Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (2024)

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by Todd + Diane

Since 2009, thispotatoes au gratinrecipe has been a holiday favorite for so many of you. We’re sharing it again with you all along with a brand new video. These potatoes are crazy good and incredibly don’t have any cheese. The secret is in the technique. Read on to find out how to make the magic. Enjoy!

Family Favorite Holiday Potatoes Recipe

With the holidays in full swing, we are always planning a feasting menu (we actually always are planning feasting, but it is even more so now). We are always the key menu planners/cooks for just about any gathering and there are some dishes which are a requirement in our circles.

The menus are often a delicious mix, where traditional dishes are entwined with cultural ones. A common menu for us on Thanksgiving might be the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cha gio (eggrolls), nuoc cham for everything, bun bo hue. Christmas will usually be similar but swap out the turkey and stuffing for something more fun and delicious (whole cooked fish, ribs, steak, steam buns, etc.)

For the family gatherings, Diane’s mom takes care of the Vietnamese dishes & we’ll do the American or whatever various deliciousness we are obsessed with at the time (and sometimes help a bit with the Vietnamese dishes beyond what mom is cooking).

But there is one “everyone-will-boycott-if-it-isn’t-there” dish. Theselegendary Potatoes Au Gratin. We don’t say this lightly. People have wooed their future spouse with these potatoes.These Potatoes Au Gratin are amazing, creamy, tender and addicting. And beautifully simple to make. All they need are some good potatoes & cream, and time in the oven. And a bit of a “secret technique”.

Video showing us making the Potatoes Au GratinRecipe:

The Key to a Great Potatoes Au Gratin

Simplicity can be heavenly, especially when you use good ingredients and techniques. That mantra completely surmises this Potatoes Au Gratin recipe (when they are this good, they should always be capitalized.) Just a handful of ingredients, the prep is simple, and as long as you remember to tend to your taters a couple times as they cook, they are utterly phenomenal.

What are the Best Ingredients?

Because of the simplicity of the ingredients, the little details make all of the difference in the final outcome.A garlic rub on the baking dish. The pop of flavor from lots of fresh ground black pepper and a bit of fresh grated nutmeg give a level above any pre-ground counterparts.

If you are using the pre-ground stuff (please try not to, but sometimes circ*mstances will dictate that you have to) cut back on the measurement of the nutmeg because the fresh grated will have more fluff then its pre-ground counterpart. You might need to reduce the salt amount if using table salt instead of kosher salt. Use how ever much black pepper you like. Preferably a lot.

Go for the Gold Potatoes

For the potatoes, good Russets are the best economical choice but if you want to go delicious, grab some Yukon Golds or something similar. Get the a nice thick heavy cream (all heavy creams are not equal-you’ll know it when you pour as the better creams have a thicker consistency. Around us the Trader Joe’s heavy cream and the Horizon Organic Heavy Whipping Cream (we’ll get the big one at Costco) are our regular go-to’s).

The Secret Technique

Then comes the “secret technique”. Several times while the potatoes cook, with the back of a large spoon, break the crust the cream is starting to form. Swirl the back of the spoon over the creamy that is starting to brown, smoothing it out with the more liquidy cream which is directly underneath.

This will allow the cream to slowly cook into the potatoes without overcooking or drying out the top as everything bakes to a tender, delicious creaminess. For the last 20-30 min. leave everything untouched so it will develop a final finishing crust. The final Potatoes Au Gratin will have a heavenly texture of softened, creamy layered potatoes topped with a golden slightly firmer crust.

Do you need cheese?

No. Many are shocked that there is no cheese in this recipe. With the secret technique is doesn’t need any cheese to create the top crust and we like the texture much more than if you had used cheese. If you are a doubter, try this recipe and you may love it as much as us, our friends, and family all do!


Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (3)

Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes mins

Cook Time: 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins

Total Time: 2 hours hrs

All ingredients are approximations. If you learn to cook this recipe by feel and it becomes very easy to make smaller or larger dishes to suit the occasion.

Folks are always shocked there is no cheese in this potatoes a gratin. The key to this is the technique of breaking the cream crust while baking as well as using a lot of fresh cracked pepper. If you can, try to use fresh cracked pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. They both are much more flavorful than their pre-ground counterparts.

4.88 from 33 votes



  • 4 pounds (1800 g) Potatoes , scrubbed clean (preferably gold potatoes)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons (30-45 ml) Kosher Salt , or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh cracked Black Pepper , or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly grated Nutmeg , or to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) Heavy Cream



  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

  • Crack the garlic cloves break them up slightly then rub the insides of a 9″x11″ baking dish. Set aside.

  • Peel and thinly slice the potatoes – about 1/8" thick. Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl (some like to use a mandoline for slicing the potatoes – if you do we highly recommend using cut resistant gloves – personally we prefer to slice with a knife).

  • Season potatoes with salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Get your hands in there and toss the slices to coat evenly. Slap a potato slice against your tongue to test for seasoning. It should be noticeably seasoned but not overpoweringly so.

  • Layer potatoes into the prepared baking dish, smoothing and shifting the potatoes so everything is fairly level.

  • Pour heavy cream over potatoes to the point where you can press down on the top layer and the potato slices disappear under the cream. Give a couple presses down on the potatoes then taste cream for seasoning again. You should just marginally taste the salt. Add a sprinkle more if needed.

  • Bake for a total of about 1 1/2 hours(larger batches will take longer) (see following steps for instructions while baking).

  • Every 30 minutes or so, break the crust the cream is starting to form with the back of a large spoon. On the final "crusting breaking" the consistency of the cream should noticeably thicker and have absorbed into the potatoes a decent amount.

  • For the final 20-30 minutes, leave everything untouched to form a golden top. Cream should be nearly all broke down and absorbed with just a bit of creamy, buttery-ness between the potato slices.

  • Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before serving. It will retain an intense heat for at least 10-15 minutes.


Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 290kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 900mg, Potassium: 681mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 734IU, Vitamin C: 30mg, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 1mg

Course: Side Dish, Vegetables

Cuisine: American, French

Calories: 290

Detailed Step-by-Step Pictorial for Potatoes Au GratinRecipe

Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (14)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (15)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (16)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (17)

How to “Break The Crust” – keeping potatoes moist & creamy

Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (18)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (19)

The cream crust is starting to show some color

Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (20)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (21)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (22)
Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (23)

Check out our Sausage Potatoes au Gratin Recipe if you love sausage!

Here’s more great holiday potato recipes.

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77 comments on “Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin – No Cheese & a Secret Technique”

  1. Dani Greer December 20, 2023 @ 2:43 pm Reply

    I can make a meal of these, maybe with just a side salad or steamed veg on the side. So good!Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (28)

    • Todd + Diane December 20, 2023 @ 6:34 pm Reply

      We totally agree! Thanks Dani!

  2. Uma Borden December 4, 2023 @ 7:46 am Reply

    YES!! I have made this twice in two weeks. The first time for thanskgiving and held it in the fridge for two days, then baked for 20 minutes as directed in the notes. The second time in samller batch for the starving 20 year old grandson who starts with seconds of this dish. Just klondike gold potatoes sliced about 1/8 inch on the vitamix food processor on the thin blade and the cream. The nutmeg makes a stealth addition whicih adds but is not discernible. About to make it again tomorrow for a small dinner party.

    • Todd + Diane December 7, 2023 @ 10:21 am Reply

      We’re so happy you and your grandson are enjoying these potatoes. Thanks Uma!

  3. Leticia October 1, 2023 @ 8:17 am Reply

    This dish has always ALWAYS been such a hit at every Holiday dinner with the family. It’s pretty much now cemented into our menu every year. Thanks for such an awesome recipe.Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (29)

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Creamy Potatoes au Gratin Recipe or Cream Scalloped Potatoes (2024)
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