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Au Gratin Potatoes – The Perfect Holiday Side Dish Recipe

If you are looking for a side dish recipe to serve at your next holiday dinner, then you should definitely make Au Gratin Potatoes. Thinly sliced potatoes layered in a casserole dish and baked in a cheesy cream sauce.

Not only do they taste incredible, but they also make for a beautiful presentation at the dinner table. Best of all, they are actually very easy to make!

Although they may look intimidating to make, with just a few key tips and tricks you can have them in the oven baking in less then 20 minutes!

au gratin potatoes in a baking dish
The difference between Au Gratin Potatoes and Scalloped Potatoes is the addition of cheese.

Au Gratin Potatoes vs. Scalloped Potatoes

When it comes to the difference between these two popular potato side dish recipes, it all comes down to one simple ingredient, cheese!

Scalloped potatoes include sliced potatoes and onions that are cooked in a cream sauce made with milk and/or heavy cream. Although the cream is often flavored with garlic and other herbs it doesn’t include cheese.

On the other hand Au Gratin Potatoes consist of finely sliced potatoes and onions with a creamy cheese sauce poured in between the layers. In addition, more cheese and sometimes even breadcrumbs are often sprinkled on top of the potato casserole.

Helpful Tips For Making Homemade Au Gratin Potatoes

1. Pick The Correct Variety of Potato

Although you could use any potato variety to make this recipe, there is a big difference in both the taste and texture depending on which type of potato that you choose.

Just like when making Scalloped Potatoes I prefer to use Yukon Gold Potatoes in this recipe. Yukon Gold Potatoes have a natural buttery taste to them that makes the flavor of the cheesy potatoes even better.

They also have a medium high starch content which will help thicken the sauce as it cooks. Finally, another reason that I prefer to use Yukon gold potatoes more than any other variety is that you don’t have to peel the potatoes.

bag yukon gold potatoes
Yukon gold potatoes are the potato of choice when making homemade Au Gratin potatoes.

They have an extremely thin skin which will become tender during the baking process. Therefore it is a huge time saver when preparing the potatoes.

However, if you aren’t a fan of Yukon gold potatoes or can’t find them at the store, the next best option are red potatoes. Just steer away from Russet or standard baking potatoes if at all possible.

They have a high starch content and will tend to break down too much when baked for an extended period of time. This is why they make great mashed potatoes!

2. Use A Mandoline Slicer

One of the most valuable kitchen tools that I have ever purchased is a mandoline slicer. This vegetable slicer comes with a variety of blades and makes slicing, cutting and grating vegetables a breeze.

In fact, it will take only a few minutes to have all of your potatoes sliced and ready to layer in the baking dish. However, if you do own a mandoline slicer, be sure to use the finger guard that comes with it!

The blades are extremely sharp and will cut the tops of your fingertips before you know it!

Although if you prefer, you could skip the mandoline slicer and use a large food processor that has a thin slicer blade to cut the potatoes. Or there is always the standard chef’s knife to get the job done too!

However, if you do cut them by hand, be sure to cut the slices in equal thickness. This will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly during the baking process.

mandoline slicer
A mandoline slicer makes easy work of slicing the potatoes. However be sure to use the finger guard!

3. Use Two Different Types of Block Cheese

To add more flavor and interest to the Au Gratin Potatoes, be sure to use at least two different types of cheese. However be sure to choose cheese varieties that have a strong, bold flavor.

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese are all great choices when it comes to adding flavor to the potatoes. Although you could use only one type of cheese, it is best to use at least two of the three varieties for maximum flavor.

And before you grab the bag of shredded cheese at the grocery store, think again. If you want a smooth cheesy cream sauce, it is important to shred your own cheese.

This is because shredded cheese contains an anti-caking agent so that it doesn’t clump during the storing process. Therefore, when it is heated, it won’t melt completely and may taste grainy.

Instead, use that mandoline slicer one more time and grate the cheese with the grater blade. However, you could also use a large food processor or a hand grater if you prefer.

4. Optional Step: Top the Casserole With More Cheese

As mentioned above, this recipe is different than scalloped potatoes because of the addition of cheese in the cream sauce. But why stop there?

If you like your potatoes extra cheesy then you can top the side dish with more cheese! Simply sprinkle the cheese on top of the potatoes once you remove the foil.

However, be sure to use fresh grated cheese so that the strands completely melt. Now that you have all the important tips and tricks to this recipe, let’s get cooking!

slices of potatoes stacked on the side
To make a fancier presentation stack the thinly sliced potatoes on their side in the baking dish.

Au Gratin Potatoes

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet or yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Then grease a 3 quart casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Scrub the potatoes clean and pat them dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife or mandoline slicer, slice each potato into ⅛” thin slices.

Cut the onion in half and then place the flat side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife slice the onion as thin as possible.

Layer the slices of potatoes and onions in the prepared casserole dish. For a fancier look, you can make stacks of potatoes and onions and place them on their side in the baking dish. Set the baking dish aside while you prepare the Au Gratin Potato cheese sauce.

In a medium size saucepan melt the butter. Then whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the milk and ground mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. *For additional flavor add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

au gratin potato casserole
If you want to add more cheese, do so when you take the foil off the potatoes during the first round of baking.

Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh grated cheeses until the cheese has completely melted.

Pour the cheese sauce over the layers of potatoes and onions. Then spray a piece of aluminum foil with non stick cooking spray and place over the baking dish.

Bake Time

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and sprinkle the top with more fresh shredded cheese if desired.

Then place the uncovered dish in the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. The Au Gratin Potatoes are ready when the sauce is bubbly around the edges and the top is light golden brown in color.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving so that the sauce can thicken.

Enjoy! Mary

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Au Gratin Potatoes

Au Gratin Potatoes

Thin slices of potatoes and onions layered in a casserole dish and topped with an easy homemade cheese sauce. The perfect side dish for the holidays!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet or yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a 3 quart casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and pat them dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife or mandoline slicer, slice each potato into ⅛" thin slices.
  3. Cut the onion in half and then place the flat side down on a cutting board and slice the onion as thin as possible.
  4. Layer the slices of potatoes and onions in the prepared casserole dish.
  5. In a medium size saucepan melt the butter. Then whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and ground dry mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses until the cheese has melted.
  7. Pour the cheese sauce over the layers of potatoes and onions.
  8. Spray a piece of foil with non stick cooking spray and place over the baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly around the edges and the top is light golden brown.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Top with additional shredded cheese if desired.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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