This classic potato Dauphinoise, or Dauphine potatoes, is essentially a love triangle of potatoes, cream, and cheese–with a fine French lineage. The dish isn’t named for its richness as some people think (“dauphin” is the French term for a king’s eldest son) but rather for the historical region where it’s said to have originated—Dauphiné.

According to Larousse Gastronomique, the great French culinary encyclopedia, the quality of Dauphiné’s milk is partly responsible for cream being featured in much of the region’s cuisine. It’s so exquisite that the locals have created gratins with their cream and cheese for almost every ingredient: macaroni, pumpkin, ground beef, wild mushrooms, and crayfish. But none is finer than their potato gratin.

I suspect les Dauphinois are quite sated and content because comfort food gets any more comforting than this.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers gobbled this up. They loved the rich flavor of the garlic cream sauce and were delighted that it was so easy to prepare.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for potatoes dauphinoise--potatoes, butter, Gruyère, cream, nutmeg, thyme, and garlic.
  • Heavy cream–This is critical to achieving a rich, creamy sauce. You can also use two-thirds cream and one-third milk, as they do in Dauphiné. But don’t use all milk here. In my tests, I found using only milk created a runny dish.
  • Potatoes–Yukon Gold potatoes, which are similar to the favored French potato for this dish (Charlotte), are creamy and hold their shape well. Don’t substitute waxy potatoes. If you’re in a hurry or feeling lazy, you can skip peeling the potatoes.
  • Gruyère cheese–It’s a nutty, semi-firm cheese that’s a classic partner for potatoes and cream. It can be a bit pricy, though. More affordable alternatives are Jarlsberg, Comté, Emmental, or Fontina.

How to Make This Recipe

A person buttering a casserole dish and a person heating cream, thyme, and nutmeg in a saucepan.
  1. Crank the oven to 350°F. Rub the crushed garlic clove all over the baking dish, then butter it well.
  2. Combine the cream, garlic, thyme, and salt in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the cream. Fish out the garlic and thyme.
A person slicing potatoes on a mandolin and a person seasoning potatoes in a casserole dish.
  1. Thinly slice the potatoes on a mandoline. (Use the finger guard! I don’t call our mandoline the “French finger guillotine” for nothing.)
  2. Arrange the potato slices in a casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Continue layering and seasoning the potatoes until all of the potatoes are used.
A person sprinkling cheese over a layer of potatoes in a casserole dish, then pouring a cream mixture over the top.
  1. Sprinkle the top with cheese.
  2. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and cheese. Cover and bake until tender, then uncover and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and golden. Let the potatoes rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

What’s the Difference Between Potatoes Dauphinoise, Scalloped Potatoes, and Potatoes Gratin?

These three potato dishes are similar, and the names are often used interchangeably. However, they’re different dishes distinguished by the inclusion and type of cheese. All of these potato casseroles are made by layering thinly sliced potatoes with a creamy sauce and baking until tender and golden brown.

Potatoes Dauphinoise is made with a garlic cream sauce, which usually includes a strong-flavored cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, or Parmesan, sprinkled on top.

Scalloped potatoes are traditionally made with a creamy sauce without cheese.

Potatoes gratin is also made with a cream-based sauce and cheese, both of which are layered with the potatoes before baking. The type of cheese will vary from region to region and can include cheddar, Swiss, or Parmesan.

An oval casserole dish filled with potatoes dauphinoise, with a silver spoon resting beside it.

Common Questions

Can I make these in advance?

This cheesy potato dish reheats beautifully, so you can prepare and bake it a day before serving, then cover and stash it in the fridge. When ready to serve, pop it into the oven and warm until heated through.

What should I serve with these potatoes?

In our house, Dauphinoise potatoes are a lovely classic Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, but my readers have found them equally welcome alongside grilled lamb chops and sweet and spicy roasted carrots.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to let your potatoes rest for at least 15 minutes after removing the dish from the oven. It gives the sauce a chance to thicken up and cool down.
  • If your baking dish is very full, place it on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any drips that’ll inevitably bubble over.
  • A mandoline is the best tool for even, thinly sliced potatoes. BUT USE THE FINGER GUARD!
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
An oval casserole dish filled with cheesy browned potatoes dauphinoise.

More Great Creamy Potato Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

An oval casserole dish filled with potatoes dauphinoise, with a silver spoon resting in it.

Potatoes Dauphinoise

5 / 7 votes
Potatoes Dauphinoise are potatoes, cream, cheese, and a French lineage. They’re like scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin but are even more fancy but without being fussy. We really don’t think comfort food gets any more comfort-y than this.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories219 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 garlic clove, smashed with the side of a knife blade
  • Butter, for greasing the dish
  • 3 cups heavy cream (or 2 cups cream and 1 cup whole milk)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • Salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, or Jarlsberg, Comté, Emmental, or Fontina


  • Crank the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Rub the crushed garlic clove all over the inside of a 2 1/2-quart casserole or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then butter it thoroughly.
  • Pour the cream (or cream and milk) into a saucepan. Add the garlic clove, thyme sprigs, a few grinds of nutmeg, and a large pinch of salt.
  • Warm the cream over low heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and fish out the garlic and thyme.
  • Lay a single layer of sliced potatoes in the baking dish, overlapping the slices like playing cards. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and a grind of fresh pepper.
  • Continue layering and seasoning the potatoes until all of the potatoes are used.
  • Pour the seasoned cream over the potatoes and sprinkle the top with the cheese.
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is bubbling and spotted with brown, and a fork easily pierces the potatoes, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the size and depth of your dish. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.


  1. Make in advance–Assemble and bake up to 1 day before serving. When ready to serve, reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through.
  2. Storage–Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  3. Avoid oven spills–If your baking pan is very full, place it on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any drips that bubble over.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 219 kcalCarbohydrates: 31 gProtein: 8 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gCholesterol: 21 mgSodium: 440 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2023 David Leite. Photos © 2023 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This Dauphinoise potatoes recipe is delicious and easy to make. I love the flavor that the garlic-infused cream imparts to the potatoes during the long cooking time. I used Gruyère, but I think it would be equally good with any of the suggested cheeses.

While the cooking time is long, it’s almost all hands-off, so you can let the potatoes bubble away in the oven while you turn your attention to the other components of your meal. This dish can be made ahead of time as it reheats beautifully.

This classic potatoes Dauphinoise recipe is time-consuming yet simple to prepare. From prep to table is about 2 1/2 hours, and it’s worth every minute of it. The actual hands-on time is only about 25 minutes; the rest of the time is spent in the oven.

I simply washed and sliced my russets, without peeling. The heavy cream, nutmeg, and, thyme give this a hearty yet elegant flavor and texture that is certain to impress even the harshest critic.

This classic potatoes Dauphinoise recipe was definitely a crowd-pleaser. The dish made 8 ample servings at our house.

We loved the traditional garlic, thyme, and nutmeg flavors in the cream and the crusty cheese topping. I’ll try sweet potatoes or butternut squash next time. My tasters will be ready!

This potatoes Dauphinoise recipe was a hit with everyone. The potatoes are fork-tender and dripping in a creamy sauce that contains a hint of garlic and thyme. The greatness of this recipe is the ease with which it can be prepared.

Some sauce bubbled over onto the oven floor while baking. I’d check the potatoes for doneness after 1 hour if baked in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Don’t confuse this potatoes Dauphinoise with potatoes au gratin, where the cheese is incorporated into the cream mixture or layered into the potatoes. This is much better and all the flavors are subtle and layered throughout the dish.

Also make sure your dish is deep enough so it doesn’t boil over and make a huge mess of your oven floor. You should let this dish rest, just like meat. If you dig into it too early, the cream will fill the empty space, and by the end, you will have potatoes with no creamy goodness. If this happens, just make sure you’re first in line…

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Perfect! Made exactly as written. The dish was really nice with our spiral cut ham. I actually can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent and easy recipe. The Christmas crowd loved them so will definitely be making again.