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Best Ever Potatoes au Gratin
The Best Potatoes au Gratin Ever PHOTO: LIZ ANDREW/STYLING: ERIN MCDOWELL

Fact: Mashed doesn't have to be your default when it comes to potato side dishes. Take this recipe for potatoes au gratin. You know, the version where slices of spuds are smothered in a cream sauce and plenty of cheese? It's rich and comforting—plus, it can be assembled ahead of time and held in your refrigerator until you're ready to bake it.

RELATED: 23 Irresistible Potato Recipes to Try

Makes 6 to 8 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

2 cups half-and-half

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¾ cup grated Gruyère cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

2. In a large pot, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

3. Stir in the mustard. Add the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

4. Pour the potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Top with the cheese in an even layer. (The dish can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator at this point if you want to prepare it ahead.)

5. Bake until the cheese is golden, the sauce is bubbly and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 25 to 30 minutes (add 5 to 7 minutes if baking after storing in the refrigerator). Let cool 5 minutes before serving warm.

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