Scalloped Potatoes (Gratin Dauphinois)

Gratin Dauphinois Scalloped Potatoes

When I was a kid, my mom used to watch Julia Child on TV.  I believe it was Julia Child & Company, although I can’t be sure. I can’t say that I paid a whole lot of attention to her show, but I remember thinking that her voice and the things she would say were pretty funny. I remember thinking how she was probably the best cook ever, since she had a TV show and cookbooks and so many people talked about her.  I also thought the food she cooked was “fancy”, because it wasn’t the things we ate in our home.

Thinking that Julia’s recipes were “fancy” as a child, followed me into adulthood. That thinking always made me think her recipes would be hard to make. David and I saw the movie Julie/Julia when it came out and the recipes that were discussed in the film were mainly things I couldn’t pronounce, let alone even know what they were.

So, before today, I have never cooked a Julia Child recipe.

To celebrate Julia, and her cooking, PBS has asked the world to celebrate her birthday with them. She would have turned 100 years old on August 15th. Between August 5 – 15, they have asked Julia Child fans to cook their favorite recipe of hers. I was determined to participate.

And, then, I learned that the theme of #SundaySupper for this week was recipes by Julie Child and I was even more excited! This spurred me into immediate action. My closest library had only one cookbook by Julia Child and it was Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I knew that was probably the best one to get anyway, so David and I hopped into the van, drove up to the library, and checked it out.

For the next two days, I flipped through the pages looking for a recipe to make. Little did I know that I would want to make a bunch of them. I would find one that sounded good and then I would find another. And another. And another. Then I started thinking that I don’t want to ever have to return this book to the library. I quickly fell in love with Mastering the Art of French Cooking and I can’t wait to get my own copy.

After my usual amounts of indecisiveness, I finally settled on a recipe. I love potatoes and I love cheese, so I decided to go with Gratin Dauphinois, which is Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a Pinch of Garlic. It didn’t look too hard either…and the ingredient list was relativitely short. A great first Julia Child recipe, if you ask me.

(And, before today, I’ve never made homemade scalloped potatoes. I’ve only made it from a box.)

The recipe is easy. And if you are like me and never made homemade scalloped potatoes, you should really give this a try.

Check out how easy it is to assemble: first is a layer of sliced potatoes, then salt, pepper, butter, and shredded Swiss cheese. Then the 2nd layer of sliced potatoes and again, another layer of salt, pepper, butter, and cheese.  At the end, you pour boiling milk over the top of everything.

I made no changes to the original recipe. I purposely wanted to make it exactly as Julia intended. It did turn out very good, and the family raved about it, but it wasn’t perfect. No fault to Julia…it was me. I will surely make it again (and maybe again) until I do perfect it.


Scalloped Potatoes (Gratin Dauphinois)
Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume 1) by Julia Child, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle
  • 2 lbs boiling potatoes (about 6-7 cups when sliced
  • ½ clove unpeeled garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspooon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup boiling milk
  • Baking dish that is about 10" in diameter and 2" deep
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel the potatoes and slice them ⅛" thick. Place in a bowl of cold water. Drain when ready to use.
  3. Rub the baking dish with the cut garlic. Rub the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Drain the potatoes and dry them with a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle potatoes with half of the pepper, salt, cheese, and butter.
  4. Arrange the remaining potato slices over the first layer, and sprinkle with the remaining salt, pepper, cheese, and butter. Pour the boiling milk over the potatoes.
  5. Set baking dish over heat and when simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed, and the top is nicely browned.

Want more Julia Child? There are LOTS of other food bloggers who have shared a favorite Julia Child recipe too!

#CookForJulia Breakfast

Râpée Morvandelle- Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Croissants – Cookistry

Cheese and Bacon Quiche – Tora’s Real Food

#CookForJulia Lunch

Tuna Salad Nicoise – Magnolia Days

Potato and Onion Soup (Potage Parmentier) – Shockingly Delicious

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Rocket Salad – Granny’s Down Home Southern Cooking

Croque Monsieur – Webicurean

Spinach and Cream Cheese Pancakes – Happy Baking Days

Julia’s Chicken Salad – My Trials in the Kitchen

Pissaladière Niçoise (Onion Tart with Anchovies and Black Olives) – The Wimpy Vegetarian

Provencal Tomato Quiche – Are You Hungry?

Quiche Lorraine and Mixed Green Salad – Spoon & Saucer

#CookForJulia Dinner

Bouillabaisse – The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Boeuf Bourguignon – Chelsea’s Culinary Indulgence

Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages – Doggie at the Dinner Table

Boeuf Bourguignon – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms with Baked Cucumbers and Boiled Potatoes (Blanquette de veau a l’ancienne with concombres au buerre) – Kimchi Mom

Salmon en Papillote – Girlichef

Poached salmon with cucumber sauce – Katherine Martinelli

Lobster Souffle and Deviled Chicken – Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends

Roasted Chicken with Julia’s Mustard Marinade – The Meltaways

Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs (Brandade á la Soissonaise) – Avocado Pesto

Julia’s Kunming Connection: Chinese Steampot Chicken – My Kitchen and I

Poulet au Porto – Family Foodie

#CookForJulia Sides

Hollondaise over Blanched Asparagus – The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois) – Home Cooking Memories

Ratatouille – Basic n Delicious

French-style country pate- There and Back Again

White Bean Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips- Momma’s Meals

Oeufs à la Diable – What Smells So Good?

Soubise – The Weekend Gourmet

Ratatouille – Cupcakes & Kale Chips

#CookForJulia Desserts

Cream Cheese and Lemon Flan – Juanita’s Cocina

Strawberry Sherbert in Cooky Cups – Cravings of a Lunatic

Creme Brulee – Wine Everyday

Mousseline Au Chocolat – Small Wallet Big Appetite

Peach Tarte Tatin – That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Cinnamon Toast Flan – Vintage Kitchen Notes

Dark Chocolate Crepes – Family Spice

Crepes Fines Sucrees – Mangoes and Chutney

Espresso Soufflé – Chocolate Moosey

Best Ever Brownies – In the Kitchen with Audrey

Orange Mousse with Greek Yogurt – Sue’s Nutrition Buzz

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pops – Big Bear’s Wife

Wine Pairings – Relishing Food and Wine; Thanks to Julia Child! ENOFYLZ

Baked too long, but still really good!

Before I leave you, I would like to share two of my many favorite quotes from Julia Child. The first one is a favorite of many and, for me, it pretty much sums up why I have a food blog:

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” -Julia Child

And, since today is my 22nd wedding anniversary, I would like to share this one:

“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all of the time.” – Julia Child

I guess he must be right then.

Disclosure: Home Cooking Memories is supported by the use of affiliate linking in this post.

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  1. says

    What a way to kick off your cooking journey with Julia! Potatoes au gratin are one of my favorite foods…have been since I as a kid. Yours look fabulous, and I bet you’ll master them soon!

  2. says

    Our family can’t do Christmas without scalloped potatoes, so if it’s my turn to make the dish I think I will make this one! Thanks for sharing the recipe and nice job on your post! :)

  3. says

    YUMMY! Have you been to the Smithsonian to see her kitchen? I loved it! So many beautiful kitchen utensils to look at. What an incredible lady. And I too used to watch it when I was a kid. On PBS, she paved the way for Food Network!


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