This au gratin potato recipe makes a creamy casserole with a thin white sauce-type filling. It relies on the starch in the potatoes to thicken the cream into a sauce. 

Click here to try an au grating potatoes recipe that relies on eggs to thicken the sauce.

Baker’s Notes: It is important that you use starchy, Russet-type potatoes.  It is also important that you bring the milk to a simmer only, not boiling, to avoid curdling. This can be made without the cheese for scalloped potatoes.

Variations on the Au Gratin Potato Recipe

This is a basic recipe.  Other ingredients may be added as desired, though this is a good dish in its basic form.  You may add any of the following ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 pound bacon, crisply cooked and snipped into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups ham cut into small cubes

Basic Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

  • 7 to 8 cups of sliced potatoes, 1/8-inch thick
  • about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • about 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cups milk
  • 2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes to 1/8-inch thick.  Use a mandolin or other cutting tool so that the potatoes are of uniform thickness.
  2. Place a layer of potatoes in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and a very small amount of nutmeg.  Sprinkle with a portion of the grated cheese.   Repeat with additional layers until the potatoes and this portion of the cheese is used.
  3. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.  Pour the milk and cream mixture over the layered potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the casserole.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender but still firm when poked with a fork.

Baking Tip: Adjusting Your Au Gratin Potato Recipe to Your Baking Dish

We baked these casseroles in three different types of dishes: Dark metal, clear glass, and opaque decorative glass.  The type of baking dishes affects baking times.  A dark metal dish bakes fastest.  A clear glass or off-colored baking dish is next.  A light-colored, opaque glass dish is the slowest.

Baking times seemed to vary about ten minutes from one type of pan to the next.

As important as baking dishes are, the thickness of the casserole has even more impact.  A shallow casserole bakes much faster than one that fills the whole pan.

(Updated from May 26, 2014)

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