Au Gratin Potatoes for Two

4.44 from 51 votes
1 hour 10 minutes
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A delicious and simple side dish, cheesy, creamy, easy Au Gratin Potatoes for Two, is the perfect addition to your date night dinner. It pairs beautifully with so many main courses like Surf and Turf, Roast Chicken, and Lamb Chops.

Two white oval dishes of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with fork digging into one.

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 easy!
  • Can be made ahead of time.
  • Swoonworthy!
Two oval dishes of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with fork digging into one.

How to Make Au Gratin Potatoes for Two:

Recipe Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients for Au Gratin Potatoes for Two in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes because they’re a medium starch variety of potatoes.  They have a creamy, firm, 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 needing 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.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • 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.
Thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes in glass bowl.
  • 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.
Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes in stainless steel saucepan with 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.
Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes moved to glass bowl.
  • 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.
Cheese sauce with wire whisk in stainless steel saucepan.
  • Layer 1/3 of the potatoes into the two prepared individual baking dishes (1/6 into each dish). Drizzle each dish with 1/3 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.
Two oval dishes of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with two forks on white oval platter.
  • They’re done and delish! Hot, bubbling cheesy, creamy potato goodness!

Chef Tip:

  • 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.
One dish of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with fork digging into it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between au gratin potatoes and scalloped potatoes?

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.

How far in advance can you make potatoes au gratin?

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.

What type of potato is best for potatoes au gratin?

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.

Two white oval dishes of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with fork digging into one.

Storage:

  • 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:

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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Two oval dishes of Au Gratin Potatoes for Two with fork digging into one.

Au Gratin Potatoes for Two

4.44 from 51 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
A delicious and simple side dish, cheesy, creamy Au Gratin Potatoes for Two is the perfect addition to your date night dinner. Pairs beautifully with so many main courses!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Potatoes
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 948 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Butter, oil or cooking spray - for baking dishes
  • 3-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes - approximately 12 ounces, thinly sliced (3-3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream - or enough to cover
  • 1/2 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 1/3 of the potatoes into the two individual baking dishes (1/6 into each dish). Drizzle each dish with 1/3 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.

Notes

These au gratin potatoes stay creamy because there is no flour in them.  I find they get too thick and set too fast with adding flour.  However, if you wish to lighten them up by using half-and-half or milk, whisk in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.
MAKE AHEAD:  Can be prepared up to the point of baking 1-2 days ahead of time.  Let sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats.  You may need to add additional baking time.
SUBSTITUTIONS:  Instead of sharp cheddar cheese, you can use Gruyere, Monterey jack, Parmesan for an Italian twist or Gouda.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 948kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 45g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 225mg | Sodium: 426mg | Potassium: 1303mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2759IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 540mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

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13 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like to make these scallop potatoes for two for an upcoming special dinner. I am unsure the size of the baking dishes to use though, can you kindly advise the size of the dishes that you used are in ounces? Thanks Sherry

    1. Hi, Sherry, Thanks so much for your question. These are the baking dishes in the post: Baking Dishes. They’re 10-ounce. You may not need all six, but they’re pretty handy for baking and heating all sorts of small things. Thanks again and hope you both enjoy!

  2. Totally delicious! Just made this for hubby and I for Valentines Day. Was the perfect amount for the two of us ❤️