! 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
Potatoes au Gratin? Or Scalloped Potatoes?
If you’re wondering what the difference is between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes, 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 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.
Sure, sometimes I stray and get excited by my latest obsession. I went mad for Ultra Crispy Smashed Potatoes, and crazy over Parmesan Crusted Potatoes. I thought Twice-baked Stuffed Jacket Potatoes were the ant’s pants.
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
Potatoes au Gratin
- 1 1/2 cups cream , full fat (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 30g / 2 tbsp 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 gruyere cheese (or mozzarella) , freshly grated yourself (Note 3)
- 2 tsp thyme leaves , fresh (optional – but highly recommended)
- Cream Mixture: Place butter, cream and garlic in a jug. Mix until combined.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (both fan and standard ovens).
- Slice potatoes: Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8"/3 mm thick. Or use a slicer!
- Layer 1: Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a baking dish (Note 3), then pour over 1/3 of the Cream Mixture, scatter with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle with 3/4 cups cheese.
- Layers 2 & 3: Repeat for the 2nd and third layer, but do not finish with cheese on the top layer (will add later).
- Cover & bake: 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).
- Top with cheese, bake again: Remove foil, top with cheese. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
Au Gratin Potatoes recipe originally published December 2014. New photos, recipe video and updated post in December 2018, then some tidying up done in December 2020. No change to recipe!
Feed your potato obsession
- Crispy Parmesan Crusted Potatoes (side dish or to nibble)
Life of Dozer