Potatoes au Gratin is the ultimate comfort food. Thin slices of potato are bathed in a cheesy, creamy sauce and then baked to bubbling, golden brown perfection.
The potatoes become perfectly melt-in-your-mouth tender, soaked with the rich cream, and the cheese forms an irresistible crust on top. It’s delicious alongside roasted meats or even as part of a vegetarian meal.
It’s the perfect side for any festive meal. It’s as good an Easter recipe as it is a Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe. It’s also perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or, really, any time you want to serve a comfort food meal that feels special.
It’s a great make ahead dish, too, because it’s great served hot out of the oven or at room temperature.
What Is Potatoes au Gratin?
Potatoes au gratin, also called Scalloped Potatoes, is a classic French potato recipe that consists of thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy cheese sauce. The name “au gratin” comes from the French word “gratter,” which means to scrape or grate. The dish is usually finished off with a layer of grated cheese that melts and browns to a golden crust on top.
This Potatoes au Gratin recipe makes a great side dish, whether it’s a Sunday roast or a weeknight dinner. It’s also a great dish to bring to a potluck or a party, as it’s easy to make in large batches and can be served either hot or cold. And believe me when I tell you, everyone loves it just like they love a good southern baked mac and cheese.
Ingredients You Need
This au gratin potatoes recipe, made with the dense, nutty, complex Gruyere and sharp cheddar cheeses, tastes decadent but it’s really a somewhat humble dish with a small number of basic ingredients. Here’s what you need to make this recipe:
- Potatoes — I think red or Yukon gold potatoes are the best potatoes for this recipe because they have thin skins, so they don’t need to be peeled. But you can use any potatoes you like. If you use Idaho or Russet potatoes, you may want to peel them before slicing.
- Butter — Mmm, butter.
- Flour — Use all-purpose flour for the best results.
- Seasonings — This recipe uses a simple combination of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme.
- Milk — Whole milk is best as it forms the base of the rich, creamy sauce. You could use half and half or heavy cream, but it’s really not necessary.
- Cheese — Use both cheddar and Gruyere cheese for the perfect combination of flavor, texture, and melty goodness.
- Onion — You can use a yellow or white onion.
How To Make These Quick and Easy Scalloped Potatoes
Potatoes au Gratin is an impressive side dish that’s suitable for your most festive meals, but it’s surprisingly easy to make.
- Preheat the oven and slice the potatoes thinly. I like to use a mandolin to make the slices thin and even.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Gradually add the milk while whisking continuously.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt and pepper, thyme, and nutmeg, and most of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated.
- Arrange one-third of the potatoes in a baking dish and top with half of the diced onion and a pinch of salt.
- Pour one-third of the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
- Top with another layer of potatoes and onions, then sauce, then another layer of potatoes, and the remaining sauce. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
- Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Return the pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Make It Your Own
There are many ways to customize this recipe. Here are some ideas:
- Add cooked bacon or diced ham to the dish for a heartier meal.
- Sprinkle in some chopped herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, to add some extra flavor.
- Use different types of cheese, such as Parmesan or blue cheese, to switch things up.
- Add some sliced, sauteed mushrooms for a meaty texture.
- Double the recipe for a crowd. You won’t regret it.
What to Serve With It
Serve it alongside roast turkey, Dijon Chicken or Instant Pot Duck Confit. It’s also a great way to round out a meal of cabbage and sausage. Or serve it with Air Fryer Lamb Chops or even Instant Pot Ribs. Add a Green Bean Salad, Dry Fried Green Beans.
These potatoes au gratin are a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner along with roast turkey or Instant Pot Ham. Add a Green Bean Stuffing Casserole or Roasted Broccoli to round out the meal.
Potatoes au Gratin
- 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/3 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese divided
- 1 cup grated gruyère cheese
- 1 onion diced
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the peeled potatoes into very thin slices.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Whisk in the flour and then slowly pour in the milk, while whisking continuously. Cook, continuing to whisk, until the sauce thickens, and then add the salt, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg.
- Add ½ cup of the cheddar and 1 cup of the Gruyère. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Arrange one- third of the sliced potatoes in a baking dish and top with half of the sliced. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Pour one-third of the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
- Top with another layer of potatoes and onions, then sauce, another layer of potatoes, and the remaining sauce.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove the foil, top with the remaining cup of grated cheddar, and bake for another 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crisp.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.