Plenty of garlic and cheese in Garlic Parmesan Au Gratin Potatoes For Two with layers of thinly sliced potatoes, Parmesan, and garlic. Serve it as a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter side dish or with meat for a home-cooked dinner.
While making the shopping list for holiday dinners, there’s one conversation that always happens.
What kind of potatoes are we making this year? Most of the time it’s mashed, but sometimes it’s scalloped or au gratin.
I grew up making au gratin potatoes from a box because that’s how my parents made them. Bring milk to a boil, add box contents, cook.
It wasn’t until I bought a handheld mandoline (affiliate link) I started making homemade au gratin potatoes because I could never slice the potatoes thinly (and consistently) enough with a knife.
And when you add garlic and Parmesan, you know it’s going to be a winning side dish with these Garlic Parmesan Au Gratin Potatoes For Two.
It’s like a casserole of thinly sliced golden brown potatoes layered with plenty of cheesy goodness.
Since this is a recipes for two food blog, my au gratin potatoes for two is made in a small casserole dish and makes about 4 servings (2 helpings per person).
I mean, when was the last time you only ate 1 serving of Parmesan potatoes?
However, if you want to make literally 2 servings, you can easily cut the recipe in half and use a smaller casserole dish.
What’s the difference between scalloped and au gratin potatoes?
The main difference is au gratin has cheese while scalloped doesn’t, but most recipes, including my stove top scalloped potatoes, uses cheese.
Another difference is au gratin has breadcrumbs on top, but most au gratin recipes didn’t include breadcrumbs.
I’ve also seen recipes written as au gratin potatoes vs. potatoes au gratin.
In conclusion, the rest of the world doesn’t know the difference between scalloped and au gratin. They DO know anything with cheese and potatoes is a winner, no matter what you call it.
How do you finely slice potatoes for au gratin?
The key to cooking au gratin potatoes for two is to thinly slice the potatoes evenly using a handheld mandolin.
I reviewed my mandoline for my homemade salt and vinegar chips recipe so you can see it in action.
How do you thinly slice potatoes without a mandoline?
If you don’t own a mandoline, slice them carefully and evenly with a knife. Make sure they’re the same thickness so they cook evenly.
What ingredients are in au gratin potatoes?
The ingredients for au gratin potatoes for two are Russet potatoes, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream with additional flavors such as garlic and thyme.
It’s important to use heavy cream instead of milk because the fat is important for the cheese sauce to bake properly. Otherwise, the sauce would be too thin and not stick to the potatoes.
If you don’t use heavy cream often, you can buy a small pint so you don’t have any leftover (although leftover heavy cream makes excellent whipped cream for pumpkin pie).
Which potato is best for au gratin?
I personally think Russet potatoes make the best potato for au gratin because of their higher starch level.
However, I’ve seen other gratin recipes using Yukon gold or even red potatoes. Whichever potato you choose, bake until the potatoes are fork tender.
Which cheese is best for au gratin
Since au gratin has cheese, let’s talk cheese. There’s no right or wrong answer. Usually when I think of au gratin, I think of cheddar cheese.
However, in this recipe I changed it up and used Parmigiano Reggiano, which is imported exclusively from Italy and made with only three ingredients – milk, salt, and rennet.
Sometimes you’ll see domestic Parmesan made in the U.S., which usually contains additives.
You can easily recognize it from the pinholes in the rind that spell out Parmigiano Reggiano, but depending on how the cheese wheel is cut, the holes may not always be present.
Ask your local cheese person if you’re unsure about whether the cheese is imported.
Do you peel potatoes for au gratin?
Peeling potatoes for homemade au gratin potatoes for two is optional. I personally peel them but they’ll still cook properly unpeeled.
Can you prep potatoes ahead of time?
Because holiday dinners involve a lot of prep work, you can slice your au gratin potatoes up to 24 hours ahead of time.
After they’re sliced, store them in a bowl of cold water. This keeps them from oxidizing and turning brown. If you’re storing them for more than an hour, refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to cook, drain and rinse with cold water. Then let them dry completely before using.
How To Make Homemade Au Gratin Potatoes For Two
My Parmesan au gratin potatoes for two is baked in the oven rather than boiled on the stove top.
First, pick an oven-proof casserole dish. The baking dish in these photos is from the thrift store and says oven safe on the bottom.
It’s a 1 quart baking dish, so it makes roughly 4 servings. You can probably stretch it to 6 servings if you’re serving it for a big holiday meal like Thanksgiving.
When choosing your casserole dish or pan, make sure it has a wide surface area to make 3 layers. Au gratin potatoes cook better when spread over a wide surface area rather than stacking them thick.
If you stack them thick (say 5 layers instead of 3), the middle may be undercooked when the outside is ready.
Next, layer your potatoes, garlic, and cheese like you would with a lasagna. Once layered, pour your cream over top so it fills the gaps then top with more Parmesan.
Bake at 350F until soft and golden brown, about 60-90 minutes
Can I make au gratin potatoes the night before?
Because Parmesan au gratin potatoes for two takes 60-90 minutes to bake, it’s not a quick dish to make.
To help save time, you can fully assemble your homemade au gratin potatoes up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Once you finish layering, cover tightly with plastic wrap (pressing the wrap directly on the potatoes to minimize discoloring) and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Let the dish sit at room temperature while the oven preheats. Since it’ll be cold going into the oven, you may need a longer baking time.
What To Serve With Parmesan Au Gratin Potatoes
Here are some recipes that pair well with homemade au gratin potatoes:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (roughly 4 large potatoes), peeled and thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline for even, thin cuts)
- 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350F. Rub the butter in the bottom and up the sides of a 1-quart casserole dish.
- Layer some of the sliced potatoes in a single layer in the bottom of the dish, slightly overlapping.
- In a large bowl, mix together the onion, garlic, 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the mixture over the potato layer.
- Repeat the layering two more times, ending with a layer of potatoes.
- Pour the cream over the potatoes, filling in between the spaces. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Bake 60-90 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are soft.
- To help save time, you can fully assemble up to 24 hours ahead. After layering, cover with plastic wrap (pressing directly on the potatoes to minimize discoloring) and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature while the oven preheats. Since it'll be cold, you may need more baking time.