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Potatoes Au Gratin

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Made simply with sliced potatoes, heavy cream, and grated cheese, potatoes au gratin is the ultimate comfort food.

This crazy-good recipe for potatoes au gratin comes from my dear friend Kelly Santoro, and it’s almost identical to the recipe I learned in culinary school. It involves layering thinly sliced potatoes with heavy cream and grated cheese in a baking dish, and then baking until the cream thickens and blankets the potatoes in a rich, creamy sauce. I’d say the dish is worthy of a special occasion (it is!), but the truth is that eating it is a special occasion in and of itself.

What You’ll Need To Make Potatoes au Gratin

ingredients for potatoes au gratinBefore we get to the step-by-step instructions, a few words about the ingredients:

  • The best potatoes to use for au gratin potatoes are russets; they have the most starch and make the creamiest sauce.
  • You may be tempted to cut calories by using half & half or milk in place of the cream. Please don’t! This is one of those recipes that really requires heavy cream in order to thicken up.
  • It’s important to use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano rather than domestic parmesan. You can tell if it’s the real deal by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. (If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”) If you can’t find it, Pecorino Romano makes a great substitute.

How to make Potatoes Au Gratin

Begin by slicing the potatoes as thinly and uniformly as possible. You can use a mandoline slicer if you have one, but I never bother. (Tip: When slicing wobbly potatoes, it helps to cut a thin slice along the length of the potato, then turn the potato cut-side down on a cutting board so that it sits flat.)

slicing the potatoes

Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Be sure the potatoes are evenly coated.

tossing potatoes with salt and pepper

Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Arrange some of the potato slices, edges overlapping, in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.

arranging potato slices in dish

Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the potatoes.

sprinkling the cheese over the potatoes

Pour a quarter of the cream over top.

pouring cream over top

Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cheese, and cream, forming four layers. Pour any leftover cream over top.

potatoes au gratin ready to bake

Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife and golden brown on top. The top layer of the potatoes should be beautifully golden by the time the dish is done baking but if you want just a bit more browning, feel free to stick the baking dish under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes; just keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

potatoes au gratin fresh out of the oven

Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, if using, and serve. (Note: If you have a large crowd coming and plan to double the dish, you’ll get the best results by baking it in two 2-quart baking dishes instead of one larger dish. The potatoes will cook more evenly that way.)

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Potatoes Au Gratin

Made simply with sliced potatoes, heavy cream, and grated cheese, potatoes au gratin is the ultimate comfort food.

Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • Butter to grease the baking dish
  • 2½ pounds Russet potatoes (3 to 4), peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (4 oz) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2¼ cups heavy cream
  • Fresh thyme, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease an 8-inch (or 2-quart) baking dish with butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the salt and pepper until evenly coated.
  3. Arrange some of the potato slices, edges overlapping, in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the potatoes, and then pour a quarter of the cream over the cheese. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cheese, and cream, forming 4 layers. Pour any leftover cream over top.
  4. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife and golden brown on top. Let the dish settle on the counter for about ten minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, if using, and then serve.
  5. Make Ahead: This dish can be assembled a day ahead; cover tightly with plastic wrap (pressing the wrap directly against the potatoes so they don’t discolor), store in the refrigerator, and bake before serving. The potatoes on top will still discolor a bit in the fridge, but it shouldn't be noticeable after baking.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 399
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 518 mg
  • Cholesterol: 101 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • This is the best potato gratin dish, I’ve made it several times for guests and it’s always the first dish to run out. Jenn, I was wondering how you would suggest scaling this dish up for a 2.5qt and also 3 qt baking dish? I have both sizes and not sure how to adjust baking times etc. Thanks for sharing your excellent recipes!

    • — Mel on August 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like this! If you want to use a 2.5-quart baking dish, I’d multiply all the ingredients by 1.25. The bake time will likely be a little longer but not sure by how much so you’ll need to keep an eye on it. And I wouldn’t recommend making this in a 3-quart baking dish as I’m not sure it will cook evenly. For the best results, I’d double the recipe and make it in two 2-quart baking dishes. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • Sadly, this recipe doesn’t tell me how many side servings it provides. I have to make a potato bake for a friend’s dinner party of 7 people. Perhaps just a very small note on how many side servings this recipe produces is a good idea?
    And as most of the world is metric, perhaps (in brackets) the metric conversions?

    • — Ofio on July 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ofio, You’ll see the number of servings right above the prep time in the recipe box (it serves 6 to 8 so it should be perfect for a group of 7). And the great majority of my recipes (including this one) include conversions to metric/weight measurements. To view them, scroll down to the recipe, and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this and it was very good. I made with a mixture of Gruyere and Swiss cheese. Will definitely make again.

    • — Nancy Glaser on June 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made this several times. It always gets rave reviews.

    • — Donna W on June 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made your potatoes au gratin yesterday for Easter dinner. It was a success and 2 wives asked for the recipe, which I gladly shared. It was a delicious and very simple dish to make, except for finely grating the Parmesan cheese maybe. 🙂 Your recipe is a keeper and will be made many, many more times in the future. Thank you!!!!

    • — Ann on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made these countless times but find I need to use a larger dish than specified. That’s ok! I use a cast iron french oven and they turn out great. I really should only make a half recipe as I find they don’t reheat very well for me. I also only ever use 2 cups of cream because it comes in 2 cup cartons here. I also just mix the salt and pepper in to the cream- I swear that’s what the recipe used to say. Why get a whole other bowl dirty?

    If anyone has a reheating tip, I would appreciate it. They just turn in to an oily mess for me (still tasty) !

    • — Squeaky on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and facile formatting in your books and online. You are our go to for all recipes!
    Cheese Question: We have folks in our family who love their cheddar yet, we’d like to use Gruyere, also. Would this work and if so, what proportions would you use?

    • — Eljer on April 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes – I’m flattered that they are your go-to’s! I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be fine to use a combination of cheddar and Gruyere. I would suggest doing a half cup of each. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • I was wondering your thoughts of using Gruyere with Parmigiano Reggiano. What would this do to the taste? I’m serving potatoes au gratin this Easter to a large crowd, and had originally purchased Gruyere for a different recipe, till I realized it had flour and I like yours as it’s gluten free. Do these two cheeses go well together, or will they clash? TIA for your response. And thank you for always publishing delicious recipes.

    • — Jeana on April 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeana, This will work well with Gruyere. I haven’t tried it with a combo of the two, but I think you can definitely get away with it. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Making these potatoes tomorrow for friends on their 52nd anniversary, along with grilled prime steaks, your haricot verts with shallots. They adore truffles as do we and on one trip together in Italy we went to the truffle fair in San Miniato in November. What a privilege! Could I introduce some of d’Artagnan’s truffle butter in this? Thank you again for such wonderful recipes that work, really, really work. For me, this is unusual in the world of food. And, I am so impressed that you respond to your followers’ comments.

    • — Pat Outland on April 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Pat, so glad you like the recipes! If you’d like to add some truffle butter to this, I would add just a bit as the recipe already has a lot of fat in it. You could also use it to butter the baking dish to add some additional truffle flavor. Hope your friends enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • Im planning on making your potatoes au gratin for Easter can i substitute whole or 2% milk
    for the cream to make it a little healthier.
    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes.

    • — Cindy on March 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, So glad you like the recipes! Unfortunately milk won’t work here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Simple and delicious! Everyone loved it. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Maria on March 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can you 1/2 the recipe?

    • — Peg on February 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    This dish looks really good. Can you suggest some vegetarian side dishes to go with this for a dinner?
    Thanks,
    SK

    • — SK on February 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi SK, here are a couple of options that come to mind, particularly if you want to stay with the French theme: French Grated Carrot Salad, White Bean Ragout (although it’s a bit summery). If you’d like to try a soup, you could go with the French Lentil Soup. (You can omit the bacon and it will still be very tasty, but if you’d like, you could add some browned vegetarian sausage and/or a pinch of smoked paprika (which will lend a bit of smoky flavor that the bacon contributes). Hope that helps and you enjoy whatever you make.

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Made the au gratin potato dish last night as a side for my husband’s deliciously prepared Weber grilled French style herb roasted chicken.
    It was delish
    I did the recipe with a twist
    I whipped in 1/2 cup of plain sour cream to the heavy cream before pouring it on the potato layers
    Thickens the cream just a little but added a rich tang to the creamy layers we liked

    • — Andrea Hyde on January 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious and foolproof. If having company, I would make as is, but my husband and I try to limit dairy on a daily basis so I substituted with full-fat coconut milk and a dash of nutmeg and it turned out great. Thank you for another winner!

    • — Danielle M on January 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Brought this to a potluck and it was a hit!

    • — Stacey on January 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • This were divine! Part of Christmas dinner last night and they were enjoyed by all. Followed the instructions as written. Thank you for another great and reliable recipe. I enjoy your added instructions and tips and helpful photos and videos. Both cookbooks are great, too, btw!

    • — Liz Kendall on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made it for Christmas this year and it turn out great. Used a mandolins to slice potatoes and it went very fast. Used more cheese then called for. Served it with baked ham.

    • — Leslie Desnick on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made these recently but potatoes turned gray. What should i do to prevent this?

    • — carol oneill on December 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, Did you make the gratin ahead of time?

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2021
      • Reply
    • It was oxidation. They were exposed to the air too long before being soaked in the cream. It’s happened to me. Sometimes they’ve turned a dark pink too. Depending on how many pounds I need to slice, I sometimes put them in a bowl of water. Then drain, pat dry and assemble the gratin.

      • — Dorothy on January 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Is it possible to use evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream in this recipe?

    • — Erin on December 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, I don’t recommend it – sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • I accidentally pored way too much cream in the potatoes…they seem to be swimming in it. Would you advise pouring some off the top or just bake as is but for longer time?
    Thx. Happy Holidays !

    • — K san on December 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • I would pour some off if you can.

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • Simple to make and absolutely delicious!! Thanks again for a winner Jenn!

    • — Anna on December 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn…The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons salt…is that coarse kosher salt…or fine sea salt…. I know it makes a difference in the taste. Just need guidance about the kind of salt…help?!

    • — annie on December 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Annie, It’s fine sea salt. My recipes all call for fine sea salt/table salt unless otherwise specified. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Not sure why now, but I have always been intimidated by the idea of making au gratin potatoes from scratch. Maybe it is the fact that many recipes call for the mandolin? While I do own one, it terrifies me so I don’t go near it.

    Made this last night and it was so much better than even the renditions you might get from a high end steak house. Very simple to make and the moment the dish came out of the oven perfectly brown on top and sizzling around the edges was such a moment of pride.

    Thank you, Jenn for all your amazing recipes!

    • — Shannon C on December 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could I double the recipe and bake in a tin baking pan?

    • — Pamela Barrow on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • For the best results and most even cooking, I’d bake them in two separate 8-inch baking pans, but you can get away with using one 9 x 13-inch dish. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • I did a test run at this last night in prep for Christmas. Good all around comments. I had a bit of a time finding the cheese though. I did find a grocery near that had both kinds of cheese in the recipe and bought a small slice of the Parmigiano Reggiano. This is probably a bit on the low class side but they did have a 16oz container of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano at Costco. Yes, I bought it and used it. The potatoes turned out delightful. I was surprised at how long they took in the oven. I did slice them quite thin but they still took over an hour to bake.

    • — Andy on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen – Love your recipes, they are usually my holiday go-to! I made these last night to test out before Christmas Eve dinner and I followed your recipe closely. I found that I just needed to reduce the amount of heavy cream by about 1/4 c and allowed the potatoes to cook for the full 75 minutes. I even made them a few hours ahead of time and covered with plastic wrap to see how that would work for me and I’m thrilled to say they turned out great! I’m going to be cooking these Friday night for about 20 people. I like your suggestion of cooking these in separate batches for more even cooking, but I was wondering if you think I should stick to the 2qt baking dish and just make 3 batches, or if you think I could make two batches using a 3 3/4 quart baking dish and just increase the ingredients slightly? I’d hate to tweak too much since following your recipe yielded great results, so I was hoping you could weigh in. Would the amount of cooking time increase, even if baking 3 2-qt batches at the same time? Thanks!

    • — Andi on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Andi, so glad you like the recipes! You could probably get away with making two of the batches in the 3-3/4-quart baking dish but you’ll get the best results and most even cooking by using three 2-quart baking dishes. Regarding cooking time, it will be slight but you may need to keep them in the oven for a bit longer simply because the oven will be more crowded. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • Haven’t made this yet but would like to for Christmas. Wondering if I used a 13×9 dish should I double recipe? Any advice greatly appreciated.

    • — Renee Lumio on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Renee, You could get away with it, but would suggest using two 8-inch baking dishes for more even baking. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can I ask your advice? If you were to double the recipe, how would you adjust proportions and baking time? I’d like to make this for Christmas dinner (15 people). Many thanks! I make your recipes all the time—delicious and easy to follow. Your cookbook is wonderful!

    • — Betsy on December 18, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Betsy, So glad you like the recipes! 🙂
      If you want to double this, for the best results, I’d bake it in two separate pans. That ensures that it will cook evenly. They may take a few extra minutes in the oven, but not much. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • The best potato gratin I’ve ever had!! I made this for a dinner party for 6 – a big hit!!

    • — Nancy on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I wanted to increase the potatoes to 5 instead of 4, how much more would I have to increase the other ingredients? Don’t really want to make 2 casseroles. Thx so much.
    Kathy

    • — K San on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, I would just increase the cream so that it covers all of the potatoes. Also, make sure that you don’t pile everything too high or it could bubble over and make a mess of your oven. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much! Happy Holidays!!

        • — k san on December 17, 2021
        • Reply
  • How thin is thin for the potatoes?

    • — Marjory on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Marjory, you basically want to get them as thin as you possibly can. I try to get mine sliced to be about 1/8-inch thick.

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have made a recipe very similar for years – here are some comments. I first sauté a couple of thinly sliced large leeks in butter. Then assemble 4 layers. First layer spread leeks, salt and pepper (it’s important to season each layer). Second layer sprinkle shredded cheese – I like Mexican 4 cheese, season S&P. Keep making layers alternating as above. Put imported parmesan on top. Last slowly pour heavy cream in the corners pressing the potatoes down and tilt the dish back and forth to get the cream in the layers. Pour cream until potato is barley covered . Everyone likes it and I never have leftovers – drats.

    • — Bill Porter on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • I won’t have enough room in my oven this Christmas to make these. Would I be able to put them in a crock pot?

    • — Laurie on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it for these — sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2021
      • Reply
      • I’m making these tomorrow for our Holiday Dinner. I have pecorino-romano thinking was parmigiana-reggiano. Can I safely use the pec-rom or should I run to the cheese shop to get the parm-reg?
        Anyone, in case Jenn isn’t able to respond by noon tomorrow PT.
        Happy Holidays!

        • — Susan on December 17, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Susan, No worries, I have made this dish with pecorino Romano and it’s equally delicious. Enjoy! 🙂

          • — Jenn on December 17, 2021
          • Reply
        • How would your recommend adjusting the recipe in order to double the servings?

          • — Kristin on December 19, 2021
          • Reply
          • Hi Kristin, for the best results, I’d bake it in two separate pans. That ensures that it will cook evenly. They may take a few extra minutes in the oven, but not much. Hope everyone enjoys!

            • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
  • This is one of our fav side dishes. A tip to share…I use a cheese slicer to slice the potatoes. It gives consistent and perfect potato slices every time.

    • — Rupal on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this and it was delicious. I did need to bake a little longer but that may have been because I made 2 of these and had them in the oven at the same time.

    • — Jan on December 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Tasty but too much cream. Or maybe I used too few potatoes. 🙂 I had to use the longer cooking time as the potatoes were cooked but still a bit firm (for my husband at least). Heated up great for leftovers the next day!

    • — Peggy on December 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • When I discovered this recipe, my first thought was, “surely it will need another cheese besides Parmesan.” Wow. was I wrong! I substituted Romano and this was fabulous. The only problem is that it may be too good. I want more tonight. Everyone took seconds and it ended up serving four. Thanks for yet another great recipe, Jenn.

    I did get a re-education on mandolin safety when preparing 🙂

    • — Philip Cottell on December 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Followed the directions exactly. Cooked for thanksgiving and sad to say the potatoes were not cooked all the way through. I was embarrassed no one ate them. Maybe my pan was too deep? I’m not sure what I did wrong. Glad it worked for others.

    • — JESSICA LICEA on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sorry to hear they weren’t fully cooked! Did you slice them very thinly?

      • — Jenn on November 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • These potatoes are fabulous. I crispy fried a couple of shallots and sprinkled on the finished dish. I will make these again and again.

    • — Joyce Wright on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • If preparing this the day before do you take out of the fridge & let it sit at room temp about 30 minutes before baking? And if needed about how many extra minutes would the potatoes need to bake in the oven?

    Thanks….Mary

    • — Mary on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • You don’t have to let them sit out at room temperature but it couldn’t hurt. And I’m not sure how much longer it will take in the oven, but I’d guesstimate about 10 minutes.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2021
      • Reply

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