Duchess Potatoes

Side DishHolidayGluten-FreePotato

Classic Duchess potatoes, mashed with butter, nutmeg and cream, then baked until the tops are golden brown.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Here’s the thing about duchess potatoes, they taste great! I think it might have something to do with the butter. And the cream. And the way that both the tops and bottoms get browned. They’re actually rather addictive.

Duchess Potatoes

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

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  • 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 Boil the potatoes: 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 Melt butter, preheat oven: 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°.

3 Drain potatoes and let them release steam: 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.

4 Mash with butter, then with spices and cream, then with salt and egg yolks: 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.

5 Pipe onto a baking sheet, brush with melted butter: 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.

6 Bake: 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

Duchess Potatoes

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

Showing 4 of 24 Comments / Reviews

  • ebethc

    Could you freeze the potatoes after you’ve piped them onto the baking sheet? If so, it would be a great “make-ahead dish”

  • John watson

    Hey guys, I’ve tried this recipe a few times and my potatoes just appear to melt into a blob!??! Please help.

  • Keith

    Done this several times now, using casserole dish. Simple and really nice.

  • 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.

  • 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

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