The trick to a good potato gratin recipe is to put the potatoes into the cream as you cut them. The cream will keep the cut potatoes from oxidizing―turning brown―without washing off the potato’s starch. The starch helps to thicken the cream and hold the potatoes together when cooked. I love the Parmesan cheese and thyme in these potatoes, but I’ll sometimes change it up with Gruyère and a little roasted garlic. You can make this gratin ahead of time and reheat it, covered with foil, in a low oven.–Louis Lambert and June Naylor
What's the Difference Between Scalloped and Potatoes au Gratin?
Ever get scalloped and gratin confused? Well, perhaps this might help: Scalloped potatoes contain milk or cream and are usually sliced thicker. Potatoes au gratin are similar but are usually sliced thinner and always contain cheese. Classically, it was Gruyère, but nowadays any grate-able fromage will do. Now, guess which version one we prefer? Exactly. And boy, do we gloat about our gratin ever since finding this recipe.
Parmesan Potato Gratin
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 2 H
- Serves 8 to 10
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
- 1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°). Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish or a 3-quart Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon butter.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine the cream, 3/4 cup Parmesan, salt, white pepper, thyme, and nutmeg.
- 3. Evenly slice the potatoes 1/8-inch thick and place in the bowl with the seasoned cream, stirring to coat the potatoes. Arrange the potato slices in the casserole dish, overlapping them like shingles on a roof if you want, or just dump them in and smash them down with the back of a spoon. Pour the cream mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over the potatoes; the cream should come almost to the top layer of potatoes. Press down on the potatoes with the back of a spoon to evenly nestle them into the cream.
- 4. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan over the potatoes and then dot the top of the cheese with small pieces of the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake the gratin, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the gratin rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. (If you want to reheat the gratin, cover the dish with foil and place in 275°F (135°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes—or longer if you need to buy yourself a little time to get the rest of dinner on the table.)
Recipe Testers Reviews
This dish is not for the diet-conscious among us. That being said, it’s a simple yet classic potato dish that is well loved and remembered. The addition of fresh thyme adds a lovely earthy flavor to the heavy cream, which bakes into a wonderful, creamy sauce. The hint of nutmeg adds a warm note to the sauce that is absorbed by the potatoes, and the Parmesan adds salty notes. This dish was devoured by my family, with everyone taking seconds and none left over. I would heartily recommend this dish and will make it again for special occasions, as it is a little rich for every day.
This potato gratin was easy to put together and came out of the oven with a golden-brown crunchy top that was beautiful. When we served the potatoes, they were fork-tender, creamy, and rich. The flavor almost reminded me of an alfredo. These would be just as good a main dish with added ham, pancetta, or bacon, and would also be a welcome addition to any holiday table.
How could this be anything but satisfying?! Potatoes, butter, heavy cream, Parmesan, and seasonings! Plus, it couldn’t be easier: slice potatoes, mix in with the seasoned cream, and bake: at an hour and a quarter, I had a delightfully browned and bubbling casserole dish full of rich and creamy potatoes. This recipe looks so forgiving, I think black pepper could be subbed for white and dried thyme and nutmeg for the fresh without any discernible loss of quality. Additionally, I happened to have a couple of Yukon Gold potatoes among my russets, and I used them alongside the russets; the entire gratin could be made with Yukon Golds, creating just as delicious a dish. I followed the directions to peel the potatoes, but would likely not bother peeling next time. This dish is very rich, and I think the number of servings could be stretched a bit further, especially if the meal was being plated for the guests. However, the converse is also true: left to their own devices, guests could easily devour quite large servings, depending on the rest of the meal. The reheating note is helpful, and it worked. I actually made (and tasted) the dish the day before I needed to serve it, then reheated it per the directions, and, while it wasn’t quite the spectacular bubbling dish it had been right after its first baking, it was enjoyed by all, and left me able to focus on the rest of dinner. I used the 45 minutes as a guideline, and felt it could have gone a little longer.
We made this recipe for a barbecue we were having. I was a little unsure of how it would turn out, but I was very pleasantly surprised. All our guests gave this recipe both thumbs up. We took the easier route by adding the potato slices to the bowl with the seasoned cream and then just poured the mixture into the casserole dish, flattening them slightly with a spatula. It actually took about 1 1/2 hours in the oven. The resting time is important as the liquid is absorbed more into the potatoes as they sit. The leftovers were just as good as the original—maybe even better. Will definitely make this again.
If you happen to have a mandolin, this recipe is a snap. Instead of placing the sliced potatoes in cold water, just slip them into the cream mixture. When layering the potatoes in your baking dish, I would pour some of the cream mixture between the layers. I would recommend checking the gratin periodically. After about 45 minutes, mine was quite golden brown on the top. I covered it with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. The Parmesan cheese doesn’t melt, but adds a really nice bite.
This is a delicious potato dish and could definitely be served for Thanksgiving dinner or at any time of the year. It would be a perfect accompaniment to any beef, poultry, or pork dish. It’s very easy to prepare and easily serves 8 to 10 people. To serve, the potatoes can be cut in squares or rectangles. For a special meal, I would probably use a round cookie or biscuit cutter (or other interesting cookie cutter shape) to cut the servings.
A simple, easy gratin or scalloped potato recipe, perfect for family or friends. You can pull this dish together quickly and serve it with a variety of main dishes and it reheats beautifully.