Potato Gratin – The Perfect Side Dish For What You’re Cooking

Nov 10, 2021 | Recipes

Whether you’re cooking fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, or venison, potato gratin is the perfect side dish. It is creamy, buttery, and comforting. You will not find a better side dish. What’s more, it seems much more complex than it actually is. The only “difficult” part is slicing the potatoes. After that, it’s all a breeze. I don’t know what you’re having for dinner tonight, but I do know that this should be on the plate beside it.

The Potatoes

For this recipe, you can use either russet or chef potatoes or Yukon gold or yellow potatoes. Either will work fine. However, don’t use white or red potatoes. Those won’t hold up to the cooking process. Wash the potatoes before peeling them because washing them after peeling and slicing will remove excess starch. When making mashed potatoes, excess starch can make the potatoes gummy. However, when making potato gratin, that excess starch helps prevent the dairy from curdling and helps to hold the gratin together once cooked. So, wash the potatoes well, then peel.

Slicing The Potatoes

Potato gratin is all about layers of thinly sliced potatoes. The potatoes should be no more than 1 to 2 mm thick. The easiest and best way to cut the potatoes is on a mandolin slicer. Aka. The scariest piece of equipment in your kitchen. If you don’t have a mandolin, your cheese grater or food processor may have a slicer on it as well. You can cut the potatoes by hand, but it will take a long time, and they will not be even. Don’t put the sliced potatoes in water. I know this probably goes against what you’ve been taught, but it’s essential to keep that starch in the potatoes.

Preparing The Dairy

Once the potatoes are sliced, you can get the milk ready. Pour 1 and 3/4 of a cup of whole milk into a medium pot. Add two cloves of garlic and a pinch of nutmeg and pepper. Don’t add salt yet, as the salt may curdle the milk.

Par Cooking The Potatoes

Put the potatoes in the milk and put the pot on the stove on medium heat. Heat the milk until it starts to steam, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the potatoes in the milk for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes begin to soften. Stir the potatoes often, so they don’t stick to the pot. Season the potatoes with salt, taste and adjust as needed.

Assembling and Cooking The Potato Gratin

While the potatoes are cooking, measure out 1/3 cup of whipping cream and cut 3 tablespoons of butter cut into small cubes. Transfer the potatoes from the pot to a greased or parchment-lined 9-inch casserole dish or bread pan. Gently press the potatoes with a spatula to flatten. Pour the cream over the potatoes. Stud the potatoes with the butter by pushing the cubes into the potatoes. Put the potatoes in a 375°F oven for 35 – 45 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and the dairy has been absorbed into the potatoes. Allow the potato gratin to rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

The Wrap-Up

The finished gratin should be creamy and buttery, almost cheesy. The potatoes should be tender and melt in your mouth, but the gratin should also stand up on its own. It shouldn’t be soupy. If this isn’t something you’ve ever had, you are missing out. Potato gratin is one of the true culinary pleasures of the world. I can’t wait for you to try this. For something really special, pair the potato gratin with last week’s perfect bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. You can reheat leftover potato gratin in the oven or microwave. Have a great week! I’ll see you right back here next Wednesday.

Potato Gratin

Creamy, buttery potato gratin is one of those special side dishes that you only have once in a while but that you will always crave. You can serve potato gratin with any protein to turn an okay meal into a memorable one.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian, French
Keyword: Gratin, Potatoes, Side Dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 1 1/2 lbs Russet Potatoes 680 g
  • 1 3/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes


  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Slice on a mondoline slicer to 1-2 mm thick. Set the potatoes aside but do not put in water.
  • In a medium pot combine the milk with the garlic cloves, nutmeg and potatoes. Warm on medium heat until steaming.
  • Cook the potatoes, stirring often for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes have just begun to soften.
  • While the potatoes are simmering prepare a 9-inch casserole dish or roasting pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper.
  • Season the potaotes generously with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed.
  • Transfer the potatoes and milk to the roasting pan. Remove the garlic cloves and gently press the potatoes.
  • Pour the cream over the potatoes. Stud the potatoes with the butter cubes.
  • Bake the at 375°f for 35 to 45 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and the cream and milk have been absorbed by the potatoes.
  • Take the potato gratin out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Helen

    Thanks you, I learned so much from this. Have never tried to make Potato Gratin but will now for sure. Have to get the right potatoes next grocery trip! Thanks for the recipe, especially for all the information, the why’s and how to’s!

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you for your comment Helen. I’m very happy to hear that you found the post helpful. Happy cooking!

  3. Leanna

    5 stars
    OMG! This recipe is so delicious and easy. I will be making it regularly. The slicer on the side of my cheese grater did the job. Love your website and thanks so much for sharing your recipes!

  4. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you so much. I’m glad you like it

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