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April 11, 2024

Potatoes Au Gratin

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.


homemade potatoes au gratin fresh out of the oven in a casserole dish made with cream, butter, spices, parmesan & Gruyère

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.For a lower-carb version, check out our Cauliflower Au Gratin.

sliced potatoes, cream, butter, spices, parmesan and Gruyère in prep bowls to make homemade 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.

sliced potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with Gruyère cheese and another layer of seasoned potatoes
layers of sliced potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper and Gruyère cheese in a casserole dish
butter and cream sauce being poured over layers of sliced potatoes and Gruyère cheese in a casserole dish
hands pressing down layered potatoes and gruyère cheese into a butter and cream sauce in a casserole dish

How to Make Potatoes Au Gratin

To make these classic tender potatoes baked with cheese and cream, you’ll simply layer all of these gorgeous flavors in a baking dish and let heat work its melty, golden brown, bubbly magic:

  • Potatoes. Obviously. We call for russet potatoes in our au gratin recipe, but Yukon Gold potatoes are also delicious. Bonus: if you use Yukons, you don’t have to peel them. And there’s more tasty vegetables to use–our Broccoli Au Gratin or our Potato Leek Au Gratin!

  • Butter. We can’t get enough of it.

  • Heavy cream for the richest creamy sauce that you’ll whisk with garlic, nutmeg, and butter. Oh yeah.

  • 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.

homemade potatoes au gratin topped with parmesan and gruyère cheese in a casserole dish ready to be baked in the oven
homemade potatoes au gratin topped with parmesan and gruyère cheese in a casserole dish fresh out of the oven

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 potato slices 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.

homemade potatoes au gratin topped with parmesan, gruyère and parsley in a casserole dish fresh out of the oven

One Potato, Two Potato.

Potatoes are the ultimate carby comfort—they’re always our favorite thing on any holiday menu (Easter? Yes! Thanksgiving? Might as well double the recipe!). Here are four of our very favorite, festive potato recipes:

homemade potatoes au gratin topped with parmesan, gruyère and parsley cheese in a casserole dish fresh out of the oven

Grateful for Gratin

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

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Potatoes Au Gratin

  • Serves: 9
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 15 min
  • Calories: 266


  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, separated
  • 2½ pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 ounces Gruyère, grated
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.

  2. In a small saucepan, add the heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg, and 3 tablespoons of the butter and set over low heat.

  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel and slice the potatoes into ⅛-inch-thick slices and immediately add the potatoes to the bowl.

  4. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

  5. Drain the potatoes and pat them completely dry with paper towels.

  6. Arrange a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish, lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with ⅓ cup gruyere cheese. Repeat with the remaining potatoes being sure to end with cheese on top.

  7. Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes, then gently press down with a spatula to make sure the liquid is evenly distributed. Sprinkle it with remaining gruyere and Parmesan cheese.

  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake covered for 50 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake for another 25 minutes until bubbling and lightly browned.

  9. Garnish with parsley, if using. Cut into 9 pieces 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.

  • ren

    If already baked and just in need of a rewarming, how long and at what temperature would you suggest?

    Bring them to room temp, preheat oven to 375F, cover potatoes with foil and heat 15-20 minutes until heated through. Hope you enjoy!

  • Mary

    Would another type of cheese work for this?

    Yes, just depends what flavor profiles you are hoping for.

  • Janet

    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

    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.

  • Wren

    Made this for Easter and everyone loved it! They all wanted seconds.

    YAY! Thanks Wren, so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  • isabella

    i want to shove this back in side me so my unborn baby can eat it, and the flavors are melting all over my tongue.

    haha! Thanks Isabella.

  • Jale

    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

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

    Im glad it was a hit!!