Potatoes au Gratin

Servings 8 -12 Servings
Made with layers of thinly sliced potatoes nestled in a bath of cream and topped with cheddar cheese, this dish is perfect with roast beef or chicken. Using a food processor to slice the potatoes makes this dish a snap to make. But if you don’t have one, a sharp knife and a little elbow grease works great, too – plus, you’ll get to perfect your knife skills. Feel free to get creative with this. Change up the cheese and you have an entirely different dish. You can add broccoli, bacon, or spinach for even more variety.  This recipe makes a lot, but if you’re not cooking for company, leftovers can be frozen wrapped tightly in plastic in individual servings and reheated in the microwave.
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Potatoes au Gratin


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 medium) Although there are dozens of varieties of potatoes, they’re generally categorized into two main camps: starchy (aka baking) and waxy (aka boiling). Starchy potatoes, like russets, have more starch and less moisture, allowing them to absorb more liquid and cook up with a fluffier or dryer texture. That’s why they’re perfect for baked potatoes or dishes like this where you want the potatoes to both absorb and thicken the cream. Waxy potatoes, like red boiling potatoes, contain more moisture, which helps them hold their shape better. They’re perfect for things like roasted potatoes or potato salad, where you want potatoes that won’t fall apart.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, or nonstick spray
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 3 cups packed grated sharp cheddar cheese You can use Swiss, gruyère, smoked cheddar, even Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Just make sure you use a flavorful cheese or all you’ll be adding is fat and calories and not much else.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel the potatoes and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (if you have one, use your food processor for this – it makes this dish a breeze!
    A food processor fitted with the slicing disk creates even slices in no time. A mandolin (kind of like a manual version of a food processor) is a cheaper option. You set the blade to the appropriate width, then rub the potato against it to make even slices.
  • Smear the garlic on the inside of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (to give it the essence of garlic).  Allow garlic juices to dry, then coat dish with softened butter or nonstick spray.
  • Put potatoes, salt, pepper, and half and half or cream into a large (6- to 8-quart) saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally (make sure no potatoes are sticking to the bottom and getting scorched, which would make the dish taste burnt),until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. 
  • Pour potatoes and cream into the prepared baking dish. Press down on the top layer with a rubber spatula to submerge the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and press down again.
  • Bake until top is golden and the potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.