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Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes – A Classic Holiday Side Dish Recipe

This Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes recipe is one of our most popular recipes around the holidays. Thinly sliced potatoes that are layered in a homemade cheese sauce and cooked until nice and tender.

Not only are they delicious, they are easy to make! And best of all, they are cooked in a slow cooker so that you can save room in your oven for the main dish.

Not to mention that because you are making them in your crock pot, they become an easy to transport recipe. Especially if you have a slow cooker with a lockable lid, like my 6 quart Programmable Crock Pot.

Simply lock the lid in place and there are no worries of the lid slipping off during the transport and making a mess in your car.

crock pot au gratin potatoes
Au Gratin potatoes that were made in a crock pot. If you want the top of the cheese to brown, use a culinary torch or transfer the potatoes to a broiler safe serving dish.

Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article.

INGREDIENTS

1. Yukon Gold potatoes

Although you could use standard Russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes will provide the most flavor in this recipe. Another advantage of using Yukon gold potatoes is that you don’t have to peel the potatoes if you don’t want to. The thin skin will become nice and tender during the cooking process, unlike the peel of Russet potatoes.

2. Small onion

You can use a yellow, white or sweet onion in this dish. The key here is to dice the onion finely so that you get the subtle flavor of the onion, but not a strong onion taste.

3. Unsalted butter

As always, I recommend using unsalted butter. You can always add more salt later if needed.

4. All-purpose flour

The flour is used to thicken the cheese sauce. However, to make this recipe gluten-free use a gluten-free all-purpose flour instead. The sauce will still thicken and those that can’t have gluten will still be able to enjoy the taste of your Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes!

5. Whole milk

Whole milk is preferred because it is thicker than 2% or skim milk. You could also use heavy cream or half and half as a substitute.

6. Garlic powder

Although I prefer to use fresh garlic in most of my recipes, it is much easier to use garlic powder in this recipe. In order to flavor the potatoes, you would have to use an entire bulb of fresh garlic, if not more. So instead, we will stick to garlic powder to keep things easier.

7. Salt & Ground Black Pepper

In the recipe card below, I have listed the specific amount of salt and pepper that I use in this recipe. However, feel free to adjust the amounts based on your taste preference.

shredding cheese
It is important that you shred your own cheese and not use pre-packaged shredded cheese so that the sauce turns out nice and creamy.

8. Shredded Cheese

It is best to use a combination of cheese varieties to gain the most flavor. I prefer a blend of Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar cheese.

However, feel free to substitute Gruyere, Gouda, or any other type of cheese that you prefer.

The most important thing to know about the cheese is that you should not use pre-packaged shredded cheese. That is because it is coated with an anti-caking agent when it is packaged. Therefore, when melted, it becomes stringy.

Instead, use a food processor or cheese grater and shred your own cheese. It only takes a few minutes and it is well worth doing the extra dish during clean up!

How To Make Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes

The first step is to decide whether or not you want to peel your potatoes. As mentioned above, if you use Yukon gold potatoes, the skins can be left on if desired.

However, I most often peel the potatoes before slicing them, although this is strictly a personal preference.

Once the potatoes are washed (and peeled if doing so) cut them in 1/8″ thick slices. This is where a mandoline slicer comes in handy if you have one.

sliced potatoes
If you have a mandoline slicer, you can easily cut the potatoes into thin slices.

When I use my mandoline slicer, I can cut all my potatoes in minutes as compared to slicing them by hand with a sharp knife. Just be sure to use the hand guard that comes with it!

Once your potatoes are sliced, set them aside and prepare the slow cooker by generously spraying non-stick cooking spray in the liner. Then set the crock pot aside and prepare the cheese sauce.

Cheese Sauce

Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts whisk in the flour until the dry flour is no longer visible. 

Then add the milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Continue to cook just until it starts to thicken, whisking frequently.

Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, remove the pan from the heat. Then stir in the shredded cheese until melted. Set the pan aside and begin to lay the Au Gratin Potatoes in the crock pot.

homemade cheese sauce
Once the sauce is thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh grated cheese.

Start by adding 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Then sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped onion on top of the potatoes.

Complete the first layer by pouring 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the potatoes and onions.  Repeat these layers 2 more times, ending with the cheese sauce on top.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6 hours or until potatoes are tender. *Slow Cooker cook times will vary based on the brand that you have and the times may need adjusted accordingly.

Once the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork, turn off the heat. Then let the potatoes sit for 20 minutes before serving to allow time for the sauce to thicken.

If you want the cheese sauce to brown on top, use a culinary torch to heat the top. Or transfer the potatoes to a broiler safe dish, add a little more cheese on top and broil until the cheese turns light golden brown in color.

When serving, garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

au gratin potatoes

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Yield: 8 servings

Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes

crock pot au gratin potatoes

Thinly sliced potatoes drenched in a homemade cheese sauce and cooked until tender in a slow cooker. The perfect holiday side dish recipe.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and cut them in 1/8" thick slices, set aside.  *Use a mandoline slicer if you have one.
  2. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat melt the butter. Then whisk in the flour until the dry flour is no longer visible. 
  4. Add the milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Continue to cook just until it starts to thicken, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
  5. Add 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Then add 1/3 of the chopped onion on top of the potatoes. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the potatoes and onions.  Repeat these layers 2 more times.

Cook Time

  1. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6 hours or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Turn off the heat and let the potatoes sit for 20 minutes before serving for the sauce to thicken.

Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 436Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 621mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 17g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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