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Smoked Cheese Potato Bake Perfection

Few dishes possess the universal charm and comforting allure of a perfectly gooey and crispy Potato Bake. Our version layers the potato slices upright, yielding a deeply golden brown top, and a custardy centre spiked with smoked cheese

Potato Bake Perfection

Whether you know it as scalloped potatoes or potato dauphinoise this Smoked Cheese Potato Bake has the power to elevate any meal. Who can resist such a glorious union of gooey and crispy textures? It’s a carb-loaded symphony of delight, baked to golden perfection. The scalloped potatoes soak up all that creamy goodness, and when you hit that crispy, browned top—pure magic. It’s a dish that’s unapologetically decadent, yet utterly familiar, at home on fine dining menus and family dinner tables. The equivalent of slipping into your favourite pair of pyjamas after a long day.

The Essence of Smoked Cheese Potato Bake

At its core, the Smoked Cheese Potato Bake embodies the marriage of creamy potatoes, layers of flavour, and a decadent touch of smoked cheese. This dish bridges the gap between rustic comfort and culinary finesse, making it a versatile addition to casual gatherings and formal dinners. The quest for perfection lies in the balance of textures and the infusion of smoky richness into every bite.

Instead of layering your potatoes, this dish calls for stacking them upright to maximise the crispy surface. Adding cheese to the bottom and top of the dish pulls through the rich smoky flavour. 

The deliciously subtle notes of bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and brown onion is achieved by infusing cream with these spices. The result is a harmony of flavours that sing rather than steal the show. The best part? You can prepare the cream infusion in advance and keep it refrigerated for up to two days.

The Culinary Journey of Smoked Cheese Potato Bake Perfection

With several years of culinary expertise under her belt as a private chef, Jess Bunn has mastered the art of crafting the perfect Smoked Cheese Potato Bake that transcends occasions, palates, and skill level!

With each iteration of the dish, Jess refined her technique, embraced diverse culinary influences, and sought the delicate balance between indulgence and foolproof simplicity. What sets the Smoked Cheese Potato Bake apart is its remarkable versatility. It can transition from a formal dinner party to a laid-back barbeque, always leaving an indelible mark on the dining experience.

The art of achieving the perfect balance of creamy richness, savoury depth, and a golden cheesy crust is much simpler than you imagine. Potato enthusiasts, whether novice or seasoned, can recreate this culinary gem with confidence. 

Smoked Cheese Potato Bake Perfection

From Oven Warmth to Table Bliss

Baking the Smoked Cheese Potato Bake in a ceramic dish and seamlessly transferring it from the oven to the table offers several benefits.

Ceramic dishes heat up gradually and retain that heat, ensuring the potatoes cook slow and steady. In addition, their heat retention properties keep your dish warm for longer, allowing diners to savor the flavours at their leisure. This is particularly useful when serving meals during gatherings or family dinners, where maintaining the warmth of the dish enhances the overall dining experience.

What is a cartouche?

A cartouche is a type of lid constructed of baking paper. It enables some evaporation, allowing a small amount of liquid to escape. A cartouche, as opposed to a metal lid, which can absorb heat and slow down cooking, allows dishes to steam rapidly and evenly. It can also be used to keep skin from forming on a sauce.

Rate This Smoked Cheese Potato Bake

Did you try out this very versatile side dish? Please leave me a comment, give this recipe a rating, and remember to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Perfectly gooey and crispy Potato Bake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be made vegan?

While we haven’t tried making this as a vegan dish, you should be able to do so easily by replacing the cream and cheese with vegan milk and cheese. If you do make it as a vegan dish, please let us know how it turns out!

Is this dish gluten free?

Yes, it is!

Can I use different cheese?

Of course! However, you’ll be missing out on the sweet smoky flavour of the smoked cheddar. 

Can I make this dish in advance?

Absolutely! You can bake it for 40 minutes the day before, then heat it through for about 20 minutes before serving to crisp up. 

The perfect cheesy potato bake
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Smoked Cheese Potato Bake Perfection

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Potato bake is a timeless and comforting dish that embodies the essence of home-cooked goodness. This recipe is the result of years of trial and error to find the perfect, foolproof potato bake.



For the Potato Bake

  • 600ml whipping cream
  • 2 kg or 10 medium-sized potatoes
  • 175g smoked cheese
  • Crispy sage (optional) recipe follows below
  • Picked thyme

Studded Onion:

  • Half a brown onion
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


For the Infused Cream:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the cream on a gentle simmer.
  2. While the cream warms, cut slits in the onion and slide in the bay leaves. Stud the onion with the cloves.
  3. Add the sudden onion to the cream, along with a pinch of ground nutmeg, and the peppercorns. Simmer gently for 5 more minutes. Then set aside to infuse for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the potatoes.

Potato Preparation:

  1. Peel then, thinly slice the potatoes into 1mm slices, using a knife or mandolin. The thickness will affect cooking time so keep the pieces nice and even.
  2. Add 50g of the smoked cheddar to the bottom of your oven dish or casserole.
  3. Arrange the potato slices upright in the dish to maximise the crispy surface area.
  4. Pour the infused cream over the potatoes, filling the dish up to 1cm below the lip. Save any unused cream, and drizzle this over the potato bake once the liquid has cooked down a little (after about 30 minutes). Over filling the dish can cause the cream to spill over during cooking.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining smoked cheese on top of the gratin.
  6. Create a baking paper cartouche to top the dish, cutting it to fit your casserole or baking dish, and being sure to cut a small hole in the middle. A video is linked above to help with this.
  7. Bake at 190°C for 1 hour, removing the cartouche after about 40 minutes once the potato slices soften. Adjust the time based on slice thickness. Once you remove the baking paper, brush the exposed potato slices with a little melted butter or oil to help them crisp
  8. Continue to cook uncovered until the potato bake turns a rich golden brown (about 15 minutes). Keep an eye on the potatoes and sauce, as overbaking can cause the lovely creamy sauce to reduce to much and split.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve. Garnished with fresh thyme, or if desired, crispy sage (recipe below)

Crispy Sage:

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. You can use olive oil, vegetable oil, or any oil with a high smoke point.
  2. While the oil is heating, carefully wash and pat dry the sage leaves. Ensure they are thoroughly dry to prevent splattering when they come into contact with the hot oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the sage leaves to the pan in a single layer. Be cautious, as the leaves may splatter a bit.
  4. Fry the sage leaves on each side for about 20-30 seconds until they become crisp and the edges turn slightly darker.
  5. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully remove the crispy sage from the pan, allowing any excess oil to drain back into the pan.
  6. Place the crispy sage on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any remaining oil.
  7. Optional: Season the crispy sage with a pinch of salt or your preferred seasoning while it’s still warm.
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Category: Sides
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