Simple Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

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You might know them as scalloped potatoes, or you might know them as potatoes au gratin.  Whatever you call them, this classic potato dish is a wonderful side for hearty meats and cold nights. 

What are Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin?

Potatoes Au Gratin are a preparation of potatoes made with cream, milk, and cheese baked in the oven as a simple casserole. The name “Au Gratin” means to scrape or grate. This refers to the browned crust on top, resulting from the bake of the cheese or the addition of breadcrumbs. 

Ingredients for au gratin all prepared on the table

Differences Between Potatoes Au Gratin vs Scalloped Potatoes  

Traditionally, Potatoes Au Gratin has cheese and a crispy crust on top while scalloped potatoes do not have cheese. 

That said, here in America, I love adding cheese to everything. It didn’t take long before people were adding cheese to the scalloped preparation, effectively removing the distinction between the two. 

My Approach

Slice the potatoes as thin as you can and layer like a casserole or lasagna. Because I’m baking these potatoes, you are really going to want to make sure they cook all the way through. 

Few things will spoil your experience more than biting into a raw undercooked potato because it was cut too thin. When it comes to layering, I’m going to alternate layers of seasoned potato, onion, and cheese ensuring each layer is getting all of the flavors. 

What Makes Good Au Gratin Potatoes 

To make a good cheesy potatoes au gratin you must have a cheesy crusty top. That is the whole point of this preparation! To ensure this happens without burning, you are going to want to do a couple things:

  1. Cover your dish with foil until the finishing step
  2. Use a cheese that actually melts and browns (cheddar or gruyere are good options)
Baked potatoes au gratin in a white casserole placed on a black stove

Developing Flavors

Again, I want you to think of this dish as a casserole or lasagna more than baked potatoes. To develop more flavor, you will want to ensure more flavor is added in each layer. 

For example, it is critical to salt and season each layer before proceeding to the next. If you only season the top of the dish, it will not properly affect layers below it. Doing this will result in bland potatoes. 

A few good ways to increase the flavor of your potatoes are to add garlic or chopped herbs to the layers. Alternating garlic, rosemary, and thyme would be a wonderful combination of aromatics that will give some more dynamic flavors to your dish. 

Baked potatoes au gratin in a white casserole placed on a black stove

Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin

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Course: Sides
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 292kcal


  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 cup cheese for layers
  • ½ cup cheese for topping
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Seasonings and herbs to taste (garlic, rosemary, thyme)


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F
  • Slice your potatoes to 1/8th – 1/16th of an inch thick
  • Slice you onions as thin as you can. Be sure to create long, thin slices, rather than chopping into small pieces.
  • Layer potatoes in your casserole dish overlapping like roof shingles
  • Layer onions
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper, along with any additional seasonings/herbs
  • Layer of cheese
  • Repeat steps 4-7 until you have reached the top of the dish
  • When all layers are done pour in milk and cream
  • Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes covered 
  • Uncover and add breadcrumbs and cheese for topping
  • Bake for an additional 20 minutes uncovered or until top is browned 
  • Serve


Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 2mg
Beginner Side Dish Guide

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.

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