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Potatoes Au Gratin

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 15 min
  • Calories: 266
potatoes au gratin in a white skillet

Fancy without the fuss? Say hello to potatoes au gratin—a baked-until-bronzed medley of potatoes, butter, heavy cream, and two kinds of cheese.

Why Mash, When You Could Gratin?

Whether you’re looking to up your holiday side dish game, or simply for a cozy, indulgent way to spruce up your next dinner party menu, these homemade au gratin potatoes are a winner every time. Laden with nutty Gruyère and the umami-punch of Parmesan cheese, and baked in a bath of silky cream, they’re an edible embodiment of Mae West’s fabulous adage—”too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Classic potatoes au gratin are everything a holiday dish is supposed to be—elegant, rich, luxurious, extraordinary—and this particular au gratin recipe is the best of the best.

spoon dipping into potatoes au gratin

What Does “Au Gratin” Mean, Anyway?

Au gratin is a French culinary term that refers to a dish (usually a potato dish) topped with grated cheese (and/or breadcrumbs), cream, butter, then baked until browned and crispy. But what—you may be asking yourself—is the difference between potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes? Though once upon a time their definitions and preparations varied, today the two terms are pretty much completely interchangeable. Those cheesy scalloped potatoes you loved as a kid? Our au gratin potatoes recipe is essentially the same thing.

potatoes and cheese spread in a white skillet
potatoes slices topped with cheese in a skillet
au gratin butter and cream sauce being poured over potato slices in a skillet
hands pressing down liquid in a potatoes au gratin pan
potato au gratin topped with parmesan and gruyere cheese in a skillet
baked potatoes au gratin in a skillet

How to Make Potatoes Au Gratin

To make this classic, comforting recipe, you’ll simply layer all of these gorgeous flavors in a baking dish and let heat work its melty, browning, bubbly magic:

  • Potatoes. Obviously. We call for russet potatoes in our au gratin recipe, but Yukon Golds are also delicious. Bonus: if you use Yukons, you don’t have to peel them.
  • Butter. We can’t get enough of it this time of year.
  • Heavy cream. See above.
  • Cheese mix. The combination of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and nutty Swiss Gruyère—the world’s best melting cheese, if you ask us—makes for the best potatoes au gratin. End of story.
potatoes au gratin in a white skillet

Tools You’ll Need For This Easy Potato Gratin:

Though few tools are needed to make our scalloped potatoes with cheese, one, in particular, we’d be especially lost without. But only the best for these potatoes au gratin with Gruyère.

  • Mandoline slicer. This slicer takes the tediousness out of cutting the potatoes and also ensures uniform thickness. Even if you use it for just this gratin recipe it’s still a must in our book.
  • Small saucepan. For the best potatoes au gratin recipe, only a warm, garlicky mix of butter and heavy cream will do.
  • 9x13 casserole dish or gratin pan. Either will work, but we prefer the circular gratin pan because it’s shallow and offers more surface area for blistery-topped goodness.
potatoes au gratin in a white skillet

One Potato, Two Potato.

Potatoes are the ultimate carby comfort—they’re always our favorite thing on any holiday menu. Here are four of our very favorite, festive potato recipes:

Grateful for Gratin

Were your homemade potatoes au gratin the grand marshall of the holiday side dishes parade? Show us your cheese-blistered au gratin goodness and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper.

Potatoes Au Gratin

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 15 min
  • Calories: 266


  • 2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tbsp butter, separated
  • 6 oz gruyere, grated
  • 2 oz parmesan, grated
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small sauce pan add heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg and 3 tbsp of the butter and set over low heat.
  3. Using a mandolin slice potatoes ⅛ inch thick and immediate place in a large bowl of cold water. Once all potatoes are sliced, rinse and pat completely dry.
  4. Using 1 tbsp of butter lightly grease a 9X13 baking dish or 12 inch circular pan.
  5. Arrange a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan, lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Continue this process of layering until potatoes are all used up. (Be sure to reserve a little cheese for the top.)
  6. Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes and gently press down on the potatoes with your hands to make sure all liquid is evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with remaining gruyere and parmesan cheese.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes covered, remove foil and continue to bake for another 25 minutes.
  8. Top with fresh greens and serve warm.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories266
  • Protein9 g
  • Carbohydrates25 g
  • Total Fat15 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol43 mg
  • sodium467 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Potatoes Au Gratin

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Janet E Burch

    sub for heavy cream?

    Hi Janet, It's best to use the heavy cream but there are substitutes you could try like mixing butter and milk or milk and cornstarch. Depending on why you want to sub heavy cream you can look up options and see which is suited to your needs.

  • Valina lusk

    Can I make night B4 without cooking, will pots grey?

    Yes you can bake it before, but I am not sure about your pot greying or not.

  • Yolanda

    Can you partially cook the potatoes the night before and then finish up the next day? If you make the night before, and then heat up in the oven, will they dry out?

    I don't think they will dry out.

  • Kate Williams

    If I make the day before, what step should I stop at??

    You can do through step 6.

  • Amber

    Can I make this recipe and freeze before baking?

    I have never tested it, but you should be able to. Reheat at a low temp around 300-325 for maybe a little bit longer then the recipe calls for.

  • Jale Gosch

    This recipe is amazing! I was so excited when I first saw it (I have been missing a good Gratin since I left my home in Germany a few years ago) and this recipe is the one! It tasted exactly like I remembered it from my childhood - so worth it.

    What a lovely review! So glad you loved it.

  • Matt rice

    We made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was so so delicious

    Im glad it was a hit!!