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Potato and Leek Gratin

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 light entree servings 1x


By far the most nostalgic in my gratin series. A spin on (or the classic inspiration for) Americanized potatoes au gratin that just so happens to be gluten free. Starch from the potatoes thickens the milk into a creamy sauce, so no glutinous flour is needed.


  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 T + 1 t butter, divided
  • 4 C whole milk
  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes (5 large), sliced 1/16 to 1/8″ thick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 t dried thyme
  • 3 t sea salt, divided
  • 2 large leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Fresh nutmeg, for grating (or 1/2 t ground nutmeg)
  • 2 C grated fontina cheese
  • 1 t ground white pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional garnish)


  1. Halve one of the garlic cloves and use the exposed surface to rub all over a 9 by 12 inch (or similar sized) baking dish. Grease the dish with 1 teaspoon of butter, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Fill a Dutch oven or medium pot with the milk, potatoes, bayleaf, thyme, leeks, and 2 teaspoons salt. Press potatoes down so milk covers almost all of them. Heat slowly to a boil, stirring frequently so milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Reduce to a simmer, still stirring, for about 5 minutes, until potatoes are just tender enough to bite without crunching. Place a colander over a large bowl and drain potatoes, reserving the milk. Discard the bay leaf.
  3. Make a flat layer of one fourth of the potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a little nutmeg, and 1/3 cup of cheese. Repeat 3 more times, using up the last cup of cheese on top. Pour 2 to 3 cups of the reserved milk over the layers until nearly submerged. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into pea sized chunks and arrange on top of the assembled gratin.
  4. Bake about one hour, turning halfway through if the back of the dish is more browned on top. Cool at least 5 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving.


Gluten free and vegetarian, if your cheese specifies vegetarian or otherwise non-animal rennet.

A mandolin is extremely helpful for speeding up the potato prep, the only time consuming part of the dish. I use and love this one.

Serves 8 to 10 as a hearty side dish.

  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian