Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe: A Comfort Food Classic

Have you ever craved a side dish that is both comforting and indulgent? Look no further than Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe. This classic dish is a creamy, cheesy delight that has been a favorite for generations. Whether you’re planning a family dinner or a special occasion, these au gratin potatoes are sure to impress. Let’s dive into the origins of this beloved recipe, the ingredients you need, and a step-by-step guide to making it perfectly every time.

The Origins of Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes

Bill Knapp’s was a popular family restaurant chain in the Midwest, known for its homestyle meals and welcoming atmosphere. Among its many beloved dishes, the au gratin potatoes stood out as a favorite. The secret to their success? A perfect blend of tender potatoes, rich cheese, and a creamy sauce, all baked to golden perfection. Although the restaurants have closed, the legacy of their recipes lives on, allowing us to recreate this comforting dish at home.

Essential Ingredients for Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes

Creating the perfect au gratin potatoes requires just a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:


The star of the dish is, of course, the potatoes. Choose russet or Yukon Gold potatoes for their starchy texture, which helps the dish stay creamy and soft.


A blend of cheddar and Parmesan cheese provides the perfect combination of sharpness and creaminess. You can also experiment with other cheeses like Gruyère for added depth.


Heavy cream is essential for the rich, velvety sauce that binds the dish together. You can substitute half-and-half if you prefer a lighter version.


Butter adds richness and helps create the creamy sauce. It’s also used to grease the baking dish, ensuring the potatoes don’t stick.


All-purpose flour is used to thicken the sauce, creating that luscious texture that makes au gratin potatoes so irresistible.

Garlic and Onion

Minced garlic and finely chopped onion add a flavorful base to the dish, complementing the richness of the cheese and cream.


Simple seasonings like salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg enhance the flavors without overpowering the dish.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes

Ready to make your own delicious au gratin potatoes at home? Follow these easy steps:

1. Prepare the Ingredients

Start by peeling and thinly slicing 4-5 large potatoes. Use a mandoline slicer for uniform slices, which ensures even cooking. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and finely chop one small onion.

2. Make the Sauce

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion, cooking until they’re soft and fragrant. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, cooking for about a minute to form a roux. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of heavy cream, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

3. Assemble the Dish

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish with butter. Arrange a layer of potato slices at the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly. Pour a portion of the cheese sauce over the potatoes, spreading it evenly. Repeat the layers until all the potatoes and sauce are used, finishing with a layer of sauce.

4. Bake the Potatoes

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly, and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Serve and Enjoy

Allow the dish to cool for a few minutes before serving. This lets the sauce set slightly, making it easier to serve. Pair these creamy, cheesy potatoes with your favorite main course, and enjoy the comforting flavors of Bill Knapp’s classic recipe.

Why You’ll Love Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes

These au gratin potatoes are more than just a side dish—they’re a culinary hug. Here’s why you’ll love them:

Creamy and Cheesy

The combination of heavy cream and melted cheese creates an indulgent sauce that coats every slice of potato.

Comforting and Satisfying

This dish is the epitome of comfort food, perfect for cozy dinners or special gatherings.

Easy to Make

With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, this recipe is accessible even for novice cooks.


While it’s a fantastic side dish, you can also enjoy these au gratin potatoes as a main course by adding ingredients like ham or broccoli.

Timeless Appeal

The classic flavors and creamy texture make this a dish that never goes out of style.

Conclusion: Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe

Bill Knapp’s Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe is a timeless classic that brings comfort and joy to any meal. With its rich, creamy sauce and perfectly tender potatoes, it’s a dish that’s sure to become a favorite in your home. So, gather your ingredients, follow the simple steps, and treat yourself and your loved ones to this delicious, heartwarming side dish.

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Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dish up to the baking step, then cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, bake as directed, adding a few extra minutes to ensure it’s heated through.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Absolutely! While cheddar and Parmesan are classic choices, feel free to experiment with other cheeses like Gruyère, fontina, or even a smoked cheese for a unique twist.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Can I add other ingredients to the dish?

Yes, you can customize the recipe by adding ingredients like cooked bacon, ham, or vegetables such as broccoli or spinach for added flavor and texture.

Is there a way to lighten the recipe?

To lighten the recipe, you can use half-and-half instead of heavy cream and reduce the amount of cheese. Keep in mind that this will slightly alter the texture and richness of the dish.