Potatoes Au Gratin is a traditional potato dish baked in a cheesy cream sauce and topped with breadcrumbs. Don’t let the beauty of this classic holiday side dish fool you—this potato recipe is as easy to make as it is delicious.
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.