Loaded Sweet Potatoes au Gratin are not your typical sweet potato side dish. Packed with Gruyere cheese, bacon, and an herb infused cream, it’s sure to be a hit at your holiday dinners with family and friends.
I totally had these named wrong originally. I called them scalloped potatoes. But that’s incorrect. Keep reading and you’ll see why. Unless you already know. But still keep reading. I like sharing some history about the food I make and this one has a fun little history.
What’s the difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes?
Cheese. That’s the main difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes. Some newer recipes might call for it, but maybe as a topping or accent. Au gratin potatoes have cheese sprinkled between the layers of potatoes and on top of the casserole.
Au gratin potatoes are sliced thinner than scalloped potatoes. Slicing them thinner, like 1/4 of an inch, allows the cream, milk, and cheese to soak into the potatoes. It’s not easy to cut them this thin with your knife. For this recipe I recommend a mandonline. There are several inexpensive ones out there to chose from. Heck, even my Lidl grocery store has them this week for under $20.
Sometimes au gratin potatoes have a cheese and breadcrumb topping. I didn’t do that here. Feel free to do so if you want. I wanted these to be super creamy and delicious. Then again sometimes scalloped recipes call for the same thing.
Finally, scalloped potatoes are simpler with no cheese. It’s layers of potatoes with a simple cream sauce poured on top. So, I guess mine is sort of a combination of both types of dishes. I have a cream sauce on top of my potatoes and I have layers of cheese in between. Maybe I should call them loaded scalloped sweet potatoes au gratin? That’s more than a mouthful to say. I’ll just stick to loaded sweet potatoes au gratin. That’s more Google friendly, I think.
Scalloped potatoes and au gratin potatoes are very similar, too. The potatoes are sliced similarly. Both are thinly sliced but au gratin are sliced thinner than scalloped potatoes. They’re both baked with rich and creamy ingredients. Finally, they’re both typically served during the holiday season. But I say bake them any time you want!
How do you make loaded sweet potatoes au gratin?
I always fail at au gratin. I’ve tried this recipe before, and it just didn’t come out creamy like I hoped. It was very watery and not delicious. This recipe is not that at all because I borrowed a technique from another recipe. But I’ll get to that in a minute or two.
First I put the herbs and cream together in the pot to simmer. Of course, you have to keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to boil over. There’s nothing messier than boiled over milk or cream on the stove. Actually, there is. My husband every time he cooks anything on the stove. That man makes a total mess.
While the cream mixture is simmering away, I peel and slice the potatoes. I have to keep checking the measurement. Sometimes when I slice potatoes, I tend to press down too hard and it creeps up from a quarter inch to larger slices. So, keep an eye on that.
I shred the cheese and set that aside. I chop the bacon and gather the rest of the ingredients. For this recipe, I bake the bacon. It’s a great way to bake a bunch at a time without having to keep your eye on a pan on the stove. Simply put the bacon on a rack in a cold oven. Set the oven to 400 and then check it in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Before I start assembling the loaded sweet potato au gratin, I rub a clove of garlic on the casserole dish. I didn’t believe it at first, but it truly does impart some flavor into the casserole. I cut the end of clove off so I have a flat surface to start rubbing onto the dish. It makes it easier.
Now it’s time to start layering everything. But before you do that, here’s the trick I stole from fondue. Toss the cheese with some cornstarch. I swear by this. I’ve made this recipe 3 times. Twice I did this. Once I didn’t. The one I didn’t came out watery and not appealing at all.
Layer up your potatoes, cheese, and bacon with a sprinkling of nutmeg in between. Nutmeg is that hidden gem of a flavor in cheese and cream combinations that really make them rich and delicious. Feel free to skip it, but it just will not taste the same. Every good cheese sauce has a sprinkling of it in there. It’s just not so much that you can pinpoint it.
Then you cover and bake and wait. Once the potatoes are fork tender, uncover, sprinkle with the Parmesan, then bake some more. Let it cool before you dish it up.
What do loaded sweet potatoes au gratin taste like?
Don’t let the looks fool you. With the season changing the light is not the best at dinner time. And I refuse to make all these recipes on the weekends when I can photograph them in good light. Yes, I have studio lights, but they just don’t do the food justice. Of course, these photos don’t do this recipe justice either.
The sweet potatoes are, of course, sweet. But there’s no added sugar or other sweet flavors in there. I’m a purist with my sweet potatoes. The potatoes are also tender and creamy. Tossing the cheese with the cornstarch ensures creaminess and eliminates the watery results I’ve received in the past.
The Gruyere is deliciously nutty and salty. It pairs off the smoky and salty bacon. No, this is not very salty. But that salty does play off the sweetness of the potatoes. It makes them sweeter, I think. And the nutmeg brings out the nutty flavor of the Gruyere cheese.
I’ve made this three times. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it 2 of the three times. The one time I didn’t I omitted the cornstarch. Not that it tasted bad but it was not creamy at all. And an au gratin needs to be creamy. This is most definitely creamy. And well worth making every year for the holidays. Or any day for that matter.
Loaded Sweet Potatoes au Gratin are not your typical sweet potato side dish. Packed with Gruyere cheese, bacon, and an herb infused cream it will be a hit at your holiday dinners with family and friends.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 cloves garlic, divided
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes sliced 1/4" thick (about 3 to 4 medium)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups shredded smoked Gruyere cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped crisp cooked bacon
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Combine the heavy cream with the milk in a saucepan.
- Add three of the garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme, oregano, and rosemary and simmer until the garlic is tender; about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the garlic salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
- Toss the Gruyere with the cornstarch in a mixing bowl.
- Rub the casserole dish with the clove of garlic. Sometimes it helps to cut the end of the garlic to have a flat surface to rub the dish with.
- Spray the casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Layer a third of the sweet potatoes in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with half of the Gruyere, bacon, and nutmeg.
- Layer another third of the sweet potatoes on top.
- Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, bacon, and nutmeg.
- Place a final layer of sweet potatoes on top.
- Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Uncover the potatoes and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until the Parmesan is browned and bubbly.
- Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Garnish with the green onions and serve.
The size of the dish will affect the cooking time. My first attempt I used a Misen 5 quart cast iron brasier that was 16.5 inches around and the potatoes were finished in 30 minutes. This version I used a Corningware French White 2.5 quart casserole that is 9 x 11.5. It took 40 minutes to cook in that dish.
Amount Per Serving Calories 347Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 62mgSodium 459mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 12g
Welcome to Holiday Side Dish Week 2022 hosted by Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. This year we have over 45 side dishes to help you plan your holiday meals.
Monday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:
- Baked Pineapple Casserole from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Brown Butter Pumpkin Sage Pongal from Magical Ingredients
- Cauliflower Gratin from Palatable Pastime
- Cheesy Corn Casserole with Sage from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Crispy Skillet Stuffing from The Spiffy Cookie
- Easy Instant Pot Buttered Potatoes with Garlic and Parsley from Blogghetti
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Instant Pot Sweet Potato Mash from An Affair from the Heart
- Loaded Sweet Potatoes au Gratin from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Mushroom Gratin from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Pecan Rice from A Day in the Life on the Far
- Smoked Mac and Cheese Casserole from Our Good Life
- Sweet Onion Pudding from A Little Fish in the Kitchen
- Sweet Potato Casserole from Hostess At Heart
- Tomato Parmesan Soup from Art of Natural Living
- Wild Rice and Cider Cranberry Pilaf from Sweet Beginnings