Potatoes Au Gratin For Two

Rich and creamy, potatoes au gratin is a must-have side dish for special occasions. This scaled-down version is still ridiculously indulgent but makes just two servings so you don’t have to worry about a ton of leftovers. 

Hand holding spoonful of baked potatoes au gratin.

We eat a lot of potatoes. Baked, baked faster, turned into wedges, and roasted with fresh rosemary for holiday dinners. In one form or another potatoes are always on the menu in our house.

So we were more than game when a reader requested a toaster oven version of potatoes au gratin.

Rather than mess with a good thing, we kept all the yummy traditional ingredients but created a smaller two-serving recipe. It’s simple, delicious, and perfectly sized for baking in the toaster oven.

Of course, you can use a regular big oven if you want. But why wait for the old thing to heat up when you can use your toaster oven instead?

Recipe ingredients arrange on a counter and labeled.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Potatoes: Starchy russet potatoes work great in this recipe plus they’re very budget-friendly.
  • Shredded Cheese: We like to use sharp white cheddar, it’s affordable and delicious. Yellow cheddar cheese or Gruyere are also tasty options.
  • Heavy Cream: Creates a rich and indulgent sauce. If you want to lighten things up use half and half or whole milk or some combination of the three.
  • Shallot: Infuses the cream with a delicate onion flavor. A tablespoon of finely diced yellow or red onion can be substituted.
  • Flour: Helps the sauce thicken while it bakes.
  • Seasonings: Thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  • Butter: A tiny pat for greasing the baking dish.

Why no garlic? In such a small recipe, we found even a little minced garlic was overpowering. If you like garlic but don’t want it to be the only thing you taste, Julia Child suggests rubbing the baking dish with half a clove of garlic before buttering it.

Blue 7x5 baking dish inside a small toaster oven.

Baking Dish Options

The first thing you need to do is select your baking dish. We used our 7 x 5-inch baking dish which holds about 22 ounces. It’s one of our favorite toaster oven accessories.

A pair of 12-ounce ramekins (like the ones used for this vegetable pot pie for two recipe) or gratin dishes will also work.

If you’ve got a small casserole dish with a lid that’s even better. Since the pan will be covered during 2/3 of the cooking.

How To Make Au Gratin Potatoes For Two

1. Set the cooking rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the bottom and sides of a baking dish with the butter.

Cream in a measuring glass with seasonings and fresh thyme

2. In a pourable cup, whisk together ⅓ cup heavy cream (or more if you prefer a saucier dish), ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon flour, and a pinch of ground nutmeg.

Thin sliced potatoes and shallot in a baking dish

3. Cut the potatoes into thin ⅛-inch thick slices. Then thinly slice the shallot.

4. Arrange half of the potato slices slightly overlapping in the buttered dish. Top with half of the shallot slices. Whisk the cream again and pour half of it over everything.

Cream being poured over a potato slices

Repeat with the remaining potato slices, shallot, and cream. Gently press down on the top layer of potatoes to submerge them in the cream then evenly sprinkle the cheese over the entire dish.

Cheese being shredded and then sprinkled over a baking dish

5. Bake covered until the potatoes are tender (test with a knife or fork), about 35 to 40 minutes. Once you’ve tested the potatoes with a fork or knife and made sure they are tender, bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes more until the top is bubbly and golden.

6. Lastly, let the dish rest for at least 10 minutes before topping it with more fresh thyme and devouring.

Spoon scooping into casserole dish.

Toaster Oven Cooking Tips

The middle rack works best. For us, it resulted in the most evenly cooked potatoes. If your toaster oven only has two positions then go with the lower one and check on the dish a few minutes earlier.

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

  • 400°F was way too hot.
  • 375°F was okay and pretty fast (about 40 minutes total) but a few times our potatoes got overcooked and mushy after just 25 minutes.
  • 350°F 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 us 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 sheet pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t you need to heat the cream?

Heating the cream supposedly infuses more flavor into the sauce. But we’ve tried versions where you heat the cream and where you don’t. Both tasted great so it doesn’t seem worth the extra effort.

Help, my potato slices turned brown!

Always make sure to 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).

Should there be cheese between the layers?

We tested a bunch of different recipes and found the ones made with real cream and less cheese tasted best, so our little recipe only has the cheese on top. But if you want to add extra between the layers, definitely go for it!

Pan of cheesy toaster oven baked potatoes au gratin

More Tasty Potato Recipes

Serving spoon filled with cheesy potatoes au gratin.

Potatoes Au Gratin For Two

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

Gruyère cheese is a popular choice for potatoes au gratin but for a more budget-friendly option, try sharp white cheddar cheese.

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 three)
  • 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 ounces total), peeled if desired
  • 1/3 cup shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

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

Notes

Cream Measurement: We made the recipe pictured using 1/3 cup or 80ml of heavy cream. Depending on the size of the potatoes or baking dish used you may need a little additional cream to cover the potatoes during baking.

To catch any drips or spills, place the baking dish on a small sheet pan before adding it to the oven.

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

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16 Comments

  1. I’m new to toaster oven / camper oven cooking for two and love your site. So many good recipes and great tips on navigating my new appliances. This recipe brings back memories of my Mom’s au-gratin potatoes. Her “recipe” was so much like yours except she would sprinkle a little flour and dot with a little butter between the layers then use canned milk. I’m going to be experimenting ;).

    1. Welcome to Team Toaster Oven, Michele 🙂 I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site and finding it helpful.

      Your mom’s au gratin recipe sounds delish (and super easy). I hope you have lots of fun experimenting and creating your own version.

      Happy Cooking!
      Brie

  2. 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

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!