This creamy Parmesan potato gratin is a rich and creamy side dish made with potatoes, butter, cream, cheese, nutmeg, and thyme. Not only is it satisfyingly indulgent, but you can make it ahead of time, making it a godsend for entertaining or harried weeknights.
This creamy Parmesan potato gratin made us wonder if anyone else ever gets scalloped and au gratin confused? Scalloped potatoes contain milk or cream but no cheese and are usually sliced thicker. A potato gratin, or au gratin if you will, are similar but are usually sliced thinner and always contain cheese—classically Gruyère but nowadays any grate-able fromage will do. After trying this gratin, we sorta gloat about our gratin know-how. You can, too.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Best Parmesan Potato Gratin
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°). Coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish or a 3-quart Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon butter.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cream, 3/4 cup Parmesan, salt, white pepper, thyme, and nutmeg.
- Evenly slice the potatoes 1/8-inch thick and let them fall into the cream, stirring to coat the potatoes.
☞TESTER TIP: As you slice the potatoes, let them fall into the bowl of cream. The cream will keep the cut potatoes from turning brown. And don’t bother rinsing them in water as that will wash off the potato’s starch, which helps to thicken the cream and hold the gratin together.
- Carefully layer the potato slices in the casserole dish, whether you overlap them like shingles on a roof or just dump them in and smash them down with the back of a spoon. Pour the remaining cream mixture in the bowl over the potatoes. The cream should come almost to the top layer of potatoes. Gently press on the potatoes with the back of a spoon to evenly layer them in the cream.
- Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan over the potatoes. Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into small chunks and sprinkle it over the potatoes.
- Bake the potato gratin, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 75 minutes. If the top starts to turn brown before it’s done, loosely cover the gratin with foil.
- Let the gratin rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. (If you want to make the gratin ahead of time, let it cool to room temperature and rest for up to a couple hours and then cover the dish with foil and place in a 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’s a little rich for every day.
This Parmesan 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.
A simple, easy gratin 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.
If you happen to have a mandoline, 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’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. It would be a perfect accompaniment to any beef, poultry, or pork dish.
This was so simple to make and tasted like heaven. I made the maple-brined pork chops and thought about preparing the bourbon sweet sotatoes for a side, but felt like it just might be too much maple all in one meal, so I selected this recipe instead. We absolutely loved it, and it reheats very nicely. No changes required!
We loved this gratin and it was so easy to make. We have a potato Dauphinoise recipe that is absolutely delicious, but it takes forever to make, and it has much more fat in it than this recipe. This dish was every bit as good without all the fuss.
You can vary the cheese you use, as well as the type of potatoes. We made this once with red-skinned potatoes because that was what we had. It was delicious. I want to make it again, using Gruyere cheese. I also found that I did not need to take the time to concern myself with layering the potatoes like shingles on a roof. I quickly spread the slices into a casserole dish, and then pressed them down into an even layer. After pouring the cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkling on the remaining cheese, you couldn’t see how the potatoes were arranged. Make it easy on yourself.
This is a very forgiving recipe. There is no need to be fussy. I do recommend checking on the potatoes periodically. The top of the casserole had gotten very brown before the potatoes were cooked. I covered the casserole with foil until the potatoes were just about done. I then pulled off the foil so that the topping could crisp up again. So yummy! And it’s a recipe that can be scaled up or down, depending on how many you’re cooking for.
Originally published November 14, 2011