There truly is nothing more comforting than Potato Dauphinoise. With just a few tips & tricks, here I’ll show you how to make the most delicious Potato Dauphinoise imaginable!
Okay, first things first, whether you call it gratin dauphinois, scalloped potatoes, potato gratin or something completely different, can we all come together and rejoice of the scrumminess of potatoes baked in some sort of creamy sauce? Okay cool. I’ve always grown up with ‘Potato Dauphinoise’ so we’ll go with that 😛
First things first, just to clear the cobwebs…
What is Potato Dauphinoise?
Potato Dauphinoise is a French dish, often made up of sliced potatoes baked in milk and/or cream. Traditionally named ‘Gratin Dauphinois’, this dish has taken on a number of different names and a few different tweaks in ingredients too.
I’ve had dauphinoise potatoes in a range of different textures before. Sometimes extra saucy, sometimes very firm. For me? I prefer potato dauphinoise that are tight and compact. I like the kind of texture that is saucy enough to coat the potatoes, but not so much they slide about on the plate. I prefer when you can make a comfortable slice right through.
Best potato variety for dauphinoise?
I prefer floury potatoes such as Maris Pipers or Russets. The starch will help thicken the sauce and they tend to soften more easily as they bake. I find waxier potatoes doesn’t absorb the sauce quite as well.
How to slice potatoes for dauphinoise?
I usually go for the trusty sharp knife and chopping board, but you can use a mandoline if you’d prefer. If slicing with a knife, I find it easiest to slice off the base of the potato, just to stabilze as you chop. In both cases you want them very thin – around 1/8″ / 3mm. You also want to ensure the slices are even, so they all cook at an even rate.
Process shots: peel potato (photo 1), slice into thin rounds (photo 2).
Sauce for Dauphinoise Potatoes
Most recipes will use a combo of cream and milk, with some using only cream. I find only cream slightly too rich, so I stick with a 50/50 ratio of heavy/double cream and whole milk. Important to use heavy cream and whole milk, not only to add a richer flavour to the potatoes, but also to prevent the sauce from curdling.
Potato Dauphinoise Seasoning
When it comes to the seasoning, I recommend keeping it simple. Here’s my 3 must haves:
- Nutmeg – I HIGHLY recommend adding some ground nutmeg. It compliments the potatoes so amazingly and offers a nice nutty undertone to the dish.
- Garlic – Because garlic, cream and potatoes is a marriage made in heaven. I use one clove to infuse the sauce and one to season the dish (more on this in a sec).
- Salt & Black Pepper – Potatoes need salt, and lots of it. The black pepper adds a gentle kick of spice to break up the richness of the sauce.
Process shots: add milk, cream, nutmeg, clove of garlic and salt & pepper to a pot (photo 1), simmer on low heat (photo 2), remove garlic clove (photo 3).
How to make potato dauphinoise
The main premise for a great dauphinoise is building up layers. I like to take my time with this, and work layer by layer, just like a lasagne. I think it’s important to ensure every part of all the potatoes are covered in the sauce. A little effort, but in my opinion really worth it.
When it comes to baking the potatoes, you’ll want to bake at a fairly low temp. This will not only ensure the potatoes cook right through and at a more even rate, but it’ll also prevent the sauce from curdling. If you notice it splitting at all as the potatoes bake, chances are the temp is too high.
What cheese to use for dauphinoise?
Gruyere is by far the best option for its gorgeous nutty flavour. I don’t add this in the dauphinoise, instead I sprinkle over the top once baked and grill/broil until crispy. That way you get a gorgeous creaminess underneath a crisp and cheesy layer.
Make Ahead Dauphinoise Potatoes
I find these are best served fresh, but you can completely bake them, allow to cool then tightly store in the fridge. Upon reheating you’ll notice they’re not quite as saucy, but they’re still delicious.
Process shots: rub dish with garlic (photo 1), rub with butter (photo 2), spread sauce (photo 3), add potato slices and repeat (photo 4), bake then top with cheese and grill (photo 5).
Serving Potato Dauphinoise
Once they’re out the oven, I recommend letting them rest for 5 or so mins, just to help the potatoes retain their shape. From there just slice into portions and serve up!
What to serve with Potato Dauphinoise?
If you like these look of these dauphinoise potatoes you’ll love my Cheesy Baked Leeks!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe shall we?!
How to make Potato Dauphinoise (Full Recipe & Video)
- 9" x 9" Baking Dish (or similar size)
- Small Pot & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board or Mandoline
- Cheese Grater
- Brush (optional)
- Potato Peeler
Ingredients (check list):
- 2lb / 1kg Russets or Maris Pipers, peeled (or any variety of starchy potato)
- 1 cup / 250ml Double/Heavy Cream
- 1 cup / 250ml Whole Milk (don't sub semi-skimmed or skimmed)
- 1 cup / 100g Gruyere, grated (or enough to comfortably cover the top)
- 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled & lightly crushed with the palm of your hand
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- In a pot, add 1 cup/250ml milk & cream and combine with 1 tsp salt, 1/2-1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1 crushed clove of garlic. Bring to a very gentle simmer and allow to infuse for 5 or so mins, then take out your garlic. Don't allow to rapid bubble or foam, this risks the liquid curdling.
- Meanwhile, slice your potatoes into very thin rounds (approx 3-4mm or 1/8"). I find this easiest by slicing a thin layer off the base of the potato in order to stabilize when cutting. You can also use a mandoline.
- Grab a baking dish and rub with garlic, then do the same with butter. Pour in a dash of the cream and spread over the bottom of the dish (I find using a brush easiest), then add a layer of potatoes, overlapping slightly as needed to prevent gaps. Continue the layers, ensuring you evenly stack and coat each layer. Finish with a thin layer of the cream.
- Pop in the oven at 170C/340F for 1 hour, or until knife tender and lightly browned on the top. This may take slightly longer or less time depending on the depth of your dish, so just be vigilant (see notes).
- Once buttery soft and lightly browned, take out and sprinkle with gruyere. Pop back under the grill and broil on high until golden and crispy. Allow to rest for a few mins to allow the potatoes to retain shape, then slice into portions and serve up!
Quick 1 min demo!
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