If there were ever a creamy potato dish worth making, it is this one. It’s similar to scalloped potatoes, but better, in my opinion. It comes together simply and beautifully, with no roux required.
This potatoes au gratin recipe is actually known as gratin dauphinois in France. Gratin dauphinois hails from the Dauphiné region in southeastern France, which is nestled next to Italy.
Gratin dauphinois features thinly sliced rounds of potatoes cooked in cream, sometimes with cheese but often without. This potato gratin includes a generous amount of Gruyère cheese, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! The recipe is lightly seasoned with garlic, pepper and nutmeg, and the end result is just… magic.
If you would love a moment of happy silence at your bustling holiday meal, serve this recipe. I have literally watched people go quiet upon their first bite. That’s when I know a recipe is just right!
Potatoes au Gratin Ingredients
This recipe uses a short list of ingredients and the flavor is truly amazing. You’ll find the full recipe at the bottom of the post, with a print-friendly option.
Starchy russet potatoes are ideal for potatoes au gratin. While I am generally a big fan of potato skins, you’ll need to peel the potato skins before slicing the potatoes for the ideal melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Heavy cream is the way to go with this recipe. I’ve tried half and half and it works decently well, but clumps somewhat. Whole milk clumps and doesn’t yield a creamy gratin, so I strongly advise against it.
Fresh garlic, always! Two cloves subtly infuse this dish with irresistible aromatic flavor.
Black pepper, nutmeg & salt
Freshly ground black pepper and just a pinch of nutmeg are all you need here. Well, and salt—potatoes love salt.
Gruyère cheese or Emmental
Gruyère cheese is more expected in gratin dauphinois, but I like Emmental equally well. While Emmental is similar to Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese didn’t turn out well in our tests, as it hardened too much.
Fresh chives are optional, but offer a lovely burst of fresh green color on top of this creamy, golden brown dish.
How to Make Potatoes au Gratin
This recipe is straightforward and you can watch it come together in the short video below. Here’s a rundown with some added notes:
1) Peel and slice the potatoes.
Ideally, you’re slicing the potatoes as thinly as possibly, about 1/8-inch thick. This is tricky even with the sharpest of chef’s knives.
I’m always hesitant to recommend a mandoline slicer because they are dangerous, but the mandoline undeniably yields the thinnest and most uniform results. When using a mandoline, please stay focused on the task at hand, know where your fingers are at all times, and don’t be tempted to slice any closer to the end of the potato than you feel fully confident doing.
2) Whisk together the cream, minced garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Easy enough! The garlic and spices will settle, so you’ll need to whisk the mixture each time just before using.
3) Start layering the potatoes, then layer with cream and cheese.
Arrange about one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-inch square pan in an overlapping fish-scale pattern. (This is my beloved 9-inch pan, if you’re in the market.) Whisk the cream mixture, pour in a portion of it, and sprinkle some cheese on top.
4) Repeat, repeat. Top with all remaining cheese.
Potatoes, whisked cream, and more cheese, in that order.
5) Bake, and cover it toward the end of baking.
After about 40 minutes in the oven, the top should be turning nicely golden. We’re going to cover it with parchment or foil to prevent the top from becoming too browned by the time the potatoes are cooked through. The potatoes are done once you can press a fork all the way through the center of the dish with ease (if in doubt, go a little longer).
6) Briefly cool, then serve.
This dish needs at least 20 minutes to cool before serving. Straight out of the oven, it is far too hot to serve, and the layers need a chance to cool somewhat in order to keep their shape. Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving, if desired.
Watch How to Make Potatoes au Gratin
More Potato Recipes to Make
If you love potatoes (and who doesn’t?), you cannot miss these potato recipes on Cookie and Kate:
- Best Baked Potato
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Lucille’s Mashed Potatoes
- Perfect Roasted Potatoes
- Ultra Crispy Baked Potato Wedges
Please let me know how your gratin turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Potatoes au Gratin (Gratin Dauphinois)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Vegetarian
This potatoes au gratin recipe is rich, golden brown and utterly irresistible! Known as gratin dauphinois in France, this potato gratin is made with layers of potato, cream and cheese. It’s worthy of your holiday table! Recipe yields 12 side servings.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese or Emmental
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the potatoes and slice them as thinly as possible, ideally ⅛-inch thick.
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the cream, minced garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Arrange about one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-inch square pan in an overlapping fish-scale pattern. Whisk the cream mixture again, then pour about one-third of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the cheese.
- Repeat this two more times, topping with all of the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then place a sheet of parchment paper or foil over the top to prevent it from turning too brown. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, checking every 5, until you can press a fork all the way through the potatoes with ease.
- Let the dish cool for at least 20 minutes (it’s crazy hot). Garnish with the optional chives, if desired, and serve warm.
Prepare in advance: This dish can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance. Chill it in the refrigerator, covered. It will likely need more time in the oven since it’s starting off cold, and it’s difficult to offer exact timing in this scenario. Keep an eye on the dish starting at 40 minutes and cover it once it’s turning nicely golden on top.