Easy Northumberland Pan Haggerty Potato Recipe

Pan Haggerty Potato Gratin. Photo © Elaine Lemm
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (48)

Pan haggerty by any other name is known as potato bake or casserole. The dish is a famous British food from Northumberland, although it can be found across the whole of northeast Britain and most of England too.

A filling dish, pan haggerty is excellent with sausages or any meat and even delicious on its own. Most will know it as a potato gratin, but a dauphinoise it is not because there is no cream in the recipe.

This pan haggerty recipe uses just potatoes, onions, and cheese but sometimes it also is made with a little bit of cabbage as well. This is an excellent way to get kids to eat vegetables without them realizing.

What You'll Need

  • 4 ounces/125 g butter
  •  9 ounces/250 g onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 pound/450 g large potatoes (bakers like Russet or Idaho, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 4 ounces/115 g cheddar cheese (aged, grated)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 375 F/190 C/Gas 5
  2. Over medium heat, melt 1 ounce/55 g of the butter in a large frying pan and gently cook the sliced onions until soft but not browned.
  3. In an ovenproof frying pan or stovetop casserole, melt half the remaining butter. Remove the pan from the heat and then arrange a layer of potatoes in the pan, then a layer of onions, followed by a layer of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and repeat the layers ending with potatoes on top.
  1. Place the pan over medium heat on the stovetop and cook for a few minutes or until the bottom layer of potatoes are brown.
  2. Dot the surface of the potatoes with the remaining butter, then place in the heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. Raise the oven temperature to 425 F/220 C/Gas 7 and, when the oven has gotten up to temperature, return the pan to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  4. To serve, loosen the edges of the potato cake from the frying pan with a spatula, flip the pan over quickly onto a plate or a breadboard, cut into generous wedges, and serve.


You can vary a pan haggerty in much the same way as any potato gratin (bearing in mind this will no longer be the classic dish). Slice the celeriac and/or carrots the same thickness as the potatoes. 

  • Use slices of celeriac with the potatoes.
  • Add cubed or sliced carrots. 
  • Change the onions to shallots for a softer taste.

Serving Options

  • For vegetarians, serve with a fried egg on top or perhaps a dollop of wilted spinach or kale. 
  • If you're a meat lover, pan haggerty is perfect with sausages, bacon, or cold cuts left from a Sunday lunch.
  • Enjoy pan haggerty cold or at room temperature. It's delicious as a snack or a meal when wrapped in foil and popped into a lunch box.