These cheesy, dreamy potatoes au gratin are the ultimate potato casserole. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes, cheese, garlic and herbs make this super simple potato dish a winner for any occasion. The best part is there is about 15 minutes of active prep and this dish can be made days ahead of time! Total wins all around!
I have a serious obsession with potatoes…how serious? Well serious enough that I am considering devoting an entire category to potatoes on this site.
Anyone else think I have a slight potato addiction? Hey I’m a Russian…potatoes are LIFE!
I have many favorites…but one of the most epic combinations of potatoes is… Potatoes+Cheese+Cream.
AKA Scalloped Potatoes…AKA Au Gratin potatoes.
I have made a variation of these before. One of the French variety: Pommes Dauphinois .
They truly are a beautifully wonderful potato. I have made them MANY times for tons of parties and events. And they are also super freezer friendly and ridiculously creamy.
That being said. At times they are bit more cumbersome. You have to layer them, then spread the cream, spread the cheese and repeat. And while when you have the time it is the ABSOLUTE BEST way to do things…sometimes we do not have the time and we must take little short cuts.
These potatoes au gratin are THAT shortcut.
Can you even handle that brown crispiness and the cheesiness? Isn’t this heaven? Let me tell you it SOOO is. And the few shortcuts that I took clearly did not cut down on the flavor nor the crusty and beautiful top. Am I the only one that would like to dive into the cheesy goodness and take a creamy cheese and potato bath? No?
See I told you…obsessed with taters.
There are a few small differences with this dish and my classic Pomme Dauphinoise that keeps the flavor but cuts on the time:
- In the original Pomme Dauphinoise recipe the potatoes are sliced on the mandolin just like they are in this recipe…however in the Pomme Dauphinoise recipe they are very strategically shingled out. NOT HERE! Here I just kind of threw some down then seasoned with good amounts of salt and pepper and some shredded cheeses. It takes hardly any time.
- The sauce in the original Pomme Dauphinoise recipe a classic mornay sauce. Which is basically a fancy French cheese sauce. Which is incredibly and utterly delicious BUT requires a roux and a bit more time. In this recipe… we simply steep garlic and thyme in some heavy cream over low heat for about 10 minutes. Once your kitchen starts to smell like garlic and thyme heaven, we turn off the cream and just pour it right over the potatoes.
FYI…this whole infusion idea is flipping brilliant! Seriously you can do this with rosemary, sage, tarragon…anything. Just keep it nice and low so it is barely a simmer.
- We do a very unique baking trick that I picked up from a Bon Appetite Magazine . We preheat our oven to 400 degrees and then once we are ready to put the dish into the oven, drop it to 350. This will help the potatoes cook a bit faster and also help the cream thicken up.
- I decided to just keep it super simple this time around and use majority of a super salty Parmesan and just some Gruyere to really seal the flavor deal. Turns out…I was correct to assume this. The flavor profile was absolutely perfect. Salty and savory cheese. MMMMMM.
Look at that golden deliciousness. It just does not get better than this! But did I mention the best part? You can make this ahead of time!!! Assemble it a few days before, place it in the fridge and bake away right when you need it. Or better yet, make it, even a month ahead of time. Make it, freeze it and then bake it off when you need it. And no one will ever know that this was made a month ago.
The bottom line is this: cheese, cream, garlic and potatoes are NEVER a bad thing.
- 1 tbsp butter to butter baking dish
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2-2.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese, shredded
- ½ cup grated Parmesan, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Pour heavy cream into a small pot over low heat. Add garlic,thyme and salt and pepper. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- While the heavy cream is steeping, wash potatoes and slice potatoes on a mandolin slicer about ⅛-inch thick. There is no need to peel them on Yukon Golds because the skin becomes super tender and practically unnoticeable.
- Butter an 13x9 inch casserole dish (or baking pan).
- Add ⅓ of the potatoes, spreading them out. Season with salt and pepper. Add ⅓ of the cheeses.
- Continue to do this until all the potatoes have been used up, leaving the top layer without cheese.
- Add the steeped cream to the potatoes, pouring evenly. Shake the pan a bit to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
- Season with salt and pepper and the remaining cheeses.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place into the preheated oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 350-degrees.
- Continue to bake covered for 40 minutes. Then remove foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve hot.
2. If you cannot find a Gruyere, feel free to substitute another good quality Swiss cheese. But stick to something with a personality, it will really make a difference in the flavor profile.
3. There are many fine grocery stores that will actually shred the cheese for you. Just ask them. Otherwise, shred it on your own. Do NOT buy the already shredded stuff, it just does not have the same meltability factor.