These delicious Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes are easy to make and perfect with dinner. They are great for the holidays or even just a weeknight dinner.
The thinly sliced potatoes are combined with a 3 cheese sauce that’s creamy and delicious. It is the ultimate comfort food.
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Everyone loves au gratin potatoes during the holidays. But why wait? These delicious cheesy potatoes are ready to make an appearance at your dinner table any day of the week.
You might be surprised just how versatile these cheesy sliced potatoes can be!
You don’t want to have to wait for a holiday to enjoy one of the best potato side dishes. You can have them whenever you want.
This perfect potato dish goes great with so much more than ham! Try them with a smoky burger instead of cheese fries or with a rack of ribs instead of mac and cheese.
Why You’ll Love These Au Gratin Potatoes
- They’re cheesy and starchy and filling, and it ranks among the ultimate comfort foods.
- An absolute classic and always a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
- The amazing homemade flavor is so much better than box versions like Betty Crocker or the Aldi potato gratin.
- Perfect for holidays, Sunday dinners, or really any day that ends in “Y”.
Potatoes au Gratin vs. Scalloped Potatoes
Though these terms have become almost synonymous, there are in fact key differences in these sliced potato casserole recipes.
The first major difference is that unlike au gratins, traditional scalloped potatoes do not actually contain cheese.
Scalloped potatoes are made with an herbed cream reduction.
These days however amateur and even professional chefs alike often use the term interchangeably. So if you want to say you made cheesy scalloped potatoes, I see no problem with it.
Best Cheese For Au Gratin Potatoes
Traditionally, shredded cheddar cheese is used. But not just any shredded cheddar will do. You want to use freshly grated cheddar from a block, not prepackaged cheddar shreds.
Packaged cheese shreds contain an anti-caking ingredient that helps the cheese not stick together. Because the cheese doesn’t want to stick together, you end up with a less creamy, slightly grainier end result.
You can also use a variety of fresh cheeses in this recipe. Just think of the key flavors you’re going for and match the bouquet of various cheeses.
I always like to use cheddar as my base and supplement some smoky cheeses in as well.
There are those who say Velveeta will melt the best. But you want to use fresh cheese for the best homemade au gratin potatoes recipe.
If you liked the velvety Velveeta scalloped potatoes when you were a kid, then you’ll love this cheese sauce. It has that same beautifully creamy texture.
Cheese Sauce for Scalloped Potatoes
This is obviously the most important part of the recipe. You have to get the cheese sauce right. You don’t want it clumpy or too runny.
You want to make sure it has the proper amount of flavor before being adding it to the potatoes. That way the flavor fully bakes in. (Instead of just adding it to the surface after.)
Let’s take a closer look at making the cheese sauce for these cheesy potatoes au gratin.
- You want to melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, but don’t let it scorch.
- Once the butter has melted fully you can then add the flour. Whisk until it becomes smooth and makes a roux. Sifting the flour beforehand can decrease the chance of lumps in your roux.
- Keep whisking as you slowly, SLOWLY, add the milk. This method of pouring the milk in slowly while you are whisking decreases the chance of clumps. That will keep your sauce smooth.
- Keep whisking continuously to keep it smooth. Be sure to whisk out any clumps fully.
- Turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Whisk until the cheese sauce mixture is smooth and creamy.
Ingredients for Potatoes au Gratin
- Yukon gold potatoes – thinly sliced (about 1/8th of an inch thick)
- Unsalted butter – if you only have salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe and taste the sauce before adding any.
- All purpose flour
- Sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I do not recommend pre-shredded)
- Garlic powder
- Coarse kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Grated gruyere cheese
- Grated parmesan
Substitution & Alterations
These simple additions and substitutions can really change up how you use these versatile
- These are excellent topped with chopped, crispy bacon.
- You can treat these like loaded mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes. Top them with sour cream, chopped bacon, and chives.
- Chopped or shredded ham is a tremendously delicious addition mixed into the cheese sauce. Just add about 8 ounces of cooked chopped ham in with the cheese sauce when you’re making your layers.
- Smoked gouda would make an excellent topping. You can have it alongside or instead of the options listed in the ingredients for a little extra smoky flavor. Smoked chili cheddar would also be really good. It would give a smoky taste to the cheddar while also adding a little spicy heat throughout.
- If you are gluten intolerant, you can sub your favorite GF flour, like Bob’s Red Mill, 1:1 for the AP flour.
Potato Gratin – No Cream
There are a variety of options to use in au gratin potatoes instead of heavy cream. You can use whole milk, like this recipe does, or you can also use evaporated milk.
If you are dairy intolerant you can substitute coconut cream or onion cream. Onion cream is onions baked to a molten inside and pureed with salt and a little lemon juice.
How to Make Homemade Potatoes au Gratin
It may seem like there’s a lot going on here, but this is a really easy recipe to pull together.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with avocado oil spray and set it aside.
- Add the butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until it becomes smooth and makes a roux.
4. Keep whisking and slowly begin adding the milk, whisking continuously to keep it smooth. Be sure to whisk out any clumps fully.
5. Turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
6. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
7. Place a layer of sliced potatoes across the bottom of the prepared baking dish. You’ll want to use 1/3 of the potatoes. They can overlap slightly, but try not to have them directly stacked on each other. That way the cheese can get on all of the potatoes.
8. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the top of the potatoes and spread it evenly.
9. Top the cheese layer with another single layer of potatoes.
10. Top that layer of potatoes with another 1/3 of the cheese sauce.
11. Add the final layer of potatoes and pour the remaining cheese sauce on top, spreading evenly.
12. Sprinkle/spread the gruyere and parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.
13. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
14. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Just until the potatoes are cooked through and the top begins to become golden brown.
Make Ahead Instructions for au gratin potatoes
Follow the recipe all the way up until covering it with foil, just before you would place the baking dish into the oven.
Place in the refrigerator instead of the oven until ready to bake. Make sue the foil is tight or the potatoes might oxidize and turn gray or purple.
When you’re ready to bake them, let them come to room temp while the oven preheats. Follow the remainder of the instructions and bake as directed.
You may need a few extra minutes if everything is still cool when you put it in the oven.
Tips & Tricks
- Again, I recommend using freshly grated block cheese for the best results. Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent on it so it will not stick together in the packaging. But that anti-caking ingredients also doesn’t give as smooth of a texture as freshly grated cheese will.
- You can test to see if the potatoes are done cooking by piercing the center with a fork. It should slide into the potatoes easily. If the potatoes still feel at all firm, let them continue to cook for a few more minutes.
- Alternating layers of potatoes and cheese sauce will make sure that all of the potatoes are coated in cheese sauce. You won’t be left with regular old plain potatoes. That’s why it’s important to make sure the potatoes aren’t all stacked right on top of each other before pouring the cheese on top.
- It’s important to evenly slice your potatoes. Evenly sliced potatoes cook evenly. I like to use a mandolin slicer to achieve this (be careful if you do!).
- Taste your cheese sauce! Some people might like a little extra salt in there.
How to Serve au gratin potatoes
Everybody knows to pull this recipe out for the holiday, but this cheesy au gratin potatoes recipe is great any time of the year! Hear me out here.
- Burgers – I know, I know. It doesn’t seem right at first, but trust me. Try them with this Smoked Hamburger recipe for an amazing flavor combination. When you get down to it, these cheesy sliced potatoes are just a slightly healthier and fancier form of their close cousin cheese fries.
- They make a meal great with some Boneless Chicken Wings and simple Roasted Frozen Green Beans. I also like the boneless wings and cheesy potatoes in a wrap for a quick lunch.
- Everyone always serves these cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham. Do yourself a favor and try them with some brisket or these Pit Boss Ribs.
Traditional scalloped potatoes do not contain cheese. However, these two terms, though distinct, have become almost interchangeable among some amateur and even professional chefs. There are quite a few who make their scalloped potatoes with cheese.
Yes, traditional au gratin potato recipes contain cheese.
Yes, au gratin potatoes freeze quite well. They are best frozen in individual or two-person portions. Sealed properly, they’ll be good for up to 3 months.
Yes, au gratin potatoes can be made ahead of time. You can either make them all the way and just reheat them when ready to serve. You could also follow the instructions to make them up to the point just before you would put them in the oven.
Some au gratin potatoes have onion. But onion isn’t as traditional an ingredient as cheese, butter, and cream.
How to Store leftover au gratin or scalloped potatoes
Allow any leftover potatoes to cool completely. Seal them in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Freeze leftovers in a well-sealed airtight container for up to 3 months. Individual portion sizes are best.
How to Reheat au gratin potatoes
I’m going to say it. I don’t like the way microwaves often overheat cheese.
They shrink cheese shreds to a hard texture and scorch cheese sauce.
I recommend reheating these cheesy sliced potatoes in the oven to get the best results. This also helps keep a consistently creamy cheese sauce.
Place the potatoes in an oven safe dish and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Add a small amount of milk or water.
Reheat at 300-325°F for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are warmed through.
Other Potato Recipes
- Boursin Mashed Potatoes
- Air-Fryer Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Garlic Hasselback Potatoes
- Vegetarian Loaded Sweet Potato
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Cheese Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
- box grater
- 6 medium yukon gold potatoes thinly sliced (about 1/8th of an inch thick)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated (I do not recommend pre-shredded)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese grated
- 1/4 cup parmesan grated
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with avocado oil spray and set aside.
- Add the butter to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until it’s smooth and makes a roux.
- Slowly begin adding the milk, whisking continuously to keep it smooth. Be sure to whisk out any clumps.
- Turn off the heat and add in the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Whisk until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Place a layer of sliced potatoes across the bottom of the prepared baking dish. You’ll want to use 1/3 of the potatoes. They can overlap slightly, but try not to have them directly stacked on each other so that the cheese can get on all of the potatoes.
- Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the top of the potatoes and spread it evenly.
- Top the cheese layer with another single layer of potatoes.
- Top that layer of potatoes with another 1/3 of the cheese sauce.
- Add the final layer of potatoes and pour the remaining cheese sauce on top, spreading evenly.
- Top with the gruyere and parmesan.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Just until the potatoes are cooked through and the top begins to become golden brown.
- Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent on it so it will not give as smooth of a texture as freshly grated cheese. You can test if the potatoes are done by piercing the center with a fork. It should slide in easily.
- Alternating layers of potatoes and cheese sauce will make sure that all of the potatoes are coated in cheese sauce and you aren’t left with plain potatoes. That’s why it’s important to make sure they aren’t directly stacked on top of each other before pouring the cheese on top.
- It’s important to evenly slice your potatoes. I like to use a mandolin for this (be careful if you do!). This will make sure that the entire dish cooks evenly.
- Taste your cheese sauce! Some people like a little extra salt in there.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It should only be used for estimation purposes and is not a guarantee of any kind. Nutritional information varies widely between brands and types of ingredients used. It is recommended that you calculate the nutritional information based on your own ingredients and brands used. Sweetly Splendid, LLC makes no guarantees as to the exact nutrition information.