Gratin Dauphinois: Fun for the Whole Family

Potatoes + cream + cheese + what more do you want to know? Julia Child’s killer gratin recipe behind the cut.

To make the yummiest authentic French Gratin Dauphinois, one that your dog will obsess herself with if you let her anywhere near it, one that you might get a little obsessed with yourself, you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boiling potatoes (I used Yukon Golds)
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 4 tb. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to preference
  • 1 c. (4 oz.) grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 c. boiling milk


You also need a dish that is about 10″ in diameter and about 2″ deep, that you can use on the stove-top AND in the oven. A fair-sized cast-iron pan will work. I happened to have a nonstick one that fit the bill.

Okay! So, first thing to do is preheat your oven to 425 F. and open a window if your kitchen’s as small as mine. Then, peel all of your potatoes, and then slice them into 1/8″ slices. Stick all the potato slices in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for a bit.

Take your half garlic clove and rub it all over the inside surface of your baking pan. Then, smear the inside of the dish with one of your tablespoons of butter. Why? Because of flavor. Also because of oil; it helps season and prep your pan so nothing sticks!

Next, drain your potatoes, and dry them with a towel. This part is the most tedious of the whole process, but it doesn’t have to be hard: I use a basic kitchen towel and just kind of squeeze a small handful at a time. They don’t have to be perfect; just not dripping. Spread half of the potato slices in the bottom of your baking dish, and using half of your salt, pepper, cheese, and butter, cover the top of this layer. Then, repeat for a second layer: potatoes, seasoning, cheese, butter.

Next, boil your cup of milk, then pour it over the top of your arranged potatoes and cheese. Leave the burner on when you’re done boiling the milk, and then return the whole dish with everything in it to the burner. When it begins to simmer, throw it in the oven (in the top third) for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the cheese browned. The milk should have absorbed up into the dish by this time. Pull it out and serve it up! Creamy, buttery, cheesy potatoes. Can you go wrong?


By Meghan Young Krogh

Meghan had a number of quality writing mentors over the course of her education, which just goes to show that you can't blame the teacher for the way the student turns out. Team Oxford Comma represent.

3 replies on “Gratin Dauphinois: Fun for the Whole Family”

I think what I love about this dish most, other than all the cheese and potatoes, is the simplicity of the ingredients. I imagine most folks could throw this together on the spot.

I’m the designated au gratin bringer for Thanksgiving this year, so I think I’ll be giving this recipe a go (last year’s was a DISASTER).



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