If you're looking to add a touch of sophistication to a special meal or holiday gathering, these Homemade Au Gratin Potatoes are the answer. Tender potatoes baked in a savory, garlic and thyme cream sauce, covered in cheese and broiled until bubbly and delicious. The perfect side or main dish for your big event!
Paris is a short flight from Lisbon, and we often find tickets for around a €40. I know. It's an embarrassment of riches.
On a recent weekend jaunt to visit friends in the City of Lights, we enjoyed a perfect, cozy autumn dinner at their apartment. A lovely roast chicken, haricot verts and a rich and bubbly potato gratin. We sat on the floor around the coffee table, laughing and catching up and eating our weight in creamy potatoes.
It was one of my favorite meals ever in Paris.
This homemade potato gratin is inspired by that night and the brilliant folks at Bon Appetit magazine. I'm a huge fan of their interpretation of this classic of French cuisine, and my recipe borrows from their concepts, with a twist here and there.
Make this for your next holiday gathering, Sunday supper with the family, or cozy autumn dinner at home.
*Super cool Parisian friends and coffee table sold separately.
What you'll need to make this French classic:
- Heavy cream
- Fresh thyme
- Garlic cloves
- Salt and black pepper
- Gruyere cheese
- Parmesan cheese
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for French Potato Au Gratin Recipe:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter the inside of a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Set aside.
Combine cream, shallots, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the shallots and garlic are soft.
Use an immersion blender to mix the cream sauce until smooth, or transfer to a blender and pulse until the mixture is fully combined.
While the cream is reducing, clean and cut your potatoes into very thin slices. You can use a mandolin or a sharp knife, but make sure the slices are fairly uniform in thickness to ensure even cooking time. If you slice the potatoes very thin using a mandolin, this dish will take about an hour to cook. If using a knife and slicing by hand, your potatoes will be thicker than the mandolin can achieve, so plan on cooking for 1 hour and 15 minutes - 1 hour 25 minutes.
Time to layer the potatoes. You have two options in layering your thin potato slices into your buttered casserole dish. The traditional method layers the potatoes horizontally across the bottom of the dish. Perfectly fine method. Our friends at Bon Appetit recommend fanning out a handful of the potato slices at a time but at an angle, which ensures each serving includes the tender inner parts of potato dish, as well as the crispy potato edges from the top. I’m a recent convert to this method and really encourage you to try it. Remember that you don't want to pack the sliced potatoes so tightly that they are standing straight up, but laying at an angle in the dish.
Once all of your potatoes are in the buttered casserole dish, gently pour the garlic shallot creamy sauce over the potatoes and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 55-65 minutes, until your potatoes are tender. (If hand-sliced, check for doneness around 1 hour 15 minutes) Remove from the oven. Turn your oven to broil. Sprinkle gruyere and parmesan over the potatoes.
Return the dish to the oven and broil for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Serve with additional fresh thyme leaves.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
The best potatoes for potato gratin dauphinois are starchy potatoes such as russets, or an intermediate option like Yukon gold potatoes, which are not as starchy, but certainly not in the waxy potatoes category like red potatoes. You want some starchiness in your potato choice so you get the best results on your creamy potatoes.
Potatoes au gratin is the perfect side dish for your special occasion dinner party or holiday table, sitting alongside traditional roasted meats or grilled fish. But it's also a rich and lovely main dish, served with a simple green salad.
Anything your heart desires. Cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese or gouda would all be lovely. The gruyere adds a sophisticated nuttiness, but if you're looking for the comfort food of your childhood, choose the cheese that makes that a reality.
To store, cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To make ahead, assemble the au gratin potatoes recipe and bake until you have tender potatoes. Remove from oven and cool, wrap and store in the refrigerator. A few hours before serving, bring the gratin dish up to room temperature, then bake for about 20 minutes, sprinkle cheese over the top of the gratin and broil until bubbly and golden brown.
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Try these delicious potato side dishes next!Print