Pommes Duchesse — swirls of golden-brown, buttery mashed potatoes with a delightfully crisp exterior and creamy center — will change how you think about potatoes forever.
We often think of potatoes as the plain jane, trusty side dish, but this recipe elevates them to royalty status, the crowning glory of the potato canon. The dish is a French classic that, like many in its cohort, captures elegance in simplicity.
Why you’ll love this dish
Beyond the obvious — that it’s an edible work of art — Pommes Duchesse is a lesson in contrasts. Crisp exteriors give way to velvety, butter-laden interiors. It’s an indulgence, sure, but one that any self-respecting potato enthusiast would find hard to pass up. And it’s damn worth every bite. Moreover, while it looks ultra fancy, it doesn’t demand a chef’s skillset.
Ingredients you need
Navigating through the aisles of your grocery store, here are the essentials you need to grab to make this Pommes Duchesse recipe. The key with Pommes Duchesse is to source quality because when the ingredient list is simple, every component matters.
- Yellow potatoes: Opt for starchy varieties like Russet for the best results.
- Egg yolks: These give the dish its signature rich consistency.
- Heavy cream: This contributes to the creamy texture. You could substitute half-and-half or full-fat milk, but heavy cream will yield the best result.
- Butter: Vital for flavor. I use unsalted butter, but if you only have salted, reduce the amount of salt you’re adding to the potatoes.
- Salt and pepper: These essential seasonings can be adjusted based on personal preference. Feel free to add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg if you like.
Equipment you need
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make these, but you do need a few items:
How to make it
Pommes Duchesse looks impressive, but the process to make it is surprisingly straightforward and takes just about 40 minutes to make from start to finish. Here are the basic steps:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and then put the potatoes in the pot and bring to a simmer again. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce effortlessly with a fork.
- While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven and prepare a baking sheet by spraying with nonstick cooking spray or lining with parchment paper.
- Drain the potatoes and then add the cream, salt, pepper, and some of the butter. Mash the potatoes, mixing in the other ingredients in the process, aiming for a mostly smooth consistency.
- Once the potatoes are mashed and the mixture is well combined, add the yolks and stir to incorporate them.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Use the pastry bag to pipe the potatoes onto the sheet pan in a circular motion into rosette swirls.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the piped potatoes with melted butter and bake until golden brown.
What to serve alongside duchess potatoes
These golden beauties are perfectly majestic when paired with the right partners. When thinking of proteins, they effortlessly complement roast meats, especially the robust flavors of beef or lamb. They’d also go great alongside a Thanksgiving turkey, Instant Pot Ham, Air Fryer Whole Chicken, or Duck Confit for an elegant dinner party.
- 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Filling a saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes.
- Cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking tray with nonstick spray.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them, and let them cook off for about 5 minutes. Then add to a medium sized bowl.
- To the bowl of potatoes, add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes until smooth using a masher, ricer, or food mill.
- Add the egg yolks and mash some more, but make sure not to overdo it.
- Put the mashed potatoes in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pipe swirls of the potatoes onto the prepared baking tray like an ice cream swirl.
- Then melt the remaining butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and brush it onto the potatoes.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.