Classic French Gratin Dauphinois

Gratin dauphinois with golden brown melted cheese topping

The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 95 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
593 Calories
46g Fat
34g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 593
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 29g 143%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 495mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 347mg 27%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 916mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dauphinois (sometimes called dauphinoise) is named after the Dauphiné region of France and is a dish enjoyed around the world. The combination of potatoes soaked with garlic-infused cream then slow-cooked to melting perfection is about as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food. This dauphinois is topped with Gruyere cheese and baked, making it a gratin dauphinois and extra delicious.

The best potatoes to use for a gratin are floury baking potatoes. The softness of these potatoes means they will soak up all the lovely, creamy, garlicky creaminess. If for any reason you need to cut down a little, then replace the creme fraiche with milk but don't skip the heavy cream. The dish needs the creaminess to make it taste as good as it does and it's worth the calories.

Serve with a green salad with fresh lemon dressing and main dishes like roasted chicken, pork, or ham for a feast.


Click Play to See This Cheesy French Gratin Dauphinois Come Together

"This rich, creamy, delicious traditional French potato gratin is a completely decadent and luxurious experience for the mouth." —Diana Andrews

Classic French Gratin Dauphinois Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

  • 5 cups whole milk

  • 2 cloves garlic, very lightly crushed

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 cups crème fraiche (or sour cream)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 2/3 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for gratin dauphinois recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the potatoes, milk, and garlic to a gentle simmer.

    Raw potato slices covered with milk in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  3. Continue to cook the potatoes, gently stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Be very careful not to overcook them as they need to hold their shape for layering in the pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

    Cooked potato slices in milk in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  4. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon, taking care not to break the slices. Drain the milk from the pan and reserve for another use. Add the heavy cream, crème fraiche or sour cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Gently return the potatoes to the pan.

    Heavy cream and spices added to potato slices in saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  5. Heat the potato-cream mixture to barely a simmer (a few bubbles are fine but no more) for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are very tender but not falling apart.

    Thickened potato and cream mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  6. Butter a large baking dish. Transfer the potatoes to the baking dish with a slotted spoon, layering them without breaking them up too much. 

    Layered overlapping potato slices and cream in a rectangular baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  7. Cover with the cream from the pan.

    Potatoes in baking dish covered with cream mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  8. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese over the potatoes (if using).

    Thick layer of shredded cheese covering potatoes in baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  9. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are golden brown on top and the cream is mostly absorbed, about 50 minutes.

    Baked gratin dauphinois with golden brown melted cheese topping

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  10. Serve with your favorite main dish. Enjoy!

    Gratin dauphinois in a baking dish and served on a dinner plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu


  • This is a great make-ahead side dish. Simply refrigerate it for up to 1 day before the final baking stage. To serve, bring it up to room temperature, cover with foil, and put it into a very hot oven as above.
  • For a restaurant-style serving, leave the gratin to cool in the dish until cold then pop it into the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. When ready, use a tart cutter for individual portions and reheat by wrapping in foil and popping into a very hot oven. 

What Is The Difference Between a Gratin and Scalloped Potatoes?

A potatoes gratin is a dish of sliced, cooked potatoes with a creamy sauce and a topping of cheese, breadcrumbs, or both. Scalloped potatoes typically include cheese in the potato mixture, either layered or melted into the sauce, in addition to being topped with cheese. Cheddar cheese is popular in scalloped potatoes, while a gratin may use Gruyere or Parmesan.