Potatoes au gratin is a rich and creamy potato side dish, and this delicious version offers four cheeses and crispy prosciutto to take things a little over the top!
Potatoes au Gratin, The Potato Comfort Food
Isn't it true that total and utter comfort food is exactly what we need sometimes?
Potatoes au gratin most definitely rules supreme in the decadence department, and that's just fine with me.
When I'm looking for a special potato recipe to go with a special meal that I'd like to serve (perhaps even a holiday meal...), then these delicious potatoes au gratin are what I turn to.
Au gratin potatoes are filled with all sorts of extra-special goodies you won't find in your average potato side dish. And let me tell you, I make sure my loved ones are definitely be able to taste the copious amounts of love in this version—it's for sure one of the cheesiest, creamiest, and most savory you'll ever taste! 😉
Extra Special Ingredients Make for Extra Special Potatoes au Gratin
Since I promising an extra special au gratin potatoes recipe, let me fill you in on just what I'm talking about, so I can whet your appetite just a little bit...
First, let's start with super-flavorful potatoes; and for this recipe, I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes, a wonderful waxy kind of potato with incredible flavor and tenderness.
Next, allow me to tempt you with the bells and whistles: I'm talking four kinds of cheese, fresh thyme, and a finishing topping of crisp prosciutto!
Of course, I don't simply pour cream or half and half over my potatoes au gratin. I prepare a simple yet super savory four cheese sauce, with a touch of garlic, to pour over top of my par-cooked potato slices. There's no guessing here as to whether the potatoes are cooked through or not!
And for a nice, crisp, golden-brown crust, I top everything with a seasoned panko mixture before baking.
How To Make Au Gratin Potatoes
My recipes always call for extra love, and this one is definitely no exception—I think you'll agree once you taste these!
Here's my au gratin potatoes recipe in a few steps:
- I begin by preparing my easy four cheese sauce, and keep that warm.
- My potato slices get par-cooked for a few minutes, just until barely tender.
- While I preheat my oven, I assemble everything in a prepared baking dish.
- The potatoes au gratin are baked for about 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and crisp
- I finish by sprinkling over the crispy prosciutto and fresh thyme leaves—then they're ready to serve!
(You'll find the full recipe below...)
All of it can be prepared ahead of time as well, which makes things easier.
You would simply allow the assembled dish to cool before covering it with foil or plastic wrap, and then keep it in the fridge until ready to bake and serve.
When you're ready, you’d take it out of the fridge about an hour or two before you plan on baking and allow it to come to room temp.
Or, you can prepare components such as the sauce and the crispy prosciutto, and even par-cook the potatoes ahead of time. Then, everything is ready to simply assemble the day you'd like to serve!
Tips & Tidbits for Potatoes au Gratin:
- Yukon Gold potatoes: I don't like a lot of extra starch in my potatoes au gratin, so I choose to use waxy potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes are a pretty yellow color and have lots of delicious flavor, but you can easily substitute red skin potatoes as well.
- Par-cook your potatoes: Because I'd prefer to not have to guess as to whether my potato slices are fully cooked-through and tender, I simply take the guess work out of it: I par-cook the potato slices for about 8 minutes, or until just barely tender when pierced with a paring knife, then drain.
- Getting cheesey: Because this is as decadent a recipe as it is, I like to use a combination of cheeses such as gruyere, mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan; but feel free to use only one or two, or your own preferred kind(s).
- Panko topping for crunch: Adding a crispy, golden-brown topping to potatoes au gratin is a good thing, so I mix together some seasonings with some panko breadcrumbs, and sprinkle that over top of the gratin before baking—it makes for a beautiful and delicious homemade au gratin potatoes!
- Crispy prosciutto: Crispy prosciutto offers a twist and a bit of a salty bite to this recipe, but you can also substitute bacon if more convenient. You crisp prosciutto the way you would bacon—just chop it, add to a hot pan, and allow it to become golden and crispy!
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Potatoes au Gratin
by Ingrid Beer
Category: Side Dish
Yield: Serves 10
Nutrition Info: 459 calories
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
• 3 cups half & half
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon natural chicken base (I use “Better Than Bouillon”)
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• 1 ¼ ounces of butter (2 ½ tablespoons)
• 1 ¼ ounces of flour (about 3 ½ tablespoons)
• ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
• ½ cup grated fontina cheese
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
• Pinch nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Potatoes au gratin Ingredients:
• 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into about ¼” thick slices
• ½ cup, heaping, grated gruyere cheese
• ½ cup, heaping, grated fontina cheese
• ½ cup, heaping, grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup, heaping, grated mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
• Black pepper
• Pinch paprika
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 ounce package prosciutto, chopped and crisped
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
-Begin by preparing the sauce: place the half & half into a medium sized pot, and whisk in the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the paprika; place the mixture over medium-high heat and bring to the simmer, them turn the heat off.
-Place another medium-sized pot over medium-low heat, and add in the butter; once melted, sprinkle in the flour, and stir together to form your roux (or thickener); continue to stir the roux for about a minute or two, to cook out the raw flour taste.
-Next, pour the hot half and half mixture into the roux, whisking the whole time to prevent lumps from forming; allow the mixture to gently simmer for about 2-3 minutes to tighten up, and then turn off the heat.
-Finish the sauce by adding in the cheeses and whisking those in until completely melted and blended, then sprinkle in the pinch of nutmeg and the fresh thyme leaves; keep warm.
-Prepare the potatoes au gratin: preheat the oven to 350°, and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside.
-Place the sliced potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes; add in a couple of very generous pinches of salt to season the water very well, and bring the potatoes to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer them until just tender, about 8 minutes (take care not to overcook the potato slices so they don't break apart).
-Carefully drain the potatoes, and allow them to cool enough to handle them.
-Combine the gruyere, fontina, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses together into one bowl and toss to mix; set aside for a moment.
-Layer about half of the potato slices on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and pour about half of the sauce over them, smoothing it out to cover the slices.
-Next, sprinkle over that about ⅔ of the grated cheese mixture, and repeat the process by layering the remaining potatoes over that, next adding the remainder of the sauce, smoothing it out, and then sprinkling over the rest of the cheeses.
-In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and black pepper, the pinch of paprika, and the olive oil.
-Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the potatoes, and place the dish into the oven to bake for about 25 minutes; after the 25 minutes, if you have a broiler, put the broiler on high, and brown the top of the gratin for about 1-2 minutes until a deep golden color, keeping a close eye on it as to not burn it.
-Finish by sprinkling over top the crispy prosciutto and the fresh thyme before serving.
Cook's Note: This post was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!