Potatoes Au Gratin is an easy cheesy favorite potato recipe! Thinly sliced potatoes and onions are smothered in a quick cheesy sauce and baked until golden.
Au Gratin Potatoes are a family favorite recipe and perfect for Sunday supper or as a make-ahead holiday side dish!
This Potatoes au Gratin recipe makes easy cheesy potatoes, similar to scalloped potatoes but loaded with rich cheesy flavor. They are the perfect holiday dish next to a baked ham or even Roast Beef Tenderloin or pork tenderloin!
Cheese for Potatoes au Gratin
What is the best cheese for potatoes au gratin? When making Gratin potatoes, choose cheeses that have lots of bold flavors. Our top choices are varieties with a sharper flavor such as sharp cheddar, parmesan, and/or Gruyere (or swiss).
Gruyere cheese adds a rich flavor to au gratin potatoes that truly cannot be matched; if you can get it, I highly recommend that you do! If Gruyere isn’t available use provolone or swiss for a similar flavor!
PRO TIP: For a smooth sauce and best results, shred your own cheese from a block. Pre-shredded cheeses will work but don’t melt as nicely.
The Best Kind of Potato to Use for Potatoes au Gratin
Just like when making scalloped potatoes, the best potatoes for gratin are red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes. These two waxy potatoes can hold their shape well and because they’re thin-skinned, they do not require peeling (extra bonus!).
Scalloped potatoes vs Potatoes au Gratin
So what is the difference between the scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes? They’re both very similar containing potatoes (and often onions) baked in a creamy sauce. Au Gratin is defined as covered with breadcrumbs or cheese, scalloped refers to “bake with milk or a sauce”.
In the case of this recipe, the difference is the cheese. That being said, the term scalloped potatoes is still often still used if there is cheese within the dish!
How to make Potatoes Au Gratin
Potatoes Au Gratin has tender potatoes in a creamy, cheesy sauce for a dish that everyone loves.
1. Prepare potatoes and onions by thinly slicing. For even thin slices, I use an inexpensive mandoline. You can find them for under $20 it and saves a lot of time.
2. Make the cheese sauce per the recipe below with flour and butter. Add in a little bit of milk to make a white sauce and finally lots of cheese. If desired other additions such as garlic and fresh thyme or herbs can be added.
3. Assemble the gratin. Stack the potato slices and onions in little piles and then stand them on their sides in your casserole dish (instead of laying them flat like a traditional gratin). This is easy to do and makes this potatoes au gratin recipe really pretty!
It adds both extra flavor and texture with the crispy edges on the potatoes (and who doesn’t love the crispy yummy cheesy bits)!! Sprinkle a little bit of extra cheese on top if desired.
Bake these Potatoes Au Gratin for about 90 minutes and garnish with parsley.
Time Saving Tip
If you’re a little short on time, set the potatoes and onions in the dish as directed and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on full power for about 10 minutes (be careful, it will be hot when removing the plastic wrap). Add the cheese sauce and bake as directed below for about 45-55 minutes. Equally delicious… just a little bit quicker!
This dish can be made 24 hours in advance. Ensure the potatoes are completely covered in the sauce as any exposed bits of potatoes will discolor slightly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. You may need to add 10 minutes to the baking time.
While we most often eat these as a side, I sometimes make Potatoes Au Gratin with ham by including slices or diced leftover ham (from our favorite Crock Pot Ham) before baking.
More Classic Potato Dishes
- Scalloped Potatoes Recipe – Classic.
- The BEST Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Twice Baked Potatoes – Make ahead and freeze.
- Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Perfect Baked Potatoes – Simple and easy.
Did you try this recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and comment below!
Potatoes Au Gratin
- 2 ½ pounds red potatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- ½ cup gruyere cheese shredded
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Wash potatoes and slice into ⅛" thin slices. Slice onion as thin as possible.
- Layer potatoes and onions in little stacks. Place stacks upright in a greased casserole 2.5qt to 3qt dish.
- Melt butter & flour in a saucepan and cook 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings and milk. Whisk over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
- Spoon cheese sauce over potatoes. Cover with foil (sprayed with cooking spray) and bake 60 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are cooked. Cool 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I don’t get the red potato part. Can someone please help me out. The only red potatoes I’ve ever seen are tiny. How am I supposed to make decent-sized slices?
If you can’t find medium-sized red potatoes, you can also use Yukon gold potatoes.
I’m cooking a picnic ham at 350…is it possible to cook this at 350 but maybe longer?
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Kim, but that should work just fine it will just take a little longer. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
1st time making au gratin potatoes.
They turned out amazing with this recipe.
*I did sub provolone for guyere because that’s what I had
The cheese sauce can be made in the microwave. Microwave butter in a glass measuring cup on med high until melted – about 1 minute Blend in flour salt seasonings and milk. MW again until sauce boils and thickens, stirring once. For 2 cups probably takes about 3 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted.
Super yummy A little time consuming to prepare but well worth it
I forgot to rate the recipe I give it five stars
I used 3:1 gruyere to cheddar & the flavor of the gruyere is so rich and delicious!! I’ve made this several times and never had leftovers! Thank you for your insight and tips!
I used a combination of cheddar, gruyere, swiss and fiesta blend shredded totaling 2 cups. Absolutely delicious. My family was loved it. Pared it with a pork loin in air fryer and fresh green beans.
I don’t write reviews…
And I’ve never had luck with making potatoes like this (scalloped, au gratin, etc.). I don’t know if my expectations were out of whack or my timing off or things were cut too thick. Anyways…
This recipe was awesome! I had a bag of Cabot preshredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese and I used half & half for the milk. I used two onions too. Potatoes and onions were sliced via my mandolin. I took the microwave shortcut and made the cheese sauce while that was happening.
The whole dish was amazing! So good I want to make it again ASAP. We had 4 adults total for dinner and it was wiped out. Green vegetables were cast aside completely and I was ok with that. Thanks for this recipe. Mmm.
I am so happy to hear this recipe was a hit Lizzie!
I had a bag of red Yukon potatoes and a bunch of leftover Christmas ham to use up, and this was a perfect recipe for that. I did that sort of potato spiral around the rim of the dish and had most of the ham and onions in the middle, topped with a few more thin slices of potatoes. Having the edges of the potatoes poking out of the sauce gave them a great caramelization and texture. The 2:1 ratio of cheddar to gruyere, plus the honey-baked ham, gave a great flavor to the dish. This one is definitely staying in the repertoire. I had to get a little pokey with a knife after taking the foil off to make sure the sauce got between all the slices and to lift them out a bit. No notes. Great recipe! Thank you, Holly!
I am so glad you loved this recipe Jeremy!
I made this one day in advance (Christmas Eve), baked it for one hour and then I let it come to room temperature on a rack. I covered it in foil and threw it in the fridge. The next day I pulled it out of the fridge about 45 minutes before I was going to finish it off, then tossed it in the oven for about half an hour, removing the foil about halfway through that time. It came out perfect and everyone loved it. I almost doubled the recipe.
For the prep, I did it exactly how you described. I broke out the mandolin (scariest kitchen tool ever) and sliced up the potatoes and onion and made little stacks. I used gruyere and extra sharp cheddar for the sauce. I totally agree that this is creamy enough made with the milk and roux. Thank you for sharing this outstanding recipe. It’s a keeper for sure.
This dish, while very time consuming, was delicious. I do not know if I will make this “labor of love” except for a special occasion again. ( I made it for Christmas dinner with my husband’s help).
Very complete directions rarely done as well. Very good recipe. Thank you had to go over many times and site did not block you!
It’s not out of the oven yet, but pre-cooking this morning to go with our Prime Rib for dinner and OH THIS CHEESE SAUCE. Dishwasher will have an easy job since I locked the pan and whisk clean. I added some herbs, garlic, and a good bit of chunky fresh ground pepper. Can’t wait until dinner!
Mine was soo liquidy I made it the day before to save time for Christmas Eve day, ideas? Flavor is great!! Just lots of fluid when I pulled it out of the fridge that didn’t absorb during cooking
I have made this ahead before and haven’t had it be runny so I can’t say for sure why it’s watery. If there is a little bit of liquid, it should be fine as some will evaporate in the oven. If there is a lot of liquid separated on top you might like to drain a little bit of it. Hopefully, it turned out perfectly for you.
This cheese sauce is to die for! My husband and I pre-made it together for Christmas dinner tomorrow. We used heavy cream instead of milk, Tillamook Cheddar for the base cheese, and tweaked that up by substituting Yancey’s Fancy Smoked Gouda with Bacon, for the Gruyere cheese in the recipe, and no other subs or additions. If I’d used Gruyere, I would’ve added crumbled bacon anyway for a little smokiness (because that’s how we do down here in Georgia), but with the Smoked Gouda with Bacon I didn’t need a single other seasoning besides what the recipe calls for to get a powerful punch of flavor, a savory and creamy cheese sauce. I will definitely use this cheese sauce again for Mac & Cheese and I’ll try Yancey’s Fancy Champagne Cheddar to get a mellower, more sublime cheese sauce. Yum!!!
Why use milk instead of heavy cream?
This recipe starts with a basic white sauce which uses milk, the cheese adds additional richness so I find the milk to be creamy enough.
Would russet potatoes work with this recipe?
Russet potatoes will work but they don’t hold their shape and tend to fall apart.
Wow, I’ve been using this recipe for at least 15 years, back when we printed everything and put it in a book! My cookbook is packed so thought I’d try to find the recipe. Much to my surprise and delight, it’s still here!! First rate!!!
If I want to add fresh thyme and Rosemary, how much should I use. I want the flavor to be subtle.
For a subtle flavor I would suggest about 1 teaspoon of each.
Can I make this a day ahead
I haven’t tried this exact recipe ahead of time but I have made scalloped potatoes ahead successfully so I do think it should work. Prepare as directed and cool. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I would suggest removing from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. It may need a little bit extra cooktime.
I’m wondering if I can cook it ahead of time and reheat. Or perhaps partially cook it (say an hour) and finish it off the next day
I haven’t tried cooking this recipe part way but I think that would work.