Potatoes are one of my guilty pleasures… whether it’s a plate of crispy fries, or a huge serving of mashed potatoes, there is just something that is so irresistible about them! One absolutely magical way to enjoy potatoes is in a potato gratin, which is basically thinly sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce smothered in plenty of melted cheese! Yum!!! There are many variations of potato gratin with the central item being the cream sauce which is generally either full (heavy/whipping) cream sauce or a béchamel sauce which is a sauce made with butter and milk that is thickened with flour. The full cream sauce is more decadent and the bechamel is a little lighter and both are simply amazing! I like to season the sauce with onions, garlic, thyme and a pinch of nutmeg along with some cheese. Speaking of cheese, potato gratin has plenty of cheese, with some melted into the sauce and more sprinkled on top before baking! Gruyere is a great option for the cheese but any cheese that melts well will work including cheeses like: mozzarella, cheddar, havarti, swiss, etc. Feel free to choose your favourite cheese or even a combination of cheeses! It takes a bit of time to slice all of the potatoes (I like to use an mandoline) and arranging them all but once that’s done you just throw it into the oven and wait while all of the cream and cheese melts right into the potatoes
Classic melt in your mouth potatoes in a creamy cheese sauce!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced/grated
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 3 tablespoons flour (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups guyere cheese, shredded
- 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour, mix well and cook until it starts to turn lightly golden brown, about a minute.
- Add the milk and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat, add 1/2 cup of the cheese, mix and let it melt into the sauce before adding the nutmeg and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread some of the sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish (or cast iron pan) and place the potatoes in with sauce between each layer. (I like to dip each slice into the sauce as I place them into the pan.)
- Pour any remaining sauce over the potatoes in the pan, sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the potatoes are tender, about 45-60 minutes.
Option: Use your favourite melting cheese, like swiss, mozzarella, havarti, cheddar, etc.
Option: Add another cheese like parmesan, asiago, pecorino romano, etc.
Option: Add bacon!
Note: When I arrange the potatoes in a more vertical fashion, such as the ones in the photos, I dip the slices of potato into the sauce as I place them in the pan. If I am going for a more horizontal version, I place a single layer of potatoes down in the baking dish, spread some sauce on top, followed by another layer of potatoes, sauce, etc.
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