Duchess Potatoes

Duchess potatoes. Welcome to old school, fancy schmancy mashed potatoes. So, tell me. Who is the duchess for whom these potatoes are named? Or is it just the pattern of browned ribbons and waves that are reminiscent of a frilly shirt or silly hat that gives these potatoes their name? Who knows. Duchess potatoes are a rather precious way of serving mashed potatoes; they’ve been piped in decorative swirls, usually formed into individual portions, painted with butter, and browned in the oven. They taste great. I think it has to do with the butter. And the cream. And the way that both the tops and bottoms get browned. They’re actually rather addictive.

Usually the mention of “piping” is enough to send me running to the hills. But making these pretty little potatoes isn’t so bad, assuming you have a piping bag and a large star tip. If not, you can pipe them into florets using the cut corner of a freezer bag. Or just skip the piping all together and spread the mashed potatoes into a casserole dish, create peaks on the surface with the tines of a fork, and bake.

Duchess Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

You can easily scale up this recipe. To make ahead for a dinner party, just prepare the mashed potatoes, pipe them and refrigerate. Put them in a 425°F oven 20 minutes before serving to brown.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes (Yukon Golds work best), peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks

Method

1 Place potatoes in a medium to large pot (3 qt) and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (the tines of a fork easily pierce), about 20-25 minutes.

2 While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside. You will use this butter to coat the potatoes right before they go in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°.

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3 When the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander and put the potatoes back in the pot set over low heat. Allow them to release steam for a minute or so. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mash the potatoes until the butter has been incorporated. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, heavy cream and continue mashing the potatoes. Once everything is incorporated, add salt to taste and the egg yolks. Continue to mash until the mixture is smooth. Do not over-mash or your potatoes will end up with a gluey consistency.

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4 Using a piping bag with a large star point, pipe the potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can just fill a casserole dish with the mashed potatoes, and use a fork to create lots of peaks on the surface. The swirled edges from the star-point piping bag forms or the peaks of mashed potatoes in a casserole dish will brown nicely in the oven. The browned parts taste great, so you want to maximize them. Whether you make piped portions or a casserole, paint the potatoes with the melted butter. Bake in the 425°F oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

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Links:

Smoky Cheesy Mashed Baked Potatoes - from Picky Palate
Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Herbs - from Andrea Meyers


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No time for piping? Just put the potatoes in a casserole dish.

34 Comments

  1. Becki's Whole Life

    These are adorable. I love baking any kind of mashed potatoes because I love the crust that forms on the outside against the creamy inside. My girls would love these as well because they are so fancy! Maybe the could even help to pipe them?

  2. W H Stoneman

    Beautiful…and thanks for jogging my memory about this preparation.

  3. Katrina

    These sound fantastic! They are so pretty!

  4. Lee

    We used to make these by the thousands in the catering company I worked for. I think we used the recipe from the old “Joy of Cooking”, multiplied endlessly. So easy and sooooo good!

  5. Bev Weidner

    I don’t care how they got their name, just as long as I can make 14 appear in my mouth, right about now.

  6. Susan

    I’ve never made Duchess potatoes but I’ve had them at a restaurant served with beef wellington and they were wonderful. At that time, as now, I fantasized about how the mixture might be used as an appetizer or as a garnish for an appetizer. They are so dressy, especially for the holidays. Thanks for featuring this now.

  7. mantha

    Yeah, they’re a little fussy, but they sure are pretty, and I bet they are rich tasting and creamy as a special treat. Well worth the effort, especially for that little arts-and-crafts inner child in the kitchen.

    Are the egg yolks in there mainly to hold the form of the individual fluted servings, or an important part of the flavor, or what? I never thought about egg in mashed potatoes, but why not?

    I think the egg yolks help with the color, richness, and perhaps a little structure too. I have a friend who regularly adds eggs (whites and yolks) to her mashed potatoes, then bakes them. Makes them a little fluffier. ~Elise

  8. Alisonlou

    I have made these before and they are lovely. However if you have any lumps in your potatoes you’ll have trouble with the star tip. Any suggestions about how to get them lump free? I don’t own a ricer.

  9. Celeste

    One of the many things one of my grandmothers taught me in the kitchen was to save some of the water from the potatoes when draining them. Same for other vegetables. She would use the water in her gravy or for soup. Her mashed potatoes looked like the dish you show in the casserole, although they were made with Russets as there were no Yukon Gold potatoes in the grocery at the time. Suspect gravy may be gilding the lily with this recipe, but then, maybe not. Thanks for the recipe and bringing back a lovely memory of Grandma Rose.

  10. Dianne

    Yum, these look delish. What a great make ahead for a holiday dinner. Thanks so much, I’m sure to make them this year.

  11. Margaret Marks

    Duchesse referred to a rounded back chaise lounge in the early C18, made of three pieces. Potatoes mashed with egg and then piped, possibly described as above by the French.
    I do not think it relates to a person!It does however LOOK gorgeous!!!

    Hmm. Sure enough, there is a “duchesse chaise longue” described in the Wikipedia. Sort of a stretch to see how it relates to the mashed potatoes though! ~Elise

    • Emily

      I recall Sue & Giles in the Victorian episode of Supersizers had something called “Pigeons a la Duchess” …which was “pigeons stuffed with veal forcemeat, sewn back together, covered with bechamel sauce, fried, and covered with more béchamel.” The Victorian Turkducken? I don’t even know. Maybe it just means something very very very rich (gastronomically or financially or both.)

  12. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray

    Gorgeous! I think I’ll make these for Thanksgiving this year.

  13. LMR

    I would love to try this with sweet potatoes. Do you think that would work?

    Who knows? It’s worth a shot. Let us know how it turns out for you if you try the recipe with sweet potatoes. ~Elise

  14. Jessica

    I love your site! Every recipe of yours I’ve tried have been perfect!
    These sound wonderful and will make a nice presentation with Thanksgiving dinner! I’m a huge fan of mashed potatoes, and have never thought of making these at home!

  15. susan

    OMG… my mom used to make these delicious potatoes when I was a kid… thanks for the memories…LOL

  16. Sandy

    I love duchess potatoes! Once I went to a tapas restaurant and saw them on the menu. My friend asked “what are duchess potatoes?” to the server, to which he replied “they’re potatoes… that have been duchessed”. Helpful!!!

  17. Tes

    Sometimes on your website I come across a recipe that I used to make and love all the time, and for whatever reason, I stopped making it and forgot it existed. This is one of those recipes! Thank you so much for refreshing my memory, and just in time for thanksgiving too! :)

  18. JR

    I’ve made these for years at Christmas with Prime Rib. I go one step further and do Christmas trees. I sprinkle with parlsey and paparika for a festive look.

  19. Faythe

    Fluffy, piped mounds of mashed potatoes. Looks amazing. Can it be frozen and reheated?

    Hi Faythe, don’t know. If I were to make ahead, I would pipe, then refrigerate, then bake. ~Elise

  20. Doni

    These look so pretty. I usually do my twice baked potatoes that way for our Christmas prime rib dinner. I always use a ricer and it makes all the difference in getting them smooth and not gummy. The one I have is a plastic Martha Stewart model I got from K-Mart for about $15. I think it is well worth the investment if you want to make perfect mashed potatoes every time. If you don’t have a local kitchen outlet store, check on amazon, I have even found them at thrift stores and estate sales. I am sure they can be found for a reasonable price.

  21. crystal

    yummyyy

  22. Frances Miller

    These are delicious! Sometimes I even sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top. Mantha, the egg is used to help the potatoes get a little puffy while baking. I also have seen these piped into filo dough cups in the little muffin tins to be used as an appetizer. Yumo!!!!

  23. Mary

    My mom is so impressed with how they look that it’s going on our Thanksgiving Menu! And, um…I think piping is fun!

  24. Malli

    Duchess potatoes look so dainty and cute….must be as delecious as they appear to be:)

  25. Jenni

    Oh, thank goodness! With the recipe I currently have, they never come out the way I want them to come out. They are always a little too mushy. I really hope your recipe is the right mix and temp.

  26. Susan B.

    Perfect! I used to make these many years ago, but I had forgotten about them. I’m having a dinner party which will feature Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, with mashed potatoes. Because of all the other courses I’m making, I was trying to come up with a way to make the potatoes ahead. This will work perfectly. Thanks!

  27. shirley

    I have been making mashed potatoes for more years than I care to remember! My grandmother taught me that the potatoes must be lumpfree before adding any liquid. I also use an old fashion masher with a curvy bottom(?). I tried the one with holes like a ricer but it did not seem to get all the lumps out. I’ve also used a hand mixer being carful not to over beat. I hope that is helpful for those who do not use a ricer.

  28. Alana D

    Wow I loove that idea,I’ve gotta try that.

  29. ronald

    i love it.always have fun when serving it.thanks

  30. Judy

    It’s been eons since I’ve had these yummy little potato gems. My mom used to make them for an Easter supper with leftover baked ham and asparagus with Bearnaise sauce. We usually had Easter dinner with my grandparents, and Nana always packed up extra ham for us to take home. Thanks for another fond memory, Elise. The older I get, I find that the recipes from my childhood are showing up more often on our table. I think I’ll surprise the family on Christmas, when we have a slow-roasted beef. I’d probably never get away with this for Thanksgiving, when everyone craves mashed potatoes and gravy.

  31. Linda

    Just finished what was described as the best Thanksgiving dinner ever by my husband (never a great Turkey-day fan) including the casserole version of these lovely potatoes and your Mom’s Roasted Turkey recipe (my bird will never be breast-side up again!). Undercooked turkey crisis averted by putting the critter back in the oven divided into pieces; and the potatoes even held up under some not so constant temperatures and a lot of pulling in and out of the heat. Elise, your website is simply lovely (great design and snappy copy) and the most accessible, practical, and tasty food blog on the Web, I am sure. Count me among your many fans, and allow me to send wishes for a very blessed holiday to you and yours.

    Thank you Linda, and a very happy holiday season to you too! ~Elise

  32. Agnel Rodricks

    my dad used to have these made at his hotel in India where he was the manager-and where we lived and ate.’Duce Potaoes’or dutchess in french and the ginger snap cookies(on your site)-he’d call them ginger snap cones-which were the cookies -very thin! wrapped in a tube and filled with fresh creme. Just killers!!

  33. Chelsea

    I can’t wait to make these, they look delish. I also notice you’re using a Cutco potato masher(; Kudos.

    I love Cutco. Love the way the handles feel as I use them. Good quality too. ~Elise

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