Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • By arranging the potatoes accordion-style, just like with Hasselback roasted potatoes, you get an ultra-crispy top with a creamy, tender center.
  • Tossing the potato slices with the cream and cheeses first guarantees an even distribution in the baking dish, and helps the potatoes reach the perfect texture.

Every online food recipe trend has its watershed moment, the point at which it goes from being a fun project to going full-on viral. It's usually when bacon gets added to it. It's the moment when every blog and Instagram feed is so saturated with it that even mainstream media will pick it up. For Hasselback potatoes, that moment was in early 2011.

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You've probably seen them before. According tosomeunsourced online references, the dish was created at the Hasselback restaurant in Stockholm sometime in the 18th century (this waswaybefore the internet started bacon-ing everything).

At their simplest, Hasselback potatoes are made by slicing potatoes at regular intervalsalmostall the way through, then separating the ridges, adding a bit of butter or oil in between the ridges, and baking them until they're crisp and creamy. They come out looking like, well, like nothing else I can really think of. Dragon's eggs? Bad guys in aSuper Mariogame? Point is, they look awesome.

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But, to be absolutely honest, I've never been too happy with the way they taste. They'resupposedto combine the best part of a baked potato—the creamy, moist interior—with the best part of roasted potato chunks—the crispy edges—but really, they produce only mediocre versions of both. The interior is never as moist as I want it, and the edges are always more dried and leathery than really crisp.

The main problem is that a Hasselback potato loses lots of moisture as it bakes because of all the slits. The interior ends up drying out unnecessarily. At the same time, the ridges on top don't crisp as well as they should because, in order to get truly crisp edges, like in a French fry or a good roast potato, you need to first gelatinize the starch inside the potato to form a continuous structure. This requires moisture.

I spent a few dozen batches' worth of potatoes trying to fix these deficits before I woke up in the middle of a Tuesday night, turned around, shook my wife awake and said, "Adri, Adri, you must awake! I just had an idea, and I must peel some potatoes. Make haste!"

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She gave me the usualYou interrupted my favorite activity—sleeping—to ask me to do some menial kitchen work? How about this idea: You go do it yourself, then make yourself comfortable on the couchlook before rolling back over and nodding off. Sometimes I just don't understand her.

Nevertheless, I went into the kitchen and got to work on the first batch of what would end up being my favorite potato recipe in years.

A Sideways Potato Gratin

Here's the idea: What if I were to take the creamy interior and the crisp edges to the extreme, combining the concept of a Hasselback potato—that array of crisp ridges at the top—with a creamy potato gratin, the king of all casseroles? What if, indeed.

It's a sideways potato gratin, if you will.

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The concept of a Hasselback potato, with the ridges all cut into a single intact potato, is neat, but it's not particularly practical. Nor, as it turns out, is it the optimal way to get the crispiest edges in your dish. What we really want is to stack together many slices of potato that vary in size, so as to create plenty of bits that stick in and out. More surface area for better crisping. As a bonus, this also greatly reduces the amount of fiddly prep work required.

How to Slice Your Potatoes

The dish starts out just like most potato gratins: with sliced potatoes. If you've got aninexpensive mandoline slicer, then it's a snap. I tried it with both peeled and unpeeled potatoes and preferred the cleaner crunch you get from peeled potatoes.

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Constructing the Gratin

From there, it progresses like a standard gratin: I mix heavy cream, grated cheese (I used Comté and Parmesan), chopped thyme leaves, salt, and pepper in a bowl. (About a cup of cream per pound of potatoes works well.)

Then I add the potatoes and toss them all together. This step is worth taking your time with: It's crucial that every single potato slice gets coated on all sides with the mixture. That means prying or sliding apart all the slices of potato that are stuck together and dipping them into the cream mixture.

That cream not only adds flavor and moisture but also keeps the potato slices from sticking together as they cook. Without it, the starches released when the potatoes are sliced will swell up, sucking up extra moisture and turning the interior of the casserole gluey and starchy instead of creamy and tender.

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Here's where we turn things on their side: Rather than stacking the sliced potatoes horizontally, as in a traditional gratin, I pack them into a greasedbaking dishstanding on their edges, working my way around the perimeter of the dish and packing it all in tightly. Because potatoes vary wildly in exact shape, you end up with tons of little nubby bits sticking out all over the top surface.

Nubby bits that will crisp up as they cook.

To get the interior extra creamy and moist, I add all the excess cream/cheese mixture to the baking dish. Your potatoes should end up about half submerged, with a few stray pieces of cheese and thyme strewn across the top.

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So what's the trick to getting the top crisp instead of leathery? Well, the coating of fat helps, for starters. It prevents excess evaporation of moisture, which allows the starchy potato slices to partially gelatinize before they dry out fully. But I found that, for optimum crisp-tender texture, I needed to adopt a two-stage cooking process, similar to how I cook myultra-crispy roast potatoes.

A Two-Stage Cooking Process for the Best Texture

I start out baking the gratin covered in foil, so that trapped moisture steams the potatoes until they're tender, followed by a good cook uncovered to dry and brown them.

As the potatoes cook, the cream eventually starts to boil, simmering up and over the tops of the potatoes, basting them as they roast, aiding further in preventing them from getting leathery.

Another layer of cheese, added halfway through the uncovered portion of the cook, adds a layer of flavor to the gratin.

During the last stages of cooking, the cream eventually loses enough moisture that it breaks, releasing its butterfat, which coats and then gets slowly absorbed into the potatoes as they continue to lose water content. Milk proteins in the cream and the cheese coagulate, creating little pockets of curd-like tenderness between slices.

The final dish is nothing short of glorious. Every bite has a combination of crisp but moist upper potato ridges and rich and creamy potatoes underneath, with cheese underscoring the whole affair.

December 2013

Recipe Details

Hasselback Potato Gratin

Prep20 mins

Cook90 mins

Active15 mins

Total110 mins

Serves4to 6 servings


  • 3 ounces (85g) finely grated Gruyère or Comté cheese

  • 2 ounces (60g) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 2 cups (480ml) heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds (1.4 to 1.6kg) russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline slicer (5 to 6 medium potatoes; see note)

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add cream, thyme, and garlic to cheese mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and toss with hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.

    Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (8)

  2. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in prepared baking dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all potatoes have been added. Potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice additional potatoes, coat slices with cream mixture, and add to dish (see note). Pour excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over potatoes until mixture comes halfway up sides of dish. You may not need all excess liquid (see note).

    Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (9)

  3. Cover tightly with foil and transfer to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.

    Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (10)

    Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (11)

Special Equipment

2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish, mandoline


Because of variation in the shape of the potatoes, the amount of potato that will fit into a single baking dish varies. Longer, thinner potatoes will fill a dish more thoroughly than shorter, rounder potatoes. When purchasing potatoes, buy a few extra in order to fill the dish if necessary. Depending on the exact shape and size of the potatoes and baking dish, you may not need all of the cream mixture.

How to Scale Down This Recipe to Feed a Smaller Crowd

This recipe can be scaled by half. Divide all ingredients by two; substitute a 10-inch skillet for the baking dish listed.

  • Vegetable Sides
  • Thanksgiving Side Dishes
  • Gruyere
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Christmas Sides
Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe (2024)


What is the Hasselback technique? ›

Prepping potatoes Hasselback-style—i.e. making a series of evenly spaced, thin slices that go across but not all the way through—is an easy way to elevate ordinary roasted spuds.

Why is my potato gratin runny? ›

My sauce is watery

If you used a pre-prepped potato from the refrigerator section instead of slicing your own, they can have preservatives that make them a bit watery. If you stored your potatoes in water to prevent discoloring, be sure to drain them well and pat them dry before adding to your casserole.

What is the process of gratin? ›

Derived from the French verb gratiner — to broil — gratin is a process that involves topping a dish with either cheese or buttery breadcrumbs and baking or broiling until crispy. While potatoes au gratin is most traditional, the contents beneath the golden crust can vary widely.

Is there a tool to make hasselback potatoes? ›

The RSVP International Hasselback Potato Guide is really the key to hassle-free Hasselback-ing. Once I wash my potato, I pierce it with the guide and use my knife and the guide's prongs to cut the potato, over and over again, going from right to left.

Why do you soak potatoes in water before cooking? ›

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

How does Gordon Ramsay make smashed potatoes? ›

Gordon Ramsay begins by boiling the potatoes in salted water. Next, he drains the potatoes. After that, he stirs in butter, sour cream, herbs, and seasoning. This is Gordon Ramsay's version of smashed potatoes, which differs from the one in this recipe.

Why did my gratin curdle? ›

The curdling is caused by high heat, which is hard to avoid in an oven. So to keep the sauce together, tackle it before the dish goes in the oven.

What makes a gratin a gratin? ›

Gratin (French: [ɡʁatɛ̃]) is a culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg or butter. The term may be applied to any dish made using this method. Gratin is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind.

What does gratin mean in French? ›

The phrase au gratin literally means "by grating" in French, or "with a crust," from the verb gratter, "to scrape, scratch, or grate." Definitions of au gratin. adjective. cooked while covered with browned breadcrumbs (and sometimes cheese)

Why is it called Hasselback? ›

The name Hasselback comes from a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, named Hasselbacken, where the recipe for Hasselback potatoes was first introduced in the 1940s. This technique looks impressive, but is surprisingly easy to do; it's a great way to add a little extra flair to your favorite veggies and meats.

What is the meaning of Hasselbeck? ›

Hasselbacking is a cooking method in which potatoes or other items are sliced not-quite-all-the-way through in thin, even layers, which can be stuffed or topped with additional flavorings. It's a way of creating more surface area for flavors and creating additional texture.

Why do people poke holes in potatoes before baking them? ›

Poke the potatoes with a fork just enough to pierce the skin so the potato won't burst when baking, especially in the microwave. Four or five times should be plenty. A potato is composed mainly of water, so poking them helps release steam as it cooks.

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