French Gratin Recipe – Potatoes au Gratin

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After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French gratins, I have discovered how to make this classic French recipe. These potatoes au gratin are simple to make and customize.

Follow a few easy steps to turn this potato dish into a full meal. Add your own combination of ingredients, including ham, bacon, goat cheese, or eggs. The sky is the limit.

French Gratin Recipe

My husband and I spent his 40th birthday on a French food journey.  We started in Paris, then went on to Normandy to visit WWII sites, and ended on a wine-filled stint in Burgundy. Check out my post on how to spend 4 days in Paris.

The highlights of the trip for me were all the food from the delicious pastries and classic French foods such as escargot and crepes, to the fresh oysters and more. I started the trip eating and never stopped for 10 days. I even wrote a blog post on What to Eat while in Paris!

One of my favorite meals (there are so many to choose from) started with a restaurant recommendation from my friend (and travel agent) Courtney.

When she last visited Paris, she discovered a restaurant right along the Seine River that made the most perfect classic French gratin recipes. She went on and on, and I was immediately drooling, and so that’s how Bistro des Augustins made it on my must-try list in Paris.

What is a gratin?

You’ve probably heard of potatoes au gratin or some other type of au gratin before. A gratin is the same as an au gratin.

It refers to a dish that has been broiled or baked with an ingredient on top (such as cheese or breadcrumbs) resulting in a browned or crispy top.

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

Bistro des Augustins

At this quaint little Paris bistro, with its tiny kitchen, they are known for their gratins. The menu includes gratins with chicken, mixed vegetables, sliced duck breast, smoked salmon, goat cheese, pretty much anything your heart desires.

My husband tried the Paysan, which had potatoes, cream, egg, and bacon, and I devoured the Landais with potatoes, cream, egg, duck breast, and goat cheese.

Each gratin comes out in an individual gratin dish, drowning in cream, under a beautiful, crispy cheese topping.

Served with a carafe of wine, this meal was absolutely sinful, yet divine.

The owner was as sweet as can be. She let me watch as she prepared the gratins and even gave me some instructions in muddled English. I was astonished to see how small her kitchen was and the tiny size of her oven and broiler.

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Classic French gratins served at Bistro des Augustins located in Paris, France.

Potatoes au Gratin

I was rather astonished to find how easy potatoes au gratin are to make.

The first step might be the hardest, and it isn’t hard at all. You need to find a gratin dish or something similar to a gratin dish to bake the potatoes au gratin in so that they turn out just right.

What is a gratin dish?

A gratin dish is traditionally an oval shaped dish, shallow in nature, usually 1 to 2 inches deep. Sometimes, gratin dishes are round as well.

The good news is that you don’t have to go out and purchase new individual gratin dishes; however, if you do buy some, they are perfect to impress any house guests who come for dinner. Here are some on Amazon (affiliate link)..

If you do not have any small shallow, oval or round dishes at your house, use any shallow baking dish that you have. You can use a larger dish to make a family-sized gratin, just adjust your baking time to account for the larger dish.

Ingredients for Potato Gratin Recipe

Potatoes (Yukon Gold work great)

Heavy Whipping Cream

Garlic Powder

Sliced or Shredded Cheese (Emmental, Gruyere, or Swiss)

Herbs de Provence

Salt

Optional Ingredients (pick a couple of your favorite)

Bacon, fried and crumbled

Ham, diced

Chicken, shredded

Mixed Vegetables, cooked

Goat Cheese

Egg

How to Make French Potatoes au Gratin

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease gratin dish with nonstick cooking spray, or do as the French do and give a generous coating of softened butter.
  3. Pour cream into the bottom of the prepared gratin dish.
  4. Add cooked potatoes and your other chosen optional ingredients (ham, bacon, goat cheese, etc.). Use your hands and mix them all up. Pour more cream over top.
  5. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder.
  6. Top with slices (or shredded) cheese. Sprinkle with herbs de Provence over top the cheese.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until everything is bubbling throughout the gratin.
  8. Broil, watching carefully, for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
  9. Let sit for 10 minutes before eating to let everything bind together.

For the full recipe steps and ingredient amounts for potatoes au gratin recipe, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

Notes About French Gratin Recipe

  • This recipe uses a 9 inch gratin dish. Use a bigger dish if needed, just adjust the amounts of ingredients and cooking times accordingly. Check out our Amazon store for a gratin dish option we found.
  • I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes but other varieties will work. To prep, boil unpeeled until fork tender, immediately submerge in cold water. This allows the peel to come right off.  Slice thin.
  • You can make these plain potatoes au gratin without any additional ingredients, or make it a full meal by adding your favorite ingredients. Some options are shredded chicken, bacon, ham, goat cheese crumbles, cooked vegetables, egg, etc.).
  • Traditional French Bistros use Emmental cheese on top. They use thin slices and they cover the entire casserole. Instead, you can use Gruyere or Swiss cheese, and shredded cheese is acceptable too.
  • Herbs de Provence is what makes this recipe so special, but if you don’t have any or can’t find it, use dried thyme, rosemary, fennel, or marjoram.
  • Don’t forget salt! Potatoes need salt for flavor. Be sure to salt the potato cream layer.
  • Interested in other French-inspired recipes? Try these Easy Croque Monsieur and Madames.

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

What can I make for a dinner party that’s easy and delicious?

To really wow your guests without spending the entire day in the kitchen, consider making these classic French gratins.

Prep the ingredients ahead for an easy dinner party: potatoes boiled, peeled, sliced and refrigerated and bacon fried and crumbled.

For added pizazz, make up several gratin combinations such as classic ham and potatoes or bacon and potatoes, goat cheese and shredded chicken, smoked salmon and dill, chicken and mixed vegetables, bacon and tomatoes, etc.

Each guest gets their own individual potato au gratin; how cute is that?

Also, classic French gratins also hold heat for a long time which means you can have them out of the oven and covered in foil before your guests arrive.

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

Cheesy Potato Recipes

Cheesy Potatoes with Bacon

Cheesy Potatoes with Bacon will be your new favorite side dish. It features an easy cheese sauce made with Velveeta, Miracle Whip, salt and black pepper and a bacon topping that sends the humble potato out of this world. 

Potato Casserole with Rice Krispies

Potato Casserole with Rice Krispies is a cheesy hash brown casserole with a crispy, crunchy topping.  Often called Funeral Potatoes, this is the perfect side dish for almost any entrée. 

4 Ingredient Crock Pot Cheesy Potatoes

These 4 Ingredient Crock Pot Cheesy Potatoes are easy to throw together for a weekend dinner or your next family gathering.

Mom’s Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole

Mom's Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole was an all-time favorite recipe at our house growing up. Mom traditionally made this with leftover ham after the holidays. This stick-to-your-ribs meal will warm you up on a cold winter day and is the perfect casserole for a new mom or sick friend.

Cheesy Potato Puffs

Mashed potatoes, cheese and bacon...what can be better? I'm not sure there is anything better, at least not for a quick and easy side dish or appetizer like these Cheesy Potato Puffs.

Planning a Dream Trip to France?

If you are like me and have a trip to France on your bucket list, I shared some helpful tips and thoughts about traveling to Paris, as well as other places in France:

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
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5 from 1 vote

French Gratin Recipe - Potatoes au Gratin

After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french gratin recipe, french potatoes dishes, potatoes au gratin, potatoes au gratin recipe
Servings: 1 person
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 to 1 cup cooked potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (see below)
  • 1/4 cup additional ingredients (ham, bacon, chicken, goat cheese, mixed veggies, etc.)
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • 2 slices Emmental, Gruyere or Swiss Cheese (shredded can be used too)
  • Herb de Provance

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9-inch gratin dish(s) with nonstick cooking spray, or do as the French and butter generously with softened butter.
  • Pour 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream in the bottom of the dish.
  • Add cooked potatoes and additional ingredients; salt generously. Mix ingredients with clean hands.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
  • Sprinkle the top generously with garlic powder. If the mixture looks dry, add more cream until it is almost to the top of the potato layer.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
  • Layer cheese slices over the top so that the entire gratin is covered. Sprinkle generously with Herb de Provence.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
  • Broil, watching closely, for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.
  • Let sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before serving.
    After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

Notes

  • This recipe uses a 9 inch gratin dish.  Use a bigger dish if needed, just adjust the amounts of ingredients and cooking times accordingly.  
  • I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes but other varieties will work.  To prep, boil unpeeled until fork tender, immediately submerge in cold water.  This allows the peel to come right off.  Slice thin.
  • You can make these plain potatoes au gratin without any additional ingredients, or make it a full meal by adding your favorite additions.  Some options are shredded chicken, bacon, ham, goat cheese crumbles, cooked vegetables, egg, etc.).
  • Emmental is the traditionally cheese used; in the bistro, they use thin slices and they cover the entire casserole.  Gruyere or Swiss cheese can be used, and shredded cheese is acceptable too. 
  • Herbs de Provence is what makes this recipe so special, but if you don't have any or can't find it, use dried thyme, rosemary, fennel, bay leaf, or marjoram. 
  • Don't forget salt! Potatoes need salt for flavor.  Be sure to salt the potato cream layer. 
  • Love French food? Try this French dinner salad recipe. 

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After a recent trip to France where I fell in love with French Gratins, I've discovered how to make a classic French gratin recipe.  These Potatoes au Gratin are simple and follow easy steps to customize to them into a full meal.  A number of ingredients can be added including ham, bacon, goat cheese, egg, the sky is the limit.

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One Comment

  1. OMG it looks perfect! This is literally the meal I dream about. I’m so excited you figured out how to make it. You’re my favorite, and I can’t wait to follow along with the rest of your amazing trip to France!

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