One of my favorite sides for any meal is potatoes, and cheesy au gratin potatoes is at the top of my list. These potatoes are perfect for when you want a family-friendly side dish. Thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce are the ideal addition to almost any meal. It’s comfort food everyone loves.
Why This Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe is the Best
First of all, it’s easy to make and so much better than boxed au gratin potatoes. These potatoes are totally delicious and creamy with a hint of garlic and a tangy cheese topping.
Thinly cut potatoes are cooked with garlic in a skillet, covered with creamy sauce and cheese, then baked to perfection. The result is a creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes au gratin dish.
While the potatoes are baking in the oven, you are free to get the rest of your meal prepared.
Or, if you put this in the oven along with a chicken, both will be ready at about the same time. I love to put a couple of items in the oven at once – it’s carefree cooking.
This dish looks so cheesy and wonderful, you’ll get hungry just thinking about it!
This dish will always come back empty. Hands down, these are the potatoes for the holidays, Mother’s day brunch, or Easter dinner.
This truly is the best recipe for homemade au gratin potatoes with cheese for the beginner or expert cook.
Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes Ingredients
This classic cheese potatoes au gratin recipe is made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Here’s a list:
- Heavy cream
- Shredded Swiss cheese
What are the best potatoes for au gratin?
For this au gratin potatoes recipe, I recommend using Yukon gold potatoes, which you can find in every grocery store. If you want to try another kind of potato, my second choice would be Russet potatoes.
I do not recommend making this dish with red potatoes because they aren’t starchy enough for this dish. Although, we can do all sorts of delicious things with red potatoes.
You could use another type of starchy potato instead of Yukon Gold.
You could also swap the type of cheese. Swiss is perfect for making Swiss cheese au gratin potatoes.
Turning this into a vegan potatoes au gratin recipe might be challenging because of finding the right substitute for heavy cream. However, if you want to give it a try, check out these vegan heavy cream substitutes.
How to Make Au Gratin Potatoes from Scratch
- Melt butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and spread the potato slices evenly in the skillet.
- Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir to coat the potatoes with butter.
- Add heavy cream and half of the Swiss cheese.
- When the mixture begins to boil, remove the skillet from the stove.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Other Cooking Methods
Air Fryer Potato Gratin
Since this dish is first prepared in a skillet, there’s an additional step to convert it from oven-baked to air-fried.
You’ll need to transfer the cooked potatoes and cheese sauce from the skillet to a dish that fits in your air fryer basket.
Top with cheese and place the dish in your air fryer oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Cooking Tips for This Easy Potato Gratin Recipe
Use Yukon gold or Russet potatoes for this au gratin potatoes recipe with heavy cream. Yukon Gold potatoes are my personal choice for this recipe for au gratin potatoes because they have lots of starch, which helps the casserole hold together well.
Cut the potatoes into slices about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. You don’t want them any thicker, and slicing them any thinner will cause the potatoes to cook too quickly and then break apart in your dish.
Heavy cream gives these potatoes a lovely richness. Heavy cream has multiple names – heavy cream, whipping cream, double cream.
Do not substitute whole milk. Using half-and-half is not best for this potatoes gratin recipe either. One big plus when cooking with heavy cream is the dish will reheat better. I often consider how the food will turn out the second time around.
Use Jarlsburg cheese. If you don’t have Jarlsburg or it’s not available at your grocery store, you can use Swiss or even Cheddar.
Grate the cheese yourself. Cheese that comes already grated contains an anti-caking agent to keep it separated in the package. Pre-grated cheese doesn’t melt as well and can cause the sauce to have a grainy texture.
This is a basic potato dish, but you can change it up very easily and make it your own. Here are some suggestions for what to add to au gratin potatoes:
- Add some ham or cooked bacon.
- Use a different cheese such as Cheddar, Colby, or Parmesan.
- Sprinkle on sliced green onions, chives, or fresh herbs just before serving. Parsley or tarragon works wonderfully.
- Add some greens. Fresh kale or baby spinach would be delicious.
- Stir in 1/4 cup of basil pesto for an extra tasty twist.
- Use half sweet potatoes for a winning sweet/savory combo.
What is the difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes?
The main difference between these two popular potato dishes is cheese!
Scalloped potatoes consist of thinly sliced potatoes layered in a casserole dish and baked with a creamy milk sauce.
Potatoes au gratin, on the other hand, has grated cheese between the layers, making this dish way cheesier throughout.
Can you make au gratin potatoes ahead of time?
This potato casserole is best served straight out of the oven, but you can make this easy recipe for au gratin potatoes up to two days ahead of time.
Pop it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve it, bake it at 350 degrees until heated through.
Use a stainless steel skillet and not a cast-iron skillet. Cast iron is great for cooking but not to be used for storing food. You want to keep cast iron dry to preserve the skillet’s seasoning and prevent rust.
How to Store Au Gratin Potatoes
Place any leftover au gratin potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This potato side dish will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
Can you freeze au gratin potatoes?
Yes, you can. Store them in a freezer-safe airtight container and place it in your freezer. They will keep in your freezer for up to three months.
Note: When you freeze these au gratin potatoes, you may get some changes to texture and flavor. Also, beyond two weeks, the quality of your potato dish might deteriorate.
How to Reheat Au Gratin Potatoes
Before reheating frozen au gratin potatoes, allow the dish to thaw thoroughly. Once defrosted, there are three ways to reheat this dish:
Oven: Place your defrosted potatoes au gratin in an oven-safe dish that has a lid (or cover with foil). Bake it in the center of a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 5 minutes to brown and crisp the top.
Stove Top: Transfer your thawed potatoes to a cooking pot with a lid. Cook over low to medium heat with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
Microwave: Place your defrosted au gratin potatoes in a microwave-safe container and cover with wax paper or microwave-suitable plastic wrap, leaving a small portion open for air to pass through. Heat on high for 3 minutes and let it rest for 30 seconds. Then heat for another 3 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Reheating Note: Whichever reheating method you use, use a food thermometer to ensure that your potato dish has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the recommended temperature to ensure that your food can be eaten safely.
What to Serve With Au Gratin Potatoes
Easy potato au gratin with heavy cream is the perfect side dish for many different foods. The mild flavor of homemade au gratin potatoes goes well with most meats. Here are some great main dishes to serve with these cheesy potatoes au gratin.
- Bone In Ribeye Roast
- Eye of Round Roast
- Filet Mignon Roast
- New York Strip Roast
- Oven Brisket
- Deep Fried Turkey
- Smoked Whole Chicken
- Southern Fried Chicken
Love potatoes? Try these recipes!
Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 2 pounds potatoes preferably Yukon Gold, but others will do, washed, peeled, and sliced to 1/4 inch
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese preferably Emmentaler (divided use)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, melt the butter over low to medium-low heat, add the sliced garlic, and spread the potatoes evenly into the warmed skillet. Watch the temperature of your skillet, ensuring that it remains on a low to medium-low setting, as you do not want the garlic to brown.
- Cook the potatoes for about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to coat the potatoes with butter. Then add the heavy cream and half Swiss cheese, and bring to a boil.
- When the mixture has reached a boil, remove the skillet from the stove.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.