Toaster Oven Potatoes Au Gratin For Two

Rich, creamy and over the top indulgent, toaster oven potatoes au gratin are the ultimate comfort food. This small batch recipe makes just two generous servings (meaning no leftovers) so treat yourself and use the good stuff: cream!

Hand holding spoonful of baked potatoes au gratin.

(In addition to a tasty potatoes au gratin recipe, we’re sharing about our favorite toaster oven pans and baking dishes. We earn a commission if you purchase through the links in this post.)

Well…this is going to be an adventure.

Those were my thoughts as we excitedly read our first reader-requested recipe for Toaster Oven Potatoes Au Gratin. (Thanks again, Lynda!)

It may be a common dish to most but I grew up in a house where special occasions and holiday meals always came with a big helping of creamy mashed potatoes.

No complaints here, I ♥ mashed potatoes.

But it means that aside from a strange boxed version (powdered cream and dehydrated potato slices?), I’d never made potatoes au gratin before.

After looking through all of our cookbooks and reading a bunch of recipes online it was clear that everyone from Julia Child to Bobby Flay had their own unique and “correct” way of doing things when it came to au gratin potatoes.

Not gonna lie, I was overwhelmed.

Cheesy toaster oven potatoes au gratin in a baking dish

Thankfully, I came across this article from Epicurious.

It’s a MUST-READ if you’ve never made potatoes au gratin before. I promise you’ll feel empowered and less intimidated making this classic dish.

With my confidence boosted, we dove into resizing and cooking different recipes over the last few months.  From Julia’s to America’s Test Kitchen, Pioneer Woman’s and more.

Right now, our little toaster oven recipe is still evolving.

  • We haven’t had a chance to try it with Yukon potatoes or sweet potatoes.
  • Or with a cheese sauce instead of the cream.
  • Sauteed spinach, kale, or mushrooms sounds like fun too.

But Lynda made her suggestion in July and it’s almost Thanksgiving in the US. So below is our basic small batch recipe and what we’ve learned so far about baking potatoes au gratin in a toaster oven.

~ Keep scrolling for step by step photos & toaster oven Au Gratin Potatoes tips after the recipe ~

Serving spoon filled with cheesy potatoes au gratin.

Toaster Oven Potatoes Au Gratin For Two

Yield: 2 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Luscious, creamy, rich, and indulgent potatoes au gratin for two. No tempting leftovers to worry about with this small batch recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon Butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup Cream, (substitute half and half, whole milk or some combination of the 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Flour
  • Pinch ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Shallot, peeled with the root end trimmed
  • 2 small Russet Potatoes, (about 8 to 9 oz total), peeled if desired
  • 1/3 cup shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  1. Adjust your toaster oven’s cooking rack to the middle position and preheat to 350°F on the "Bake" setting.  Rub the bottom and sides of a shallow 7x5 baking dish with the butter.
  2. Whisk together the cream, thyme, salt, pepper, flour, and nutmeg.
  3. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, cut the potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick). Then thinly slice the shallot.
  4. Arrange half of the potato slices slightly overlapping in your prepared dish, layer half of the shallot on top of the potatoes. Whisk the cream again and pour half of it over everything. Repeat with remaining potato, shallot, and cream. Press down on the top layer of potatoes to submerge them in the cream. Top with cheese.
  5. Bake dish covered for 35 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender (test with a knife or fork), carefully remove the cover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the top is bubbly and golden.
  6. Rest at least 10 minutes before serving with more fresh thyme.

Notes

There are helpful tips below the recipe, we’d suggest looking those over prior to making this recipe.

If you are worried about spills or drips, bake the dish on a toaster oven cookie sheet to catch any drips.

Adapted from all of the recipes in print and online we could get our hands on 🙂 we've linked to many of them in the post for your reference. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: Half of Dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 14.8gSaturated Fat: 9.3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 225gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 0.9gProtein: 7.7g

How to Make Potatoes Au Gratin For Two

#1. Use a baking dish that’s shallow and butter it well. This cute little 7 x 5 Le Creuset baking dish worked best for us. If you’ve got a shallow casserole dish with a lid that’s even better since the pan will be covered during 2/3 of the cooking.

Related9 New Ideas for Toaster Oven Baking Dishes, Pans and Accessories

Cream being poured over a potato slices

#2. You don’t have to heat the cream. Okay, you probably should (supposedly it infuses more flavor into the sauce) but we tried America’s Test Kitchen’s Potato Gratin recipe from their Cooking For Two Cookbook (where you heat the cream) and this recipe (where you don’t) and both tasted great.

#3. Gruyere isn’t the only cheese you can use. Almost every single recipe I read said to use it but at $13.00 per pound, Gruyere cheese was a little rich for my frugal blood.

Cheese being shredded and then sprinkled over a baking dish

After trying a few kinds of cheese we found that a sharp white cheddar was affordable and delicious. Even buying organic, it cost less than half of the Gruyere’s price and was easy to use up topping baked potatoes and in a few batches of Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes.

Because we liked the recipes made with real cream and less cheese best, our little recipe only has the cheese on top but if you want to add more between the layers, go for it!

#4. Garlic is good but shallots are better. In such a tiny recipe, even a small amount of minced garlic was overpowering. If you really like garlic but don’t want it to be the only thing you taste try this tip from Julia Child: rub the baking dish with half a clove of garlic before buttering.

Thin sliced potatoes and shallot in a baking dish

Instead of garlic, we preferred the flavor of a small shallot. Thinly slicing the shallot and layering it with the potato slices gave the dish a robust flavor and a tiny bit of texture too.

#5. Prep the potatoes last. Whether you use a mandoline or thinly slice the potatoes with a knife they’ll start browning after a few minutes (like apple slices do). If you slice your potatoes first all your gorgeous pieces will be a pinkish-brown color before you can even ponder if you should heat the cream or not.

Cream in a measuring glass with seasonings and fresh thyme

Toaster Oven Potatoes Au Gratin Tips

The middle rack work’s best. If your toaster oven only has two positions then go with the lower one.

If there are three or more placements, for us, the middle led to the most evenly cooked potatoes.

Lower and slower is the most consistent. The suggested temperature for cooking au gratin potatoes varies from 350°F to 400°F.

  • 400° was way too hot.
  • 375° was okay and pretty fast (about 40 minutes total) but a few times our potatoes got overcooked and mushy after just 25 minutes.
  • 350° was our sweet spot, it takes a little longer but we’ve never had mushy potatoes at that temperature.

A dish of potatoes au gratin baking in the toaster oven.

Cover your pan until the potatoes are tender. The first recipe we tried instructed to cook the potatoes uncovered the whole time. What a mess that made on the ceiling of our toaster oven! Covering the pan keeps things cleaner while creating a steamy cream hot tub for your potatoes to bake in.

Use an extra pan to keep things clean. Try and leave at least 1-inch of space between the potatoes/cream and the top of the pan to help prevent the sauce from bubbling over. If you are worried about spills, bake the dish on a toaster oven cookie sheet.

Pan of cheesy toaster oven baked potatoes au gratin

Learning and experimenting with all of these different recipes was so much cheesy creamy fun.  We plan to keep trying different variations and would love it if you’d do us a favor and share your potatoes au gratin tips and tricks in the comments for us newbies.

14 Comments

  1. The best au gratin potatoes ever ! In or outside a toaster oven !

    I made this dish today using the toaster oven inside my camping trailer, I had no idea what to expect and was so surprised that it turned out so well. These potatoes are better than any I’ve cooked in a regular oven !

    1. So awesome to hear you enjoyed it, Lestie! Sounds like you nailed it and then some – well done! Thanks for taking the time to leave a commend and share your feedback 🙂

      Happy toaster oven cooking!
      Brie

  2. Life would be great if you could make it possible for us ti Pin your recipes.
    It is hard to find time to copy them onto recipe cards.

    1. Hi Marlene!

      Thanks for the feedback. Normally, we have a red Pinterest button at the top and bottom of each post.

      Last week, the plugin that magically makes those buttons appear sent out an update that was crashing websites. To keep the site safe and the recipes accessible, we decided to turn it off yesterday until we could get a replacement. We apologize if you were inconvenienced during that time.

      I added the new plugin this morning. To pin any recipe on the site just click the red “p” box at the top or bottom of the post. There’s also a print button under the photo in the recipe in case you wanted to save it and couldn’t pin it for some reason.

      If you have any trouble pinning now, please let me know.

      P.S. I hope you enjoy the potatoes 🙂

  3. What a delightful looking gratin! I like potato gratin very much although I rarely make it myself, it is mostly a treat for me when we are invited to a wedding or a larger gathering around here, every caterer in the area serves potato gratin. I stuff my face with it then, mostly forgetting about the meat or the veggies… 🙂 I would love to try this at home though, it looks amazing!

    1. Wow, weddings in your area sound awesome! If I was at a catered event with unlimited potatoes au gratin, I’d stuff my face too 🙂

  4. Wow, great looking recipe for baking the au-gratin potatoes in the toaster oven. I look forward to giving this a try. Especially like the idea of covering both the top and bottom of the dish making cleaning up later easier.

    1. Thanks, Jona! We did well with not having any spillover but with how darn hard it is to get a toaster oven clean we didn’t want to take any chances 🙂 Happy cooking, we hope you enjoy the recipe!

  5. I am over the moon seeing this post in response to my request. Thanks so much. I will get back to you on our results ASAP. Wow just wow!! Thanks again.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you like it Lynda! And thank you again for such a great suggestion, Tim is extremely appreciative since he got to eat most of the test batches 🙂 We can’t wait to hear how it goes as I’m sure your version will be even better!

  6. OK, this will be on the menu for Christmas dinner. I’ve ordered a small specialty ham (serves 4-6 — I’ll have some leftovers but it’s HAM!), so this will be a perfect accompaniment. Creamy & cheesy — what’s not to love? I’ll probably add some sautéed Brussels sprouts w/ lemon and walnuts (on the stovetop) and my favorite old-fashioned family traditional jello salad. 😉 Things are shaping up nicely!

    1. Wow! Lana, that sounds like quite the feast! Leftovers are half the fun of the holidays for sure 🙂 and you’ll have to share your recipe for traditional jello salad, how fun!

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