This side dish recipe is SO cheesy and delicious that you may never make it the old-fashioned way again. Perfect for busy holidays because it leaves the oven free for more important things...
Like pumpkin pie.
Table of Contents
🗝️ Key takeaways
- It's the same creamy potato goodness you grew up loving, but this easy recipe is designed to cook in just twenty minutes.
- Quick au gratin potatoes are a perfect side dish for any special occasion, family dinner, or holiday celebration.
- Pro tip: use waxy potatoes because you can leave the skin on. Yep, that's right—no peeling required!
With an ultra-creamy sauce, this easy au gratin potatoes recipe is as good as my classic one, but the main difference is that it takes much less time.
Plus, it doesn't have to go in the oven, so you have plenty of space left for other side dishes and, most importantly, pie. Lots, and lots, of pie.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
- Yukon gold potatoes work best, but other waxy varieties are okay, too. Fingerlings, red, and baby potatoes are included in that category.
- Switch up the traditional recipe and use sweet potatoes instead.
- You can use whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream instead of the evaporated milk, but it won't be as creamy or flavorful.
- Feel free to substitute another easy-melting cheese for all or part of the Colby-cheddar cheese mix. Gruyere cheese is a nice variation, too.
- For a milder garlic flavor, mince a few fresh garlic cloves and add them to the onions during the last few minutes of sauteing.
- The dried onions aren't 100% necessary, but they add a more intense flavor. You could leave them out if you want.
- Some people like to stir in cooked, chopped ham, fried prosciutto, or crispy bacon bits for extra savory flavor.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Saute the onions in butter over medium heat in a frying pan.
- Set onions aside, and whisk the butter and flour together.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, and evaporated milk, whisking until smooth.
- Blend in the dried onion and cheese until melted.
- Layer some of the cooked potato slices in a baking dish.
- Top with the sauteed onions.
- Spoon over some of the creamy cheese sauce.
- Top with extra cheese and repeat layers.
🥫 How to store leftovers
These quick and easy au gratin potatoes will keep in the fridge for three or four days. Tightly cover the dish, or spoon what you have left into an airtight container.
Reheat a single serving in the microwave to enjoy. If you have a lot of leftovers, you can cover the baking dish with foil and heat it in the oven at 375 degrees F.
Creamy au gratin potatoes do not freeze well. The texture of the cheese sauce doesn't taste the same, no matter how carefully you thaw it.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Cover the finished dish with aluminum foil—shiny side facing the potatoes! Set it in a warm spot in the kitchen and it'll stay hot long enough to get the rest of dinner on the table.
- Slice the potatoes about ⅛-inch thick so they cook quickly. You can use a food processor or mandolin to speed things up.
- Simmer the potatoes until you can pierce them with a fork—don't overcook them because they'll soften a little more in the sauce.
- The best part about cheesy potatoes is the gooey, melty cheese. Shred your own cheese from a block for the best (creamiest) results.
- Stir the flour/butter constantly so it doesn't burn. Do this in the same pan you sauteed the onions for extra flavor and one less dish to wash!
- These au gratin potatoes make a great topping for shepherd's pie in place of mashed.
In this recipe, I really recommend Yukon Golds. They cook quickly, hold their shape well, and the skin is soft so you can leave it on.
Everyone asks this and the answer is: if you want to! However, you should remove the skin and know that they'll take slightly longer to boil. Russets also tend to fall apart more easily.
Not exactly. Scalloped potatoes don't usually have cheese, while au gratin recipes do—at least here in the United States. Technically, au gratin means "with crust," so scalloped potatoes could be considered au gratin if you put bread crumbs on them.
Absolutely! I like to make this stovetop version while I'm cooking everything else because it doesn't take up oven space. However, if you're not worried about that, make them in advance and follow the reheating instructions in the storage section. A full baking dish may take 15-30 minutes to reheat.
📚 Related recipes
- Requiring almost no prep, Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes and Ham is a hearty side dish and a fun dinner to make with leftover holiday ham.
- Creamy and decadent, Hashbrown Casserole starts with pre-shredded frozen potatoes for a super easy and equally delicious side dish.
- With cheesy sauce and bacon, Loaded Green Bean Casserole is one of those classic comfort food recipes that make veggies taste like heaven.
🍽️ Serve with...
Au gratin potatoes make a fabulous pairing with your Thanksgiving turkey, holiday honey ham, or Buttermilk-Brined Roast Chicken.
Maple Roasted Carrots are made with sweet brown sugar for loads of rich, caramelized flavor. They're great with any other side and main dish!
No dinner is complete without some buttery, fluffy cloverleaf rolls.
Whatever you do, don't forget the Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie. After all, you've got the oven space for it!
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You can slice by hand but a food processor will get it all done in about 2 minutes. That gives you more time to enjoy your holiday! I like this one by Kitchenaid because it's got a large capacity (7 cups) and cord storage.
📞 The last word
Au gratin potatoes is one of those side dishes almost everyone loves but rarely makes because of the time investment.
This recipe keeps it super easy!
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need.
If you love this recipe please comment below and give it 5 stars!
Easy Au Gratin Potatoes on Top of the StovePrint Save Recipe
- 2-¼ pounds potatoes, Yukon Gold are the best potatoes for this dish. Leave skin on, wash and sliced thinly.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup onions, sliced in rings then quartered.
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, kosher salt was used
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 28 ounces evaporated milk
- ¼ cup dried onions, optional but they add more onion flavor
- 3 cups shredded colby-cheddar mixed cheese, divided use
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- Bring salted water to boil in a large pot.
- Turn down to simmer and add the sliced potatoes.
- Simmer until they are tender.
- Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile melt the butter in a heavy frying pan.
- Add the onions and saute until they are tender.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon more of the butter to the pan.
- Melt it and then add the flour, whisking constantly.
- Cook on low, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, and evaporated milk, whisking constantly until no lumps remain.
- Add the dried onions.
- Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Add the 2 cups of cheese and stir until smooth and creamy.
- Remove from heat.
- Add a layer of potatoes to the casserole dish.
- Cover with a layer of the cooked onions, about ½ cup of the sauce, and about ¼ cup of the grated cheese.
- Repeat, ending with a layer of grated cheese.
- Broil the top of the casserole with a kitchen torch if desired.
- Cover with aluminum foil and set aside until ready to serve.
- Use a waxy potato like Yukon Gold. They hold up better and have a thin skin, so there's no need to peel.
- Slice potatoes about ⅛-inch thick. You can use a food processor or mandolin to speed things up here.
- Simmer the potatoes just until done - don't overcook them because they'll cook a little in the sauce.
- This makes a great topping for shepherd's pie in place of the mashed potatoes.
- You can use regular milk or half and half instead of the evaporated milk but it won't be as creamy.
- You can substitute any other melting cheese for all or part of the Colby-cheddar mix. Gruyere is a nice variation.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Originally published November 15, 2016. Last updated October 23, 2023, for better images and editorial improvements.
✍🏻 A note from Marye...
I know y'all don't always like the stories bloggers tell so when I have one I try to put it at the very bottom so you can read or skip as you like.
What could be better than creamy au gratin potatoes? Almost nothing!
I don't know how it is at your house but here at the Audet-White house it can get pretty crazy during the holidays.
Ok, it can get pretty crazy anytime but adding holiday cooking to the run of the mill craziness takes it up a couple of notches.
On Thanksgiving Day I literally have no oven space even with a double oven. There's no place to even warm up something I've made ahead of time.
That's why I love these quick and easy au gratin potatoes. I've make them this way when I don't have the time or the space for the classic recipe. This recipe is done in less than 30 minutes.
If you cover the finished dish with aluminum foil and set it in a warm spot it will stay warm long enough to get dinner on the table.
And the creamy, gooey factor is out of this world. It's the ultimate comfort food.
If you are planning on doing a holiday meal buffet style please be sure to read up on holiday food safety from the USDA.