Duchess Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are great, but when you make duchess potatoes, dinner gets elevated. Just a little extra effort makes a delicious and beautiful presentation.

Duchess Potatoes
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?

What Are Duchess Potatoes?

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
Elise Bauer

Making Duchess Potatoes Is Easier Than It Seems!

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 or Pommes Duchesse?

Although French in origin, no one knows for sure where these potatoes got their fancy title. The first known appearance of a pommes duchesse recipe was in La Nouvelle Cuisinière Bourgeoise, a cookbook published in 1746. Around that time, potatoes were illegal in France, since they were believed to cause leprosy and death.

When they became legal again, pommes de terre ("earth apples" in French) were fashionable, and duchess potatoes were served to foreign dignitaries. That's how they spread to England and America. Even now, pommes duchesse are served in high-end restaurants all over the world.

They look so fancy, but are relatively easy to make. Regardless of what you call your potatoes, any humble tubers can be elevated when brushed and browned with butter on top!

Tips for Piping and Browning the Potatoes

  • For perfectly shaped potatoes, pipe first, then chill them for an hour or overnight in the fridge before brushing on the butter and baking.
  • You can also brush an egg wash on the potatoes for extra browning.
  • Use a natural bristle brush over a silicone brush. Natural bristles hold the butter better.
  • Line your baking pan with parchment or a silicone baking sheet to prevent the potatoes from sticking on the bottom, and for easing cleanup.

5 Dishes to Serve with Duchess Potatoes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Duchess Potatoes

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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 to brown for 20 minutes before serving.

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 large egg yolks

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes:

    Place potatoes in a medium to large (3 quart) pot 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 fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    duchess-potatoes-method-1
    Elise Bauer
  2. Melt the butter, then 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 the potatoes and let them release steam:

    When the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander. Put the potatoes back in the pot and set over low heat. Allow them to release steam for a minute or so.

    duchess-potatoes-method-2
    Elise Bauer
  4. Mash and season the potatoes:

    Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mash the potatoes until the butter has been incorporated. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, and heavy cream and continue mashing the potatoes.

    Once everything is incorporated, add salt to taste. Then, add the egg yolks.

    duchess-potatoes-method-3
    Elise Bauer

    Continue to mash until the mixture is smooth. Do not over-mash or your potatoes will end up a gluey consistency.

  5. Pipe the potatoes:

    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, brush the potatoes with the melted butter.

    duchess-potatoes-method-4
    Elise Bauer
    duchess-potatoes-method-5
    Elise Bauer
  6. Bake:

    Bake in the 425°F oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Serve hot, fresh from the oven.

Duchess Potatoes
Elise Bauer

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

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
288 Calories
15g Fat
33g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 155mg 52%
Sodium 153mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 861mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.