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 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.)

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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
  • 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)

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 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I love au gratin potatoes and these are by far the best I have made. Many family requests it frequently. So easy and soooo delicious. I have referred many to your recipe and they have also loved it. I have made this is with Yukon Gold potatoes and different cheeses and it’s still great but best with the russets and parmesiano reggianio. Thanks so much. Your recipes are so good.

    • — dkdream on October 14, 2021
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  • These potatoes sound easy and oh, so, yummy! Can they be made in a toaster oven (bottom “baking” rack) instead of on the medium rack of a conventional oven?

    • — Cindy on August 9, 2021
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    • Hi Cindy, I haven’t tried it but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you make it!

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2021
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  • Jenn,
    I tried to look at the reviews so I wouldn’t duplicate my question but so far, I haven’t found this question…
    I just went to Costco and bought 10# of Yukon potatoes to use at a dinner party tomorrow evening (not having seen this recipe yet!). Do you know if this should still turn out as delicious as everyone says if I don’t use Russets?? Help!

    • — Chari on June 23, 2021
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    • Hi Chari, for the best results, I’d stick to russet potatoes — sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2021
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  • The first time I made these they were terrible. I made them for a family dinner where the foods were divided between our children’s families. Our children were kind and did not say anything but they were like potatoes cooked in skim milk,
    Then I realized what I had done. Because I tripled the recipe, I put them in a bowl with water to keep them from discoloring. While it did do that, it also removed needed starch and made them too wet. So I actually diluted the cream.
    I have made them several times since then and they are so delicious and look great on the table they taste just like the ones we had in France.
    Thank you.

    • — Mary Beth on May 22, 2021
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  • I tried it this way both times and the dish does not come out right. Not the cheese texture or potatoes. The only way it works for me is making the rue first. The temperature and degree stated works great with the rue. Also, I couldn’t type this without some issues because of too many pop up ad videos.

    • — Su on May 6, 2021
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  • This is the recipe I go to when I want to wow people. It’s easy and incredibly decadent.

    • — Judy Browning on May 6, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn! Question on the cheese: I buy a block of parm, how would you recommend the fine shred? Should I use a microplane or throw in the food processor?

    Thanks,
    Valerie

    • — Valerie Grothoff on May 6, 2021
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    • Hi Valerie, I think you could go either way. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • Amazing! It was the hit of our Easter meal which included plank-grilled salmon and veggies. Perfection!

    • — Dawn Jennings on April 6, 2021
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  • Making two different meals for Easter. tomorrow. My husband and I would like ham with these potatoes, our kids would like you peruvian chicken!! Could I cook both the chicken and potatoes at same time at 375? So looking forward to your next book Jen, is it still scheduled for the fall?

    • — Kathy on April 3, 2021
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    • Hi Kathy, that should work. The potatoes may take a little less time to cook so just keep an eye on them. Hope you enjoy! And, thanks for inquiring about the book — yes — it’s set to be released September 14th!! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2021
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  • This is delicious.It really makes planning dinner easy as you list nutritional value on your recipes.I use your recipe site and cookbook almost exclusively for meals.Your quiche recipe is one we will be using on Easter.

    • — Barbara on March 31, 2021
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  • OMG! This recipe is fantastic! It was the best side dish for the pot roast. The proportions of ingredients are perfect. It’s creamy and cheesy and yet not overwhelming or heavy like other recipes I’ve tried. Also, slicing the potatoes thinly helped to make this really delectable!

    • — Maggi S. on March 30, 2021
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  • I quit making scalloped potatoes years ago because mine were always runny. Today I tried this recipe for au gratin potatoes because the reviews were so good and it looked simple to prepare. I used only one russet potato and reduced the other ingredients accordingly. I also added a little havarti cheese. I baked my potatoes for one hour in a little brie casserole dish which worked perfectly. They browned beautifully, bubbled over slightly which made them look even more appetizing, and we’re absolutely fantastic. They’re very rich and very, very delicious. Thanks for an easy and scrumptious recipe!

    • — Susan on March 21, 2021
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  • Best potatoes of my life! I’ve made this recipe about 6 times now and it’s the most simple yet decadent and flavorful side dish ever! It’s a perfect dinner party or Holiday side to hold up to a hearty main course. I make exactly as written, only occasionally pull back on the amount of cream slightly (by about 1/3 cup) as I’ve found the sweet spot in the amount of cream that should go on each layer since I’ve made it often. Too much cream and it will take a long time to come together in the oven, too little and it can be a little dry with firm potatoes. I let it go in the oven as long as I need it to for it not to be soupy and it to have great color on the top. Don’t be surprised if it takes an hour and forty minutes. Just keep an eye on it. These are my husband’s fave too!! This will ALWAYS be in my recipe book. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • — Sara on March 7, 2021
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  • Delicious! I prepared these the day before and covered them with plastic wrap. I baked them the next day, and they were wonderful. I was concerned that the potatoes would turn brown, but they didn’t. Thanks Jenn for another fabulous recipe. ☺️

    Kim

    • — Kim on March 7, 2021
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  • Best potatoes of my life! Thank you for this magic!

    I sliced my potatoes thin with a mandoline and added a layer of garlic power and basil powder. Oh my lord. Make this recipe!

    (My oven is a little slow so I needed a bit more baking time to get the potatoes to be more tender.)

    Wow in a great way!

    • — Angela on March 4, 2021
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  • Perfection! I frequently add some soft goat cheese – gives it a nice tang, balancing the richness. Sometimes, goat cheese and extra sharp cheddar… All kinds of cheese combinations work. I could easily make a meal out of just this dish.

    • — Natalie on February 24, 2021
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  • This dish was DIVINE!!! I did have to cook mine a little longer. The richness was unmatched – defintiely adding to my recipe files. Thank you for sharing!

    • — Vanessa on February 15, 2021
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  • Made this for dinner and my family said this was the best Au gratin potatoes they ever had.

    • — Kim on January 31, 2021
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  • These potatoes are amazing and worth the indulgence. These potatoes had my non-foodie inlaws scraping the plate, asking for more. Make these, your family will thank you. I made exactly as the recipe stated, but added some chopped up leftover ham.

    • — Julie L Bergman on January 30, 2021
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  • Thank you for this recipe. I have made it a few times now and it has been a hit with everyone from young to old.

    • — Lorene P on January 30, 2021
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  • Made these for Christmas dinner to accompany Beef Tenderloin and they were fabulous. The dish was very creamy, had a nice delicate flavor, and was crusty on the top. I thought it would be hard to make, but it turned out they were very easy. I used an inexpensive mandoline slicer to evenly slice the potatoes and the dish turned out perfect. I let them rest the recommended amount of time and they were not soupy at all. Another great recipe from Jenn!

    • — Anne D on January 29, 2021
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  • I made this recipe along with the beef tenderloin and red wine sauce from this website and it was amazing! I will never again use another potatoes au gratin recipe as this is a keeper! It was rich and delicious. I accidentally used a little less heavy cream than the recipe called for but it still was wonderful!

    • — Michelle F. on January 28, 2021
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  • I have made this recipe multiple times. It is my go to side dish for Christmas and Easter dinner. Delicious and elegant to serve!

    • — Sandy Modene on January 28, 2021
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  • Sinful is the only way to describe this dish. It is exquisite from the smell to the taste to the leftovers (if you have any). In addition to its being delicious, one of the greatest features is that you can make it the day before (follow Jenn’s directions on this), so it is perfect for a dinner party or event that requires last-day or last-minute preparation of other dishes. It is a winner!

    • — Susan Fixler on January 28, 2021
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    • A different technique that I used to do working at a steakhouse, we would cook all of the sliced potatoes in the heavy cream and seasoning, just until they were almost tender, but still had a bite to them. Let them cool in the cream. Then lay them in layers into whichever baking dish. Just top with the cooking cream and cheese before baking. Same recipe, just a different method.

      • — Rashaad on January 28, 2021
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  • Oh my gosh, these were delicious. My husband and I both loved them. Can’t wait to make them for company.

    • — Liz P. on January 28, 2021
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    • This recipe is exquisite! I love that you can prepare it a day before. It’s so creamy and scrumptious. My daughter loves potatoes and this is one of her favorite recipe.

      • — Socorro on January 28, 2021
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  • Au gratin potatoes are one of my very favorite ways to have the humble spud, so I had high hopes for this recipe. I’ve made it twice, and it’s good, but for me what it needs to balance all that heavy cream is a good-sized clove of garlic, minced. It might also be helpful if the recipe (print version) specified HOW thin to cut those potatoes. I went with about 1/8 inch the first time and that wasn’t thin enough, even with additional oven time.

    • — Elizabeth DiPalma on January 28, 2021
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  • I’ve made this recipe several times. It was a hit with both dinner parties. Second time, even though I felt the original recipe was creamy with only the parmesan, I added Gruyere also for a different texture and taste. It was very good as well.

    • — Kaye Brown on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe several times. It was a hit with both dinner parties. Second time, even though I felt the original recipe was creamy with only the parmesan was very good I added Gruyere for a different texture and taste. It was very good as well.

    • — Kaye Brown on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • made this on a whim after getting a craving while watching a movie family serving a pan of potato gratin. And now it is one of the family faves. I just don’t think about the calories. There is no way to make this taste as good without following along exactly. Just do it. Take a little longer run the next day.

    • — Debbie T. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I reserve this recipe for special occasion because it’s so decadent, but honestly it’s easy enough for a weeknight meal – especially with the help of a mandoline. It’s perfect exactly as written just like the rest of the recipes I’ve tried on this site, and I always get asked for the recipe!

    • — Nicole C on January 28, 2021
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  • I used almond milk (because I forgot to buy cream and that was what I had available in the pantry), and it still turned out delicious!

    • — Kimberly on January 28, 2021
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  • This was the recipe that convinced me to buy her cookbook! So deliciously creamy and cheesy! I use a mandolin to make slicing the potatoes easier and add lots of freshly ground pepper to each layer. I love that I can make it the day before, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then pop it in the oven an hour before dinner and it’s perfection every time.

    • — Stephanie C. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This dish was introduced to me by my daughter, who served it on Christmas Day. They were indeed worthy of a “special occasion”! So creamy and rich and a perfect accompaniment to a prime rib. When I asked my daughter how she prepared them (because she is crazy busy as a young Mom), she said they came from my go-to for recipes: Once Upon a Chef. I was amazed at the extraordinary, rich flavor from a few simple ingredients and ridiculously easy preparation.
    Another home run from my favorite chef!

    • — Joanne on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe has given me such happiness! If it’s just for me (like this whole past year) I leave on some bits of organic russet for ‘nutrition’, but the big thing is making a ramekin for one. It uses one larger potato and I eyeball the cream and Parmesan cheese. It’s my habit to put the Costco wedge of Parmesan in the vitamix, so I have all of the ingredients ready at hand.
    When I can have guests again I think I’ll do the individual ramekins because this is so good people self-serve way too much!
    Thank you so very much for this simply elegant recipe.

    • — Sarah Beauchamp on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe multiple times now and every time it comes out perfect and is met with raves. I have passed it on to quite a few people when they ask for a simple dish recommendation. I love the short ingredient list and the simple prep method but it comes out tasting so rich and fancy!

    • — Elise Hart on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe for potatoes au gratin is one of the easiest, and most delicious dishes I have ever made. I followed the recipe to the letter and was amazed at how it turned out. This has become a family favorite and a holiday essential. I also have made a half-size version and it comes out perfectly. I’d give it 10 stars if that were a choice!
    Thank you for your recipes. They are wonderful to make and fun to read!

    • — Chuck Lockhart on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This looks so easy to make, I love trying new recipes. Will be giving this a try

    • — Bonny Case on January 28, 2021
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  • I really missed my grandma’s potatoes so I tried this one. I really loved how you salt and pepper the potatoes before you assemble the dish. Something so duh and simple but what a world of difference it makes. I have to admit I didnt care for the parmesan, I thought it was too strong for me. I made it again using Colby and cheddar and I liked it. Great recipe to exchange ingredients for your liking.

    • — Lindsey O'Neal on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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

    • — 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
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  • 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

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