Disney Recipe: Cheesy Potatoes Inspired by the Empress Lilly Riverboat

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In honor of Disney World’s 50th anniversary, Disney is releasing a new cookbook with 50 years of special recipes and stories.


If you want to get an early start on cooking your way through Disney’s new cookbook, Disney has released a sneak peek in the form of the recipe for the Empress Lilly Au Gratin Potatoes, which look deliciously cheesy. We’ve tried a LOT of Disney recipes and we’re happy to try a new one!

Currently available for pre-order on Amazon is the upcoming Disney cookbook, Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World Recipes and Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth. This cookbook is scheduled for release on April 5, 2022, so this is a great opportunity to start your Disney cooking journey!


This recipe is named for Walt Disney’s wife Lillian, who was called Lilly, and you might remember that her name also inspired the name of the Empress Lilly Riverboat at what is now Disney Springs. The Riverboat opened in 1977 and included a jazz lounge and three restaurants, one of which was the most snazzy Disney World dining experience at the time. The Empress Lilly Riverboat closed in 1995 and Paddlefish has since taken its place.


So if you’re ready to cook a special Disney dish, here’s the recipe straight from Disney!


Serves 4

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated onion, optional
  • 3 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake potatoes 50 to 60 minutes, or until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Refrigerate to cool, then peel and coarsely grate.

Bring half and half almost to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, celery salt, and onion. Mix in grated potatoes.

Reduce oven heat to 350°F. Spoon potatoes into buttered 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Note: Always use caution when handling sharp objects. Please supervise children who are helping or nearby. This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.

You can print a PDF of the recipe from here, and don’t forget to pre-order the new Disney cookbook for $31.50 on Amazon now. Keep reading All Ears for more Disney World news!

Pre-order the 50th Anniversary Disney Cookbook here!

Will you be trying out this recipe? Tell us in the comments!

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