Potatoes Au Gratin

4.5 stars based on 281 votes
Tested & Perfected Recipes

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 about an hour, 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 them so they don’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.)

You may also like

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


  • Butter to grease the baking dish
  • 2-1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (3 to 4), peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (4 oz) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • Fresh thyme, for serving (optional)


  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 about an hour, 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.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn – Thinking ahead here. I want to make this for Easter, when I am also going to be making your amazing beef tenderloin again. However, I want to try out the recipe before then, and I am interested if you think there might be a way to add white wine to this? If so, how much do think might be good and at what stage would you add it.
    Thanks, again and I love all of your recipes.

    • — Elrey on January 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! I wouldn’t recommend including wine here – I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have been making this recipe for years and love it. I was wondering if there’s a reason you switched the instructions from adding the salt and pepper to the cream to tossing them potatoes with them? Still loving this with a holiday ham a few times a year. Thanks.

    • — Squeaky on January 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Squeaky, I found that the salt and pepper were settling at the bottom of the cup and not getting as evenly distributed with the old method. Hope that clarifies (and glad you like it)!

      • — Jenn on January 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • A very tasty, basic gratin that had amazing texture and flavour.

    • — Corrine on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this dish and took to my in-laws for Christmas dinner this past week. Another home-run Chef!! Made the green beans too. Everyone Loved both of them but they really loved these potatoes. Every recipe I make of yours is about as perfect as it can be. Any autographed cookbooks available for sale?

    • — Robert H. Gibbs on December 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Robert, so glad the potatoes and green beans were a hit! Thanks for inquiring about the cookbook – I don’t have any autographed cookbooks but if you purchase a cookbook (see where here) I’m happy to send you a signed bookplate to put on the inside cover. If you’d like to do that, just email me at [email protected] with your mailing address and who you’d like the bookplate made out to. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello Jen, I have read many of the reviews for this recipe and still not sure if this can be made and fully baked ahead, and then reheated just prior to serving…
    what say you??

    • — Kim on December 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, If you want to make this ahead, I strongly recommend assembling and refrigerating it but not cooking it. Just place plastic wrap directly over the potatoes so they don’t brown in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2020
      • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.