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Thinly sliced potatoes are layered with a creamy and cheesy sauce that make for an indulgent yet satisfying side dish!

overhead image of a wooden cutting board and potatoes au gratin in a white casserole dish with a silver spoon that has scooped out some of the side dish.
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I don’t think I’ve ever met a potato dish I don’t like. This decadently creamy potatoes au gratin recipe is no exception either! This French classic has layers upon layers of thinly sliced potatoes, cream, cheese, and butter. Like I said, I’ve never met a potato dish I don’t like, haha

Without a doubt, this potatoes au gratin recipe is simple, yet decadent and luxurious. It’s perfect for entertaining or as a side dish. It is one of those dishes that you can easily prep ahead of time and it is always a crowdpleaser.

up close image of potatos au gratin in casserole dish

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

On the surface, potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes seem to be fairly similar with their thinly sliced potatoes but what they’re layered with is where their similarities end.

Scalloped potatoes are generally made with a roux (mixture of butter and flour with milk or cream) cream sauce and sometimes cheese is used. It always has a breadcrumb topping.

Potatoes au gratin, on the other hand, does not have a roux and cheese is always used and there is no breadcrumb topping.

Confusing? Yes. Potato, potahtoe, amiright? Don’t get me wrong, they’re both lovely side dishes with minimal prep time and ingredients and they’re equally arguably one of the best comfort foods out there, but of course there are differences.

potatoes au gratin on a white plate with the cream sauce and fresh parsley on top

What is potatoes au gratin then?

Potatoes au gratin is a classic French dish (Dauphinoise) that has been around for centuries. It was originally made with just potatoes and cream, but over the years, other ingredients (cheese, because Americans love their cheese, lol) have been added to create the dish we know and love today.

overhead view of ingredients for potatoes au gratin: stick of butter, cheddar cheese, sliced yellow potatoes, parmesan cheese, spices, and cream

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Yellow potatoes – or any other starchy potato. Russet works very well in this. You want a starchy potato as opposed to waxy. The potatoes should be peeled and thinly sliced so they cook evenly and absorb all of the flavors from the other ingredients.
  • Heavy cream – makes this dish rich and creamy. It’s the perfect base for the other ingredients.
  • Cheddar cheese – adds sharpness to the dish.
  • Parmesan cheese – adds a nice salty and nutty flavor to the dish.
  • Fresh thyme – adds an earthy flavor.
  • Garlic powder – gives a depth and flavor to the dish.
  • Dry mustard powder – gives it even more depth of flavor and a slight hint of heat.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • Fresh parsley – as a garnish since it can look a little pale without it.

How to make Potatoes Au Gratin

Set oven and prepare casserole dish. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an oven-safe casserole dish.

Mix all your ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together heavy cream, cheeses, and seasonings.

Toss the potatoes. Mix the sliced potatoes in the cream and cheese mixture.

Arrange and layer the potato slices. Stack the potato slices in an even layer and stacked horizontally.

Pour in the cream mixture. Evenly distribute the remaining cream mixture over the sliced potatoes then dot the top of the casserole with butter slices.

Cover and bake. Bake the casserole covered for the first half then uncovered for the second half, a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Garnish and serve.

a spoonful of baked potatoes au gratin from a casserole dish where you can see the cooked layered potatoes

Tips for success

  • Use starchy potatoes like Yukon Golds or Russets for this dish. They’ll hold up better. Waxy potatoes tend to make everything slip off them.
  • Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly for best results. To get the best and most consistent results for even cooking, invest in a mandolin!

Storing and reheating instructions

Potatoes au gratin can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat in the oven or microwave!

Common questions

What kinds of cheeses can I use? You can substitute the parmesan cheese for mozzarella, gouda, gruyere, Swiss, fontina, or havarti cheeses.

Can I make this ahead of time and freeze it? Yes and no. If you’re going to freeze it, it’s best you bake it first then let it cool completely then cover and freeze it.

If you’re not going to freeze it and you just want to prep this early because you’re a rockstar, you certainly can prepare it early by completing all the steps and covering it then putting in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, bring casserole dish to room temperature as the oven is preheating then bake.

More indulgent and satisfying side dish ideas:

4.41 from 5 votes

Simple Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin

The most decadent side dish of potatoes! You'll love the thinly sliced potatoes in the creamy and cheesy sauce!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 2 ½ pounds (1134 g) yellow potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (236 ml) heavy cream
  • ¾ cup (85 g) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup (75 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ tablespoon (4 g) fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) butter, divided
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
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  • Preheat your oven to 400 °F (204 °C) and use ½ tablespoon of butter to grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl mix together heavy cream, cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese.
  • Add in dry mustard, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir until well blended.
  • Dump your sliced potatoes into the mixture and mix well, making sure each slice is coated in the cream and cheese mixture.
  • Arrange potato slices in your casserole dish so that they are stacked horizontally.
  • Pour the remaining cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes and dot the top of the casserole with the remaining butter.
  • Tightly cover your casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and golden brown on top.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve warm.


Serving: 1serving (about 1 cup), Calories: 346kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 282mg, Potassium: 661mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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