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Rich, creamy and comforting, our Au Gratin Potatoes recipe with Gruyère is the perfect combination of tender potatoes and a silky, flavorful sauce.
Don’t wait for a special occasion to try this Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe! It’s perfect served for a simple Sunday supper alongside Classic Roast Beef or Herb Roasted Turkey Breast. This go-with-anything casserole has been a family favorite for generations. Our basic recipe is well spiced with a pinch of cayenne and nutmeg and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. The silky sauce has an earthy, assertive and complex flavor from a little aged Gruyère cheese sprinkled between the layers, making this potato casserole irresistible!
What’s the difference between Au Gratin Potatoes and Scalloped Potatoes?
Such a great question that may be debated for generations to come! First, Au Gratin Potatoes, or Potatoes Au Gratin, are very similar to Scalloped Potatoes. Often referred to as one and the same because they’re almost identical. Au Gratin Potatoes are a little more rich and decadent with grated cheese sprinkled between the layers of potatoes. Scalloped potatoes are made with a thicker sliced spud, so it’s a little less refined dish. Also Scalloped potatoes are typically made with a cream and butter sauce, but no cheese.
Au Gratin recipes call for the potatoes to be sliced wafer thin, from 1/16 to 1/8-inch. Slicing super thin potatoes requires either amazing knife skills, or a handy dandy Mandoline slicer. In other words, Au Gratin Potatoes may be just a little more fancy than scalloped. Either way, both dishes are pure comfort food!
Do you have to bake this Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe in an Au Gratin dish?
I don’t own a proper oval Au Gratin baking dish, so I just use what I have on hand. Anyway, this recipe turns out amazing in just about any ovenproof casserole dish or cast iron skillet! I often reach for my Emile Henry Square ceramic baking dish pictured above, which is one of my all-time favorite bakers.
Using a smaller pan like mine creates a thicker potato casserole requiring a longer bake time. If you use a larger, longer Au Gratin dish resulting in a thinner casserole, you can probably cut 15-20 minutes off the baking time. Personally I love the thick stacks of the most tender potatoes I’ve ever had. The fork glides through the potatoes like it’s cutting through soft butter. So good!
What kind of potatoes are best for an Au Gratin Potatoes recipe?
Any variety of good cooking potato will work for this recipe. However, I often use Yukon gold for casseroles like this. Pick up about 3 pounds of waxy, medium sized potatoes and you’re good to go.
What kind of cheese is best for Au Gratin Potatoes?
For this recipe we always use a good quality Gruyère cheese. The cheese is sprinkled throughout the casserole to impart that amazing, salty, earthy flavor. Gruyère is a terrific all-purpose cheese great for snacking and utterly amazing for cooking. Gruyère has a buttery flavor and melts beautifully making it terrific for all kinds of recipes like these popovers and our Easy French Onion Soup. Look for Gruyère in the good cheese section of better grocery stores. This aged cheese comes in a variety of flavors from mild to intense and is priced accordingly. We usually pick up a medium aged Gruyère and are always happy with the results.
Can this casserole be made ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this casserole up to one day ahead. Assemble the ingredients in a baking dish. Lightly coat a piece of plastic wrap with vegetable cooking spray and press it on the top of the potatoes to remove any air. This will help keep the potatoes from turning brown in the refrigerator. Bring the dish to room temperature one hour before baking to help it cook more evenly. Finally, remove the plastic wrap and bake uncovered. Enjoy!
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Rich and comforting, with the perfect combination of tender potatoes and a silky, flavorful sauce.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 ½ cups half-and-half
- ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese, plus 3 tablespoons for topping
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds waxy potatoes (like Yukon gold)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking dish, or 6 cup gratin dish with vegetable cooking spray or butter. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, garlic powder and half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly, about 3 to 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm.
Peel and slice the potatoes to 1/16 to 1/8-inch thickness. Layer ⅓ of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Spoon ⅓ of the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the cheese.
Repeat layering ½ of the remaining potatoes, ½ the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Gruyère.
- Top with the remaining potatoes then pour all the remaining sauce over the top.
Bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes. * If the top is drying out too quickly, remove the casserole from the oven and gently press down with a large flat spatula submerging the potatoes in the sauce. Tent with foil, if needed, and continue baking.
- After 1 hour of baking, sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining 3 tablespoons of cheese. Return the pan to the oven and cook another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender and the top is well browned.
Remove from the oven and allow the potatoes to rest 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
* There is no need to press the potatoes down into the sauce if they are still covered.
Once assembled, this casserole can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before baking. Lightly coat a piece of plastic wrap with vegetable cooking spray and press it down on the top of the potato casserole to seal out the air. Wrap with foil and refrigerate until needed. Allow the dish to come to room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
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