Leeks in Cheese Sauce: Easy Cheesy Leeks Recipe

Leeks in Cheese Sauce is our favourite British vegetarian side dish, also known as Cheesy Leeks.

This easy Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe features tender vegetables swimming in cream, flavoured with nutmeg, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. The traditional casserole is topped with cheddar, parmesan, Boursin Garlic cream cheese and homemade breadcrumbs.

Once out of the oven, our luscious Cheesy Leeks feature a crunchy gratin crust. A quick and delicious side dish paired with roast chicken, turkey or beef.

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What Are Leeks?

Leeks are a member of the onion family, native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The biggest producers of leeks are Indonesia, Turkey, France, Korea, and Belgium.

Leeks look like scallions, but they’re much larger. Like onions and other members of the Allium family, leeks are a bulbous vegetable with white flesh and leafy green tops. The bulb, however, is not round, but just slightly larger than the stem nearest the roots. The more rounded the bulb, the older the leek.

Their mild flavour and ease of preparation make the vegetable a favourite addition to soups, casseroles, and chicken dishes, as well as a simple side dish when gently sautéed. Look for the best leeks of the year at your local farmers market starting in autumn and enjoy them all the way through spring.

Ingredients you'll need to make our homemade Leeks in Cheese Sauce.
Ingredients you’ll need to make our homemade Leeks in Cheese Sauce.

What Are Cheesy Leeks?

Cheesy leeks, also known as Leeks in Cheese Sauce, are a traditional British side dish.

Authentic Cheesy Leeks typically require the cook to sauté vegetables in fat (such as butter or olive oil) and are muddled together with either a cream based sauce or mornay (grated cheese mixed into a béchamel sauce).

You can make a simple Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe with just 4 or 5 ingredients or flavour the dish with mustard, nutmeg, Worcestershire Sauce and even a few glugs of your favourite wine or craft beer.

The best Cheesy Leeks feature a variety of high quality farmhouse cheeses. In our recipe we’ve included aged cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano and Garlic Boursin Cream Cheese.

The tender buttery leeks are topped with shredded parmesan and cheddar as well as dollops of cream cheese. The Garlic Boursin melts into the casserole, enriching the sauce with garlicky flavour, while the cheddar and parmesan crisp up in the oven, dusted with homemade breadcrumbs.

The finished product, our luscious Leeks in Cheese Sauce casserole, features soft leeks swimming in cream and topped with crunchy gratin.

Begin preparing Cheesy Leeks by mincing onion an slicing leeks.
Begin preparing Cheesy Leeks by mincing onion an slicing leeks.

Travel to the Britain by Cooking Leeks in Cheese Sauce at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through IrelandScotlandEnglandWalesPortugalSpainFranceBelgiumHollandDenmarkNorwaySwedenFinlandRussiaEstoniaLatviaPolandCzech RepublicGermanyAustriaCroatiaBosniaHungarySlovakiaGreeceTurkey and Italy.

What I love most about traveling to the United Kingdom is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in London are unique to what you’d find in Belfast, Hampshire, Brighton, Southampton, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Skye or Islay.

If you’re visiting Britain on holiday you’ll find cheesy leeks on many restaurant menus, from large cities to small towns. Classic Leeks in Cheese Sauce is commonly served with chicken dishes or roast beef.

Once back home from a British holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of the United Kingdom and can impress friends and family by making our easy Cheesy Leeks recipe at home.

Leeks in Cheese Sauce: Saute garlic and thyme in butter before adding sliced leeks.
Leeks in Cheese Sauce: Saute garlic and thyme in butter before adding sliced leeks.

Where To Eat Authentic Cheesy Leeks

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local British restaurant or pub that serves traditional Leeks in Cheese Sauce.

Haven’t traveled to the United Kingdom before? It may be helpful to first sample Cheesy Leeks at a local restaurant to better understand how the side dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired tenderness of the vegetables and the amount and type of cheese to sprinkle on top for the gratin. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with Cheesy Leeks, such as roasted beet salad, roast chicken and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

In Toronto, popular British restaurants that may serve Leeks in Cheese Sauce include The Queen and Beaver, The Oxley, Olde Yorke Fish & Chips, Caledonian, Scotland Yard, The Bishop and Belcher and The Artful Dodger.

Our Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe features cheddar, parmesan and Boursin cream cheese.
Our Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe features cheddar, parmesan and Boursin cream cheese.

My Family Loves Our Leeks in Cheese Sauce Recipe

My family has a tradition of eating soup and salad for lunch on Sunday’s after getting home from church. My dad would often serve warm bowls with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles.

We’d have a light lunch in anticipation of a larger Sunday roast, often served with side dishes like broccoli and cauliflower gratin, spiced pumpkin and cheesy leeks.

Some of the fondest memories of my childhood spent in Toronto, Markham, Oakville and Muskoka are enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas poultry feasts paired with Leeks in Cheese Sauce.

The following day at lunch, we’d remove the leftovers from the fridge and warm them in the oven until the cream bubbles. Leftover cheesy leeks taste great slathered on gourmet crackers or a slice of sourdough bread.

During October in Ontario we’d often visit popular Fall Fairs in Norfolk County, Niagara and Prince Edward County to go on fun rides, run through corn mazes and purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables at the peak of harvest season.

Leeks, garlic, thyme, milk and cheese are available in abundance year round in Canada but we especially love to serve this savoury side dish during the colder months of the year.

Our Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe is the ultimate side dish for onion lovers who have a penchant for cream and cheese.

Saute leeks in a large non-stick skillet until golden brown.
Saute leeks in a large non-stick skillet until golden brown.

Cheesy Leeks Health Benefits

Our homemade Cheesy Leeks recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Leeks are a member of the onion family, a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese and anti-inflamatory phytochemicals, thyme may help keep your blood and immune system healthy.

Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.

Top cooked leeks with shredded cheese, dabs of Boursin cream cheese and sprinkle of bread crumbs.
Top cooked leeks with shredded cheese, dabs of Boursin cream cheese and sprinkle of bread crumbs.

Tips For Leeks in Cheese Sauce

This quick and easy British side dish is easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for newbie leek lovers.

Bake cheesy leeks in the oven until a crispy gratin has formed and the cheese sauce is bubbling.
Bake cheesy leeks in the oven until a crispy gratin has formed and the cheese sauce is bubbling.

What To Serve with Cheesy Leeks in Cheese Sauce

If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve our easy cheesy leeks gratin casserole as a side dish paired with a meaty main. We love serving Leeks in Cheese Sauce at special occasions with Christmas roast beef, Thanksgiving turkey and Easter ham.

We suggest doubling the recipe so you can indulge in leftovers. You can enjoy cheesy leeks the day after your feast as a cold side dish or warmed up and slathered on baguette. It pairs well with a bowl of soup, fresh salad, gourmet crackers, artisanal cheese board and homemade pickles.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.

You can prepare this easy Leeks in Cheese Sauce casserole a day in advance by storing in the fridge.
You can prepare this easy Leeks in Cheese Sauce casserole a day in advance by storing in the fridge.

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Let homemade Cheesy Leeks casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Let homemade Cheesy Leeks casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Leeks in Cheese Sauce is a popular side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Leeks in Cheese Sauce is a popular side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Storing Cheesy Leeks

If you have leftover Leeks in Cheese Sauce Gratin you can store the casserole dish or skillet in the fridge covered in plastic wrap. Or scoop out the leftovers and store them in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or crisp up in the oven.

We love doubling our recipe so can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover Leeks in Cheese Sauce in Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s not spilling.

Be sure to let the leeks reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot container to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.

Serve cheesy leeks with roast turkey, braised beef or roast duck.
Serve cheesy leeks with roast turkey, braised beef or roast duck.

How To Make Cheesy Leeks in Cheese Sauce

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Leeks in Cheese Sauce British Cheesy Leeks

Make the best Cheesy Leeks gratin recipe! Our easy Leeks in Cheese Sauce vegetarian casserole is a perfect Sunday roast British side dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: british
Keyword: cheesy leeks, leek recipes, Leeks in White Sauce
Servings: 6
Calories: 283kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • oven
  • Skillet
  • Casserole dish
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • spatula
  • cheese grater

Ingredients

  • 6 Leeks
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 5 sprigs Fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Sherry
  • 100 g Old Cheddar Cheese
  • 50 g Parmesan Cheese
  • 100 g Garlic Boursin Cream Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Trim, wash and slice the leeks, about 2 cm thick. Peel and slice the garlic, and pluck the thyme leaves.
  • Put a large skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of oil, the butter, thyme leaves and garlic.
  • Sautée until they start to bubble and sizzle, then stir in the leeks.
  • Turn the heat down and cook the leeks (stirring every 5-10 minutes) for approximately 35 minutes, or until soft and tender.
  • Stir in the cream, milk, sherry, mustard, Worcestershire and ground nutmeg. Transfer to oven-safe casserole dish.
  • Top with grated Cheddar and Parmesan and teaspoon sized scoops of cream cheese. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.3g | Protein: 10.2g | Fat: 20.5g | Saturated Fat: 11.6g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 324mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 4.1g | Calcium: 231mg | Iron: 2mg

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Save our Leeks in Cheese Sauce recipe to Pinterest!
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