Duchess Potatoes Casserole is the perfect make-ahead potato side dish for holidays, celebrations and Sunday Suppers with the family!
Every special occasion lunch or dinner deserves a perfect potato side dish. Whether you're hosting Easter Dinner, Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving or a dinner party with friends, this Duchess Potatoes Recipe is a great way to serve a fancy side that offers that make-ahead magic we love.
Let's talk about this classic dish!
What are Duchess Potatoes?
Duchess Potatoes are a rich, elevated version of mashed potatoes that are a great option when you need a make-ahead potato dish. Buttered mashed potatoes are enriched with egg yolks, then piped onto a parchment lined baking pan in individual portions, brushed with butter and baked until golden. Duchess Potatoes Casserole is an even easier version of the recipe, giving you an entire pan of potatoes with half the piping effort, but all of that golden brown deliciousness on top. The egg yolks give the potatoes a delicious flavor, as well as a firm texture so the swirls of potato hold their shape when baked.
Are Duchess Potatoes a good make ahead dish?
Duchess Potatoes Casserole are a great make ahead menu item for a holiday meal or Sunday Supper. To make Duchess Potatoes Casserole ahead, complete steps 1-6 of the recipe, then cover and refrigerate your casserole dish of potatoes. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400℉. Brush the piped potato topping with melted butter, then bake according to recipe instructions.
Ingredients & Substitutions for this recipe:
Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are my preference for this dish, although russet potatoes or even fingerling potatoes will work, as well. Russet potatoes are drier, so be flexible in adding a bit more butter or cream, if needed.
Heavy cream: creating a beautiful baking dish of duchess potatoes requires a gentle hand when adding cream, butter or any other type of moisture. The key to these fancy potatoes is hitting the balance between creaminess and a pipe-able texture that will bake up to a golden brown, crispy finish. I know it's tempting to add more cream and butter than prescribed. I urge you to exercise caution, friends. Your prudence will be rewarded!
Butter: I use salted butter in this potato dish, so if using unsalted butter, taste and adjust your salt level before adding the egg yolks to your potato mixture.
Egg yolks: the essential ingredient for Duchess Potatoes - room temperature egg yolks are best!
Seasoning: coarse kosher salt, black pepper, white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg are all the flavor boosters needed for this classic potato dish.
Optional: ½ cup of Parmesan cheese can be a lovely addition to these potatoes. Depending on what I'm serving with the dish, I may also garnish with fresh herbs like sprigs of thyme or diced chives.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
How to Make Duchess Potatoes :
1. Peel and cut your potatoes into roughly equal pieces, which will ensure they all finish cooking at the same time. Place potatoes in salted water and boil until tender (12-18 minutes, depending on the size of your potato pieces). Drain potatoes, then return to the pot over low heat for several minutes, letting any residual moisture evaporate without browning the potatoes.
2. Using a potato ricer or food mill, process the hot potatoes into a large mixing bowl until smooth. If you don't have either mashing tool, use a regular potato masher or a couple of forks to make the potato mixture as smooth as possible.
3. To the hot potatoes add 2 ½ tablespoons of butter, ⅓ cup heavy cream, black and white pepper, coarse salt and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. When the potatoes have cooled a bit, mix in three egg yolks until the egg mixture is equally distributed into the potatoes, creating a light golden mixture.
5. Spread about half of the potato mixture into the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Use a rubber spatula or offset spatula to smooth the layer.
6. Transfer remaining potato mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe potatoes in 2-3 inch large swirls across the top of the casserole. Refrigerate piped potato casserole, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Now, preheat oven to 400℉.
7. Once cooled, gently brush the top of the potato swirl surface with melted butter, then bake for 30 mins, until golden brown and heated through. (For an extra-brown surface, broil potato casserole for the final few minutes).
8. Remove from oven and serve.
FAQ and Serving Suggestions:
Egg yolks give Duchess Potatoes their distinctive golden color and rich flavor. The yolks are folded into buttered mashed potatoes before the spuds are piped and baked to a golden brown finish.
Duchess Potatoes started as Pommes Duchesse in France in the mid-1700's. To this day, you'll find them on the menu at upscale restaurants around the world. I recently enjoyed a miniature, two-bite version of duchess potatoes at a beautiful restaurant in Salzburg, Austria. Delicious food knows no boundaries!
Duchess potatoes are an enriched potato recipe that is piped into individual portions (or into a casserole dish) and baked to a crispy finish. Robuchon Potatoes refer to the classic recipe by French chef Joel Robuchon for mashed potatoes laden with hot milk and iced cold butter, then mixed until fluffy. Both delicious, but very different potato experiences.
To make Duchess Potatoes Casserole without a piping bag, use a zip top bag with a ½ inch hole cut in the corner for piping, or simply spread all of your prepared potatoes in the casserole dish and use the tines of a fork to create a grid pattern in the top of the potatoes (similar to the top of the mashed potatoes in our Creamy Fish Pie Recipe). Brush with butter, then bake.
Duchess potatoes are a great option for any main dish during the holiday season. Whether you're serving traditional items like ham, roast beef, prime rib, or pescatarian favorites like a side of roasted salmon or an upscale fish dish like Pan Seared Halibut, these are the best potatoes for an upscale, make-ahead option!
Wrap leftover potato casserole well or move to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.