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" potatoes, 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.
Potatoes au Gratin
Amount Per Serving (110 g)
Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Vitamin A 300IU6%
Vitamin C 23.1mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Au Gratin Potatoes recipe originally published December 2014, new photos, recipe video and updated post. Recipe slightly streamlined.