Lyonnaise Potatoes

Lyonnaise Potatoes Recipe

Pommes de terre lyonnaises is a crisp, yet tender potato dish. The potatoes are parboiled for faster cooking before being sautéed in butter. Sliced caramelized onions and parsley are added to the dish for color and a mild contrast of flavor. These potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to meat. I recently served them with lamb chops.

Lyonnaise potatoes originated in the city of Lyon which is located in East-central France in the region called Rhône-Alpes. The region is famous for being one of the main centers of French gastronomy. It has produced several beloved French dishes, such as coq au vin and marrons glacés. I haven't made a lot of dishes from Lyon in the past, but that will soon change. Bon appétit, and stay tuned!


Yields: 8 servings

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, (about 16 potatoes)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 yellow onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 tablespoons butter, diced
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped


Parboiling the potatoes (see tips): Brush and wash the potatoes. Place them whole in a large pot (no need to peel them). Fill it with cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. It's important to start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the potatoes at a full boil, they might fall apart). As soon as the water reaches a boil, cook for about 10-11 minutes. Test, using a fork; the potatoes should be slightly tender but still firm. Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and let them cool a little (do not rinse and let the liquid evaporate). Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle and have dried thoroughly, remove the skin. Cut them into ½-inch slices.

Caramelizing the onions: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet. Sauté the onions in the oil over low heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown and the onions are tender. Season with salt. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until slightly golden. Laving as much oil as possible in the skillet, transfer to a platter. Set aside.

Browning the potatoes:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Divide the sliced potatoes into 4 batches. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the first batch of potatoes; don't over-crowd the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-high (you don't want to burn the butter). Slightly cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip the potatoes using a silicone spatula without applying any pressure, so they don't get smashed and remain crispy. Cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes until nicely browned. Season with salt and white pepper and set aside. Repeat with the other batches until all the potatoes are browned on both sides.

Place the potatoes in a greased baking pan and finish cooking them in the oven for 15 minutes. Check for doneness of the potatoes. They should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Adjust seasoning.

Add the caramelized onions and let the potatoes stand in the oven at 200°F (to keep them warm) until ready to serve.

Assembly time:

When ready to serve, sprinkle with curly parsley.

Transfer to a large serving platter. Serve immediately while they're hot.

Bon appétit!


Yukon Gold potatoes are perfect for this dish. The flesh is bright yellow. You can add cayenne pepper or paprika for a richer color.

Parboiling means briefly boiling the potatoes. Think "par-tial" boiling = parboiling.

To ensure the crispiness of the potatoes, I cooked them in 4 batches.

While waiting for the potatoes to brown, I usually cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. This step isn't essential but it helps cook the potatoes faster. When the potatoes are browned on one side, you can remove the aluminum foil.

For a vegan version, start browning the potatoes with (more) oil and finish the dish with vegetable margarine.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 16, 2010.


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