Pommes Dauphinoise (Potatoes au Gratin)

February  9, 2022
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten, prop styling by Molly Fitzsimons, food styling by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

For me, Easter provides a wonderful excuse to make a really big lunch for my family and friends, and my menu almost always hinges on roast leg of lamb, which is a traditional centerpiece for many Easter meals. This year, when planning out all of my side dishes, I was inspired by this foodpickle thread to revisit a classic from my cooking school days: pommes dauphinoise, which are also known as potatoes au gratin. I had to make this dish countless times over the course of my nine months while I was at Le Cordon Bleu in London, to the point that I could probably have made it in my sleep. It's simple but its charms are many, and I'm glad I've returned it to my table after all these years. Once you make it and give it a taste, you and your guests will soon see the appeal as well.

Many people insist on using heavy cream when you're making any kind of gratin, but I'm loyal to the method my cooking instructors taught me, which is to use garlic-infused whole milk. With the cheese and the starch of the potatoes, the dish is by far rich enough for my tastes, and I find that the cream mutes the delicate flavor of the Gruyère and garlic. If you have a mandoline, then I recommend using it for this recipe when you're prepping the potatoes. The thinner and more evenly you slice your potatoes, the more delicate–and lovely–the finished gratin will be. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère, divided
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Pour the milk into a small heavy saucepan. Peel and smash 1 garlic clove and add to the milk. Warm over medium-low heat until the milk starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat and let steep.
  2. Peel the remaining garlic clove, cut in half, and rub the cut sides around the inside of an oval gratin dish about 9 inches long and 2 inches deep. Rub 1 tablespoon of the butter inside of the baking dish.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices (I use a mandoline to get them nice and even), laying the slices on a kitchen towel to drain. Layer about one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish, fanning them into concentric, overlapping circles. Season with salt and pepper; sprinkle with one-third of the cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers of potatoes, salt. pepper, and cheese, making the top layer as neat and tidy as you can.
  4. Remove the garlic clove from the hot milk. Pour the milk evenly over the potatoes. Dot the top of the potatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter. Bake the gratin for about 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sabine Gagnon
    Sabine Gagnon
  • Starmade
  • Sally Percy
    Sally Percy
  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
  • Hina Khokhar
    Hina Khokhar

66 Reviews

ChefKellyCooksThenEats December 26, 2021
I definitely prefer the traditional French recipe with no cheese - just cream. From the Dauphine' region of the French Alps, I believe. But - if I'm going to add Gruyere (which is delicious) I would not follow this technique. The brown cheese on the top is very pretty, but the separation of cheese and milk is not very appetizing. I'd prefer to take the extra step of making the simple gruyere sauce and adding that to the layered potatoes. Was disappointed, but love many dishes on this site! Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas have a gorgeous version which takes a spin on Escoffier's original. More focus on the cream and potato - with the gruyere as a finishing touch. Look for that one! Beautiful.
Sabine G. March 28, 2020
Made these last night exactly as written with the exception of heavy whipping cream to avoid curdle. So simple, flavorful, and most importantly- DELISH!
Starmade June 5, 2018
Cream is easier to work with but whole milk does work if other instructions are followed (thinly slicing potato, using shallow dish). Julia's recipe has a smaller amount of milk (1 c for 2 lb potato) and a little more butter. She directs you to use "boiling" milk; also the gratin dish is set over direct heat briefly after layers are put in place and before putting in the oven so the whole concoction is simmering by the time its hits the oven. The milk basically cooks into the potato and all the liquid should disappear. This is not a criticism of the recipe as written; just another way of explicating the process. I usually adjust the milk by feel and eyeball and my sense of the potato. I often use a milk/cream combination myself (obviating the extra butter also in julia's recipe).
Starmade June 5, 2018
2% has not worked well for me, seems to need whole milk at a minimum.
Leah April 2, 2018
I doubled this recipe for a family birthday dinner and it worked great in two dishes. I used cream because of other comments, and I remember many times as a child my mom trying this technique and the diary curdling. It always tasted fine, but never looked super appetizing. With the swap out of the milk for cream I also added nutmeg to the milk while steeping the garlic. It was wonderful! I will make this over and over again.
Mary April 1, 2018
If you use cream, you will have success. I’ve used both whipping cream and creme fraiche (not together) and results were excellent.
Sally P. April 1, 2018
Didn't like this recipe, it curdled and very watery. Won't use it again.
Hairy T. March 15, 2018
I made this. Potatoes au gratin made without a bechamel really don't work, but it was tasty nonetheless. Won't be using this recipe again, except for the steeped garlic trick.
Jaimie M. January 1, 2018
This was delicious. I heated the 50/50 milk/cream I used with the sliced potatoes until the liquid thickened (about 5 minutes) with a little salt and bay leaf and then layered in the pan. The textures were great.
Louis January 24, 2017
for starters, nobody who actually speaks French will ever say "pommes Dauphinoise"
SabrinaEA February 6, 2020
I just got home from Paris where I had Pommes Dauphinoise. I looked up the recipe by that name, as it was listed in the menu...and here we are.
robin L. January 8, 2015
...ah. i just read your 'A Potato Primer' article!
Mary D. January 8, 2015
I have used russets successfully. I peel, thinly slice, and pre-boil them for about 5 minutes first, then proceed with the recipe. It is important to use cream, not milk, to prevent curdling.
robin L. January 8, 2015
...oh! okay. thanks. maybe i'll give the russets a try...
robin L. January 8, 2015
would russets (which i have, and it's snowing and freezing in chicago today) be okay to use instead of yukon gold (which i don't have)...
Lisa December 21, 2014
So I made this for a party this holiday season and then made it again and again... I have been using heavy cream in place of milk. Best potatoes ever. Nothing but compliments all around (and requests for repeats).
Patricia November 18, 2014
Used whole milk and it curdled really badly :/ I think I'll stick to cream next time!
Mary D. November 16, 2014
I made this dish, but used Crème Fraiche. I did not note any curdling. Was wonderful!
Hina K. November 10, 2014
I used all milk and had curdling...also, I used russet potatoes instead of yukon golds and the texture wasn't great and the potatoes were still a bit al dente even after 5 minutes of extra cooking. Could that be because of the russets?
Hina K. November 10, 2014
Also, which mandoline are you using? I bought a cuisinart one for 50 bucks and am very disappointed with it =(.
Merrill S. November 10, 2014
The curdling could have been a result of the potatoes. I like Yukon Golds here because they have a creamier texture. How think did you slice your potatoes? I have an Oxo handheld mandoline and really like it.
Curtis May 30, 2014
As a kid, to make this a meal, my mom would add diced ham, and serve it with salad and broccoli. With a well appointed salad, this also makes a beautiful presentation. Anxious to try your rendition (with and without the ham).
Mimi H. May 12, 2014
I used a 9" Pyrex pie pan. Not as sexy, but it all fit well. I used all while milk and am hoping it doesn't curdle….. now I'm worried…...
sfielding December 30, 2013
Had this saved for a very long time and finally made it. Wow! It was delicious. I had some french lemon-pepper, so I used that instead of regular pepper and it was extra amazing.
Solitaire November 26, 2013
Just made this today and my house smells wonderful now :) I used heavy cream instead of milk and added a bit of nutmeg to it while it simmered. Similar to a winter root veggie au gratin recipe I have but this one is such a classic.