Potatoes Gratin

Joined Jan 19, 2011
Alright, so I tried my hand out at making a classic potato gratin casserole....here is what I did with the following horrid results...any suggestions much appreciated for this dad-turned-family-chef:

Got a Corningware 5 qt casserole dish (fluted exterior) with the glass lid.  Buttered the whole inside and salted it.  Mandolin sliced about 5 medium Idaho russet potatoes to about 2 mm thick and set aside.  Prepared mix of cheeses: romano, parmesan, cheddar and seasoned with pepper, salt, and thyme, and set aside.  Simmered about 1 quart of half and half with nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf for about 20 minutes.  Took the potato slices and put one layer in, then covered with the cheese mix.  Repeated until about 3/4ths of the way up the side of the casserole dish.  Topped everything with the simmered and spiced half & half mixture.  Covered, baked at 350 F for 1 hour, then uncovered and baked another 30 minutes.

Results: Although the top had the beginnings of a decent browned crust, the pototaes were still al dente all the way through.  The liquid was gone and the cheese had curdled up.  It tasted good which tells me the seasoning mix was on point...just had some problems with the potatoes, curdled cheese, and maybe not enough liquid?

Again all, thanks for your input.......I love to cook and am enthusiastic about improving!!!!


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Simmer the potatoes in the milk mixture. This way you don't have to cook it so long and you can better control how done the potatoes are.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
parbaking or steaming/boiling the potatoes for a bit will help. Also I wouldn't precook my cream, just let it sit at room temp then add it when ready to place in the oven. it will help the sauce from breaking.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
We just had a discussion about this last week.  It seems I used almost the same procedure as you did only I used heavy cream.  I did not run into the same problems as you did however and I even used less liquid than you did so I can't say for sure what went wrong.  I can tell you though that I cooked my dish covered in a 400F oven, maybe that's what went wrong with yours.  Check out the recent thread.


It seems like lots of people get even better results when they parcook the potatoes in the cream before layering in the casserole dish.  I'm going to try that next time.
Joined Feb 27, 2008
Did you have problems with too much liquid as well? I always use a traditional bechamel and then add the cheese to that. Then layer the potatoes, cheese sauce, more potatoes and then cover with a final layer of cheese sauce. The sauce provides a cover for the potatoes and then later on develops a crust. Never any problems with the sauce breaking or the cheese curdling because the flour in the bechamel keeps it more stable.
Joined May 5, 2010
You can not simmer 1/2 and 1/2 as it will curdle. I make mine by simmering the sliced potatoes in heavy cream until barely done. I use a slotted spoon to transfer the potato slices to a buttered dish, then pour about 1/2 the cream over them, season well with s/p then shred Gruyere over them and bake until nicely browned
Joined Apr 6, 2010
Simmer the potatoes in the milk mixture. This way you don't have to cook it so long and you can better control how done the potatoes are.

yep. i make gratin dauphinois every once in a while. par cooking the potatoes in the cream (i use heavy whipping cream) will make a big difference.
Joined Jan 19, 2011
Excellent...I was wondering about using 1/2 and 1/2 versus actual heavy cream.  Will try simmering spuds ahead of time as per suggestions.....thanks all!!!!
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