From My Kitchen Year: Potatoes au Gratin

December 11, 2015


There’s nothing more comforting to see (and eat) on a holiday table than potatoes au gratin. For still more recipes from My Kitchen Year, head here.



1½ cups cream

2½ pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)

½ pound Gruyère cheese (grated)


2 cups milk

2 cloves garlic (smashed)

1 teaspoon salt


whole nutmeg


Serves 6 to 8

The secret to these potatoes is that they’re cooked twice. First you plunk them into a big bath of milk and cream that’s been infused with just a touch of garlic and bring them gently to a boil. Then you dump them into a baking dish, grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over them, and sprinkle the entire top with Gruyère before putting them into the oven where they drink up all the liquid as the cheese turns into a crisp crust.

Pour cream and milk into a large pot. Peel the potatoes and slice them as thinly as you can, putting them into the pot as they are ready. Add the garlic, the salt, and a few good grinds of pepper and bring it all slowly to a boil.

Meanwhile, butter a gratin dish or a rectangular baking pan. When the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour the contents into the buttered gratin dish. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top and cover with grated Gruyère cheese.

The baking is pretty forgiving; you can bake at anywhere from 300 to 400 degrees, depending on what else you have in the oven. The timing’s forgiving, too; at the lower temperature it will take about an hour to absorb the liquid and turn the top golden, at 400 degrees it will take about 35 minutes.

Let it rest for at least 15 minutes—but this, too, is forgiving. If the potatoes have to wait an hour, they will be absolutely fine.

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  • Sandra says:

    Ruth, I have been looking for just such a recipe. It’s early August but never too soon to gather recipes for cooler nights. Thank you for this.

  • Hannah says:

    I’m planing on making this tonight but I’m gonna have a pot roast in the oven at 250 degrees so i can’t put the potatoes in. Could I prepare up to the cheese on top and leave it in the fridge until the roast is done or do you s’pose it could cook at 250? Maybe the pot roast could cook at 300? Ugh! Help!

  • ruth reichl says:

    You can put it in with the pot roast and plan on cooking it longer. When the pot roast comes out, crank the heat up to brown the top….