Potatoes Au Gratin is russet potato rounds smothered with a creamy cheese sauce and topped and baked with even more cheese. If you love cheesy potatoes, be sure to check out my Scalloped Potatoes.

Plate of Potatoes Au Gratin
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Potatoes Au Gratin

Potatoes Au Gratin are similar to scalloped potatoes as they both are potato rounds covered in a cream sauce. The main difference is the addition of cheese to the cream sauce and oftentimes a breadcrumb crust. But whatever category these cheesy potatoes fall into, they should be a part of your side dishes to serve at Thanksgiving, Easter, or any day of the year, for that matter!

Overhead image of Potatoes Au Gratin on Cutting Board

Potatoes Au Gratin Ingredients

Potatoes: I used russet potatoes for this recipe; starchy potatoes help thicken the sauce and will bake fork-tender. Yukon gold potatoes would also work well. Be sure to wash the potatoes before peeling and slicing them. I will give you some tips on how to make the potato rounds uniform for best results when cooking.

Onions: Yellow onions were my choice for onions; they add the most flavor to the dish.

Milk: I recommend using whole milk in this recipe. If you use milk with a lower fat content (1% or skim), there is a possibility that the sauce will curdle. Also, make sure the milk is at room temperature before adding it to the sauce.

Cheese: The cheese in the cream sauce makes these au gratin potatoes. And, more cheese is added to the top, making them even cheesier. I chose to use sharp cheddar cheese, but feel free to try your favorite kind of cheese.

Process Steps on sliced potatoes, cheese sauce, and shredded cheese going on Potatoes Au Gratin

Slicing the Potatoes {Tips for Uniform Potato Rounds}

The first thing to do for this Potatoes Au Gratin recipe is to rinse, peel, and slice the potatoes. One of the signature traits of this dish is its uniform potato size. We don’t just scatter the potatoes around and hope for the best, we lay them out perfectly straight, which makes it look beautiful and helps the dish cook evenly. 

Be sure to use a mandoline slicer (affiliate link) for uniform slices. Your mandoline should have a “thin slice” blade and I recommend that for this dish. One of the beautiful aspects of this au gratin potato dish is how the potatoes are laid out. To make sure you can replicate it, use your mandoline right on the cutting board. Using it over a bowl will cause the potatoes to separate and they will not be lined up as they are in this recipe. I cut one potato at a time and set them aside while I work on the next one.

Scoop of Potatoes Au Gratin

How to Make Potatoes Au Gratin

Once the potatoes have been sliced, place them in a prepared 9×13-inch baking dish in a single layer, trying to keep the potatoes together as much as possible. Set the pan aside as you make the cream sauce.

To make the cheesy cream sauce, first, melt the butter and add the onion over low heat. Cook the onion for a few minutes, or until it softens. Next, add the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute. Then, slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking constantly. Once the milk has been added, continue cooking for 5-8 minutes, whisking frequently.

After the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in one cup of cheese. Stir for up to a minute, or until the cheese is melted and smooth. Pour the cheese sauce over the arranged potatoes that are in the baking dish. Finally, top with the remaining cup of cheese.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. After 60 minutes, carefully remove the foil from the dish and broil the potatoes au gratin for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, to brown the top. Serve garnished with parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

What is the Difference Between Au Gratin and Scalloped Potatoes?

As I stated above, there is a difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes. Traditionally, scalloped potatoes do not have cheese; they have a heavy cream sauce and are much simpler. Au Gratin potatoes, on the other hand, are made with cheese and sometimes sprinkled with breadcrumbs on top.

Another difference between the two recipes is the size of the slices of potatoes. In both cases, the potatoes are cut into rounds; however, scalloped potatoes are generally thicker cut than au gratin.

Fork Picking up a Bite of Potatoes Au Gratin

Can I Freeze Potatoes Au Gratin?

Yes! Once the potatoes have been baked, let them come to room temperature. (But, don’t let them sit out for more than 2 hours before storing them.) Then, store them in a freezer-safe container that is labeled and dated. They will be good for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.

More Side Dishes

4.75 from 4 votes

Potatoes Au Gratin

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 3 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 23 minutes
Potatoes Au Gratin are russet potato rounds smothered with a creamy cheese sauce and topped and baked with even more cheese.


  • 3 pounds (approximately 8-10 medium) russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled, and thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • parsley, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and diced onion over low heat until the onion is softened (3-5 minutes). Then add the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Slowly drizzle in milk, whisking constantly. After adding the milk, continue cooking until the mixture thickens, 5-8 minutes, whisking frequently.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds. Set aside.
  • Carefully set the potato slices in the bottom of the prepared baking dish (trying to keep the shape of the potato together), and fan them out in a single layer.
  • Top the potatoes with the cheese sauce and the remaining cup of shredded cheese.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Remove the foil and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until brown, watching carefully.
  • Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Reader Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Very delicious!! I sliced the potatoes thin, but it took much longer than recipe states for them to be tender.

  2. I added a pinch of nutmeg and a half teaspoon of thyme to the milk (I used half and half) mixture. I also added more cheese. Following your directions, the potatoes were very creamy and absolutely delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I did add a little more cheese and did half of the cheese Gouda and half Sharp Cheddar and let me tell you creamy creamy creamy deliciousness! Other than the Gouda and having more cheese than recipe stated I did everything else exactly as recipe said. Perfection!

  4. 5 stars
    I was looking for another side to have with our Thankgiving ham and this looks very good. My family is going to love this.

4.75 from 4 votes

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