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Easy Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes for a Crowd

These creamy au gratin potatoes are easy to make for a crowd of 25, 50, or even 100 people. This recipe combines the flavors of a beautiful French gratin with the ease of American hash brown casserole for an elegant and delicious side dish that is easy to make for a literal crowd, shower, wedding, or any special occasion.

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wood spoon serving au gratin potatoes

What makes this recipe special

Shredded potatoes, shredded and sliced cheeses, harmonious flavor with universal appeal, and finished with a buttery crunchy topping. There is EVERYTHING to love with this recipe.

This recipe checks all the boxes for a wonderful side dish that is wonderfully easy to make. By using shredded potatoes, shredded Swiss cheese, and sliced Gouda cheese (grocery stores generally do not carry shredded Gouda), preparing this au gratin potatoes recipe for a crowd is a SNAP.

Luscious cream is first infused with onion and garlic, then tossed with the potatoes. Then we just layer all in a hotel pan and bake. This is a no-fail recipe, perfect for scaling up for large batch cooking.

potato-cream mixture in pan topped with slices of Gouda cheese

Tips to prepare au gratin potatoes for a crowd

As written, this recipe is fit for a single hotel pan or two 13×9-inch pans. If scaling the recipe up further to serve more people, keep to the same ratio of recipe to pan(s). You may be tempted to fill fewer pans more, since two pans may look easier to deal with than four, but don’t do it! The potatoes will take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to cook, and this recipe already has a decent cook time. That’s just life cooking any potato casserole, so if doubling or tripling this recipe, double or triple the number of pans accordingly as well.

I generally try to avoid onions when cooking in large quantities because chopping sucks, but this is one recipe where it is worth the effort. So, I use a chopper to make it go super quickly.

top down view into pan with prepared au gratin potatoes after baking

To check for doneness, we want the potatoes super soft in the center. Like, if you stick in a fork, the potatoes no longer resist. Then you are done.

These au gratin potatoes can be prepared in advance and reheated, but the topping will no longer be crispy crunchy. For crispy crunchy topping awesomeness, this dish is best cooked freshly. Once cooked, it can sit for a bit though, uncovered so the top stays crunchy. Then you can always pop back in the oven to reheat if necessary. This method is better than making them all the way, a day prior. That said, I still find these potatoes delicious as leftovers.

Looking for a potato casserole for breakfast? Check out my Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole.

wood spoon serving au gratin potatoes
wood spoon serving au gratin potatoes

Cheesy Easy Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes for a Crowd

Creamy cheesy au gratin potatoes are easy to make for a crowd with the flavors of French gratin and the ease of American hash brown casserole.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: au gratin potatoes for a crowd
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Calories: 426kcal
Author: Erica
Servings: 16


  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • 2 yellow onions small dice (2 cups)
  • 2 pints regular cream (see Notes)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 60 oz frozen shredded hash brown potatoes thawed
  • 20 slices Gouda cheese 14 ounces (see Notes)
  • cooking spray
  • 4 oz shredded Swiss cheese
  • 64 Ritz buttery crackers 2 sleeves
  • garnish: fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped


  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, tossing, 1 minute to take the edge off the onions.
  • Add the cream, garlic powder, and salt to the skillet, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, to combine flavors and warm the cream. Remove from the heat.
  • Toss the potatoes and Swiss cheese with the cream in a large mixing bowl. Layer half of this mixture in a single hotel pan or split between two 13×9-in bake dishes sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Layer half of the Gouda cheese slices, leaving space between each slice (see photo above).
  • Layer the remainder of the potato-cream mixture, followed by the remainder of the Gouda cheese.
  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Crush the crackers in the sleeves and dump cracker crumbs into the butter. Stir to combine. Spread this cracker-butter mixture over the casserole. Cover casserole tightly with foil.
  • Bake at 350℉ covered for 1 hr and 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake another 20 minutes until top is golden and potatoes are soft in the center. Garnish and serve.


Regular cream is not the same as heavy whipping cream, so take care when shopping to not buy the wrong ingredient.
Sliced Gouda cheese is available in the dairy section with the sandwich sliced cheeses. I get Sargento brand, which comes in 7 oz bags, 10 slices each. If not available, replace with an 8 oz block of Gouda, which will have to be shredded. 


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 389mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

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