Papas Gratinadas (Mexican potato casserole)

Papas gratinadas bring a Mexican twist to your classic potato casserole! With its thick layer of potatoes, spiced cream sauce, and cheesy meat toppings, any other potato casserole will pale in comparison!

Papas gratinadas or Mexican potato casserole in a baking dish.

Papas gratinadas is a Mexican potato casserole that features potato slices layered in a creamy sauce and topped with shredded cheese and meat. It is usually served as a side dish.

This casserole starts with thinly sliced potatoes that are layered in a baking dish with a creamy mixture made of Mexican crema, eggs, milk, and smoked paprika.

On top of the layers goes a good amount of ham, bacon, and shredded melty cheese like Oaxaca cheese. It is perfect as a side for Pavo Navideño or chicken.

Why you should make it

  • A comforting classic: The combination of potatoes with creamy sauce, fried meat, and melted cheese on top doesn’t disappoint.
  • Customizable: From mild paprika powder to moderate chili powder, you can customize the spiciness of the cream mixture to your taste. Or you can add other ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, sausage breakfast, or even chorizo.
  • Great for any gathering: Papas gratinadas can be made ahead of time and easily reheated when needed. This makes them ideal for potlucks, family dinners, and other parties where you may need to feed a crowd.
  • Fun Mexican twist: Adding Mexican flavors and ingredients to the mix can be a great way to liven up your classic potato casserole.
Papas gratinadas casserole with a portion removed.

Ingredients

  • Potatoes: You’ll want to use slightly larger potatoes for this recipe, as they’ll need to hold their shape after cooking.
  • Cheese: I like to use Oaxaca cheese because it melts beautifully and has a great buttery flavor, but any other melty cheeses like mozzarella and Monterey Jack will work.
  • Ham and bacon: Adding pieces of ham and bacon to the top adds an extra layer of flavor and texture. You can also use cooked chorizo or any other type of sausage instead.
  • Mexican crema: Lighter and less tangy than regular sour cream, Mexican crema adds a hint of sweetness to the casserole. You can substitute this with regular sour cream or with Greek yogurt.
  • Milk: Whole milk will give the casserole a richer flavor, but you can use any type of milk that you have on hand.
  • Eggs: Help thicken the creamy mixture and give the potatoes a nice golden color when baking.
  • Smoked paprika: This deep red spice adds a subtle smokiness to the casserole, but you can also use regular paprika and even chili powder if you don’t have any on hand.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper to taste

How To Make Papas Gratinadas

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and cook until they’re a bit tender but still a bit hard in the middle.

Expert’s tip: Medium potatoes will need from 20 to 30 minutes to be fully cooked, while large potatoes will require a little more.

Cooking potatoes in a pot.

Remove potatoes from the water. Allow to cool down until you can handle them and then peel them and cut them into thick slices.

Cooked and sliced potatoes in a cutting board.

Meanwhile, add bacon to a pan and cook over medium-low heat until bacon becomes slightly crispy. 

Transfer bacon to a paper-lined plate and set aside until needed.

Frying bacon in a pan.

Add eggs, Mexican crema, milk, mustard, and paprika into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix until everything is nicely combined.

Mexican cream and spices mixed in a bowl.

Assemble & bake:

  • Preheat your oven to 355°F/180°C.
  • Butter a baking dish and spread some cream mixture in the bottom.
  • Place a layer of potato slices and pour some of the crema mixture to cover them.
  • Top with ham, bacon, and shredded cheese.
  • Repeat until all ingredients are used.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and keep baking for 10-15 more minutes or until the top is golden.

Remove the potato casserole from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

How To Serve

  • Enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of fruity lomo mechado to complement the creamy potatoes.
  • Crispy mojarra frita contrasts nicely with the soft potatoes and creamy sauce.
  • Pair this papas gratinadas recipe with Mexican creamy chicken for a complete meal.
A serving of papas gratinadas in a plate.

How To Store & Reheat

To keep your papas gratinadas fresh and creamy, store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Enjoy it again by reheating it in the microwave or oven at 150°C for 10 minutes.

More Mexican Potato Recipes

Hope you liked this Mexican potato casserole. Please take a minute to rate the recipe below in the comments and leave your thoughts. And remember to follow along on Pinterest Instagram YouTube, and Facebook.

Video

Papas gratinadas recipe.

Papas Gratinadas

6 servings
Papas gratinadas bring a Mexican twist to your classic potato casserole! With its thick layer of potatoes, spiced cream sauce, and cheesy meat toppings, any other potato casserole will pale in comparison!
prep 15 minutes
cook 1 hour 10 minutes
total 1 hour 25 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 12 x 7" (30x18cm) baking dish

Ingredients 

  • 2 lb potatoes
  • 7 oz shredded Oaxaca cheese (or any melty cheese you prefer)
  • cup ham (cut into small bites)
  • 1 cup bacon (cut into small bites)
  • 1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (or chili powder)
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and cook until they're a bit tender but still a bit hard in the middle (read notes).
  • Remove potatoes from the water and once cooled peel them and cut them into thick slices.
  • Meanwhile, add bacon to a pan and cook over medium heat until bacon becomes slightly crispy.
  • Transfer bacon to a paper-lined plate and set aside until needed.
  • Add eggs, Mexican crema, milk, and mustard into a bowl and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble & bake:

  • Preheat your oven to 355°F/180°C
  • Butter a baking dish and spread some cream mixture in the bottom.
  • Place a layer of potato slices and pour some of the cream mixture to cover them.
  • Top with ham, bacon, and shredded cheese.
  • Repeat until all ingredients are used.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and keep baking for 10-15 more minutes or until the top is golden.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Medium potatoes will need from 20 to 30 minutes to be fully cooked, while large potatoes will require a little more.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Reheat it in the microwave or oven at 150°C for 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 726kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 1511mg | Potassium: 743mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 857IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    My mom used to make papitas gratinadas as a main dish to feed our large family. She will just add so little ham and lots of queso fresco because that’s what she had in abundance back then. :)