Thinking a rich and creamy side dish should be on your menu? Try these scrumptious Dutch Oven Potatoes Au Gratin. This is one of my Dutch oven camping recipes that is consistently requested by my family members who just can’t get enough of these spuds.
How I’ve Made It Easy For Campsite Cooking
These Dutch oven cheesy potatoes take a little extra time and effort than my normal easy camping meals, but, the finished dish is WORTH IT! I get raving reviews every time I make it.
When you are making au gratin potatoes or scalloped potatoes, you normally make a roux with flour, butter and broth or milk that has to simmer in a saucepan before adding it to your main dish.
Here I’m just combining my liquid ingredients with cornstarch in a bowl then dumping it over the layered potato mixture.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
You can use campfire coals to make this as one of our campfire recipes or you can use charcoal briquettes.
When you are making a dish with sliced potatoes at home, you’ll probably use a food processor to make the job easy.
At the campsite, you’ll need to slice the potatoes with a mandoline or just use a knife. Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick.
You’ll also need to cut bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and slice an onion, about 1/8-inch thick.
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
You start with bottom heat to fry the bacon then transition to top and bottom heat to bake the cheesy potato casserole.
For baking in a standard depth 12-inch Dutch oven at an oven temperature of 400 degrees F you’ll need 29 coals so you’ll want to get them started.
If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many coals you’ll need.
Step 2. Fry the bacon. Place all of the coals below the oven and fry the bacon till it’s crispy.
Step 3. Prepare the sauce. While the bacon is cooking, whisk together the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic, cornstarch, thyme, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.
Step 4. Remove bacon. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pot. Let it drain on a few sheets of paper towels.
Step 5. Layer the ingredients. Leave all of the grease in the bottom of the Dutch oven then layer in half of the potatoes, all of the onion slices, half of the bacon and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese.
Camp Cooking Tip: Don’t worry about the amount of grease in the bottom of the pot. It will prevent the potatoes from sticking during the baking process.
Step 6. Layer again. Now, add in the remaining potatoes and bacon.
Step 7. Add liquid. Stir the liquid you set aside then pour the cream mixture over top of the potato mixture.
Step 8. Add cheese. Yes, it’s time for more cheese! Add the remaining cheddar cheese plus all of the Parmesan cheese to the top of the entire dish.
Step 9. Bake. Now it’s time to move the coals for top and bottom heat for baking. Place the lid on the oven and move 19 coals to the lid, leave 10 coals below the bottom of the oven. Use a Dutch oven lid lifter to rotate the lid and oven in opposite directions to ensure even baking, about every 15 minutes.
You’re looking for tender potatoes and a golden brown top.
Camp Cooking Tip: It’s possible that you may need 2 sets of coals. The total baking time should be about an hour, so, about 20 minutes into the baking time, assess how fast your coals are burning and determine if you’ll need to start more coals to complete the baking process.
Step 10. Stand & serve. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and let stand before serving, about 10 minutes.
Camp Cooking Tip: There will probably be excess grease in the bottom of the pot, use a slotted spoon to to transfer the potatoes to serving plates.
This is one of my gluten free camping food options so I use cornstarch as the thickening agent. If you want to substitute flour, be aware that some types of flour do contain gluten.
What To Serve With This Recipe
When I make a more complicated side dish like these Dutch oven au gratin potatoes, I keep the main dish simple like grilled hot dogs or hamburgers. Here are some other easy grilling recipes for camping.
It only takes 5 minutes to prep this Grilled Dijon Jalapeno Chicken and 30 mins to marinate and 20 to cook. Get the potatoes started first. The entire meal will be ready at the same time. You’ll get a low to medium heat depending on how hot the jalapenos are, you can substitute with a bell pepper if you want a milder flavor.
With this Grilled Flat Iron Camping Steak, a simple marinade makes an inexpensive cut of beef taste amazing.
Having a few camping dinner recipes that marinate during the day are great when you want to explore a hiking trail then come back to camp with the prep work done for your main dish.
I often boil potatoes and smash them with a tablespoon of butter to serve with this yummy Dutch Oven Meatloaf. But, when I really want to go all out, I make these cheesy campfire potatoes in oven so I’m actually cooking with two Dutch ovens at the same time.
This is a great combination when you want to put warm and hearty winter camping recipes on your menu during cold weather trips.
We can’t go to our favorite BBQ joint to get ribs without getting a side of their Dutch oven cheesy bacon potatoes! When we’re camping we make the combination with our Camping Dutch Oven BBQ Ribs. If we happen to be on a trip with our portable smoker, we make these potatoes with our Pellet Smoked Short Ribs.
Get your FREE printable camping menu planner before you create your next meal plan!
There are so many things you can do with leftover au gratin potatoes. You can reheat them and serve them for breakfast with eggs.
For dinner, cube up some ham, mix it with the leftover potatoes and put it in a buttered casserole dish. Melt butter and stir with bread crumbs, then sprinkle on top. Heat in oven at 350 F degrees till everything is heated through.
Print This Recipe
Dutch Oven Potatoes Au Gratin
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pound bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 5 large Idaho or russet potatoes about 3 pounds, scrubbed and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (use a sharp knife or mandolin for easy slicing and uniform sized pieces)
- 1 small onion sliced thin
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare ingredients as directed.
- Prepare charcoal briquettes for baking at 400 degrees F. You'll need 29 coals. (See * note)
- Using bottom coals only, heat standard-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven and fry bacon until it is crispy.
- While the bacon is cooking, in medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic, cornstarch, thyme, salt and black pepper and set aside.
- Remove the bacon to paper towel to drain.
- Do not drain the grease from the pan, layer half of the potatoes, all of the onion slices, half of the bacon, and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese to the pot. (See ** note)
- Add another layer with the remaining potatoes and bacon to the pot.
- Stir the set aside liquid and pour the cream mixture over the potatoes.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese and all of the Parmesan cheese over the top of the entire dish.
- Cover with lid and place coals for baking at 400 degrees F (29 total = 19 on top of the lid / 10 below the bottom of the oven).
- Bake until potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 60 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes before serving. (See *** note)
Potatoes are tough, they easily withstand transportation and don’t need refrigeration, that’s why I have quite a few potato recipes. Here are some of my favorite camping side dishes.
Combine sliced potatoes with onion, garlic and bell pepper and wrap in foil to cook over a campfire or grill.
You’ll never miss French fries when you make these wedges. They’re great with burgers.
We often serve these spiced sweet potatoes when we camp over the Thanksgiving holiday.
More Yummy Meal Ideas
Get creative with some new ideas for your next meal plan.