Potato and Onion Packets with Gruyère

This is my summer version of Potatoes Savoyard.  It’s cooked on the barbecue grill, wrapped in foil. 

It’s a favorite of mon mari and we have been making it often, every summer, for at least a million years.

Use sweet onions if you can get them, otherwise regular yellow onions are fine.

Use a hard, rather than soft cheese, to get the crispy crust.

Mon mari says he cooks this by sound: when he can hear the sizzle they’re cooking; when the sizzle stops they’re done.

Potatoes and cheese in foil

Potato and Onion Packets with Gruyère

Preparation and cooking time: 30-45 minutes   


  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet or regular onion
  • 1 piece Gruyère cheese, about 4oz (125gr)  or any flavor you like
  • olive oil
  • aluminum foil – heavy duty (or use a double sheet)

Potatoes Onion, Cheese


  • Thinly slice potatoes, onions (cut in half first) and cheese – about 1/16 inch. 
  • Lightly oil 2 square (as long as the package is wide) sheets of aluminum foil. 
  • Place 2 slices of potato side by side, place an onion slice halfway on the potatoes in the middle and 1 slice of cheese on the onion slice.  Overlap 2 more potato slices, onion and cheese – repeating until you have used 1 potato and half the onion and cheese – or until you think you have enough.  You should end up with 2 rows of vegetables – 2 potato slices wide and about 5 inches long.
  • Fold foil over, the 2 long sides first then the short (don’t worry about a tight wrap – we want steam to escape). 
  • Repeat with the other potato. 
  • Cook packets on barbecue grill for 25 – 30 minutes.  Do NOT turn over. 
  • When done, potatoes and onions should be cooked through and the cheese will have melted and formed a golden crust under the potatoes.
  • To serve carefully slip spatula under cheese – trying not to tear the foil and to maintain the shape of the potato/onion packet.  Lay on plates and enjoy!

I saw a tweet this morning, from  “Eat This, Not That” (@EatThisNotThat) about Four Surprising Secrets About Bottled Water.

I was intrigued.

I clicked.

I didn’t learn much….

But I already knew that bottled water doesn’t taste any better than good tap water, and that it may be good tap water.

I also knew that all those plastic bottles aren’t particularly good for the environment (duh!).

I did learn that bottled water could actually be more contaminated than tap water.

The article reminded me of something that happened when we lived in Andorra.

Andorra, like every other mountainous country in the world, bottles and sells ‘mineral water’.

The same water is free to anyone who wants to provide their own bottles.  It’s easy enough.  There are taps coming out of the rock faces on the sides of the mountains. Turn the tap and fill your bottle.

We were at a restaurant in Arinsal, one of the villages a bit higher up in the mountains.

Arinsal bottles and sells its water.

The label says ‘Arinsal’.

The tourists at the table next to us ordered dinner, then asked for ‘Arinsal Mineral Water.’

The waiter brought them a pitcher of water – just like the ones on every other table in the restaurant.

The patrons said: ‘No, we don’t want plain water, we want ‘Arinsal Water’.

The waiter said: ‘You’re in Arinsal, this is our water’.

The patrons were not buying this….. They wanted proper bottled water that they could pay 3 euros for rather than the same water for free.

A slight discussion ensued….

The waiter finally brought them a plastic bottle of ‘Arinsal Water’.

I would bet that he filled it in the kitchen out of the tap…..

Had they looked out the window, they would have seen the locals filling up bottles at the fountain across the lane.

I drink tap water.

In France, to eat like the locals, order ‘un pichet d’eau’, a jug of water rather than a bottle.

13 thoughts on “Potato and Onion Packets with Gruyère”

  1. Like you, I drink tap water. We are lucky in the US to have some of the best tap water in the world – why would we buy bottled water? Well, we do keep a flat or two of bottled water in case of earthquake if the water lines break, but that’s all.

  2. Those potatoes look fabulous! I can’t wait until cheese is put back into my diet. Happily, it will still be barbecue season. In fact, I want to have these potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    It’s tap water for me too… although, I confess that I do have a weakness for Badoit when I’m in France. I love the taste of it. On the other hand, all those plastic bottles are horrible. Perhaps, next time we go to France, we’ll just make a special trip to Saint-Galmier and fill our cups while we’re there.

  3. Katie – thanks for the reminder. I used to make this recipe years ago, and have long forgotten about it. So delicious – as soon as we get some warmer weather, the BBQ will be happening!

  4. Zoomie, we actually have a well in the front garden – with water in it! no pump, though. We really should check it out.
    Pam, you really need the onions and cheese!
    Elizabeth, why are you being punished?!?!? Our tap water is good, too. I think it is in most of Europe. I find the Badoit a bit salty…. Like Vichy water from Spain (pronounced ‘bitchy’)
    Ina, glad to be of help…. Sometimes these things just slip away….
    Tanna, really – I recall doing similar things myself – when I was young and foolish (or not)
    joanne, they do – in winter in the oven, and these in summer!

  5. I’ve made these before with cheddar cheese and bacon – never with Gruyere. MMMM Perhaps with some springs of thyme . . .

  6. I know! It’s cruel and unusual, isn’t it? If only it were something I didn’t care about – like jelly beans, or blanc mange. But cheese!! Melted cheese!! Oh the agony of it all….
    (Giant gall stones are the reason… only 4 more weeks before I’m released from this butterless, cheeseless jail.)

  7. JDeQ – bacon? Okay, since you tried mine, I’ll try yours (with bacon)
    Elizabeth, ouch!!! 4 weeks?!?!? I could live without butter (as long as I could have olive oil) but cheese? I suppose you can’t have yogurt, either. What would I eat?

  8. With bacon too!!! Waaahhhhhhh!! I WANT these potatoes with bacon too.
    Luckily, I can have yoghurt (not a lot, but some) and goat cheese (not a lot, but a little) and olive oil (not a lot, but a little). And now that I have survived several weeks without butter and cheese, it’s not as bad as it was at first. And if it weren’t asparagus season (ie: Hollandaise sauce season), going without butter would be completely manageable. But no cheese and no bacon is really really difficult, especially when I see dishes like “potato and onion packets with gruyere”.
    However, the idea of throwing caution to the winds and eating cheese and/or bacon is just too hair-raising. (I’ve never been on a diet in my life – it turns out that one DOES lose weight when on a low-fat diet…).

  9. Elizabeth, one loses weight whenever calorie intake is curtailed – and that is inevitable when cheese and yogurt are seriously curtailed LOL. Poor you. Hope you’re better by Caprese Salad season!

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