Tender thinly sliced potatoes blanketed in a smoky cheese mixture and creamy sauce with a golden brown crispy top.
Typically every table on Thanksgiving has that big bowl of mashed potatoes, but does it have these cheesy, smoked gouda potatoes au gratin? This dish is a different kind of decadent! Tender thinly sliced potatoes blanketed in a smoky cheese mixture and creamy sauce with a golden brown crispy top. Dare I say these au gratin potatoes are even better than mashed potatoes, easier too! These smoked gouda au gratin potatoes are worthy of your holiday meal!
The component that really takes these potatoes over the top is the cheese mixture. I experimented with several different types before I came up with this combo of perfection. These gouda gruyere potatoes au gratin use a blend of smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, and gruyere! Gruyere is an ideal melting cheese, typically used for fondue, making this dish extra creamy and luscious. The cheddar cheese adds a sharpness to the dish, and it’s distinct orange hue. Last but definitely not least, the gouda gives these potatoes an edge of smokiness.
What is the difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin?
Scalloped potatoes are made with a roux containing flour, butter, and milk whereas potatoes au gratin are made with cream, butter, and cheese. Also, potatoes au gratin tend to have thinner sliced potatoes than scalloped potatoes.
Before we get to the full recipe detailed below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make these smoked gouda potatoes au gratin.
- Potatoes: You will need 6 yukon gold potatoes for this recipe. Yukon gold potatoes are best for au gratin potatoes because they hold their shape when baked, but still become tender when baked. The potatoes will need to be thinly sliced about ⅛ inch.
- Butter: These au gratin potatoes call for 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. There is a lot of saltiness in the cheese in this recipe, so make sure not to use salted butter.
- Heavy Cream: You will need 1 cup of heavy cream for these potatoes au gratin. This is what will be the base for the cheese sauce. Make sure that the heavy cream is at room temperature or else the cheese sauce may curdle in the oven.
- Garlic: We do not skimp on the garlic in this recipe! This au gratin potato recipe call for 6 cloves of garlic finely minced.
- Seasonings: Smoked paprika and onion powder is needed, ¼ teaspoon of each. These seasonings add so much flavor to the cheese sauce.
- Cheese: Cheese is the most important factor in potatoes au gratin! This recipe calls for a blend of gruyere, sharp cheddar, and smoked gouda. Do not use pre-shredded cheese! Gruyere is known for its rich flavor and creaminess. It is crucial in this au gratin potato recipe! The cheddar cheese adds a sharpness to the dish and the distinct orange color. And last, but definitely not least, the smoked gouda gives the potatoes au gratin that woody, smoky taste. When all combined the cheese sauce is creamy, smoky, sharp, and oh so delicious!
- Salt & Pepper: A little bit of salt and pepper in the sauce. What sauce is complete without a little salt and pepper?
Variations & Substitutions
Because potatoes au gratin have such few ingredients, not many substitutions should be made. You can substitute the onion powder for garlic powder, for a less pungent flavor. You can also substitute sharp yellow cheddar cheese for white cheddar, which has a very similar taste, texture, and cooking behavior.
Do not substitute the type of potatoes! This potato au gratin recipe uses yukon gold potatoes because they are the starchiest potato and ensure that your dish is not watery.
Tips & Tricks
Try to keep the potato slices together when cutting. This isn’t mandatory but I have found that when the thin potato slices are together, it is easier to assemble the dish. Kind of like a deck of cards, when they are all together they are easier to grab and disperse.
If you like the flavor of burnt crispy cheese (who doesn't?), broil the au gratin potatoes for 1-3 minutes on high after baking. This will make the top extra bubbly and golden.
Do not use pre-shredded cheese! I know that the already shredded cheese is way more convenient but just don’t! It is covered in preservatives that make it hard to fully melt and therefore changes the texture of the sauce. If you want the creamiest cheese sauce ever, buy the block of cheese and shred it yourself! You won’t regret it!
Heat the oven & prepare your dish. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Prepare the potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are thoroughly washed. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer, cut the potatoes in thin slices about ⅛ inch.
Make the sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, room temperature cream, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
Shred the cheese & mix them up. Shred all your cheeses on the thicker shred setting. Then in a medium bowl, combine all the shredded cheese to ensure they are evenly dispersed.
Layer the dish! Now for the fun part, let’s layer the potatoes, sauce, and cheese. Layer ⅓ of the potatoes evenly across the dish's bottom, then layer 1 cup of the mixed cheese, followed by ⅓ of the sauce. Repeat those layers once more. The dish has a total of 3 layers, but the last layer has a different order. For the final third layer, the order is potatoes, sauce, and then cheese. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil.
Bake the potatoes au gratin. Transfer to the oven to bake for 60 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and uncover the dish. Turn the oven temperature up to 425F. Cook 15 more minutes uncovered until the cheese creates a golden brown bubbly crust on top of the potatoes.
Serve! Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top, along with some sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy!
Sprinkle some fresh cut parsley on top of the warm potatoes au gratin when serving. Along with fresh cracked black pepper and flaky sea salt!
Storage & Reheating
Leftover potatoes au gratin can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
These potatoes au gratin can be reheated in the oven or microwave. To reheat them in the oven, cover the dish in foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375F. To reheat them in the microwave, cook for 2-3 minutes until hot.
How do you know when the au gratin potatoes are done?
You can tell the potatoes au gratin are done when you insert a fork and it goes in very easily. Also a golden brown cheesy crust should be formed on top of the au gratin potatoes.
Why does my potato au gratin curdle?
Curdling or separation of the sauce is caused by the drastic temperature change from a cold sauce to a very hot oven. To avoid this, make sure your cheese sauce has room temperature heavy cream and the butter is melted.
Why are my au gratin potatoes watery?
To avoid a watery au gratin, do not wash your sliced potatoes after cutting. Also, this potato au gratin recipe calls for yukon gold potatoes which are very starchy and should ensure your au gratin is not watery.
Can I make potatoes au gratin ahead of time?
Yes! These potatoes au gratin can be made a day ahead of time. Prepare the potatoes following the instructions up until the baking of the dish. Then cover the dish with plastic wrap, with the wrap touching the top of the potatoes to avoid any potato discoloration. Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, bring the potatoes to room temperature and bake as normal.
Smoked Gouda Potatoes Au Gratin
- 6 yukon gold potatoes large
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup heavy cream room temperature
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup gruyere cheese not pre-shredded
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese not pre-shredded
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese not pre-shredded
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped optional, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Wash the potatoes and peel them. By hand with a sharp knife or with a mandolin slicer, thinly cut the potatoes to be about ⅛ inch.
- Now make the sauce for the potatoes. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, cream, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to combine.
- Shred all your cheeses on the thicker shred setting. Then in a medium bowl, combine all the shredded cheese to ensure they are evenly dispersed.
- To prepare the dish, layer ⅓ of the potatoes evenly across the dish's bottom, then layer 1 cup of the mixed cheese, followed by ⅓ of the sauce. Repeat those layers once more. The dish has a total of 3 layers, but the last layer has a different order. For the final third layer, the order is potatoes, sauce, and then cheese. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil.
- Transfer to the oven to bake for 60 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and uncover the dish. Turn the oven temperature up to 425F. Cook 15 more minutes uncovered until the cheese creates a golden brown bubbly crust on top of the potatoes.
- Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.