This recipe for Three Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin layers thinly sliced potatoes with a garlicky cream sauce, sharp cheddar, grated Parmesan, and crumbled goat cheese for a decadent special occasion side dish.
If you’re looking for a show-stopping side dish for your holiday festivities, might I suggest my Ultimate Three Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin? On the surface, it might look like your standard holiday fare—cheesy potatoes are always a staple of family gatherings, right? But one bite and your guests will realize that these are no ordinary scalloped potatoes! Tucked between the layers of thinly sliced potatoes are not one, not two, but three different types of cheese! You’ve got tangy sharp cheddar, pungent grated parmesan, and creamy goat cheese, which combine to create a side dish that’s worthy of a celebration.
(Planning your holiday menu? I recommend serving this recipe with my Grilled Beef Tenderloin With Horseradish Chive Sauce and Rosemary Sea Salt Sweet Potato Rolls!)
Scalloped Potatoes vs. Potatoes Au Gratin: What’s the Difference?
Scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually describe two different dishes. Scalloped potatoes are made with a simple cream-based sauce that’s typically flavored with garlic and perhaps herbs; potatoes au gratin also have a cream sauce, but they’re made with cheese, too.
While cheese vs. no cheese is the main difference between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin, there are some other more subtle differences. Scalloped potatoes are sliced slightly thicker than the potatoes used in potatoes au gratin. Potatoes au gratin may or may not have breadcrumbs added to the top, but a proper scalloped potato recipe does not.
With all that said…you’ll find plenty of scalloped potato recipes made with cheese and the difference between these two classic side dishes is becoming more and more fuzzy. Whatever you want to call this recipe, it will be a hit!
What You’ll Need
Buy high-quality ingredients and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious side dish!
- Heavy cream – Also known as heavy whipping cream!
- Milk – I recommend using whole milk.
- Ground black pepper
- Russet potatoes – Use a mandoline slicer if you have one!
- Sharp cheddar – White or orange cheddar will work.
- Grated parmesan
- Crumbled goat cheese – Not a fan of goat cheese? You can omit this or add another type of cheese instead.
Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?
Let’s talk about the heavy cream! I know a lot of people like to avoid using it in recipes, but when you’re making potatoes au gratin, heavy cream is important to prevent the sauce from “splitting” or separating, which happens when the dairy curdles; lower fat dairy products are more prone to this. There are workarounds for minimizing the risk of separation without using full-fat dairy (making a béchamel sauce, for example), but the easiest way to avoid it is to simply use heavy cream.
How to Make Ultimate Three Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin
To prevent your potatoes from oxidizing and turning gray, either plan on making this recipe in one go or slice the potatoes in advance and store them in a bowl of water in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the gratin. They’ll keep this way for up to a day.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and spray a two-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Slice the potatoes. Use a mandoline slicer to cut the potatoes into thin slices; if you don’t have a mandoline, use a very sharp chef’s knife and work slowly and deliberately to cut uniform slices. Pat the slices dry with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
Make the cream sauce. Warm the cream, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan until it barely begins to simmer, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
Assemble. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan; they should overlap each other. Pour half of the cream mixture over the potatoes, then sprinkle with half of the cheddar, parmesan, and goat cheese. Layer the remaining potatoes, cream, and cheeses in the same order.
Bake. Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the top is deep golden brown, and the potatoes are tender all the way through. Rest 10 minutes, then serve.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips for making perfect cheesy potatoes au gratin.
- Uniform potato slices are key. If you don’t have uniform slices, you’ll end up with some that are hard and taste raw, and others that are mushy and fall apart when you stick a fork into them.
- Be careful with the mandoline slicer. It is seriously easy to get in the zone while slicing potatoes and end up slicing your thumb in the process. If yours comes with a guard, use it! You may also want to consider getting a pair of cut-resistant gloves.
- Choose the right cheddar. While you want to use a sharp cheddar here, you also want to avoid a cheese that’s aged for several years. This type of cheddar doesn’t melt very smoothly; instead, it becomes grainy and oily. Always remember: 5-year-cheddar is great for snacking, terrible for melting!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Cover your baking dish with foil or plastic wrap, or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat potatoes au gratin in a 350ºF oven or in the microwave until warmed through—the amount of time needed depends on the portion size you’re reheating.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Raw potatoes do not freeze well, so if you’d like to freeze this recipe, cook it first, then let it cool completely. Cover the dish tightly and store it for up to 3 months. If you have freezer-to-oven cookware, you can heat it from frozen at 350ºF for about an hour, or you can let the potatoes au gratin thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. A thawed dish should take 30 to 40 minutes to warm up.