Potatoes Dauphinoise

If there ever was a dish that is transcendent in its simplicity, it’s this one.

This is truly a melt-in-your-mouth showstopper of a dish.  Perfect for that epic holiday meal served alongside our Slow-Cooker Spiral Ham! And the preparation is not difficult at all!

A large oval baking dish with handles filled with potatoes dauphinoise.

How To Make Potatoes Dauphinoise

Leave it to the French to take a few modest ingredients and turn them into a dish for the ages.

These are very similar to scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin, but there are few important tips to follow to make them perfectly French.

 

Layering the Flavor Profile

As you can imagine, this dish is all about the amazing layers and layers of flavor.

We don’t allow a single layer to go without adding some flavor, and that starts with the base.

EXPERT TIP: We use our cast-iron baking dish that’s approximately 10″ x 12″, but you can certainly go with a 9″13″ dish. First, softened butter is liberally applied to the bottom of the dish.  Next, cut a garlic clove in half and rub the cut side all over the butter. It’s subtle, but adds a hint of flavor to the dish.

A hand pressing a halved clove of garlic in the bottom of a buttered oval baking dish.

Now, it’s time to create the incredible cream sauce.

We go with 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole milk.

Toss in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 cloves of garlic either pressed through a garlic press or finely minced.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for a few minutes.  Strain and set aside. 

A person squeezing garlic out of a garlic press into a pan filled with cream and herbs.

Choosing the Right Potato

We strongly recommend going with large gold potatoes for the dish. They cook wonderfully and become buttery soft after baking with the cream sauce. If you can’t get gold potatoes, then go with Russet or white.

You’ll need 3 lbs of peeled potatoes. We use our mandolin to slice them to about 1/8-inch in thickness.

EXPERT TIP: Make a single layer of potatoes in the bottom of the prepared dish. Give the layer a nice sprinkle of salt and a slightly less amount of black pepper. Add just enough of the prepared cream sauce to barely cover the potatoes. Repeat this process. You want just enough cream so that when you press on the potatoes, the cream peeks around the edges. Just eyeball this, you may have a few extra unused potatoes, or, you may have a little extra cream.

A person slicing a gold potato on a mandolin and then sprinkling salt over the layered potatoes in a dish and then ladling cream over them.

Gruyere is the perfect cheese for the topping. Rich and melts beautifully.

And as it bakes, the cheese turns into a beautiful crust or gratin.

EXPERT TIP: Gruyere can usually be found in the specialty (or gourmet) cheese section in most well-stocked supermarkets, often near the deli area. You most likely won’t find it shredded, rather in blocks. We just cut away the rind and then toss the block in our food processor and process until just crumbled. Sweet cheese is a perfectly fine substitute if you can’t find Gruyere.

A person sprinkling shredded Gruyere cheese over layers of potatoes in cream all in a oval baking dish.

When To Serve Potatoes Dauphinoise

This is truly a special dish and is really wonderful for special-occasion meals during the holidays.

However, the ingredients aren’t terribly pricey, and the preparation isn’t too involved, so it makes an incredible side dish for dinner parties or dinner for two any time of the week.

EXPERT TIP: The dish can be prepared up to 24 hours before baking. Cover with foil and place in the fridge. Allow an extra 15 minutes of baking if chilled. Remember to check after about 35 to 45 minutes. Usually, at this time, you’ll need to cover with foil so it won’t brown too much on top.

A dark baking dish filled with layers of potatoes dauphinoise with a square piece missing.

There are few dishes that are as universally loved as this dish.

Every time we serve this to guests, it gets raves and the recipe is always requested.

And the leftovers (if there are any) are equally as scrumptious.

A slice of potatoes dauphinoise being raised up on a spatula.

When you need a special dish for a special occasion, look no further.

This dish will warm you up and just make you smile. Slow-cooked potatoes, cream, cheese with a little garlic, and herbs.

That’s just good.

A square serving of potatoes dauphinoise on a white plate garnished with chopped parsley.

Ready to make the best Potatoes Dauphinoise this side of Paris? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A square serving of potatoes dauphinoise on a white plate garnished with chopped parsley.

Potatoes Dauphinoise

This Potatoes Dauphinoise recipe is a keeper. So simple, yet so elegant, rich, and perfectly balanced. It is just an amazing combination of flavor and texture. Can be made a day ahead up to the baking. If refrigerated, add another 15 minutes to the bake time.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Authentic dauphinoise recipe, French gratin potatoes, how to make potatoes dauphinoise
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 355kcal

Equipment

  • 9"x13" baking dish (or similar size)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
  • 1 clove garlic cut in half
  • 3 lbs potatoes Yukon gold, peeled and thinly sliced. If using a mandolin, cut to 1/8” thickness.
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese grated
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Flat-leaf parsley chopped, for garnish on top

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Take a large, heavy-bottomed dish or an ovenproof gratin dish, and grease it well with the butter, then rub the ½ sliced garlic on the bottom and sides. Discard the garlic.
  • Put the cream, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper and sprigs of thyme in a saucepan. Using a garlic press, press 1 clove of garlic into the sauce (or mince finely, and add to the sauce).
  • Bring gently to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, then strain into a bowl, and discard the thyme and garlic. Set aside briefly.
  • Layer the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning each layer with the salt and pepper. Once one layer is added, ladle enough of the strained cream sauce to coat the potatoes. Repeat with the process until out of potatoes.
  • Add a little more cream, if necessary. The cream should just barely be peaking around the edges of the potatoes when you press down on them (resist the temptation to add too much cream!). You may have extra potato slices, or you may have a little extra cream.
  • Sprinkle the cheese on the top of the last layer.
  • Bake for 45 minutes and then check them, you'll most likely need to cover them with a piece of foil to keep them from browning anymore. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until a sharp knife easily pierces the potatoes with absolutely no resistance.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Video

Notes

Yukon gold potatoes are best, however, russets can be used in a pinch.  
Be sure to add a sprinkling of salt and a little bit of pepper to each layer of the potatoes.  About 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper per layer.  
There should be just enough cream to come close to submerging the potatoes, but not completely.  It's okay, and preferable, that most of the top potatoes aren't covered by the cream. 
Be sure to check after 30 to 45 minutes, and cover with foil once nicely browned.  Typically, it takes about 50 to 60 minutes total cooking time to get the potatoes super tender.  If they are extremely thin slices, it will take less time.  Once a knife can be inserted all the way through the potatoes to the bottom of the dish with absolutely no resistance, then the dish is ready to come out of the oven.
The dish can be prepared up to 24 hours before baking.  Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. Uncover and bake for an extra 10 to 15 minutes, if cold.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  The dish freezes okay, but the cream may break down somewhat once thawed and reheated. 

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1237IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in March 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe, new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in April 2021!

18 Comments

  • I saw one of the chefs on Masterchef UK make this in a recent episode. It looked delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

  • 5 stars
    I didn’t get a picture of it before we ate it but my husband said this was the best potato dish he has ever had. It was easy to make and tasted wonderful…even though I used 2 percent milk mixed with the cream instead of whole milk. Thanks for the recipe. Now onto the whole roasted cauliflower!

    • Hi Nette!! So sorry for the delayed response here, but WOO HOO!!! We are THRILLED you and your hubby loved the potatoes! Sounds like you prepared it perfectly!! That’s awesome!!! Thank you so much for letting us know and for the fabulous review! That so very much means the world to us!! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Regina! Just sprinkle it on top of the last layer of potatoes after you’ve finished adding the cream. We see it in the instructions, but if you’re not seeing it, let us know! And do let us know if you make the dish and how it turns out! We hope you love it as much as we do!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • I’d love to try this dish, but could not find any info about the mandoline that you used. I’m considering buying one but would like to know what brand that you have had for so long. Thanks! P.S. I LOVE your videos! 🙂

  • Ok guys… Trev wants to make this for his Momma so a couple of questions… what ham recipe would go nicely with this? Recommendation for a green veggie? What type of wine? And let’s not forget dessert…! Let’s think of it this way… it’s me doing the cooking, but you guys sending da love to Momma Claire…. and…. go!

    • Of course!! We just posted a slow-cooker spiral ham that is amazing! Right before that we posted asparagus with chopped egg! And check out our carrot cake…it’s heavenly! Just like your mama! And we love a nice Chardonnay!! Happy Easter to you and please give our love to your beautiful mother!

  • 5 stars
    Ok so ‘How to Feed a Loon’ has become my favorite spot for new recipes! After absolutely loving your chicken francaise dish, I decided to take a look at some of your other recipes. Gratin potatoes are another dish that I always felt was kind of “off limits” to make at home as I assumed they just wouldn’t be as good as when we get them out. Well, made these potatoes tonight and they were DIVINE. SO GOOD and also SO EASY! My dad (a tough food critic!) even said they tasted as good as ones from some of the best steakhouses! Thanks again for another amazing recipe – I’m SO happy I found your site and can’t wait to try more from you guys!

    • Michelle! You have no idea how much you have just filled our hearts with joy!! We are thrilled you are having success with our recipes, and we agree, those French gratin potatoes are sublime! And so so so happy you even pleased the food critic in your house! LOL!! Way to go Dad!! We are so glad you found us and we found YOU!! Please stay in touch…and stay tuned…lots more food and fun on the way!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Chrissie,

      Best advice we can give (without a ton of re-calculating) is to simply cut the recipe in half. These make the best left-overs in the world. And trust us…it won’t be around long!! Hope this helps somewhat! And let us know if you make it and what you think!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I found this recipe before Christmas and it was delicious. But could it be a fluke? Nope. Made it for a potluck supper last night and it was the only thing at dinner that was almost completely devoured (plus lots of comments on their divinity). I’ve tried other recipes that either taste meh or the potatoes aren’t quite cooked. This one has been perfect. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Christy! That’s the best news we’ve heard all day!! That really makes us happy to hear and we are so pleased that you had success with these potatoes. They really are pretty amazing, right? Thanks so very much for letting us know. That means so much to us. Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I’ve made several versions of potatos dauphinoise and always had trouble getting them just right.

    This recipe is pretty much perfect. They were by far the best version I’ve ever made. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    • Hi Louis! That is so wonderful to hear!! We are thrilled that you had success with our potatoes dauphinoise recipe. It really is one of our favorites. And you’re right, it took quite a bit of testing until we felt we had nailed the recipe. Thank you so much for letting us know. We truly appreciate that. And please stay in touch. All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Wow, this was so damn-pardon my french 😉 delicious! I feel like a french chef. Easier than it looks with much thanks to the helpful instructions (and mandolin;) You guys are great and I can’t wait to try more recipes. So glad I discovered your website. Keep spreading the joy and deliciousness!

    • Hi Karen!! so sorry for the delayed response. Thank you so, so very much!! We flip for those potatoes, too. So damn 🙂 delicious!! And we are so happy that you found us and we found you!! Please stay in touch! Much more to come!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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