Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad’s Famous)

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The best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe is an indulgent side dish or main course. The creamy sauce infuses the tender potatoes with a rich, savory flavor perfectly complemented by the melted cheese. The potatoes remain tender and soft, with slightly crispy edges. The dish has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures!

Perfect side dish for your holiday table or anytime you crave cheesy potatoes in cream sauce. Serve with Bake Chicken or Fresh Ham Roast and Crispy Brussles Sprouts.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)-taking out of the over with golden brown crust.
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Best Au Gratin Potatoes

These easy au gratin potatoes are a classic dish that features thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce and topped with a layer of melted cheese. The dish is rich, savory, and very satisfying. They are a perfect complement for a Prime Rib Dinner, Perfect Pan Seared Steak, or a classic Roast Chicken.

Dad’s Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

I can’t take all the credit for this creamy au gratin potatoes recipe- the inspiration comes from my Dad’s famous creamy and cheesy potatoes. You will find this au gratin potato recipe on our Sunday dinner table or on special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving dinner, and Easter. Whenever you decide to make them, they are the ultimate comfort food!

Simple Ingredients

With only a few wholesome ingredients, you will have the best au gratin potatoes on your table!

ingredient shot.
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • Onion (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk
  • Fontina cheese
  • Gruyere cheese (or mild white cheddar)
  • Parmigiano cheese
  • Fresh thyme or fresh parsley for garnish 

See the recipe card for quantities.

Best Kind of Potatoes for Au Gratin

The best potatoes for au gratin are high in starch and have a firm, dense texture. This will allow them to hold up well during cooking without turning mushy or falling apart. For best results, I recommend Russet or Yukon Gold.

  • Russet potatoes are a great option for au gratin as they have a high starch content and are known for their firm texture.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes are another good option for starchy potatoes with a buttery flavor and complement the creamy sauce in potatoes au gratin.

It’s important to slice the potatoes evenly for even cooking. A mandoline slicer or food processor with a slicing attachment makes the process easier and quicker. The best potatoes for au gratin are Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes for a deliciously creamy texture.

More potato recipes: Red Skin Mashed Potatoes (with Roasted Garlic), Roasted Smashed Potatoes and Tomatoes with Pesto, Best Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes Recipe, and SIMPLE Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions.

creamy au gratin potatoes in a a baking dish ready to serve.

Best Cheeses For Potatoes Au Gratin

The best cheese for potatoes au gratin is a cheese that melts well and has a rich and creamy flavor. You can also add heavy cream and cream cheese to smooth the cream mixture. Here are some popular cheese options for this dish:

  • Gruyere Cheese: This Swiss cheese has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with potatoes. It melts easily and creates a deliciously crispy crust on top of the potatoes.
  • Cheddar Cheese: A classic cheese for potatoes au gratin, cheddar has a sharp and tangy flavor that complements the creamy sauce. It also melts well and creates a beautiful golden and cheesy crust.
  • Fontina Cheese: This Italian cheese has a mild and nutty flavor and melts smoothly, making it a great option for potatoes au gratin. It creates a rich and creamy texture that’s hard to resist.
  • Parmigiano (Parmesan Cheese): This hard cheese has a strong and nutty flavor that adds a delicious depth of flavor to potatoes au gratin. It’s best used in combination with another cheese, as it doesn’t melt well on its own.

It’s also very important to grate your own cheese! Ready more here- TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese.

The best cheese for potatoes au gratin depends on your personal taste. Gruyere, cheddar, fontina, and parmesan are popular options that create a rich and creamy dish.

Cheeses we prefer

Our personal preferences for this recipe are Gruyere, Fontina, and Parmigiano.

Similar recipes you will enjoy- Cheese and Broccoli Pasta Bake with White Sauce and Creamy White Sauce Cauliflower Casserole.

wooden utensil serving the creamy au gratin potatoes.

How to Make the Best Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe (Step-by-Step Photos)

Making creamy potatoes au gratin recipe is easy with these step-by-step photo instructions.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- slicing the onions and potatoes in thin slices.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 2.5-quart baking dish (or an 8×12 baking pan) with nonstick cooking spray or grease with a generous amount of butter or oil.
Wash potatoes and slice them into ⅛” thin slices. Slice onion as thin as possible, if using).

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- placing onions and potatoes in a greased baking dish.

Layer potatoes and onions in little stacks. Place stacks upright in the prepared pan—season with salt and pepper.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- making the cheese sauce by combining milk, butter, and flour in a pot.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps for about 3 minutes. Whisk over medium heat until thick and bubbly, and the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon without running down.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- making the cheese sauce by combining milk, butter, and flour in a pot- add cheeses and combine until smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted and combined.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- pour cheese sauce over the potatoes and cover with more cheese.

Spoon cheese sauce over uncooked potatoes. Cover with foil (sprayed with cooking spray) and bake 60 minutes.

How to make Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe (Dad's Famous)- cover with foil and bake.

Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are cooked. Cool 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Enjoy the BEST Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes!

creamy au gratin potatoes in a a baking dish ready to serve.

Substitutions

You can make several substitutions to the classic au gratin potatoes recipe to accommodate dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Here are some ideas:

  • Use non-dairy milk and cheese: If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can use non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk and non-dairy cheese like Daiya or Violife instead of regular milk and cheese.
  • Use gluten-free breadcrumbs: If you’re gluten-free, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or omit them altogether.
  • Use different types of potatoes: Instead of using traditional Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, you can use sweet potatoes, red potatoes, or even turnips.
  • Protein: Add protein to the dish by adding cooked chicken, ham, or shrimp to the potato layers. I prefer adding protein as the main dish rather than in the potatoes au gratin dish.
wooden utensil serving the creamy au gratin potatoes.

Variations

There are many variations to the classic au gratin potatoes recipe that you can try to change things up and add different flavors. Here are some ideas for the next time you make them:

  • Add bacon or ham: Cook bacon until crispy, chop it up, and add it to the potato layers before adding the sauce and cheese. This will add a delicious smoky and salty flavor to the dish. You can add chunks of leftover ham as well.
  • Use sweet potatoes: Swap out some or all of the potatoes for sweet potatoes to add a sweet and earthy flavor to the dish. Add some cinnamon or nutmeg to the sauce for extra warmth and spice.
  • Add herbs and spices: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage to the sauce for a fragrant and aromatic flavor. You can also add some garlic or onion powder for extra depth of flavor.
  • Heavy Cream: use half heavy cream and half milk for a super-rich and creamy sauce.
  • Use different cheeses: Instead of using the classic cheddar or gruyere cheese, try blending different cheeses like Mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack, Gouda, or Blue Cheese. This will add different textures and flavors to the dish.
  • Add vegetables: Add some vegetables like spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms to the potato layers for extra nutrients and flavor. You can also sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top for added crunch.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own favorite variation of au gratin potatoes.

wooden utensil serving the creamy au gratin potatoes.

Storage

To store leftover au gratin potatoes, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

To reheat the leftover au gratin potatoes, there are a couple of methods you can use:

  1. Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover potatoes in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the top is crispy.
  2. Microwave method: Place the leftover potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and cover them with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Reheating the potatoes in the microwave may produce a softer texture, while reheating in the oven will produce a golden brown and crispy top layer.

Enjoy your reheated au gratin potatoes as a delicious side dish, or add some additional protein or vegetables to turn it into a main course.

serving of creamy au gratin potatoes on a plate with a fork. Pan of au gratin potatoes in the background.

Top tips

Here are some top tips to help you make delicious au gratin potatoes:

  1. Use a mandoline: Slicing potatoes uniformly can be difficult. Using a mandoline will help ensure that your potato slices are even and will cook evenly.
  2. Grate your own cheese from the block: This is key to a smooth sauce. Pre-shredded cheeses have caking agents that interfere with the creaminess of the sauce texture.
  3. Use a mixture of cheeses: Instead of just one cheese type, use a combination of different cheeses for added flavor and texture. Try using a variety of cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan cheeses to create the creamy cheese sauce.
  4. Don’t overcook the sauce: Be sure to cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Overcooking the sauce can cause it to break and become grainy.
  5. Season generously: Don’t be afraid to season the potatoes and sauce well with salt and pepper. This will help bring out the flavors of the dish.
  6. Let it rest: Allow the dish to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will help the cheese set and the sauce to thicken, making it easier to serve and enjoy.

Following these tips, you can make a delicious batch of au gratin potatoes to impress your family and friends.

serving of creamy au gratin potatoes on a plate with a fork. Pan of au gratin potatoes in the background.

FAQs

What’s the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes?

Scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are classic potato dishes that are popular in many parts of the world, but they are prepared differently and have some distinct differences. The main difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes is that scalloped potatoes are typically prepared with a cream or milk-based sauce and do not have a crispy breadcrumb or cheese topping, while au gratin potatoes are covered with cheese to create a crispy crust.

Can au gratin potatoes be made ahead of time?

Yes! You can make these cheesy au gratin potatoes up to three days ahead. Pour the sauce over the potatoes as directed, then cover the greased baking pan with foil- do not bake. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge until ready to bake. Add 15-20 minutes for baking time if baking straight from the fridge.

What does au gratin potatoes mean?

The term “au gratin” comes from the French word “gratter” which means “to scrape” or “to grate,” referring to the crispy golden-brown crust that forms on top of the dish. “Au gratin potatoes” is a French term that refers to a dish of thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce with cheese on top. The dish is typically baked until the cheese on top is golden brown and crispy, giving it a gratin-like texture.

serving of creamy au gratin potatoes on a plate with a fork. Pan of au gratin potatoes in the background. Rosemary on plate for decoration.

What to serve with creamy au gratin potatoes

These are my favorite dishes to serve with creamy au gratin potatoes:

I know you will enjoy this wonderful recipe, which will become your favorite side dish! And if you love vegetable dishes, you will also love our Steamed Asparagus Recipe, Cranberry Relish, Cheesy Duchess Potatoes, and Honey Glazed Carrots Recipe.

And if you are craving more Italian recipes here are some of my recommendations:

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

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cover photo.

Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

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5 from 7 reviews

Best Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe is an indulgent side dish or main course. The creamy sauce infuses the tender potatoes with a rich, savory flavor that’s perfectly complemented by the melted cheese. The potatoes remain tender and soft, with a slightly crispy edges. The dish has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures!

  • Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 67 medium yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced into 1/8th inch rounds (3 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into rings (optional- you can leave out the onions)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk (can use 2%)
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese, more for topping
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese (or mild white cheddar), more for topping
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmigiano cheese, more for topping
  • Fresh thyme, rosemary, or fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 2.5 quart baking dish (or an 8×12 baking pan) with nonstick cooking spray or grease with a generous amount of butter or oil.
  2. Wash potatoes and slice into ⅛” thin slices. Slice onion as thin as possible, if using)—layer potatoes and onions in little stacks. Place stacks upright in the prepared pan—season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps for about 3 minutes. Whisk over medium heat until thick and bubbly, and the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon without it running off the spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted and combined.
  4. Spoon cheese sauce over uncooked potatoes. Cover with foil (sprayed with cooking spray), add a sprinkle of all the cheeses to cover the top, and bake for 60 minutes.
  5. Remove foil, add a sprinkle of all the cheeses to cover the top, and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are cooked cool 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Notes

Top tips

    1. Use a mandoline: Slicing potatoes uniformly can be difficult. Using a mandoline will help ensure that your potato slices are even and will cook evenly.

    1. Grate your own cheese from the block: This is key to a smooth sauce. Pre-shredded cheeses have caking agents that interfere with the creaminess of the sauce texture.

    1. Use a mixture of cheeses: Instead of just one cheese type, use a combination of different cheeses for added flavor and texture. Try using a variety of cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan cheeses to create the creamy cheese sauce.

    1. Don’t overcook the sauce: Be sure to cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Overcooking the sauce can cause it to break and become grainy.

    1. Season generously: Don’t be afraid to season the potatoes and sauce well with salt and pepper. This will help bring out the flavors of the dish.

    1. Let it rest: Allow the dish to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will help the cheese set and the sauce to thicken, making it easier to serve and enjoy.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 20
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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16 Comments

  1. Such a delicious recipe and really easy. Thank you so much for sharing. I paired it with your baked chicken recipe and our dinner was fantastic!!






  2. I made these for Easter dinner and everyone loved them so much they begged me to make them the next Sunday as well!

  3. I also made these potatoes for Easter dinner and what a hit they were! I just bought a new Mandoline so slicing was a breeze. Easy recipe to make and absolutely delicious. I will make these over and over. I used fresh raw full fat milk from a local farm. Yum!






    1. Yay!! Happy everyone loved them as much as we do here. They are a big hit at any gathering. I love that you used fresh raw milk.

  4. Elena, thank you for posting this incredibly delicious recipe. I followed it as written with Yukon Gold potatoes and used your substitution idea of half cream and half whole milk. I whisked the sauce for the stated time and added fontina, gruyere and parmesan. This dish was a hit at Easter dinner. I knew that if it tasted half as good as it smelled while baking, it would be delicious. It exceeded all expectations, and I received glowing compliments that I pass on to you. Thank you, again, for your contribution to our family gathering. The hostess was thrilled. I recently started following you on Instagram @cucinabyelena, and I received your email newsletter. I’m looking forward to trying more of your delicious recipes. P.S. I love the quality of your apron and pasta utensil I purchased from your website.






    1. What a wonderful compliment! I am thrilled you loved the recipe and are loving the timeless products. Here’s to many more recipes. Enjoy.

  5. Mmmm! Loved this au gratin. The cheeses were perfect. I did a little of it with sweet potatoes (and omitted the onions). Fantastic.






  6. This recipe was a hit for Easter! Everyone loved it. I had never made my own cheese sauce etc before and directions were easy to follow. Loved the tips for cheese substitutions as I couldn’t find one of the main ones mentioned. Also did the half heavy cream half milk tip. I found the cooking time/temp to be perfect. Will definitely make again.

    I made it in the AM and put it in the fridge until about 15 minutes before putting it in the oven. Prep wasn’t as long as I thought either.






    1. Yay! I am glad the extra recommendations were helpful. It is an easy recipe to customize. I love to make it ahead of time like you did when I am making a large meal for a holiday.