Tonight I'm going to make potato dauphinoise but I don't have any cream - at all - and all the recipes call for it! I should also note I have no creme fraiche or fromage frais or plain yoghurt e.t.c just milk and cheese (cheddar, unfortunately no gruyere or ementhal). Can I make it without cream or should I make a bechamel instead?

3 Answers 3


At first I thought there wouldn't be enough moisture in a potato/bechamel combination to cook the potatoes, but a little searching on Google reveals a few recipes with non-parboiled potatoes and bechamel sauce - so go for it.

Example: Bechamel Potatoes

  • I don't think I'll do the whole 'bechamel' thing for pure laziness and just use milk... but thanks for the effort anyway I really appreciate it!
    – Nubie cook
    Dec 18, 2011 at 17:20
  • I do gratin potatoes this way all the time. Make a béchamel sauce, add grated cheese, add more milk so it's runnier than if you were using it for a typical cheese sauce, fill a baking dish with thinly sliced raw potatoes, pour the sauce over, tap the dish on the counter to help the sauce settle, and bake. Fantastic! Jan 24, 2014 at 0:24

If you are not making this for the Queen, then you can use milk. Because it is an open gratin dish, the excess liquid should bubble away. You may want to add a little extra butter for richness. Or if you have evaporated milk available, that will be a little closer to the original, although still not the same. The problem of making it with a bechamel is that the liquid is tied up with the flour and is not as available to cook into the potatoes. That said, many potato au gratin recipes are made with milk and flour, which is very similar to what you are trying to do with this. No matter what you do, it will not be the same dish, but should be nearly as tasty, if not as rich, as the original.

  • I'm probably going to do what you said: normal recipe but milk and a few tbsp extra butter. instead of cream. Thanks, that really helps!
    – Nubie cook
    Dec 18, 2011 at 17:19

OK, so I'm a couple of years too late but: What you want is "Boulangère Potatoes".

  • Potatoes sliced thin
  • Onion sliced thin
  • Fresh herbs (Sage, Thyme, Flat-leaf parsley or similar). Chopped fine.
  • A little butter for the top
  • Stock (chicken or vegetable).

Layers of potatoes followed by a small amount of onion and some fresh herbs + salt/pepper. Repeat. Dot the last layet with butter. Pour on stock to just almost but not quite reach the top layer of potatoes.

Bake for 1h to 1h30 in a medium-hot oven. Increase the heat at the end if you want it even more crispy.

I have one in the oven right now!

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