Accordion Scalloped Potatoes Gratin on the Grill or Oven
This pretty little scalloped potato gratin side dish is the type of addictive side dish that has guests scraping the bottom to eat up all the delicious cheese drippings, garlic cream sauce and tiny slivers of scallopped potatoes. Although it looks meticulously put together with stripes of onions perfectly arranged in a skillet, this potatoes gratin recipe is easy, deceptively impressive, and hits the spot if you’re craving a little comfort food at your next BBQ or event. The stunning presentation takes only minutes to assemble if you have a mandolin.
Potatoes gratin on the grill
You can make this dish on the grill or in the oven. Since a grill produces less consistant heat than baking this dish in the oven, you should know that the potatoes must be fully cooked before you sprinkle on the cheese and herb topping. The potatoes are ready when they are soft enough to eat and you can easily stab them with a fork. The potato gratin on the grill is ready to serve when the top layer of cheese is bubbling and begins to turn golden brown.
Potatoes gratin in the oven
If you can’t wait inbetween cookouts to make this recipe, you can also make it in the oven. Use a 1:1 potato-to-person ratio to scale it up or down.
Telling your inner potato side dish perfectionist to pipe down
If you’re a regular here, you know one of my personal hang-ups is that I love to try things a thousand different ways. Life can be more exciting (plenty of new, fun things to keep the mind wheels turning) and yet sometimes more difficult (I realize I’ve made a wrong turn when I start thinking “Why did I have to be different this time? This is taking forever! Make it stop! I’m hungry!”). This experimental mindset brings out creativity and pride when I finally nail a signature recipe, and sharing this recipe with you is my way of saying “it’s done!”
“Stop modifying, Jenna! Put the spatula down! Get the post up!”
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How to not mess up potatoes gratin
This recipe is modified from Sunny Anderson’s Grilled Accordion Potatoes with Sage which was featured on the Today Show’s grilling series. Because I’m a woman of trying recipes a million different ways until one captivates my heart and tastebuds, I’ve made all the mistakes of this recipe for you.
First off: don’t make too far ahead.
I’m a huge fan of the make-ahead techniques like the one that saves time when you’re making a boat load of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Cubing potatoes and putting them in cold water in the fridge keeps them from turning brown and lets you make oodles of mashed potatoes quickly when you’re ready. But since this recipe boasts a top layer of super crispness, you’ll want to avoid that soak-in-water-shortcut. It takes just a couple of minutes to mandolin your ‘tatoes before you assemble the dish. Just watch those finger tips!
Next: plan for spillage.
The creamy sauce becomes bubbly from the heat, and using a skillet or baking dish with high edges will capture the cream and keep it mingling with the potatoes instead of pouring over. If you have a shallow baking dish, use foil to create a faux aluminum “dish within a dish” with a higher edge. You’re protecting deliciousness in the making!
Finally: don’t fear the grill!
We first made this recipe on the grill, and I’m confident that will be my go-to method now that I have tried a few versions. It was wonderful in the oven also, but successfully making a side dish on the grill results in a spectacular feeling of accomplishment and a distinct smokey flavor the oven can’t match. Because let’s face it, usually there’s no food-heaven chemistry between the main dishes and sides people serve at BBQs. Creating a dish from the heart (and mandolin) is 10x more memorable than buying stinky old potato salad at the grocery store. Plus, then you can hang out by the grill with a glass of your favorite adult beverage and relax. You’ll just have to keep an eye on the ‘tatoes a bit more since it’s not always easy to gauge the exact temperature on the grill. (Credit my guy, master of the grill, who was like… “don’t forget to tell them…”).
Sub onions, zucchini, asparagus, etc.
Onions always make it into my version of this dish but you can add in all sorts of veg. Red and orange peppers become soft and sweet and add a colorful pop. Zucchini, asparagus, and other roasting-friendly veggies make excellent additions as well. And adding dashes of different spices like paprika or pre-mixed seasonings like Cajun or Bavarian to serve this dish over and over with a new twist.
Tools talk: do you need a mandolin to make potatoes gratin?
If you’re in the market for a skillet, I picked up really great cast iron skillets at places like Homegoods and TJ Maxx. I made this recipe in a cute orange one that is about 6” diameter and holds a solid two mandolined potatoes and veg. Don’t freak out if you don’t have a mandolin for your first time making this recipe, but once you fall in love with it I’d suggest getting a mandolin to make future dishes easier and faster to make.
Can’t get enough scalloped potatoes?
They’re so damn pretty. Here are more ideas to help you get your scallopped potatoes fix:
- Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes from a fellow grilled potato fangirl at Crazy Adventures in Parenting.
- Easy Sweet Potato Casserole by a relationship blogger + foodie at Brown Sugar Mama.
- Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoked Gouda and Sage from She Knows.
- My Pinterest Potato Side Dishes board has a collection of my latest potato obsessions.
Accordion Scalloped Potatoes Gratin on the Grill or Oven
Creamy, Garlicky Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- 2 tsp paprika (or any spice you’d like)
Potato assembly line (don’t forget to slice + cook within an hour)
- 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
- 2 medium russet potatoes peeled + sliced thin on a mandolin
- 4 cloves cloves garlic, diced
- 1 medium red onion sliced thin on a mandolin
- 1 dash red chile flakes (optional)
The final cheesy touch (add in the final 5 mins)
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
On medium heat, combine sauce ingredients and let simmer on the stove for 10 minutes. Regularly stir and reduce heat if the sauce becomes too thick.
Grease some butter on the bottom of a grill/oven-safe cast iron skillet or baking dish. Season the potatoes with the garlic, red chile flakes and salt, then begin adding the potatoes to the pan in 2 inch sections, rotating with the sliced onions. Tightly arrange the potatoes and onions in and then add the creamy sauce to the dish, leaving about a finger’s width of room between the sauce and the rim of the dish. Gently drizzle the butter over the potatoes, cover with foil and put in the oven at 450 degrees. When you make this on the grill you may not have access to temperature information, so just make sure to keep checking the potatoes and keep them in a high grill rack away from direct heat).
You’re ready for the final step when you can poke a fork in the potatoes easily, you notice the edges of the potatoes getting crispy, and the smell is so overwhelmingly delicious that you can’t possibly wait much longer to dig in. Once you can stick a fork in them, the potatoes are ready for their final cheesy touch. Free them from the foil, sprinkle on the cheese and let it bubble and melt for 5 minutes. Sprinkle fresh chopped herbs (and/or some fresh ground pepper), and make sure to serve yourself first - because this dish is going to go fast!