Potatoes au gratin (aka scalloped or dauphinoise)

Along with roast potatoes, this is a family favourite potato dish to serve along roast dinners or a grilled protein. It's a simple recipe made from potatoes, cream and grated cheese, topped with thyme and breadcrumbs and baked to perfection.

This one dish goes by many different names - scalloped, Dauphinoise or au gratin and they're largely the same thing. The "au gratin" part means with browned crust with melted cheese, and cheese is generally not included in Dauphinoise potatoes. The 'scalloped' term is an anglicised version of the name.

Potatoes au gratin ingredients

  • Potatoes - you want to use an all purpose potato for this recipe. A potato that is too floury will disintegrate when it's cooked. Suggestions include: Russet, Maris Piper, Yukon Gold, King Edward, Dutch Cream.
  • Cream is used to poach the potatoes. You can substitute partly with milk (see ways to make this ligher).
  • Garlic.
  • Salt and pepper to season the potatoes.
  • Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs for the au gratin part.
  • Thyme or nutmeg for finishing.

Equipment you need to make Potatoes au Gratin

This recipe needs potatoes that are sliced thin. You can do it with a knife but it will take a long time and you will never get the potato slices the same thickness.

For best results, you need either:

  • A food processor with a slicing attachment.
  • A mandoline.

If you're using a mandoline, use the protective guard - they're probably the most dangerous tool in the kitchen.

How to make Potatoes au Gratin

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.

  2. Prepare the potatoes - peel and wash the potatoes (1). Use the slicing attachment for your food processor, a mandoline or a knife (as a last resort) to thinly slice the potatoes (2). Aim for around 3-6mm (1/8"-1/4"). The thicker the slices, the longer it will take to cook.

  3. Mix cream - combine the garlic with the cream and stir well.

  4. Assemble place the potatoes into a dish approx. 20x26x5cm (8"x10"x2"). Place down one layer of potato (1), 1/3 of the cream mixture and then apply salt and pepper over the top of the potatoes (2). Add some thyme or grate some nutmeg over each layer, if using. If you're using extra cheese (note 2), add a little cheese between each layer. Repeat until all potato is used (3).

  5. Bake - cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. Check that potatoes in the middle are soft using a knife or tooth pick and return for a further 15 minutes and repeat until the potatoes are cooked through.

  6. Add cheese - when the potatoes are softened, add the cheese to the top of the potatoes and scatter over the breadcrumbs (1). Return to the oven and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and cooked through (2).

Tips

  • If you need the potatoes ready quicker, you can parboil the potatoes. It will reduce the baking time down to around 45 minutes. Make sure you don't cook it too long though - the thin potato slices will cook quickly.
  • Using a mandoline is dangerous - if you use one, make sure you understand the risks and take safety precautious like using the guard.
  • Allow the potatoes to stand for 10-15 minutes after coming out of the oven. As they cool it will be easier to slice without it falling apart.
  • If you're slicing with a knife and your potato is wobbly, slice one side of the potato so that you have a flat side. It will stop it from wobbling while you slice.

What to serve with Potatoes au Gratin

I think that gratin potatoes are are great alternative accompaniment to roast potatoes with a roast dinner. It also works well with a lean grilled protein and some greens.

Ways to make lighter

You can make the dish lighter by replacing up to half the cream with milk (or using half & half). You can also use light / low fat cream.

Keep in mind though that the fat in the cream brings a lot to the dish. Don't try making it with milk alone, it won't work.

Make ahead & reheating

To make ahead, follow the instructions up to the part where you add the cheese and breadcrumbs. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, remove from the fridge an hour before you want to start cooking. Preheat your oven to 160C and cook, covered for about 40 minutes or until warmed through.

Store leftovers covered in the fridge, where they will be good for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or covered in the oven at 160C until warmed through.

Add your own touch

  • If you like it cheesy, use more cheese and add it between the potato layers. You can also use mozzarella.
  • Experiment with other herbs like parsley, or chives. Spring onion also works well.

Potato au gratin (scalloped or dauphinoise)

Unrated
Prep Cook Total
10 mins 75 mins 85 mins
Serves 6-8
Thinly sliced potatoes, baked in a creamy and cheesy sauce - potatoes au gratin is the perfect side dish for a roast or lean grilled protein. A great alternative to roast potatoes for your next Sunday dinner.
  • 1.25kg all purpose potatoes Russet, Maris Piper, Yukon Gold, King Edward, Dutch Cream are all great
  • 375ml cream full fat, see note 1 for lighter options
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 200g Gruyere cheese or cheddar, see note 2
  • 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked, or nutmeg optional, see note 3
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare the potatoes - peel and wash the potatoes. Use the slicing attachment for your food processor, a mandoline or a knife (as a last resort) to thinly slice the potatoes. Aim for around 3-6mm (1/8"-1/4"). The thicker the slices, the longer it will take to cook.
  3. Mix cream - combine the garlic with the cream and stir well.
  4. Assemble place the potatoes into a dish approx. 20x26x5cm (8"x10"x2"). Place down one layer of potato, 1/3 of the cream mixture and then apply salt and pepper over the top of the potatoes. Add some thyme or grate some nutmeg over each layer, if using. If you're using extra cheese (note 2), add a little cheese between each layer. Repeat until all potato is used.
  5. Bake - cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. Check that potatoes in the middle are soft using a knife or tooth pick and return for a further 15 minutes and repeat until the potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Add cheese - when the potatoes are softened, add the cheese to the top of the potatoes and scatter over the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and cooked through.
Notes
  1. Cream - lighter option You can make the dish lighter by replacing up to half the cream with milk (or using half & half). You can also use light / low fat cream. Keep in mind though that the fat in the cream brings a lot to the dish. Don't try making it with milk alone, it won't work.
  2. Cheese - if you want a cheesier dish, you can add some grated cheese between the layers of potato. If you do this, you won't need as much salt because the cheese is salty. You can also add some mozzarella if you would like a stringier result.
  3. Thyme and nutmeg - these are optional but will bring a great flavour to the finished dish.
  4. Save time - if you need the potatoes ready quicker, you can parboil the potatoes. It will reduce the baking time down to around 45 minutes. Make sure you don't cook it too long though - the thin potato slices will cook quickly.
  5. Using a knife? - if your potato is wobbly, slice one side of the potato so that you have a flat side. It will stop it from wobbling while you slice.
  6. Cooking time - it is difficult to provide a cooking time for this dish because it depends on the thickness of the potatoes and how many layers you make. As a guide, expect it to take 1-1.5 hours to cook through and then another 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Hey, I'm Sam! Welcome to The Aproneer.

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