In partnership withLand O'Lakes

This Potato Leek Gratin Is Easy, Filling, and the Perfect Side Dish for Spring

published Apr 18, 2023
Potato Leek Gratin Recipe

The perfect side dish for springtime main courses like ham or lamb! Potatoes and leeks are layered with an herbed cream cheese sauce and baked until golden brown and bubbly.

Serves12

Makes1 (9x13-inch) baking dish

Prep25 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food: Martha Tinkler; Props: Margaret Ward

Leeks and potatoes may seem like simple, humble ingredients; pair them together and they turn into something magically delicious. So when you need an easy crowd-pleaser for any of the season’s festive gatherings, you know this combo will be a winner. This satisfying casserole starts by baking sweet leeks and creamy potatoes in an herby, creamy sauce made with high-quality dairy products and fresh herbs. Everything comes together in an impressive gratin worthy of any spring or special-occasion meal.

What Is a Gratin?

A gratin is the perfect side dish for a hungry crowd. It’s often made with a starch like potatoes or pasta, but it works well for proteins and other veggies, too. The main ingredient — or, as in this one, ingredients — is baked in a creamy sauce so that it gets satisfyingly soft. Then, towards the end of baking, it’s finished with a crumbly topping that crisps up so that every bite has that wonderful contrast of soft and crunchy.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food: Martha Tinkler; Props: Margaret Ward

Good Gratins Start with Good Butter

This gratin bakes in a cheesy roux that infuses the leeks and potatoes with flavor, and Land O Lakes® Butter and Land O Lakes® Half & Half form the base of this rich sauce. Knowing where your food comes from is important, and Land O’Lakes is a farmer-owned co-op formed in 1921 that’s now more than 1,000 dairy farmers strong. Land O’Lakes was also the first to sell branded butter made from fresh, sweet cream rather than sour cream, and they pioneered selling the butter in individually-wrapped sticks rather than tubs. The butter has a fresh taste that’s locked in thanks to a Flavor Protect® Wrapper that keeps other flavors out.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food: Martha Tinkler; Props: Margaret Ward

How to Make Potato Leek Gratin

  1. Make the creamy cheese sauce. Start by making a roux with Land O Lakes® Butter and flour, then whisk in Land O Lakes® Half & Half. Add to a cream cheese and Parmesan cheese mixture that’s full of fresh herbs and garlic.
  2. Assemble the gratin. Layer sliced red potatoes, chopped leeks, and the creamy cheese sauce together in a casserole dish.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes. Bake the gratin for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make a crunchy topping of panko bread crumbs, more Land O Lakes® Butter, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Finish baking with the topping. Sprinkle the buttery topping over the gratin and continue baking until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes more).
Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food: Martha Tinkler; Props: Margaret Ward

This gratin emerges from the oven bubbling, with a beautifully browned, crunchy top, with steaming layers of tender potatoes and leeks suspended in a rich cheese sauce underneath. Pair it with lamb, ham, or a simple salad for a crowd-pleasing side dish that feels a little more celebratory than your typical casserole.

Potato Leek Gratin Recipe

The perfect side dish for springtime main courses like ham or lamb! Potatoes and leeks are layered with an herbed cream cheese sauce and baked until golden brown and bubbly.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

Makes 1 (9x13-inch) baking dish

Serves 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

Gratin:

  • 4 ounces

    (1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 cup

    grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon

    finely chopped fresh garlic

  • 1 teaspoon

    chopped fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon

    chopped fresh chives

  • 1 teaspoon

    chopped fresh dill

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    chopped fresh thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    Land O Lakes® Butter

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups

    Land O Lakes® Half & Half

  • 3 pounds

    small new red potatoes, cleaned, unpeeled, thinly sliced

  • 1 large (2 1/2 cups)

    leek, well cleaned, halved lengthwise, cut into 1-inch pieces

Topping:

Garnish:

  • Chopped fresh chives and dill, as desired

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Butter 13x9-inch casserole dish; set aside.

  2. Combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, chives, dill, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme, and pepper in large bowl until smooth; set aside.

  3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in 4-quart saucepan. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Slowly add half & half, whisking constantly, until well combined and smooth. Add half & half mixture to cheese mixture. Beat until smooth; set aside.

  4. Place half of potatoes into prepared casserole dish, overlapping in rows. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top with leek pieces. Pour half of cheese sauce mixture over potatoes and leeks. Arrange remaining potatoes in overlapping rows. Top with remaining cheese sauce mixture. Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients in small bowl. Top casserole with bread crumb mixture; continue baking, uncovered, 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender when pierced with fork. Let cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chives and dill, as desired.

Recipe Notes

Dried herb substitutions: You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, chives, and dill and 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme for the fresh herbs.