Not-From-a-Box Au Gratin Potatoes

My mom never made au gratin potatoes from scratch. Very rarely she bought the gummy, gluey boxed dish from the store, and it was always so-so. But au gratin potatoes is one of those things (even out of a box) that The Renaissance Man adores. So, of course, I made it my mission to learn to make them from scratch. And let’s just say that once you know how to make them from scratch, the boxed variety will become blasphemy in your house like it has in ours.

Au Gratin Potatoes


  • 4-6 large russet potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 C. milk
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 C. cheddar cheese

Step 1: Peel the potatoes. Then set up your handy-dandy mandoline. Or, if you don’t have one of these wonderful pieces of kitchen equipment, use a knife.

By the way, my wonderful husband got me this for our first Christmas as a married couple. He knows me so well!

Step 2: After you slice the potatoes at 1/4″ thick, spread 1/2 of them in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Chop the onion and sprinkle 1/2 of it over the potatoes. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Step 3: Prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour, then the milk. Once the milk is hot, add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it just begins to thicken.

Step 4: Pour 1/2 the sauce over the potatoes in the dish. Then layer the rest of the potatoes, onion, seasonings and sauce (in that order) on top. Top with a little more pepper.

Step 5: Cover the dish with foil or a lid and put in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour. After the initial hour, uncover it and bake for an additional 1/2 hour.

Try not to stick your finger in it at this point. It is very hot.

Serve with pork chops, chicken, or anything, really. They are good enough to eat by themselves, but to avoid some serious food-guilt (trust me on this one) you probably shouldn’t.

The Wife

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