A delicious and simple side dish, cheesy, creamy easy Au Gratin Potatoes for Two is the perfect addition to your date night dinner. Pairs beautifully with so many main courses like Surf and Turf, Roast Chicken, and Lamb Chops.
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Au gratin potatoes, also called potatoes au gratin are a classic, indulgent American comfort food side dish that’s welcome at any dinner table and works well alongside almost any protein.
This cheesy American version is based on a French culinary technique where potatoes or vegetables are baked in a shallow, mostly oval baking dish, often with a crispy topping such as breadcrumbs.
Although typically baked in a large dish, this recipe for au gratin potatoes is scaled perfectly for two people and is baked in individual baking dishes.
This is not exactly a light or diet preparation, but a delicious indulgence for a special day!
This au gratin potato recipe for two is:
- Can be made ahead of time.
How to Make Au Gratin Potatoes for Two:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make these easy au gratin potatoes for two recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes because they're a medium starch variety of potatoes. They have a creamy, firm and moist texture that holds together better after cooking. Starchy potatoes such as Russets will work, although they can be on the “crumbly” side after being cooked. Another reason I prefer waxier potatoes is they have thin, fine skin that doesn’t need to be removed. One less step!
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream, has a high-fat content that allows it to thicken without the need for a thickening agent like flour. If you use half-and-half or milk, you'll need to add a tablespoon or so of flour to achieve the desired consistency.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: I use a nice sharp Cheddar cheese. Don't use bagged cheese as the ingredients that are added to keep it from clumping together in the bag can inhibit melting.
- Dry Mustard: Dry mustard is made from ground mustard seeds, is pure mustard and is available in the spice aisle. “Wet” mustard, on the other hand, such as yellow "ballpark" or Dijon mustard has other ingredients such as turmeric, various spices or white wine.
- Cayenne Pepper: If you don't like spicy, leave it out but a pinch adds a nice kick.
- Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter, oil or spray two small baking dishes with cooking spray that are large enough to hold the potatoes and the cheese sauce.
- Thinly slice the potatoes. You can do this with a mandolin if you wish, but a good sharp chef's knife and careful cutting will work just as well.
- Place the sliced potatoes, onion and garlic in a small saucepan. Add the heavy cream and salt and white or black pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and gently cook the potatoes for 5 minutes after the cream comes to a simmer, stirring carefully once or twice so you don't break up the potatoes.
- You should be able to pierce the potatoes with a paring knife, but they should not be falling apart or have begun losing their skin. The potatoes will have sunk down under the surface of the cream.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes, onions and garlic to a bowl.
- Let cool slightly so you are able to handle them.
- Whisk grated cheddar cheese into the cream until smooth, placing the saucepan with the cream on low heat if necessary to melt the cheese and smooth out the cheese sauce.
- Add dry mustard, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.
- Layer ⅓ of the potatoes into the two prepared individual baking dishes (⅙ into each dish). Drizzle each dish with ⅓ of the cheese sauce. Repeat layering two more times, finishing with cheese sauce.
- MAKE AHEAD: Can be made to this point 1 to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated. Let sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats. You may need to add additional baking time if still very cold.
- Place on a baking sheet, cover loosely with aluminum foil then bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the gratins are bubbling. Remove the aluminum foil 10 to 15 minutes before they're done so the cheese browns slightly.
- They're done and delish! Hot, bubbling cheesy, creamy potato goodness!
- Be sure to grate the cheddar cheese off the block yourself. Bagged cheese is not recommended because the additives used to prevent clumping can impede the melting process. You'll also have a more creamy, silky-rich sauce with no chalkiness.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The main difference between the two is the type of sauce and whether the dish is topped with breadcrumbs or grated cheese. Both feature sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce. Au gratin potatoes have a French influence and are usually made with heavy cream, cheese and seasonings like this recipe. They're often topped with breadcrumbs or cheese. Scalloped potatoes are also made with sliced potatoes but the sauce is usually made with milk, flour and seasonings. Unlike au gratin potatoes, scalloped potatoes usually do not have breadcrumbs or grated cheese on top, and the sauce is typically not as thick as the sauce used in au gratin potatoes.
These au gratin potatoes can be assembled to the point of baking 1 to 2 days ahead of time. Refrigerate until needed then let sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats.
Starchy potatoes, like russets, tend to absorb more liquid and don't hold their shape. Lower-starch potatoes such as Yukons, red or white hold their shape after cooking and benefit from a flavorful, cheesy sauce. Medium-starch Yukon Golds keep their shape and the slices absorb flavor from the liquid they're cooked and won't crumble.
- Refrigerate prior to baking if making ahead. Refrigerate any leftovers and consume within 3 to 4 days for best results. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Serve au gratin potatoes with:
- Buttery Blackened Steak Bites with Gorgonzola
- Beef Tenderloin Fillets
- Chili-Glazed Meatloaf
- 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
- Turkey Apple Meatloaf with Balsamic Ketchup Glaze
- Braised Pork Loin Roast with Dijon Mustard Sauce
More great potato recipes you'll love!
Get all my potato side dish recipes at: Side Dishes - Potatoes - From A Chef's Kitchen
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Au Gratin Potatoes for Two
- Butter, oil or cooking spray - for baking dishes
- 3-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes - approximately 12 ounces, thinly sliced (3-3 ½ cups)
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream - or enough to cover
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Salt and white or black pepper - to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh chives or parsley - for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter, oil or spray two small baking dishes large enough to hold the potatoes and the cheese sauce with cooking spray.
- Place potatoes, onion and garlic in a small saucepan. Add heavy cream and salt and white or black pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and gently cook the potatoes for 5 minutes after the cream comes to a simmer, stirring carefully once or twice, being careful to not break up the potatoes.
- Remove potatoes, onions and garlic to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Let cool slightly so you can handle them.
- Whisk grated cheese into the cream until smooth, returning the cream to low heat if necessary to smooth out the cheese sauce.
- Add dry mustard, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.
- Layer ⅓ of the potatoes into the two individual baking dishes (⅙ into each dish). Drizzle each dish with ⅓ of the cheese sauce. Repeat layering two more times, finishing with cheese sauce.
- Place on a baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the gratins are bubbling. Remove the aluminum foil 10 to 15 minutes before they're done so the cheese browns slightly.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Totally delicious! Just made this for hubby and I for Valentines Day. Was the perfect amount for the two of us ❤️
Thanks so much, Aleta! Glad you enjoyed!
What can I use instead of the heavy cream or half-and-half?
Hi, Nicole, Thanks so much for your question. You could use regular milk, but you'd need to make a sauce with flour or other thickener--similar to this recipe: Au Gratin Potatoes with Green Chiles Thanks again and hope that helps!
Charlean M Andes says
This was great and I will definitely make it again. Easy and tasty.
Hi, Charlean, Thank you so very much and so glad you enjoyed!
This was delicious and very easy to put together!
Thanks so very much, Sally! So glad you enjoyed!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Perfect for Honey and I! We even have some cute Le Creuset casserole pans made for two. It looks delicious! Have a great day!