Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

I know, I know, the potatoes pictured and defined in this post don’t necessarily fit the standard, high-class, French definition of au gratin potatoes, but in my defense, I grew up eating my mom’s cheesy potato dish which she always called au gratin potatoes so that’s what I’m calling these babies. The recipe below is finally the culmination of searching and testing and experimenting with recipes to make a cheesy potato dish just like my mom’s – but sans cream of chicken soup.

I understand I’m a bit late to the potato party, considering the biggest cheesy-potato-eating-day-of-the-year was probably two days ago on Easter. But I made these potatoes on a whim this weekend and couldn’t wait to tell you about them, even if I am a bit tardy, because let’s be serious, cheesy potatoes should not be meant for Easter dinner alone.

You may call this type of potato dish “funeral potatoes” or simply “cheesy potatoes” or “au gratin potatoes” like I do, but all you really need to know is that these divine potatoes are creamy and cheesy. Flavorful and simple. I was dancing around my kitchen with joy knowing I had finally stumbled upon the potato variation which will finally go into my tried-and-true recipe file for anytime I get the hankering for au gratin (mom-style) potatoes.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

Yield: Serves 6-8

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns or about 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled, cooked and shredded or sliced
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • Topping:
  • 3 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and translucent,a bout 5-6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Combine the chicken broth and milk in a liquid measure and slowly whisk in the mixture. Add the salt, pepper and thyme. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheese until smooth. Mix in the frozen hash browns or potatoes, lifting and folding the mixture until well combined. Finally, stir in the sour cream.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the lightly crushed cornflakes with the butter until evenly combined. Scoop out the potato mixture into a 9X13-inch baking dish and top with the buttered cornflakes. If baking the potatoes by themselves, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly around the edges. If baking the potatoes with a ham (my ham recipe bakes at 300 degrees), bake the potatoes for 90 minutes at 300 degrees then crank the oven to 400 degrees and bake the potatoes for 10 minutes more. In both baking situations, let the potatoes rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in Cook’s Country as well as my mom’s timeless au gratin potato recipe

129 Responses to Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

  1. brie says:

    thanks for sharing! i am doing Easter this year at my house and would love to try these!! just one question—do i have to use light sour cream, or can i just use the regular kind that isn’t light?

  2. Diane says:

    I’m wondering if you really need to precook the potatoes if you aren’t using hash browns. Seems like 45 minutes at 350 ought to cook shredded potatoes suspended in sauce. If not, maybe adding to the cooking time would do it? Thoughts anyone?

    • Mel says:

      Diane – Hash browns are precooked a bit, I’m pretty sure, so if you are going to use raw potatoes, I’d definitely increase the baking time. I haven’t tried it myself though so you will have to experiment a bit.

  3. darcymae says:

    Not using cream soup in your funeral potatoes is just weird! But I might be willing to try it one of these days. Using frozen hashbrowns instead of baking and shredded real potatoes is a cardinal sin, however, and I won’t be trying. You should try it with real potatoes sometime. Much better!

  4. darcymae says:

    Ope. Just saw that you gave that option. Sorry.

  5. Britany says:

    I am loving your easter meal planning post! Everything I’m making is coming from it, thanks for making it so easy! Also, when you make these potatoes do you typically use the frozen hash browns or shred your own potatoes? Just wondering if you’ve tried both and prefer one over the other? Love your blog, keep the great recipes coming!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Britany – I use both. There’s a really great brand of organic, shredded hash browns that I’ve used that are terrific (sorry I can’t remember the brand name). I know people have issues with frozen, shredded potatoes but those good-quality ones are fantastic. Because I don’t have access to those in my small-town grocery store, I usually go for real potatoes that I’ve cubed or shredded myself. Can’t beat real potatoes (but the hash browns are such a timesaver!).

  6. Laura W. says:

    For the person who said NOT using cream soup is weird, I just have to say- I love this recipe specifically because it doesn’t contain that crap! Those canned cream soups are full of total junk. This uses actual fresh ingredients, not some goop out of a can. I really appreciate being able to sub the flour for a gluten free blend and use a gluten free corn flake topping so fit my dietary needs. I don’t mind the frozen hash browns at all, either, because the brand I buy contains only one ingredient: potatoes. Thank you for this fantastic recipe, and lots of others, too!

  7. Liz says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I love funeral potatoes but haven’t been able to get myself to make them until I found your healthier version. Do you think Greek yogurt would sub okay for the sour cream? Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Liz – I haven’t tried the Greek yogurt sub in these potatoes but it works so well in other recipes that I’m inclined to say go for it!

  8. Karaline says:

    I made these potatoes last night (using frozen shredded hash browns because it is faster) and they were delicious! The one thing I would do differently next time is leave out the thyme because I thought it was too overpowering. I served the potatoes with grilled pork chops, rosemary bread, skillet green beans, and strawberry spinach salad (all your recipes!). It was an amazing dinner! Thank you so much, Mel, for sharing your recipes!
    P.S. I am about to go make your magical layered brownies. Can’t wait to try them!

  9. Andreya says:

    Can these be made a day or two in advance?

  10. Lindsay says:

    Could these be frozen before the topping is put on?

  11. Belisa says:

    If making the day before do u hold off on baking until the next day?

  12. Belisa says:

    Thanks Mel. I did wait to cook and they were amazing. Good thing I made two pans because they were scraping this dish!

  13. Samantha says:

    These potatoes have become a family favorite in my house. Love your recipes!

  14. Anna says:

    I make something very similar, based off a friends’ tater tot casserole recipe. Since we’re all about the lower sodium options in our house, I use some new potatoes that I’ve cooked ahead of time and sliced thin. Hadn’t thought about adding a topping, though. The leftovers of mine make a pretty delicious potato soup if you add some extra liquid.

  15. Joanna says:

    No need for cream of anything soup – I am in!!! Thank you :)

  16. Mel says:

    Had these today for Easter dinner, and I have to say they were the star of the show! They were so yummy. Everyone loved them so much there were no left overs. Thanks for another great recipe!!

  17. Julianne says:

    When you use russet potatoes, what is your preferred method of cooking them for this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Julianne – I usually peel and boil them until tender (in large pieces, usually just cut in half). Drain and let cool and then shred on a box grater or dice into small pieces. If shredding, it helps if the potatoes are completely cooled and even chilled a bit in the refrigerator.

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