Sliced potatoes bathed in luscious cream and topped with golden cheese and breadcrumbs deserve a place at any holiday table.
Potatoes Au Gratin is a decadent but easy-to-make dish to serve alongside roast, turkey, or prime rib. Sliced potatoes layered with onion, thyme, and a little Gruyere cheese are baked together in cream until meltingly soft.
You can make quick work of the recipe by slicing the potatoes with a food processor slicing blade, then blanch the potatoes in cream, load them into a baking dish, and pop them in the oven!
The Potatoes: What Kind and How to Prep
I personally love the creamy texture of yellow waxy potatoes like Yukon Golds in this gratin, but many people like floury Russet (baking) potatoes because they soak up a lot of cream.
If you opt for Russet potatoes because that’s what you have on hand or you just prefer them, you may have to adjust the amount of cream and the baking time slightly. When the gratin bakes, peek under the cheese. If the potatoes seem dry, just pour a little cream into the dish in the oven.
To prep the potatoes, peel them (or don’t if you want a more rustic dish) and slice them thinly (approximately 1/8-inch) with a knife, a mandoline, or the easiest by far, the 4mm slicing disk of your food processor.
The slices don’t have to be perfect since a golden layer of cheesy breadcrumbs blankets them, but for the best results, they should be of the same thickness so they cook evenly.
What Is the Best Cheese for Au Gratin Potatoes?
The cheese in this recipe does not overwhelm the potatoes, but if your people are extra cheesy (!) feel free to add more.
For this recipe, I parboil the potatoes in the cream, transfer the potatoes to the baking dish and add about half the cheese to the cream left in the pot to make a luscious sauce.
While a traditional French gratin of potatoes usually includes Gruyere, there are plenty of other delicious melting cheeses from which to choose:
- sharp cheddar
- oozy Fontina
- buttery Havarti
- nutty Swiss or Emmenthaler
- Gouda – smoked or unsmoked
Add Ons and Variations for Potatoes Au Gratin
I love the simplicity of these potatoes, and to me, thyme is the perfect subtle herb to enhance them, but if you want to get fancy, switch up the herbs or add other ingredients.
Here are some of my favorites:
- cooked spinach, squeezed dry
How to Reheat Potatoes Au Gratin
If you want to get a head start on your holiday cooking, then it’s best to bake this the day before your dinner and reheat it the day of.
To make ahead and reheat: Assemble and bake it at 350°F, and then reheat it (350°F) covered loosely in foil to keep the crust from browning too much for 45 minutes, or until hot all the way through. Remove the foil for the last five or 10 minutes of baking so that the crust stays nice and crispy.
To reheat the leftover gratin: You will hope to have leftovers! Follow the same routine to reheat, but for a late-night potato craving that cannot wait, there’s always the microwave.
More Tasty Gratin Recipes!
- Cauliflower Gratin
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin
- Fennel Gratin
- Turnip Gratin
- Spinach Gratin with Hard Boiled Eggs
Potatoes Au Gratin
- Butter for the baking dish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese, divided
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven and prepare the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a large (3-quart) shallow baking dish.
Make the buttered breadcrumbs
In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and breadcrumbs together until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup of the grated cheese. Set aside.
Blanch the potatoes in the cream
In a large pot combine the heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the potatoes and onions.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to separate the slices. Boil for about 1 minute, or until the potatoes release some of their starch. (You will see the cream thicken slightly.) Remove the pan from the heat.
Assemble the casserole
With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and onions to the baking dish in an even layer, leaving as much cream in the pot as possible.
Stir the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese into the cream in the pot, and when the cheese melts, pour it over the potatoes in the baking dish. Sprinkle the cheesy buttered breadcrumbs over the potatoes.
Bake the gratin
Bake the gratin for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is bubbly and golden brown.
Check the gratin at the 40 minute mark. If the top is already brown, place a piece of foil loosely over it to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning and continue to bake for another 10 to 20 minutes. If the top isn’t brown at the 40 minute mark, continue baking uncovered until it is.
Rest and serve
Remove the gratin from the oven and let it rest on a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.