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Published November 6, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn how to make this delicious classic recipe for potatoes au gratin that is cooked with creamy gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs for the perfect get-together side dish.
Potatoes Au Gratin
Potatoes au gratin is an amazing classic French recipe that consists of layers of thinly sliced peeled potatoes, milk, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Au gratin is a French word that literally translates to English as “to grate.” Obviously, this would most likely reference cheese, which would then be added to the potatoes and baked to form a crust on top.
When au gratin is applied to cooking, it means finished or sprinkled with breadcrumbs or grated cheese, or both, and then it is browned in the oven. In this instance potatoes au gratin would have a layer of breadcrumbs and cheese on top that are then browned.
If you see an au gratin potatoes recipe online, that does not have breadcrumbs on top. Then it is most likely not an accurate representation of potatoes au gratin.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The traditional ingredients for a potatoes au gratin recipe are potatoes, milk, butter, flour, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Here is my take on each of these ingredients.
- Milk/Cream – I believe heavy whipping cream provides full fat, full flavor options for potatoes au gratin and is absolutely the best ingredient to use. If using milk, you need to go through the process of making a roux and thickening the milk a bit to make a bechamel sauce before adding in the gruyere cheese to make a mornay sauce and mixing it with the sliced potatoes.
- Cheese – There are a few options you can use when using cheese. For cheaper alternative cheeses, try using Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese, or even Mozzarella cheese. For more expensive full-flavored cheeses, use Gruyere or Comté.
- Breadcrumbs – Breadcrumbs are incredibly traditional in potatoes au gratin, and you can use panko breadcrumbs, or any simple breadcrumb will do.
- Potatoes – Use russet potatoes for this recipe.
How to Make Potatoes Au Gratin
- Peel and slice russet potatoes until they are between 1/8” and ¼” thick. You can also feel free to use Yukon potatoes as well.
- Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with the cream, shredded gruyere cheese, finely minced garlic, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg until completely combined. I mix everything in a bowl to ensure the potatoes are seasoned and coated.
- Transfer the potato mixture to a deep 13×9 casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and even it out to make it flat.
- Cover in foil and bake it in the oven for 90 minutes at 400°.
- Remove the pan from the oven and take the foil off and discard it.
- Evenly sprinkle on breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese over top, completely covering the cooked potatoes.
- Drizzle on melted butter to help slightly brown the breadcrumb and cheese topping.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. The outside edges of the pan should be bubbling. Let the potatoes au gratin cool at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Don’t be limited by these recommendations, as potatoes au gratin is a fabulous side to just about any main entrée.
Can I Make Them the Night Before?
You can absolutely make au gratin potatoes the night before serving them.
Simply assemble everything and then bake them in the oven for the full 60 minutes.
Remove the au gratin potatoes from the oven and immediately top off with breadcrumbs, cheese, and melted butter.
Cool the au gratin potatoes in the refrigerator overnight until about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve them.
Take the potatoes out of the refrigerator and let them stand at room temperature for about one hour before placing the pan back in the oven, uncovered at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until hot in the center, and cooked throughout.
Whether you are making these ahead of time or serving the potatoes au gratin the day of, they are an amazing side dish that will compliment just about any entrée!
Reheat and Storage
How to Reheat: To reheat them, add your desired portion to a pan, cover with foil and bake in the oven at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until hot. In addition, you can simply add them to the microwave and heat them until hot.
Storing and Freezing: I like to store these in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to 4 days. I also cover and freeze them for up to 2 months. Simply thaw them for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating them.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- Feel free to use Yukon Gold or Red Bliss potatoes for this recipe.
More Side Dish Recipes
Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe
- 5 pounds peeled and thinly sliced russet potatoes, ¼” to 1/8” thick
- 1- quart heavy whipping cream
- 4-6 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 1- pound shredded gruyere cheese
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 stick melted unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- sea salt and white pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Combine the sliced potatoes, cream, garlic, gruyere cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until completely mixed.
- transfer the mixture to a deep 13×9 casserole pan sprayed with non-stick spray and flatten out with a spoon to make level.
- Cover in foil and bake in the oven at 400° for 80 to 90 minutes.
- Remove the foil and evenly sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and cheese, completely coating the sliced potatoes.
- Drizzle on the melted butter and place back in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked throughout.
- Let cool at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.