This potatoes au gratin recipe is a savory staple to have in your side dish repertoire. Made with sliced potatoes in a creamy sauce, these au gratin potatoes are then covered with a generous layer of Manchego cheese and baked until melted and golden on top…
Savory, creamy, and cheesy, these potatoes pair wonderfully with steak or pork, roasted vegetables, or a big green salad. This dish is incredibly versatile and goes well with just about anything. It's the ultimate comfort food — a true crowd pleaser. This recipe makes a perfect side dish for weeknight dinners or to serve on a special occasion, such as with a roast for your Christmas feast or with ham for Easter dinner! The best part? This tasty potato recipe has a much shorter cook time than many traditional gratin potatoes recipes due to an untraditional tool — the microwave! This elegant yet easy recipe can be on the table in less than an hour. With just 15 minutes of active prep time, it can even be assembled in advance and cooked later. All you have to do is prepare the recipe as directed, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap, store in the refrigerator, and cook fully before serving.
What Is The Au Gratin Cooking Method?
While "au gratin" sounds fancy, it's actually not complicated at all. In fact, “to gratinée" means simply to give a dish a golden-brown top. Since many au gratin dishes call for lots of cheese, some people think that the term is French for “with cheese.” However, you don't necessarily need to use cheese. Whether made with cheese, breadcrumbs, or both, browning happens during the cooking process and can be accelerated by passing the dish under a broiler.
Potatoes Au Gratin Vs. Scalloped Potatoes
You may be wondering about the difference between scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes. They’re very similar, and in fact, many people use the names interchangeably. You may see variations in recipes: some use onions, while others use shallots; some use Gruyere cheese, and others use cheddar cheese. Don't get hung up on the name, and choose a recipe that sounds good to you! The results are basically the same: sliced potatoes cradled in a creamy sauce.
Have fun with this recipe! Make it your own with some of these delicious options:
Use different cheeses. If you prefer a sharper flavor, try a sharp cheddar cheese or gruyere cheese. You can even sprinkle in parmesan cheese or try provolone for a milder flavor. There's no rule on just how cheesy your potatoes can be!
Use a variety of potatoes. This dish calls for russet potatoes, which are mealy potatoes with a high starch content that are excellent for baking. For something different, try red potatoes — waxy potatoes with a low starch content that hold their shape well during cooking. You could also try a Yukon gold potato, which has properties of both waxy and mealy potatoes.
Add vegetables. Boost the nutrition of this dish — and add a new dimension of flavor — by adding onions, turnips, or carrots. Roast the vegetables ahead of time, then layer in with the potatoes. You can also add fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, or basil.
Add meat. Diced ham, ground beef, or sliced bacon would all be great additions to this dish. Fully cook the meat ahead of time, then add into the potatoes and prepare as the recipe directs.
Thicken the sauce. If you'd prefer a thicker cream sauce, add 2-3 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour to the whipping cream.
Substitute heavy cream. Another way to slightly thicken the sauce is to swap heavy cream for whipping cream. They're very similar, but whipping cream is slightly lighter — it has about 6% less fat than heavy cream.
Top with breadcrumbs. if you want to add extra texture to this dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the potatoes and cheese before cooking. You don't need much, just a light layer will work.
Never make potatoes au gratin from the box again now that you have this recipe!
- Rub the garlic clove on the baking dish and grease the dish with butter.
- Layer the bottom of the baking dish with potato slices, sprinkle with salt, and repeat.
- Pour the cream into the baking dish, approximately half the height of the potatoes.
- Cover with plastic. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Continue to microwave at 2-minute intervals until the cream is almost completely absorbed by the potatoes.
- Sprinkle generously with cheese and broil until golden brown.