or scroll for tips (and a little nostalgia).
It’s creamy, cheesy potato perfection. Potato Bake is the star of any BBQ and tastes even better as leftovers the next day!
It’s a simple dish to prepare, with layers of potato, onion, cheese and cream, though there are quite a few variations.
Here, I’ll run through exactly how I make my Potato Bake – influenced and inspired, as always, by my mum, nan and great Nana Ling.
Potato Bake Recipe
If there is one thing that makes me excited about eating dinner, it’s when potatoes are involved.
Baked, mashed, boiled, fried as chips… I love potatoes any which way.
But perhaps the most irresistible way to eat potatoes is when they are sliced up and layered with onions, cheese and cream in a potato bake dish.
There are many variations of cheesy Potato Bake, and in other parts of the world similar recipes might be known as potatoes au gratin, funeral potatoes, scalloped potatoes or potatoes dauphinoise.
And back in Nana Ling’s day, s similar recipe was known as Potato and Onion Pie.
Here’s Nana Ling’s recipe for this dish that she sent in to her local paper’s recipe competition in August 1938.
Creating Potato Bake perfection
To create Potato Bake that will have everyone raving, start with the right ingredients.
The dish is a little more luxurious these days, and I make Potato Bake with cream and just a little dash of milk.
Here’s exactly what I use with the precise quantities included at the end of the post in the recipe card:
- cheddar/tasty cheese (use good quality cheese for best results)
- thickened cream (heavy cream)
- garlic (this is optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste).
What are the best kinds of potatoes for Potato Bake?
Use fresh potatoes that are more starchy rather than waxy, or an “all-purpose” potato.
Look out for Sebago, Russet, King Edward, Dutch creams, King Edwards or Red Delight. These will work perfectly.
Layers of loveliness
You’ll need a medium baking dish to cook Potato Bake. Spray it lightly with oil or grease the dish before you start.
You’ll also need to preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (360 degrees fahrenheit).
Prepare the potatoes and onion by peeling and then slicing thinly. You can easily do this with a sharp knife, but a mandolin or food processor can also be used to speed up the process.
If you opt to use garlic, also mince or slice that.
Now it’s time to start layering:
- arrange 1/3 of the potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish
- next, layer 1/3 of the onion (and garlic if you’re adding it in)
- sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese as the next layer
- pour 1/3 of the cream over the layers and add a little salt and pepper.
Keep layering, repeating the above steps two more times:
- potatoes, onion/garlic, cheese, cream, salt and pepper
- potatoes, onion/garlic, cheese, cream, salt and pepper.
Next, pour the milk over the layers and spread out the butter cubes on top.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover and bake for another 45 minutes.
By cooking partly covered and partly uncovered, you should get a lovely creamy potato bake with a top that’s golden but not burnt.
Serve hot and add a few sprigs of thyme or chives to garnish if desired.
Potato Bake will last about 5 days in the fridge, so it’s perfect for making up in advance the day before you’re planning to serve it.
As I mentioned above, there are various recipes for this dish.
While this is my “ultimate potato bake recipe”, here are some nice substitution and variation ideas:
- Use 1 cup of cream instead of 3/4 cup of cream, and 1/4 cup of milk
- Add chopped bacon with the onion
- Add thyme, chives or your favourite herb
- Use sour cream instead of thickened cream
- Substitute two of the potatoes with sweet potato.
Other potato recipes
- 1 medium baking dish
- 1 kg potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cups grated cheddar/tasty cheese (150 grams)
- 3/4 cup thickened cream (heavy cream)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons butter, chopped into tiny cubes
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (360 degrees fahrenheit).
- Grease the baking dish or spray with cooking oil.
- Peel potatoes and onion and slice thinly.
- Mince or slice the (optional) garlic if adding to dish.
- Arrange about 1/3 of the potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Arrange about 1/3 of the onion and garlic on top of the potatoes as the next layer.
- Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese as the next layer.
- Pour 1/3 of the cream over the layers and add a little salt and pepper.
- Repeat these steps two more times.
- Pour the milk over the layers and spread out the butter cubes on top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for another 45 minutes.