Everyone needs a go to meal that you can take to a friend who just had a baby or is going through a tough time that will convey just how much you care, this cheesy potato gratin is that meal. It also makes a great Sunday supper, brunch nosh or potluck take-a-long.
I’ve shared my potato gratin recipe on the blog back in my early days but to be honest, my food photography and blogging skills have vastly improved since then. I’ve also tweaked this recipe to make it even better. This recipe is so delicious, it would be a shame to have it disappear into the internet haze because I didn’t know how to take a good photo.
This potato gratin is super flexible allowing you to utilize what you have on hand already. Which is one more reason why this recipe should become a regular feature in your kitchen.
What kind of cheese should you use for potato gratin?
Potatoes are basically a blank slate to show off a good cheese. That being said, you want to make sure you pick a cheese with stronger flavor over a mellow cheese that will make the dish hearty and also unmemorable. You Don’t want a cheese that isn’t melty but also want to stay away from cheese that gets overly stringy. This dish is about creamy goodness, not cheese pull factor.
So on the list for cheeses to try in this recipe- Gruyere, Grand Cru, Emmentaler, Swiss, Aged Gouda, Sharp or Smoked Cheddar. Cheeses to stay away from- Mozzarella, Brie, Buttercase, and don’t you even think about American.
What else can you add to potato gratin?
As you’ll see below, my base recipe always contains onions, they really are the perfect potato partner for this dish, but you can add so many other things. Adding a meat to the dish can take this from a side dish to a main dish. Small chunks of smoked ham is a standard add in at our house. Sometimes I add bacon, because bacon is DELICIOUS. Browned chicken sausage, or this garlic kielbasa that I find at Costco thinly sliced would make this recipe unique and tasty. If you want to add in a protein add it in when you build your layers of potato.
What do you need to make potato gratin?
So for many years I either sliced my potatoes by hand, or used the old knuckle buster style box grater. Both work but the better option is a mandolin slicer. I avoided buying a mandolin slicer for years after an incident at a friend’s where I thought I was too good for the guard that comes along with it. That incident rendered me unable to zip up my own pants for a few days because I had less fingertips than what I was use to. I would like to believe that I have learned my lesson and I finally got brave enough to buy a mandolin slicer. This is an affiliate link to the slicer I bought if you would like to buy one too. (If you order through the link I receive a small percentage of commission)
Other than a mandolin and the ingredients, all you need is a deep pot and a baking dish. If you’re making this for freezing or to give to a neighbor, I highly suggest using a foil pan.
Easy and Cheesy Potato Gratin
- 5-6 Large Russet Potatoes
- 1 Large Onion
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 2 tbsp Butter, Softened
- 2 cups Gruyere or other strong cheese, Shredded
- Optional – ham, cooked bacon, or other meat
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- Scrub your potatoes. This dish can be made with skins left on, but you’re welcome to peel them if you like.
- Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes very thin. Not able to see through them thin, but close.
- Slice your onion in long thin strips.
- Place potatoes, onion and garlic in a pot and cover with water. Bring pot to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Use butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan.
- Put slices of potato in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and along the sides.
- Going in layers, add onion and optional meat then sprinkle with cheese until you’ve used up all your potato slices. Top with remaining cheese.
- In a small pan, heat cream on medium heat and whisk in seasonings. Stirring regularly let cream thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Pour cream over the top of the potatoes.
- If you are freezing this for later, wrap pan in plastic wrap and place in freezer.
- Otherwise, place uncovered pan in oven heated to 400° degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn oven to broil for 5 minutes or until cheese on top is brown.
- Let potatoes sit after removing from oven for 20 minutes before serving.