Ina Garten’s Au Gratin Potatoes Are a Cheesy Twist on Scalloped Potatoes With 1 Ingredient That’s So Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten puts a cheesy twist on the typical scalloped potatoes and uses one ingredient for a totally different taste. Find out how to make her potato fennel gratin recipe that’s full of richness and doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Ina Garten with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on the Today show
Ina Garten with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ina Garten suggests a gratin side dish instead of boring potatoes

In a November 2020 Instagram post, Garten shared that her gratin dish is a great substitution for the typical mashed potatoes served at Thanksgiving.

“Instead of mashed potatoes, this year I’m making a potato dish with a twist — Potato Fennel Gratin. It’s rich and creamy and infused with onions, fennel, and Gruyère cheese — Yum! You can assemble it early in the day and bake it before dinner,” the caption noted.

Garten’s potato fennel gratin is a decadent side dish that’s filled with flavor and is so cheesy and delicious, you may never make mashed potatoes again. The best part is how easy it is to assemble the few ingredients and make it in advance of your meal, which is great when entertaining.

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Ina Garten’s potato fennel gratin recipe gets rave reviews

Scalloped potatoes are slightly different than a potato gratin, which has cheese — and Garten’s potato fennel gratin wins rave reviews from fans. (You can find the recipe on the Food Network website.)

Another person commented, “This is a fantastic dish which I’ve made many times.  My market was out of gruyere the other day … I substituted Fontina and some parmesan … it was declicious (and about half the price!).”

“Delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great,” another person commented. “I made it the night before and just put it in the oven the next day. It’s a rich dish which makes it perfect for special occasions. I will definitely make this again!”


  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled (4 large potatoes)
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups grated gruyère cheese (½ pound)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 10-by-15-by-2-inch baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel, then cut the bulbs in half lengthwise and remove the fennel cores before thinly slicing it. In a pan over medium-low heat, saute the fennel and onions in olive oil and butter for 15 minutes.

Thinly slice the potatoes with a sharp knife or mandoline and mix the potatoes with 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 cups of gruyere, salt, and pepper. Add the fennel and onion mixture and combine everything before pouring everything into the baking dish.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of cream and ½ cup of gruyère and sprinkle the mixture over the top. Bake for 1 ½ hours. The potatoes will be tender and the cheese becomes bubbly and browned.