My family is a meat and potatoes kind of bunch so I make several different kinds of Au Gratin potatoes. I think my personal favorite is my Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin because it’s so cheesy! The sauce is velvety and thick and it coats every bite of the potatoes. Just thinking about it nearly makes me weak in the knees!
I like to make this dish extra rich so I use part milk and part half-and-half for the sauce. And, of course, there’s plenty of cheddar cheese! Mr. Comfortable really likes the crunchy breadcrumb topping so I always add that. The truth is we all love that topping!
Making Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin takes a few steps but it’s absolutely worth it! First I preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then I slice up 5 or 6 nice size russet potatoes. I layer about half of them in a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. I season them with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat I melt 4 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
I add the flour and a half teaspoon of the salt to the butter and whisk it for one minute over the medium heat.
Next I slowly pour the half-and-half and milk (which I’ve combined) into the flour mixture. I stir this frequently while it thickens. This takes several minutes.
Once the milk mixture has thickened I add the cheese all at once. I stir this until the cheese has melted.
I pour half the cheese sauce over the potatoes in the casserole dish then top the cheese with the remaining potato slices. The rest of the cheese sauce goes on top of the second layer of potatoes.
The casserole gets covered with foil and it goes into the oven for an hour and a half or until the potatoes are tender.
I melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine them with a cup of Panko breadcrumbs making sure the breadcrumbs are well combined with the butter. The breadcrumbs get spread over the top of the casserole and I return it to the oven for 5 -10 minutes; until the breadcrumbs are toasty and golden.
To give the sauce a bit of time to set I allow the dish to rest for about 5 minutes. This is the part I have trouble with since I want to dive right into that cheesy, creamy deliciousness!
We love Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin with ham but it really works well with just about any meat!
Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin
- 5 – 6 russet potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch slices
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 6 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided + some to butter casserole dish
- 4 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup half-and-half (or you can use a total of 3 cups milk)
- 2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (plain)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Butter a 11/2 quart casserole dish.
- Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish.
- Season this layer with 1/4 teaspoon salt and all of the pepper.
- In a medium-size saucepan, melt 4 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
- Mix in the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute.
- Stir in milk and half-and-half.
- Cook until mixture has thickened.
- Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Pour 1/2 the cheese sauce over the first layer of potatoes.
- Place remaining potatoes over cheese sauce and season with remaining salt.
- Pour the remaining sauce over this layer of potatoes.
- Cover dish with foil.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.
- Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with Panko breadcrumbs making sure to coat the crumbs well.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the cheese sauce.
- Return to oven and bake about 5 – 10 minutes; until breadcrumbs are golden brown and crispy.
- Allow casserole to sit for 5 minutes so sauce sets.