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Perfectly seasoned and roasted hasselback potatoes get the comfort food upgrade with a simple breadcrumb and gruyere au gratin topping. Infused with classic potato gratin flavors, but updated for a modern meal that’s easy to serve.
Potatoes are such a wonderful, versatile ingredients. With thousands of varieties available, it’s easy to find the perfect baby potatoes for roasting, large starchy potatoes for french fries, and red skinned beauties for grandma’s potato salad recipe.
One of my all time favorite ways to prepare them is potato gratin. My kale and leek scalloped potato recipe is always a welcome side dish in our house. But, it’s slightly more labor intensive, and maybe a touch too heavy on cream for weekly eating. Enter, the hasselback potato gratin. It blends the best of both worlds – all the love of roasted potatoes, with a crispy cheesy breadcrumb topping of a gratin.
This year I’m participating in the Homemade Holiday Inspiration hosted by Hoosier Homemade – Scroll down and check out the other delicious savory side dishes my fellow bloggers created for some holiday inspiration. Under the recipe card!
What is a Hasselback Potato?
The term hasselback potato comes from it’s origin. Created by a chef working at the Hasselbacken restaurant back in 1953, it’s a method that involves making equal slices down the length of the potato, without cutting through the bottom.
Once seasoned and roasted, a hasselback potato has beautiful fans of slices. You can pretty much hasselback whichever type of potato you like, or even switch it up and make hasselback butternut squash!
Ingredients for Hasselback Potato Gratin
When I sat down to approach the concept of an au gratin hasselback style potato, it was my main goal to maintain what I loved about roasted potatoes. I also knew I had to have aspects of potato gratin, but without the mess of a cream sauce on a baking sheet.
I found that using ground mustard, fresh thyme, and garlic powder infused the gratin topping with classic flavor, Mixed with gruyere cheese, a splash of oil and breadcrumbs, and I was ready to go.
That’s not a complicated ingredient list by any means, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use unseasoned, plain breadcrumbs. I make my own breadcrumbs, which take very little time to make even just for this recipe.
- Go for russet potatoes. It’s true, you can pick whichever potatoes you like, but I found russets gave me the best crisp outsides and tender soft insides. Since this gratin style recipe doesn’t have the cream, a soft pillowy potato is a must. Idaho potatoes work great too!
- Use fresh herbs if possible. I love lemon thyme and grow some in my garden, but rosemary would be equally delicious. If you’re unable to use either, swap in twice the amount of dried herbs.
- Don’t be a cheapie with the cheese. There’s nothing worse than creating a gorgeously browned cheese topping…that has no flavor. Quality gruyere is easy to find at most groceries (check the deli section), and I recommend an aged block if possible. If I was forced to swap it, I’d go for a blend of Parmesan and fontina or jack cheese.
How to Hasselback…and Gratin it!
To make something ‘au gratin’ is just to add a topping that gets browned. There’s argument here and there about whether it should or shouldn’t include breadcrumbs/cheese/blah blah, but the basics are – top with something and brown it.
In order for us to ‘gratin’ hasselback potatoes, we first need to make classic hasselback potatoes. Wash your potatoes well and place two wooden spoons (or other utensil you don’t mind potentially getting marked with your knife) on either side running lengthwise along the potato.
Carefully slice 1/4″ slices along the length of the potato. You can make thinner slices if you prefer crispier edges.
The spoons should stop the knife from slicing all the way through the potato. Be cautious near the ends, since most potatoes don’t lay flat, it’s easy to slice those off accidentally.
Then pop those in the oven to roast for an hour to an hour fifteen and…go do something else. Seriously. The topping takes like no time to put together.
Once your potatoes are almost done roasting, make your topping by combining all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing.
Then grab a scoop with your hand or a large spoon and pack it down on the tops of the potatoes. Be gentle, but press it down firmly enough to stick it to the top. Feel free to work it into the slices.
Pop them back in the oven to broil for like 2 minutes, then you’re done! Yes, that really is all there is to it, aren’t they gorgeous? Feel free to snack on the little tidbits of melted, toasted breadcrumb cheese that cooked on the pan. I sure did!
Pro Tip: Before adding the gratin topping, poke one of the middle potato slices with a knife. If the knife slides in and out like hot butter, your potatoes are cooked. If there’s any resistance, put them back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
Can I Make these without a Broiler?
A broiler is the quickest and simplest way to get that brown topping, but baking will work if you don’t have that option. Simply pull your potatoes 5 minutes before they’re done, add the topping and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. You may not get the same browning as baking doesn’t provide the top down heat a broiler does, but you’ll get a crispy cheese topping all the same.
If it’s a matter of not having a broiler safe pan here are two possible solutions:
- roast your potatoes as usual on a baking sheet and then transfer them onto a few layers of aluminum foil, or even into a foil pie plate for broiling.
- Broil on low to use a pan that isn’t safe at the high setting of your broiler. High usually gets around 550°F, and low is somewhere near 450°F. Check your pan’s heat tolerance before this.
Storage and Freezing
Once you’re all stuffed from a fabulously filling meal, what to do with the leftovers? Let your potatoes cool completely, then you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
You can reheat them in the oven or toaster oven to recapture some of that crispness. But, one of my favorite ways to reheat leftover hasselback potatoes is to cut the slices off and cook them in a little oil for breakfast.
When it comes to long term storage, I’m usually a little leery of freezing cooked whole potatoes. They occasionally come back out of the freezer a little mushy or grainy.
You can give it a go, but I’d freeze them before you get to the point of broiling. Roast them from frozen in a hot oven until hot throughout and the topping has browned.
Eat and Enjoy
Whether it’s for a dinner party, thanksgiving dinner, or just a cozy family meal a platter of golden brown hasselback potato gratin is sure to be a welcome sight.
Once you taste the tender potatoes slices and that salty, cheesy, crunchy gratin topping, I think you’ll find these on your menu often. Low maintenance gourmet is always a win! I’d love to hear what you think, and until then I wish you the happiest of eating!
Don’t forget to check out these other recipes if you like this one!
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries & Pecans
- Cheesy Baked Asparagus Gratin
- Baked Kale Gratin
- Hasselback Potato Salad
- 3 large russet potatoes
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt *increase or decrease to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a broiler safe pan with foil.
- Set the potatoes on a cutting board and lay a wooden spoon on either side of the potato, running lengthwise. Make 1/4" or thinner slices into the potato, stopping when the knife hits the handle of the spoons to prevent cutting through the bottom of the potato.
- Drizzle with oil, reserving 1 tablespoon for later. Work the oil into the slices carefully, I find fingers the best to do this.
- Season with salt and pepper to tastes, working that into the slices and all over the skin. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, or until tender when pricked with a sharp knife.
- Remove potatoes and switch your oven to broil.
- Combine shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, thyme, ground mustard, garlic powder, and remaining oil in a bowl. Mix until the topping is moistened and clumping.
- Divide the topping among the potatoes, pressing it down firmly to keep it on the top of the potato. Let it fall into the slices where possible.
- Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are toasted. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.