simple potato gratin

I think that gratins get a bad rap. I mean, if you’re ordering them in restaurants, swimming in layers of triple creams and crusted with four different varieties of cheese, they might even (most deliciously) deserve it. But after coming home from the farmers’ market in our new neighborhood (!) last weekend with potatoes and shiitakes and no real inkling of what I wanted to do with them, I turned to Alice Waters — her books are increasingly become my cooking bibles these days — and realized that something I’d never much associated with easy, light meals, a gratin, was exactly what was in order.

what you'll needthinly sliced potatoeslayered assemblypour cream or milk overadd butteradd more cheese on top

At its simplest, a gratin is sliced potatoes, a cup of whole milk (yes, milk though you’re welcome to gild the lily with half, full and double creams) and a few pats of butter on top. Adding a wee bit of a cheese between the layers goes surprisingly far — once it is all baked together, you’ll feel like you’re eating a macaroni-and-cheese level dish, minus that extra pound-and-a-half of cheese, not bad for four ingredient dish! — and if you season it well, you wonder why you don’t make them more often.

But there’s no reason to stop with potatoes. You could thinly slice any root vegetable or sauté any mushroom or green as an additional filling. We alternated layers with those shiitakes, sautéed lightly and ended up with the kind of deliciously crusted dish that makes us accuse each other of saving the biggest, best slices for ourselves.

simplest potato gratin

One year ago: Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes and Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Two years ago: Gnocchi with a Grater and The Tart Marg

[Note: This recipe got some much-needed fresh photos in 2020.]

Awesomely Simple Potato Gratin
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food

As I mentioned above, potato gratins are infinitely adaptable, so have fun with this recipe. We sautéed half a pound of thinly-sliced shiitakes with one small minced shallot until they were softened and spread the mixture between potato layers. And then we fought over the corner pieces, but that part is optional, and maybe even avoidable if your household is full of grownups.

3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, plus an additional pat for buttering gratin dish
4 large yellow potatoes* (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk, half-and-half or cream (if using something richer than milk, you can skip the butter)
2 ounces cheese, grated or crumbled (Parmesan or Gruyere are the classics, but that doesn’t mean that goat cheese, blue cheese or any of your favorites won’t work as well) [optional]

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9- by 12-inch gratin dish with the pat of butter. Slice the potatoes as thinly as you can (a mandoline works great for this) and arrange them in a layer, overlapping the edges slightly like shingles. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper and don’t be stingy — this is where the bulk of your flavor comes from and a third of the cheese before before repeating this process with your remaining potato slices. (If you are using a sauteed vegetable filling, this is where you’d want to add half of it.) Depending on how thinly sliced your potatoes are, you should end up with approximately three layers, with a third of the cheese between each layer. Reserve the last third of your cheese for later.

Carefully pour the milk over the potatoes. It should come up to the bottom of the top layer of potatoes; add more if this was not enough. Dot the top of the gratin with the three tablespoons of butter and bake it for 60 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, take the gratin dish out of the oven and gently press the potatoes flat with a spatula to keep the top moist, then return to the oven for the rest of the hour. After 1 hour, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the gratin and bake for a final 15 minutes. The gratin is done when the potatoes are soft and the top is golden brown. For more color, you can run the gratin under your broiler.

More gratin ideas: Use duck fat instead of butter. Swap celery root, parsnips or turnip slices for half the potatoes. Add chopped herbs such as parsley, thyme, chives or chervil between the layers. Sauté mushrooms, sorrel, spinach or leeks, with or without a finely-chopped shallot, and layer them between the potato slices.

* Yukon Golds and other waxy, yellow-fleshed potatoes work best in gratins, keeping their texture without getting floury and falling apart as Russets do.

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195 comments on simple potato gratin

  1. Looks AMAZING. But as I just cut my thumb while working on “thin slices” and bled all over my favorite wooden spoon, I will bookmark it until I find myself a mandoline.

  2. Vidya

    This reminds me of this amazing potato and spinach “lasagna” we used to get from our local mall’s food court after the movies, using potato slices instead of pasta sheets. It was really good, if a little under seasoned. I’ve got to get around to recreating that. Maybe I’ll use this as a base.

  3. Erin

    I made the celery root, potato and olive oil gratin from Chez Panisse Vegetables last week. Very similar to this recipe and oh so good!

    1. Vivian

      Made this for NYE dinner and it was just what I was looking for. I layered with sautéed oyster mushrooms, shallots and thyme and used whole milk. The amount of Gruyère was perfect.

  4. Gratins really, really do have a bad rap—as a personal chef I can’t get anyone to agree to a gratin, they think it’s going to be full of heavy cream. It’s crazy, but it’s so much easier to get people to have a bowl full of creamy potato soup than it is a gratin.

    Yours looks delicious, though, something I’ll surely make for myself, if not my clients. Love the idea for shiitake mushrooms in there.

  5. Emily

    Mmm, this looks like one of my favorite dishes- scalloped potatoes, but much healthier. The last time i made scalloped potatoes, i put in wayy too much cheese so the whole thing was swimming in oil. It was delicious, nonetheless. :)

  6. wix

    Potato gratin was the first thing I ever cooked (age 12?) and the recipe was so complicated it put me off learning to cook for another, oh, 10 years. If only I’d known about Alice Waters.

  7. I acted fast! I’ve got a dish of these in the oven right now. Used parmesan and skipped the mushrooms. How fast can I make the hour go by?

    I did have about a dozen little potato slices left over that I couldn’t make fit. So? I heated up some peanut oil in a small skillet and made a quick batch of potato chips. Covered in salt and paremsan. That might tide me over for the next fifty minutes.

    1. Beth

      I made this for Christmas dinner with ham and Brussels sprouts. It was just perfect and super easy. I didn’t have mushrooms but sauteed some onion and shallot instead. Maybe my potato slices were a little thick- thanks for the direction to add more milk if needed- it worked fine.

  8. I made au gratin potatoes for Easter yesterday, and I was amazed at how simple it really was. (Especially being a CI recipe…) As long as you have a mandoline, it’s a breeze and the prep takes zero time.

  9. Susan

    I love potato gratin. I like to mix chicken stock and half and half to use as the liquid. It seasons it well and is much lighter in fat. Uh..unless you ramp up the cheese!

  10. Jonas

    The best gratin I’ve ever had was on day 6 of a (unguided) kayaking trip. We’d prepared pretty poorly food-wise, and were cranky and craving something other than soup and sandwiches. In addition, our propane camp stove had died so we had to make everything on the campfire..

    Thankfully we did have a few potatoes, an onion, a bit of UHT milk, and a bit of cheese. We made a gratin in our poor, beat-up pot, surrounded it with hot stones for an hour, got impatient and put it in the fire, and had the most amazing, slightly burned supper ever. Every time I think of a gratin, the image of us relaxing on the beach after supper, realizing that the world was pretty good after all, drinking the last of our hot chocolate, comes to mind.

  11. Why is everybody so afraid of cream, eh? I happen to love cream AND think it’s good for you (and yes, I’m considered to be in fine mental health and a respectable member of the human race). Here’s what I do (ever since my friend told me to): simmer several pounds of peeled sliced potatoes in several cups of cream, along with a minced clove of garlic, a bay leaf, and some salt and black pepper. When potatoes are tender, pour into a greased casserole dish, sprinkle with a little Gruyere and bake till bubbly and golden brown. Try it. It’s worth it. Trust me.

  12. I wish I had read this before I made Ina Garten’s potato fennel gratin for easter. We had some little kids at dinner and I thought a cheesy potato wouldn’t be too offensive for them. But her recipe calls for 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of cheese. oof. Glad to know it can be done deliciously with way less…

  13. joanna

    we made this alice waters potato gratin (out of the chez panisse vegetables, though) a couple of weeks ago. it was very good. we used only milk but i think a bit of cream might have been good because cream(i think) gets nice and thick when cooked and the milk was pretty soupy… still tasty though. and we did mostly yukon golds but also mixed in slices of a japanese sweet potato. love your idea of the shitakes, deb!

  14. Homer

    Cauliflower makes an awesome gratin. My friend makes it mixed with pancetta in a sauce made of milk, butter, roasted garlic, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and parmesan cheese and lastly topped with breadcrumbs.

  15. I adore a good gratin, and love the idea of the mushrooms…my go to version is Madeleine Kamman’s. She just has you butter the baking dish a bit heavily, place the sliced potatoes in, pour over cream (or milk if you’re being good), salt such that the cream tastes seasoned, and bake at 350 until it’s done. Could not be easier. And definitely not swimming in grease…or cheese.

  16. R

    I’m cheap about wasting power using my huge oven, and lazy about planning in advance, thus I make gratins that cook 15 minutes in the microwave, and then 15 minutes in the toaster oven. I like to vary cheeses, and maybe add ham, bacon, mushrooms, and whatever onion is on hand. All good. Last step, final 5 minutes, add homemade breadcrumbs on top of the cheese for a pretty crust.
    (But if your toaster oven is a miserable devil like mine, tent a piece of tinfoil over the gratin, and take the batteries out of the nearby smoke detectors.)

  17. Jenna Marie

    congrats on the move. i think we’re going to need some pics of the new kitchen. hope you’ve gained some workspace. oh, and the gratin looks fantastic. can’t wait to see what the new place inspires.

  18. I used a 3 cheese scalloped potato recipe from Gourmet this year. It was good, but involved pounds of cheese and cups of whole milk. Thanks for this simpler, lighter version. I’ve got to check out Alice Water’s cook book. Heard so much about her lately. thanks.

  19. Indy

    I saw this at 8:50 something am. By 9 it was on. Its now in the oven, baking. For a late breakfast, early lunch.

    I have absolutely no self control :(

  20. i definitely have to try this one. i love that there are so few ingredients. there are so many dishes out there that i would LOOOOVE to cook, but i just can’t afford all the ingredients. plus, there are only two of us, and a lot of things go to waste in our refrigerator that only works about three quarters of the time. anyway, who doesn’t love potatoes and cheese?? i’m on it!

  21. KT

    I love mixing it – half regular potatoes, half sweet potatoes. I’m not anti-cream, will use it when it makes a dish better, but I actually prefer whole milk too. It seems less greasy. Also, if you mix in just a pinch of fresh thyme and sage – mmm!!

  22. I’ve been thinking about potato gratins for a while now … yours is definitely the simplest recipe I’ve come across (which appeals to me big time!) … and once again, GREAT PICS! Seriously, you take some of my fav food pics out here in cyberspace!

  23. Gratins are reserved for special occasions around here simply because of the rich ingredients. Thanks for the tip of swapping cream for milk.

  24. anne

    hi! new reader to your blog and really enjoy it. My only complaint is that it makes me want to leave work, go home and cook! I made the chez panisse vegetables version for easter which uses a sprinkling of thyme and also one rubs crushed garlic around the dish prior to potato layering. It is always great regardless of cheese/milk–whatever you end up using. I ended up with a combo of whipping cream and some 2% milk as thats what I had lying around. Love the shitake idea though. For slicing, use a mandolin–MUCH faster.

  25. ooooohhhh yummy. I agree – I’d add some rutabaga to it. I made a mash with rutabaga and fingerling potatoes once and it was lovely. And you’re so right – you definitely don’t need all the heavy cream and pounds of cheese – as long as you get a little cheesiness in every bite you’re good to go!!!

  26. Erin

    Ooooh. I’ve had gratin on the brain ever since flipping through my new “Best of the Best” book from Food & Wine. I saw Bobby Flay’s sweet potato gratin with chipotle puree and thought: YES. Of course, that was almost 2 months ago, and I still haven’t made it, but maybe this weekend…or maybe I’ll just make this gratin tonight instead of mashed potatoes…or maybe I’ll just go gratin crazy. WHO KNOWS?!

  27. Lenore

    Susan @ 25’s havarti idea sounds lovely. If I got the deli to make paper-thin slices of havarti and chilled it well I might be able to do this with 2 ounces of it. I’ve got my cornmeal soaking for another round of goat-cheese-and-caramelized-onion cornbread, so maybe I’ll make both tonight.

    As for grown-up behavior, this is where cooking for yourself shines. I can eat all four corners first myself. In fact, tonight I’ll make half a recipe of both dishes. That way I won’t “have to” eat the same thing every night, and there are more corners per pan.

  28. Lenore

    BTW, I use a cheap little plastic ‘mandoline’–really just a veggie slicer–I got from a local kitchen supply store years ago. It cost under $10, and makes two thicknesses of slices and two sizes of (quite small) julienne. The price got me past my stingy nature, which is good because BD (Before Deb) I hardly needed it. Now that I’ve found Smitten Kitchen, I’m cooking enough again to want to revisit the thing.

    Deb, I wonder too–what kind of mandoline do you recommend?

  29. yum
    My sister lives wit a lot of french people and these use creme fraiche instead of heavy cream. It is really good! They do it with all sorts of vegetables. Be care of of water heavy vegetables… it make may you end product loose.


  30. Denise

    I am one of the guilty ones who’s gratins or scallopped potatoes are in layers of cheese and cream BUT they are never oily or swimming in cream. The cheese and cream somehow meld together to make this terrific sauce. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE LOVES my potatoes. I only make them for “special occasions” but this recipe, I would make on a weeknight and not feel guilty eating them!

  31. Potato gratin with shiitakes? I don’t think it gets any better than that. Some like to dig into a pint of ice cream. Give me potatoes, cheese, and mushrooms any day o of the week. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. deb

    Funny that people think I use fancy kitchen things. My no-name mandoline cost about $27, and has lasted me two years so far. I think it’s great to start with a cheap version, anyway, see how much you use it before splurging on something better. I’ve thought about upgrading many times, maybe to the OXO, many times but this more than suits my needs.

  33. The real simple gratin dauphinois is only about potato and garlic-butter. But I can imagine that gratin with cream and cheese must be delicious. Cream isn’t a problem as long as we move enough to burn off the fat.

  34. Karen

    I love gratins, and have been making them for years. I don’t have a mandoline, but have been satisfied with the thinness of the potato slices I get from the slicey side of my box grater. They’re not perfect, and you have to be careful as you approach the end of your potato, but all in all, it works for me. Something else to try.. rub your pan with a cut clove of garlic.

  35. I had the pleasure of meeting Alice Waters and tasting some of her recipes from this book. Unfortunately I haven’t tried this gratin yet, but I must recommend the onion tart!

  36. Deb (not the author)

    Can I use Lactaid or soy or rice milk? I’m lactose intolerant (but can handle cheese – just not straight up milk)

  37. What a lovely comforting dish! Duck fat instead of butter sounds so indulgent! I still need to get a mandoline – good to know a cheapie will do the trick!

  38. I love my cheapo mandolin, and always thought I hated gratins (umm, gratins from a box growing up, ’nuff said). This will satisfy my potato loving ways as well as my hubby’s cheese loving ways, so I will have to make it this weekend.

  39. OK, I lied about waiting. It’s in the oven now with hammy prosciutto (the deli lady told me the domestic was good, but it tastes like ham, not prosciutto) and parmesan. Smells good already!

  40. Emily

    This sounds delicious! I have been craving BBQ pork this week and I think this dish will be perfect to go with it. I’m thinking maybe spinach and cheddar cheese, but I don’t experiment in the kitchen as much as I should, so I don’t know how it will turn out…

  41. Thank you so much for shairng this. I wanted to make a gratin last week but alas, most recipes were so full of cream and cheese. This looks lovely and lighter than what you would expect from a gratin.

  42. Vidya

    Mmmm made this as a light meal today with whatever I had on hand – I sauteed some thinly sliced zucchini and some water spinach with a couple of minced garlic cloves until just cooked and used that mixture between layers of potato. I also added some ground nutmeg in between the layers with the salt and pepper, and I used a mixture of parmesan and cheddar cheeses. And I used some vegetable stock as well as whole milk for pouring over the top. I don’t have a mandolin, but I managed to slice the potatoes very finely with an extra sharp, medium size non-serrated knife. I think I used a bit of extra cheese, I wasn’t measuring it, and I left out the butter on top. Fantastic with some cold cucumber slices and a baguette bought yesterday that hadn’t gone stale yet.

  43. MK

    YEAH! This is my all time favorite dish – no kidding. I couldn’t agree more about paring down all the heavy extras – so unnecessary. I sometimes like to top with smoked salmon that cooks slightly and serve with yogurt and chives for a brunch. I never tried it with mushrooms, and I just bought some wild ones. Thanks Deb!

  44. Kim

    I love your idea of using celery root in this dish. I never thought of that, although I do make celery root puree instead of mashed potatoes all the time. Why is everyone cutting up their hands – don’t you just use a food processor to slice those potatoes?

  45. Dy

    I made this last night to have with leftover Easter ham – it was absolutely wonderful, and simple to make! The only downside was I ran out of taters, so I didn’t have a full 3rd layer.

  46. Emily

    I’m in luck- I still have a chunk of that fresh Parmesan stuff in my fridge (I know, I know, first time. I was so excited to finally have fresh-grated cheese available). But I suspect not everyone is as weird as me…

    Anyways, if I stick some zucchini in there, it’s a complete meal!

    Oh, how I love one-pot meals

  47. KAM

    I did this to go with easter dinner last week. We used shallots, kale, turnips and potato with just a tiny bit of gouda and parm on the top. It was AMAZING. PS We used a mix of half and half and soy milk.

  48. Elizabeth

    What perfect timing as these ingredients (potatoes, leeks, spinach…) are exactly what’s available at my farmers’ market right now!

    I’m wondering how this would be using goats milk instead of cows milk… Has anyone tried that out?

  49. I’m so glad you’ve set off on a mission to save gratins. They deserve to be saved. They’re so delicious. And yours looks particularly so. YUM!

  50. Kelly

    I followed the recipe, but the potatoes never cooked, so I left it in the oven for longer and longer, until the milk curdled and separated. I don’t know what the problem was…this recipe sounded really good. I think maybe it’s just not my weekend for cooking.

  51. Anna

    Mmmm… made this one on the weekend for a very appreciative eating audience :) I used fontina on the inside and parmesan for the top… delicious. (Had to cook it a little longer than suggested but that could be because my oven is a bit crappy).

  52. Janet

    This looks great… but I’m worried because of Kelly’s not getting done. I looked and looked and I can’t find a cook time. Approximately how long should it take in the oven?

  53. deb

    Second to last paragraph says to bake it for an hour. There’s no reason that thinly sliced potatoes won’t cook in a fully preheated oven in an hour, often less.

  54. Just made this for dinner tonight – I used Provolone cheese and condensed 2% milk and skipped the sauteed vegetables, so this was a nice simple treat. What a great recipe – perfect as is.

  55. Maggie

    I just finished dinner, where I served this with cornmeal-crusted tempeh and sauteed kale. Oh my god. I rarely make anything this rich, but made this with heavy cream and couldn’t even believe how delicious it was. I used some cheese I’d bought for snacking, a tomme variety that’s really pungent. It was perfect. I was in a rush, so cooked it at 400, and it was done in about forty minutes. I can’t wait to make this for guests!

  56. Dancer who eats

    So I made this and it was good but the top was a little dry. Probably my fault but good otherwise.

  57. I’ve had good luck with Russets too – they don’t crumble that much in the end. Also tend to go around adding any milk or cream or cheese to my gratins – inspired by Julia Child’s version that calls for broth instead.

    Also the nutmeg is a traditional MUST in the gratins.

    Gabi @ mamaliga.

  58. Hannah

    Hi, Deb! I was just wondering, since I don’t own a gratin dish, could I substitute a Pyrex or aluminum pan, or should I go out and buy something? How big a dish am I looking for?

  59. Jess

    This looks really yummy, I’m definitely going to try this when I get the chance. When you’re using milk, does it have to be whole milk? Or can you use reduced fat milk, too?

  60. Judi

    I’ve tried every Gratin recipe I can find. I consider myself an excellent cook but these always end up getting tossed. My cream/milk always curdles/separates. Why? Can anyone help me with this? I can’t stand to feel defeated. Oh…the recipes I’ve tried are all “no-fail” recipes. LOL Help! :)

  61. LCS

    Thank you for the recipe.

    I made this a couple of nights ago, and added in a layer of sauteed Chinese spinach (with onions) and another layer of sauteed enoki mushrooms (again with onions). I used havarti, gouda, and cheddar cheese, since it was all I had in my fridge. Finally, I used skim (non-fat) milk (as I always do whenever a recipe calls for milk) instead of homo (whole) milk.

    I hate placing salt into any food I make, but this time I placed in the salt as generously as I could. I used kosher salt. (I didn’t even know my kitchen had kosher salt!)

    Tasted great as all your recipes do.

    Thanks again.

  62. Lori

    This recipe was brilliant! Just the thing I was looking for to serve at a late brunch.

    I didn’t mind the potatoes being a bit thicker than ‘paper-thin’, so I sliced them with the help of my trusty-dusty food processor. Seemed quicker than using a mandolin. I also used 3% milk, and a bit of mozzarella cheese between the layers. It looked beautiful and tasted more delicious than I ever would’ve imagined.

    The husband wanted to pick the crunchy top layer off when I took it out of the oven, but I just fed him a cookie and ‘shooed’ him out of the kitchen.

  63. Elise

    Made this tonight (at 1:30 am!) for an emergency dinner while I cranked out the rest of the very late Christmas cookies.

    Oh my gosh. Exactly what I wanted. We had it with a dollop of sauteed baby spinach on top, and it hit the spot like nothing else. When you’re up at 3 am baking cookies, comfort food is crucial! Thanks for the recipe!

  64. Pam

    Do you think this could be assembled ahead of time and then baked the next day? Would the potatos turn black? Or if you baked it the day before, how would it rehead?

  65. Leilani

    I have a similar question to Pam’s–can you cut potatoes ahead of time to use later? How do you store them so they don’t discolor?

    1. deb

      I’d put the whole gratin together, milk, cheese and all, cover the dish in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. You can bake it still cold. Hope that helps.

  66. Jess

    Made this last night to accompany a BBQ and it was delicious! Admittedly I forgot to add the milk until 30 minutes into the cooking time – oops! – so I quickly added it, turned the temperature down until it appeared to have softened the potatoes to avoid burning the top, then flattened it down with a spatula. I used Sebago potatoes (popular in Australia, not sure if you have this variety?) which has white flesh, but they held their shape perfectly. Used simple tasty cheddar in between the layers as we had some fussy eaters as guests. Next time when I make this just for us I will try out the Gruyere. Great recipe!

  67. Laura

    made this tonight, delicious. Only issue, it was a bit watery when it came out of the oven, it solidified more once it had cooled. Maybe I put in too much milk. Either way, thanks it was a hit!

  68. Jenna

    Made it tonight with some shredded fennel layered in and some parm on top. the key really was pressing it down half way through.

    two things: i used my food processor to slice the potatoes and shred the fennel

    and if you don’t want to use cream, half and half is a nice compromise.

    One of the best things I have ever made.

  69. Laurel

    Made this last night. My husband loved it and wanted seconds. I put in chopped fresh thyme and fresh parsley, as well as shallots. Am going to try your sweet potato and chard gratin this week too (got a lot of potatoes from my CSA). Thanks Deb.

  70. Andrea

    This looks sooooo good. I made mine with caramelized onions, didn’t have any cheese though, hope it still turns up good. Thank yu for posting such wonderful recipies

  71. Allie

    Deb, how many will this serve? I was planning on preparing it for an Easter dinner but The Art of Simple Food says it only serves 4?!?! Surely a 9 x 12 dish can feed more than that…

  72. deb

    Serving sizes always fell me because they relate to how much food you have on the table. 1 pound of potatoes per person sounds about right. If you’re got a lot of sides, you might be able to stretch it to 8.

  73. jojo

    I have made this once, and loved it!
    Want to make it again as part of a brunch. Can I make it a day in advance and just re-heat? Would preparing it one day in advanced and baking it the next work?

    It would be awesome if you could respond today (no pressure!), as I am making it to be served tomorrow! Argh! Nothing like last minute questions….

    thank you mucho

  74. Made this tonight for dinner. It was super yummy – although mine was watery like another commenter – maybe too much milk? I used cheddar cheese and added diced onions. My husband put it back in the oven after an hour (and two servings removed) and it was better after cooking for another half hour or so. Yum!

  75. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve made this three times and every time I cut it down the middle and my husband and I each scarf down half. It is incredibly delicious.

  76. Amy

    OMG! I just made this tonight, and we finished the entire dish! I sauteed baby bellas, the shallot, a zucchini, and a yellow squash as my veggie sautee. I added bits of butter on each layer, and did a mixture of heavy whipping cream and fat free milk as the cream. I tripled the cheese, and used havarti, gouda, and fontina. This was amazing! Thanks for the recipe!!

  77. Rachel

    Just made this As part of our Christmas meal and it was so delicious! I love your recipes Deb!! When is your cookbook coming out? I want to make everything :-)
    Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday! (ohhh and I also made dans cranberry sauce and it was delicious … Not sure why I never tried to make my own before… Don’t think I’ll be able to go back to the canned blobby stuff ever again!).

  78. A few things:
    1. I made this dish last night for dinner.
    2. Used gruyere, pepper jack and goat cheese.
    3. Hubs loved it so much, he’s buying me a mandoline.
    4. I love you.

  79. rebecca

    thanks for giving me a reason to try out my new mandoline. made it last night & it turned out great. needed to add quite a bit more milk to cover the potatoes. used a mixture of parm/gruyere for the cheese. used a little too much butter (who knew this was possible?) & will reduce it next time. can’t wait to try it with shallots, garlic, and mushrooms.

  80. Alex C

    Oh my. Sheer heaven. What did I do before I discovered Smitten Kitchen? My family thinks I am a great cook. Thanks for this elegantly simple and delicious dish!

  81. Kailee

    I want to sing praises about this recipe. Wow. One of the best potato dishes I’ve EVER made. My husband requested a potato gratin for his birthday dinner and, I’ll admit, I was a bit reluctant because the last gratin I made was heavy, oily and soupy. This was a revelation! Milk instead of cream! A scant few ounces of cheese (I used Swiss)! Brilliant! Thanks, Deb!

  82. Ena

    This made such a good lunch. I’m making it again tomorrow at my grandmother’s house. My new favourite way of eating potatoes.

  83. Viktoria

    Well hello there! This is one of my favorites from that awesome Waters cookbook (maybe not the most original of them, but totally geared at tweaking and highly adaptable recipes which is the best kind) and I made this recently.

    All I can say is this is delicious with 45% cream – yes, forty five! In case you were wondering, I am underweight. :D I also used the duck fat for dish greasing and still don’t get why people always stick with butter and olive oil for greasing. I prefer to use up all the cheese in the first two layers and leave the top naked. It looks much better that way as you can really see those pretty shingles better.

    Last time, I added spinach wilted with chopped garlic between the layers and chopped parsley and thyme as well. Mom wanted the recipe, I told her to look it up in the book and her reply was “Dear, you don’t get it. I want YOUR version.” Next time, I will try this with leeks and blue cheese. This must also be awesome with tomato slices and a generous layer of basil.

  84. Amy

    another great dish!! had some leftover grated cheese so this was perfect. The aroma of the potato gratin is brightening up my tiny kitchen! finally got to use the mandolin too after having it sit in my cabinet for a year…lol (have the same one as Deb and it’s simple but works wonders- bought mine at an Asian supermarket). Added spinach w/sauteed garlic & red onions. Thanks again for a wonderful dish!

  85. Amy

    okay…just took a bite….really DELISH!!! so simple to make but tastes like an expensive dish! made a potato gratin few years ago with recipe from Gourmet magazine, and it was complicated. but this was easier and better, will make again!!!

  86. Hi! I just made this for my blog, your recipes are just too good to pass up. Thanks!!! Also – as a starving college student – thanks for having non-time-consuming recipes. They make my life a lot easier. The gratin was delicious – much appreciated by the hungry (and increasingly vegetarian) college crowd around me.

  87. Si

    My sis in law made this for Easter dinner. Absolutely delish. She used milk instead of cream and sharp cheddar. This one’s a keeper. Thanks!

  88. Um…DELICIOUS! I made these with red and yellow potatoes and sauteed shallots and leaks and layered it in. I alternated the red and the yellow potatoes for a little extra prettiness and put it in two pie plates. At one point during Easter dinner, I said, “Hello? Can we give a shout out for these amazing potatoes?!?” Bad form, but, man those were good!! THANKS!

  89. Miss Fig

    It didn’t work. Was kind of runny & the milk separated into liquid & white curds.

    I heated up the milk with a crushed garlic clove & salt & pepper – maybe that caused the problem? It was whole milk. Pretty tasty, but needed longer than 1 hour, maybe b/c I didn’t use a mandolin. Next time I’ll try to make a cheese sauce instead of the layers.

  90. I made this as a side dish for a six-person dinner party; sauteed some spinach for two of the layers and used cream because I needed to use it up. It. Was. Fabulous. Super easy, quick to come together, delicious, and pretty as a picture in my red stoneware baking dish. I have made a ton of your baking recipes, but this may have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and try to cook more “real” food, too! Thanks so much.

  91. amy

    This should be called “Awesome and simple potato gratin”….I am so tired of recipes not turning out as delish as expected. This one did not disappoint! It was fantastic. I sauteed the shitakes and shallots and put them just in the first layer. I used 2% milk and a mixture of fresh grated parm and gruyere. Baked about 70 minutes. Wow, definitely my new favorite potatoes!!

  92. Pamela

    Gratins have such a lovely sounding name and thank God my Mother never used those boxed monstrosities but then that would have been like cooking or something which….no. Anyway, I’ve been making them for years and one of my favorites includes carmelized onions, minced garlic and BACON! Oh, and some paprika as well. Good Lord, it’s incredible. Like another commenter, I use chicken broth for my liquid with a little bit of cream. People go POTATOES over it. Many requests for recipe. I found it in some Junior League cookbook and now I can’t remember which one.

  93. rupi d

    Hello- Does anyone know the make-ahead policy on this gratin? How early can this be assembled? Can it be baked fully the day before and then re-heated before serving?

  94. Anna

    Just made this last night, with the mushrooms in the middle (with shallots and a smidge of thyme), and it was FANTASTIC!

    In response to rupi d’s question, in my experience gratins unfortunately aren’t as good reheated (the milk or cream separates out and isn’t as creamy), so it doesn’t work to cook a day ahead. If you don’t care about supreme creaminess, it might be fine, though. It _might_ work to parboil the potato slices before you layer them, and then just keep the assembled-but-unbaked gratin in the fridge overnight, so that your cooking time would be reduced to half an hour or so. Alternatively, I wonder if it would work to assemble ahead of time and just bake on the day you want to eat it (the main problem is whether the milk would keep the potatoes from turning brown)?

  95. Diane

    made this tonight with caramelized onions and shallots. Did the mozzarella and cheddar, added some “Herbes de Provence”, Odobo seasoning and pepper. Kids loved it alongside the pork chop and spinach covered in cream of mushroom sauce.

  96. Kelly Foyle

    Oh dear! I made this but it didn’t turn out. I don’t know what I did wrong. I cut the potatoes very thin on my mandoline…you could almost see through them. I used milk and gruyere cheese. They were in the oven for 1 hour and ten minutes and they came out raw crunchy. Meanwhile the brussel sprouts I had in the oven as well cooked up nicely in 20 minutes so I am pretty sure the oven was working. I tried pushing up the heat only to find the top ones burning and the bottom ones still raw.

  97. Amanda

    Would it be possible to use an aluminum pan to make this? I’m lacking in the pan area and would like to make this for Easter without shelling out right now.

  98. Goodness. I just made this, with a handful of button mushrooms and some leftover herbed cheese, and though it was a little watery (I only had 1% milk, and probably used too much) it’s fantastic. My roommates and I have already eaten half the tray, and I can’t wait to have it tomorrow for breakfast. xxx

  99. Liz

    This was delicious. We used Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes and inbetween the layers we added shredded brussel sproats which we lightly sauteed in butter before. A huge success.

  100. Andrew

    Used a potato peeler instead of a mandoline, works great! Love you so much Deb! My girlfriend and I use you constantly, you’re simply the best!

  101. I put caramelized onions and parsley in between the potatoes and used a mixture of Parmesan and Locatelli cheese. A perfect Passover treat. YUM!!!

  102. Ashby

    This is wonderful, exactly as written. Much more flavor than you’d expect from simple potatoes, milk and a little plain goat cheese. It needed a little longer to cook, abut an hour and 15 minutes, but I sliced my potatoes by hand so I don’t think they were as thin as yours.

  103. Starshine

    This dish was a hit at Christmas. I made two gratins: one with parmesan and sautéed, whole sage leaves & one with cheddar cheese and sautéed onions. Served with smoked chicken, mango chutney and homemade clover rolls. Delicious!

  104. gigi

    Have made this three times this week. Wonderful dish, so simple and delicious. Used my little zyliss mandoline and the gratin was done and delicious in less than an hour. Gruyere, heavy cream and a little fresh thyme. Will try it with milk after the holidays but for now we are living large.

  105. J

    My fallback recipe said to rub the dish with a cut clove of garlic. Do you think this really would have any effect on the taste?

  106. Molly

    Deb! I’ve made this before and it is one of our favorite special occasion dishes. I’m looking to make this for Christmas Eve dinner and looking for some advice: We are hoping to go to a Christmas pageant at 4pm and our dinner is at 6pm. If I were to make this earlier in the day, would you recommend par baking it and then having my husband (who will not be going to church) put it in the oven to finish? Or would it be better to assemble, put in the fridge, and have him put it in at 5?

  107. Liz B.

    I’ve made this twice now: the first time was a great success, using cream. Tonight’s version had half and half and was swimming in liquid. Maybe it was watery because I used too much liquid? Still good, but definitely using cream next time.

  108. Marianne B

    This was a huge hit at our Christmas dinner. I sautéed shiitake mushrooms with a large leek. The flavors were amazing!

  109. Liz

    Fantastic! My 1st ever attempt at au gratin potatoes and I followed as written (Cuisinart 2mm slicing blade was a lifesaver), using fresh thyme & parsley in the layers since I had them. My liquid was about 1 c heavy cream plus 1/4 c skim milk. At the 1 hour mark it was kind of swimming in liquid but I let it go another 10-15 mins & that took care of it. Will def make again.

  110. This didn’t come out and I’m not sure why. The fats separated from the milk solids and turned into a greasy curdled mess. I used Yukon gold, but I would think a potato with more starch would be better, or use a roux-based sauce (like bechamel) to prevent the separation. Ended up serving baked potatoes instead. Unfortunate, since the gratin looked so tasty.

    1. deb

      I had to read it twice to find it! It’s “about an hour,” I’ll change it to the more easily-read “60 minutes.” Then, there’s another 15 minutes at the end.

  111. Rachel

    This was delicious! I went all in w/ cream and onions and left over Christmas ham. As a happy accident I served it with brussel sprouts roasted with an obscene amount of garlic. The roasty toasty garlic worked really well with the sauce, so I think I’ll skip the ham and add roasted garlic next time. (Sorry – is it ignorant to tell a professional all the ways I messed with your recipe – I mean to say you inspired more kitchen fun and I will be returning to this as my base many times over)

  112. Deanna

    I never need to be convinced to make or eat a gratin! Thanks for this. It made a wonderful dinner tonight, as it always does. I made it with potatoes from this week’s CSA and served it with a refreshing salad (thank goodness for in-season tomatoes!)

  113. salty

    does anyone have any suggestions re: the amount of salt and pepper to use? i am a chronic under and over salter so i would love some suggestions!

  114. Maya

    If you find yourself with a lost mandolin attachment for your food processor– this works perfectly with grated potatoes too! It is a different texture but delicious!

  115. Nicole

    This recipe is very forgiving and, as its name suggests, simple. I used red potatoes because that’s what I had. Still delicious! I used olive oil instead of butter, 2% milk, layered in some sautéed leeks, used a medium white cheddar throughout. So, so, so good!

  116. Amy

    This is my go-to potato recipe. Not only is it ridiculously simple, it is out of this world FABULOUS! While it is nothing short of culinary perfection all on its own, this dish lends itself well to add-ins such as bacon, chopped ham, chopped herbed chicken, roasted garlic cloves, chives, green onions, etc. I have made it many times, and I do recommend using only heavy cream to keep the texture at its most velvety. If you will use Yukon gold potatoes, slice them thinly, use heavy cream, and follow the instructions exactly as they are written (no substitutions, no winging it, no changing up stuff on a whim), this is 100% fool proof. You absolutely CANNOT mess it up. Making this for dinner tonight, and I can’t wait. Deb, you rock.