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This chicken au gratin potatoes is a lightened up take on a comforting classic. It's crispy-skinned chicken, tender potatoes, kale, and fresh herbs baked until bubbly in a cauliflower cheese sauce. It's easy enough for weeknights yet elegant enough for entertaining, and it's ready in just over an hour!
If you're looking for a delicious side dish for the holidays, try our creamy brussels sprouts au gratin.
This healthy spin on chicken au gratin potatoes is easy comfort food at its best. Crispy-skinned chicken, tender potatoes, kale, and fresh herbs are baked to perfection in a creamy cauliflower cheese sauce. It's a bit like scalloped potatoes but the addition of chicken turns it into a complete meal with protein.
Since traditional cream sauce leaves us feeling weighed down, we lighten it up for this recipe. Inspired by our cauliflower alfredo sauce, we use cauliflower as the base of the sauce and just a handful of cheese. That's right, there's no cream and no flour!
It's a nourishing meal that will soon become a family favorite. It's perfect for Sunday dinners, family gatherings, and holidays. It will leave you feeling full in the best kind of way!
This chicken with au gratin potatoes is made with only fresh ingredients. Here's everything you need to make it:
- Red + white potatoes – we use a mix of red and white potatoes but you can use any variety of potatoes.
- White onion + fresh thyme + sea salt – flavor!
- Olive oil
- Cauliflower – cauliflower makes up the base of the creamy sauce for a lightened-up version of traditional cream sauce.
- Chicken stock – we use our homemade chicken stock but you can use a store-bought chicken stock if that's what you have on hand.
- White cheddar cheese + parmesan cheese
- Chicken thighs – chicken thighs are our preference for this recipe but you can use chicken breasts if you prefer. Or take the recipe in a different direction and use pork chops!
- Kale – we use curly kale but any variety will work. You can also swap kale for other sturdy greens like spinach or chard.
How to make chicken au gratin potatoes
These au gratin potatoes with chicken are an easy yet elegant dish that everyone enjoys. Here's how we make them in a couple of easy steps:
- Roast the potatoes in a baking dish in the oven until they're fork-tender.
- While they're baking, make the sauce by simmering the cauliflower in chicken stock until it's soft. Blend it until it's smooth and then stir in the cheese.
- Pat the chicken dry then sear it until the skin is crispy and brown.
- When the potatoes are ready, it's time to assemble! Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, add the kale, and nestle in the chicken thighs. Bake the casserole until everything is browned and bubbly. It's that easy!
What to serve with chicken au gratin potatoes
With the vegetables and protein, you can enjoy this chicken and au gratin potatoes as a complete meal on its own.
If you're serving a crowd, it pairs well with a variety of sides and it's easy to build a menu around. Try serving it with our spring mix salad or our winter green salad. Did we mention it also tastes great with a glass of white wine?
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
This dish is best eaten right away. But to save time, you can prepare elements of it ahead of time. The sauce can be made ahead and kept in the fridge and the potatoes can be roasted and stored until you're ready to use them. The sauce may thicken when refrigerated but it can be thinned with a little more chicken stock. Then all that's left is to sear the chicken, assemble the casserole, and bake!
How long do leftovers keep in the fridge?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Does the sauce taste a lot like cauliflower?
Cauliflower might seem like a strange ingredient in a cheese sauce but you'll be delighted with how delicious it is! When it's steamed and blended up it becomes creamy and velvety. It has a mild cauliflower flavor but you'll hardly notice with the cheese and other ingredients.
Can I use skinless chicken thighs?
Yes! We love crispy chicken skin, but you can save some calories by making this with skinless thighs.
- 2 lb mixed red and white potatoes (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- ½ medium white onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ head cauliflower (roughly chopped)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¾ cup grated white cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 cups kale (packed)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, thyme, and sea salt in a casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until they begin to soften.2 lb mixed red and white potatoes, ½ medium white onion, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- While the potatoes are baking, prepare the rest of the recipe. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Transfer it to your blender or a food processor and blend on high until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pot and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.½ head cauliflower, 2 cups chicken stock, ¾ cup grated white cheddar cheese, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Dry the chicken with paper towels and sprinkle the skin side with a little sea salt. Place skin side down and cook until the skin is crispy and brown. Work in batches if needed.8 bone-in chicken thighs
- Once the potatoes begin to soften, remove the casserole from the oven and pour the cheesy cauliflower sauce over the top. Add the kale and mix well. Nestle the chicken thighs into the casserole and bake until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.2 cups kale
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.