How to make next level Dauphinoise potatoes

Make classic Dauphinoise potatoes extra special. With a luxurious creamy filling and crisp golden topping, this gratin is a perfect side for a roast dinner.

10 tips for level Dauphinoise potato title

Potatoes bathed in warm cream produce the most decadent gratin and make the perfect partner to sit alongside spring lamb or roast chicken at a special Sunday dinner. It's easy to prepare ahead of time if you're catering for a crowd, but it also works well as a vegetarian main with a simple green salad.

A true gratin Dauphinoise should be nothing more than potatoes and cream baked until irresistibly golden and crisp around the edges. But something so right can often go wrong – and what about giving it a little more character?

We’ve taken the idea that the crispy edge is the best bit and made more of it by standing the potatoes on their side while keeping the decadence and simplicity of the traditional recipe. Going back to its French roots, we've also added a slight sour note with crème fraîche.

10 tips for the perfect Dauphinoise potatoes

1. The right potatoes - Maris Piper or red-skinned Desirée
2. The right size - choose the same sized potatoes
3. Slicing – for uniformity, use a mandolin
4. Don’t rinse – the potato starch helps thicken the sauce
5. Infuse flavour – warm the herbs in the cream
6. Mild garlic – rub the dish with garlic and discard
7. Domino effect – pack the potatoes on their side
8. Double cream – use cream and crème fraîche
9. Nutmeg – a grating adds a touch of sweet spice
10. Butter-basted – brush edges with butter for extra crispness


1. The right potatoes

Three Maris Piper potatoes

We tried lots of types of readily available potatoes and the two that performed the best for cream absorption while still getting an edge that stays crisp were Maris Piper and Desirée (red-skinned) potatoes.


2. The right size – choose the same sized potatoes

Sliced potatoes on a surface

For uniformity, buy your potatoes loose so they are all roughly the same size – about the size of your fist is perfect.


3. Slicing – for uniformity use a mandolin

Slicing potatoes with a mandolin

For a normal Dauphinoise the potatoes can be hand-sliced, but for this ultimate version, they need to be uniformly thinly sliced so a mandolin is indispensable. The slicing blade of a food processor or a good box grater could work.  


4. Don’t rinse – the potato starch helps thicken the sauce

Creamy Dauphinoise potatoes in a serving dish with section taken out by a spoon

Some recipes say to rinse and dry the potatoes before stacking, but we found that by cutting out this step, the starchy potato water helps thicken the cream as it cooks.


5. Infuse flavour – warm the herbs in the cream

Bay leaves and thyme infusing in a saucepan of cream

Thyme and bay add fragrance, but when left in or scattered over, they get in the way of eating. Here, we’ve warmed them in the cream and then discarded, so you get all the flavour without the woody stalks and leaves.


6. Mild garlic – rub the dish with garlic and discard

Two garlic cloves within large rectangular serving dish

Raw garlic can overpower a cream sauce so add just a hint of its flavour by infusing it in the cream, along with the herbs, and then rubbing it onto the dish. Then, discard the actual garlic clove.


7. Domino effect – pack the potatoes on their side

Potato slices arranged in layers sideways in serving dish

We stacked the potatoes up on their sides to allow more exposed edges that brown in the oven for the ultimate crispy topping.


8. Double cream – use cream and crème fraîche

Sliced potatoes and cream in large rectangular serving dish

We’ve used double cream because it’s rich and easy to pour and crème fraîche adds a softly pleasant sour note. Either one alone would be fine but a combination of the two takes the dish to the next level.


9. Nutmeg – a grating adds a touch of sweet spice

Sliced potatoes and cream topped with nutmeg, in large rectangular serving dish

A grating of nutmeg used to be as ubiquitous as a grinding of black pepper and though its flavour doesn’t go with everything, it does add a delicate warmth to cream-based dishes.


10. Butter-basted – brush edges with butter for extra crispness

Baked Dauphinoise potatoes in large rectangular serving dish

To guarantee those irresistible crisp edges we go the extra step of brushing them with butter halfway through cooking. They frazzle in the hot oven for the final 20 minutes.

See the full recipe for our next level Dauphinoise potatoes.

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