These ultra-cheesy and Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes are infused with thyme and layered with cream sauce and two kinds of cheese! It’s a side dish that’s easy to make and will always please a crowd.Jump to Recipe
Easy and cheesy potatoes au gratin
Special occasions, holidays, or simple dinners at home call for Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes. Made with layers of sliced potatoes, gruyere cheese, thyme, and cream sauce, you can pair this restaurant-quality side dish with practically anything.
There are three things that make this potatoes au gratin recipe better than the average:
- Not just one, but two kinds of cheese (gruyere and parmesan – yum!).
- A rich homemade cream sauce spiced with nutmeg.
- Layers of paper-thin potatoes and shallots – the perfect pairing.
Watch How To Make Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe
Each creamy, delectable bite will keep you coming back for more! But that’s ok, because you can easily make a double batch and store the extras for later.
Au gratin and scalloped potatoes: What’s the difference?
There aren’t many distinguishable differences between potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes. Both recipes feature thinly sliced potatoes dressed in a creamy sauce, then baked until bubbly and rich.
Traditionally, au gratin potatoes are topped with melted cheese and breadcrumbs. Scalloped potatoes have a cream sauce made with cream or milk, chicken broth, and flour instead.
My au gratin recipe rolls up both of these creamy recipes into one. In it, you’ll find layers of potatoes, shallots, gruyere cheese, and thyme covered in nutmeg-spiced cream sauce.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Potatoes – The best potatoes for au gratin potatoes are Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes because they both hold their shape after being cooked. Also, both are super starchy, which makes the sauce extra creamy, thick, and rich. If sweet potatoes are your thing, use them instead!
- Shallots – Slice the shallots with a mandolin for extra thin slices.
- Butter – Unsalted is best.
- Heavy cream – For the base of the cheese sauce.
- Nutmeg – Because warm spices only make comfort food even better.
- Kosher salt
- Fresh thyme – Fresh herbs are a must in gratin! If you don’t have fresh thyme, use 3 teaspoons of dried thyme instead.
- Gruyere cheese – Most American gratin potato recipes are made with shredded cheddar cheese. However, the best potatoes au gratin recipes use gruyere cheese. It melts beautifully and has a slightly nutty flavor, which pairs so well with every creamy and savory bite.
- Parmesan cheese – While this is only used on top of the assembled potatoes, feel free to add more to all of the layers.
How to make au gratin potatoes
Stir the heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg, and butter together in a small saucepan and heat it on the stove over low heat.
Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes into thin, evenly-sized slices. You can do the same with the shallots.
Arrange a single layer of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of a greased casserole dish or cast iron pan. Season with salt, then top with sliced shallots and thyme, and gruyere cheese. Continue until you run out of potatoes, shallots, and thyme.
Pour the warm creamy sauce over the layers of potatoes, pressing down on them with a spatula to evenly disperse the liquid. Top with the remaining gruyere, shaved parmesan, and thyme.
Cover the dish with a layer of foil and bake the gratin potatoes for 50 minutes. After, remove the foil and bake until the top is gooey and golden brown.
Sprinkle more fresh thyme on top and serve the potatoes right away. Enjoy!
Potatoes au gratin is the ultimate side dish – they go well with practically anything! If you’re making these cheesy potatoes for the holidays, pair a big batch with a roasted squash salad, the Thanksgiving turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, and stuffing made from scratch.
You don’t need to use special occasions as an excuse to make potatoes au gratin. They’re just as perfect for weeknight dinners, served next to braised short ribs, Swedish meatballs, or roasted chicken.
- Instead of gruyere – You can use another type of cheese that melts well. Bon Appetit ranked some of the best melting cheeses, some of which include cheddar, mozzarella, and fontina. If you love the flavor of gruyere, The Spruce Eats recommends replacing it with Jarlsberg, Beaufort, or comté.
- Add meat – Bring a salty and savory edge to this side by stirring cooked bacon, pancetta, or diced ham in with the cream sauce.
- Replicate the traditional crunchy topping – By mixing panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter together. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the potatoes before placing them under the broiler.
Make ahead: Fully assemble the sliced potatoes and cheese sauce in the baking dish, then cover the top with foil. You can make au gratin potatoes up to 3 days in advance and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to bake (note: bake them for an extra 10 to 15 minutes in the oven).
Store: Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.
Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing the unbaked or baked potatoes. Once it thaws, the cream sauce has a hard time maintaining its silky smooth texture.
Looking for more creamy side dishes?
Did you try these Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes? Let me know what you think and leave a comment below! Don’t forget to also take a picture of your recreation and tag me on Instagram. I love to see all of your photos!
Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a small saucepan add heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg and 3 tablespoons of the butter and set over low heat.
- Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes into ⅛ inch thick and immediately place in a large bowl of cold water. Once all potatoes are sliced, rinse and pat completely dry.
- Peel and thinly slice the shallots on the mandolin.
- Using 1 tablespoon of butter lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron pan or a 9X13 baking dish.
- Arrange a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan, lightly season with salt, thyme then add a thin layer of shallots and sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Continue this process of layering until potatoes, shallots and thyme are all used up. (Be sure to reserve a little cheese for the top.)
- Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes and gently press down on the potatoes with your hands to make sure all liquid is evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with remaining gruyere, parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes covered, remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- Top with more fresh thyme and serve warm.