Duchess Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)

Duchess Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) Recipe

The name may sound fancy, but pomme duchesse are simply baked mashed potato balls. As a kid, I think it was my favorite side dish. It's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and just oozes potato-ey goodness. 

Not only is it a perfect dish for formal events, but it dresses down as well. Halloween is on its way, and the girls and I have been planning to make some edible ghosts for a Halloween party the girls are attending. Mashed potatoes seemed like the obvious choice. Since I had some pommes duchesse mixture on hand, we decided to test our decorating skills today. I piped the pommes duchesse mixture into several cones. The girls added eyes by using mustard seeds and cumin seeds for the eyebrows. The result is ghoulishly delicious. Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Halloween ghost potatoes


Yields: 8 servings

4 Russet potatoes, about 2 pounds
7 tablespoons butter, diced
7 tablespoons heavy cream
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons bread crumbs (see tips)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dill, finely chopped, + extra for garnish
2 teaspoons French tarragon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic chives, finely snipped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground


Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot. Fill it with cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. Bring to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt; and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 20-23 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender. Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes and let them cool. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, mash them, using a potato masher. Add butter.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a mixing bowl, beat 3 egg yolks with sugar for about 2-3 minutes. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be slightly denser. Add nutmeg.

Add the egg yolks to the mashed potatoes. Add the herbs, bread crumbs and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream. Mix well using food service disposable gloves. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the mashed potato mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into smaller golf-ball-size shapes, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined sheet pans.

Beat the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream using a fork. Lightly brush the egg wash over the potatoes. Make sure to coat the entire outer surface.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. At the end, if they are not golden brown enough, change setting to broil for 2 minutes or until the potatoes are nicely browned. Immediately remove the pommes duchesse from the oven.

Serve immediately. Garnish with dill.

Bon appétit!

Dutchess potato recipe


For the breadcrumbs, I usually grind a stale baguette into fine powder, using a mortar and pestle or a mini-food processor.

I used russet potatoes because they are starchier. Yukon golds are also good potatoes for this dish.

I've tried omitting the egg yolks in the potato mixture; the texture isn't as firm but I guess if you have any allergy issues, it should work fine. You can also skip the step with the egg wash and brush the pommes duchesse with only heavy cream (or milk for a healthier version). The egg wash gives a finished golden look and shine to the potatoes.

For a vegan version, you can also substitute with soy creamer and vegetable butter.

I love piping with a round tip. Check out my cardamom spritz cookies dipped in pink mint chocolate. It's also perfect for making other savory dishes such as gougères and sweet treats such as pâte à choux, chouquettes and éclairs.

I got inspired to make potato ghosts for Halloween by an article in Gourmet magazine.

Pommes duchesse are perfect with steamed fish en papillote or even a rack of lamb.

pommes duchesse

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 11, 2009.


I like the concept of soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, probably my 2 favourite textures in food. Works well for both savory and sweet dishes.

Howard Website Link
[ Posted at 6:47 AM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
Oh my....this will be the way I serve my Thanksgiving potatoes this weekend....thanks!

Trish Website Link
[ Posted at 7:27 AM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
[-] unconfidentialcook - Guest-unconfidentialcook
I never know what to do with leftover mashed potatoes so thanks for the recipe. As for the ghosts...reminds me of the Caspar cookies I used to make with my daughter--just meringue ghosts with baby chocolate chips for eyes.

unconfidentialcook Website Link
[ Posted at 11:24 AM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
Ahh.haha...those goulish ones look adorable. I've always wanted to make duchess potatoes!

veron Website Link
[ Posted at 3:50 PM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
adding eyeballs to foods always makes it taste better :)

ila Website Link
[ Posted at 4:10 PM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
[-] Foodie with L ittle Thyme! - Guest-cassie
Love it! So cute and so yummy! Great idea.

cassie Website Link
[ Posted at 8:14 PM on 10/11/09 | Reply ]
[-] love these potatoes - Guest-OysterCulture
I've always loved these potatoes thinking they sounded so sophisticated as a child. I love the Halloween version you introduced here - so fun and creative.

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 8:55 AM on 10/12/09 | Reply ]
[-] Cute ghosties! - Guest-libraloves
Those eyes on the potato ghosts are the cutest thing ever!

libraloves Website Link
[ Posted at 10:56 AM on 10/12/09 | Reply ]
[-] Tooooo cute. - Guest-Kristina
I love the idea of these, and you made them adorable, which is like... double points. I am dying to make some.

Also, I blogged about them here:

Kristina Website Link
[ Posted at 7:48 AM on 7/20/10 | Reply ]
[-] Duchess Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) - Guest-RobynHalbisch
We love mashed potato & any other varieties are great to try.
[ Posted at 6:34 AM on 5/5/13 | Reply ]
[-] Duchess Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) - Guest-RobynHalbisch
Love Mashed potato,
[ Posted at 6:41 AM on 5/5/13 | Reply ]

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