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The Ultimate Potato Bake

Deliciously crispy, custardy and moreish, this is my ultimate potato bake recipe. Enjoy it as a side dish or scoff it down on its own, the choice is yours!

ultimate potato bake

I give you the ultimate potato bake. To maximise the crispy top (let’s be honest it’s the best part!), we arrange the potato slices vertically. To that, add piles of smoked cheese and caramelised leeks and onions. The result is a total showstopper! Featuring a custardy centre and super crispy top; the filling is perfumed by the wonderful flavours of bay, nutmeg, smoked cheese and onions. 

This potato bake is the perfect pairing to any main, but we particularly love it for a braai. The smoky notes of the meat play wonderfully with the potato bake! 

If you’re in the market for more potato-ey dishes, make sure to check out my Crispy Chilli Sizzle Potatoes and Creamy Vegan Potato Bake

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. To view our recipe video on Instagram click here. Happy cooking! 

ultimate potato bake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake this in the oven?

If you don’t own an Instant Vortex, you can bake this at 180C for 1h-1h 10mins.

Can I make this vegan or dairy-free?

You can substitute the dairy-based ingredients for plant-based milk, cream and cheese for a vegan version of this potato bake. 


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ultimate potato bake

The Ultimate Potato Bake

  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 - 8 Servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Deliciously crispy, custardy and moreish, this is my ultimate potato bake recipe. Enjoy it as a side dish or scoff it down on its own, the choice is yours!


  • 1.2kgs potatoes (or enough when sliced to fill your dish)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large leeks (or another onion)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1/23/4 cup smoked cheese


  1. Set your Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add the olive oil.  Add the thinly sliced onions and leeks. Cook for 15 minutes on Less, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden.
  2. While the leeks and onions cook, peel and thinly slice the potatoes (1mm slices are the ideal thickness).
  3. Before assembling your bake, check that your baking dish fits comfortably in your Instant Vortex. We used a round, 21cm dish that was 9cm deep.
  4. Spoon your caramelized leeks and onions into the bottom of your round baking dish. Add roughly ⅓ of your grated smoked cheese on top of this. Flatten the filling to form a nice base for the potatoes.
  5. Arrange the potato slices vertically in your dish. Tuck any remaining potato slices into the gaps. Pop your bay leaf, in the middle between a few slices of potato.
  6. Wipe down the inner pot, and then add the milk, cream, salt and nutmeg. Set to Sauté on Less (push the button to change the setting) and let the mixture heat up until nearly boiling.  Remove the inner pot carefully and then pour the mixture over the potatoes. Scatter over the remaining cheese and cover the bake tightly in tin foil.
  7. Start your Instant Vortex and set it to the Bake function at 180c for 50 minutes. Add the potato bake to the Vortex basket and cook until the potato slices are soft and cooked through. Ours was done at 45 minutes but we recommend checking from 40 minutes onwards, as cooking times will vary depending on how thick your potatoes are sliced, and your baking dish of choice.
  8. Once the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the foil, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, so that the top turns a deep golden brown.
  9. Serve alongside your favourite main dish.
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 308.42kcal
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 705.22mg
  • Fat: 15.99g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.14g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.25g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.99g
  • Fiber: 4.08g
  • Protein: 7.71g
  • Cholesterol: 58.44mg

Keywords: The Ultimate Potato Bake, Instant Pot, Instant Vortex

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