Make this Baker's Potatoes aka Pommes Boulangère recipe as a special side dish to almost any meal. Although our family loves a hearty, creamy dish of mashed potatoes, there are times when we want a potato side dish that is a little out of the ordinary. That's when this recipe for Baker's Potatoes comes in handy. It fills the same role in a meal, but with additional flavors of onions and cheese.
When you think of baker's potatoes, picture a potato casserole similar to potatoes au gratin. The dish consists of sliced potatoes layered together with sautéed onions and fresh or dried herbs, and cooked in a sauce made of butter, chicken stock, and white wine. The entire dish, after being cooked, is covered with cheese and then returned to the oven until the cheese is properly melted.
What exactly are Baker's Potatoes?
Baker's Potatoes originated in France, where they are called pommes boulangère. The English name is a literal translation of the French term. Their history is an interesting one. In days of yore, people didn't always have an oven in their own home. They would prepare meals and take them to the local baker, or boulangère, to be cooked. Then they would take the cooked dishes away and serve them in their home.
Today it's hard for us to imagine a home without an oven. How much extra time it must have taken people to carry their prepared meals to a professional baker to cook and then return to them!
Just a few staple ingredients, plus some fresh or dried herbs, make up this delicious dish.
Potatoes - use russet or Yukon gold potatoes for the best results
Onions - for the best flavor, mild but delicious, choose a yellow onion over white
Butter - a key ingredient to making a delicious end result
Olive oil - this helps the casserole develop a crispy finish, and is useful in combination with the butter
Garlic - minced garlic adds flavor and "oomph". The recipe calls for 1 clove, but you can use more if you'd like!
Rosemary and Thyme - fresh or dried herbs add subtle flavor and add a European flair to the dish
Salt and black pepper - for seasoning
Chicken stock - to help soften potatoes and add flavor
White wine - as with the herbs, this adds a European flavor
Gruyere cheese - Gruyere is the perfect French cheese to be melted over the top of this dish!
The hardest preparation of the dish is slicing the potatoes and onions. Slicing them thinly and consistently will help ensure that they all cook through completely while in the oven. I like to use a mandolin slicer for this purpose; it's easier and much faster.
You just have to be careful not to cut your thumb in the process. I've suffered a number of minor mandolin injuries over the years and I've learned my lesson to always use the "holder" contraption. I hope you will learn from my mistakes and be careful as well!!!
Once everything is sliced ready, you then sauté the onions and garlic in a combination of butter and olive oil. The casserole consists of alternating layers of potatoes and onions, with various herbs sprinkled within each layer. Before cooking, the remaining butter and olive oil are poured over the layers, along with chicken stock and white wine.
The entire dish is then baked in the oven until the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Finally, a layer of Gruyere or mozzarella cheese is sprinkled on top and then melted in the oven.
If you'd like a vegan option, you can find vegan butter substitutes. Once you omit the dairy, this is a delicious vegan side dish!
A mandolin slicer is helpful for making consistently-thick potato slices, so that you don't end up with some that are less cooked because they are too thick. Of course, you're welcome to use a kitchen knife if you don't have a mandolin slicer, or just prefer the knife.
After that, all you need is a skillet for cooking the onions and garlic, and a casserole dish for putting it all together.
🌟 Serving Suggestions
The resulting dish is "fancy" enough for a holiday gathering. It complements a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter spiral ham equally. As a potato casserole, it's also a good choice for pot luck dinners among families or at church gatherings. In the photo above, I've served it alongside oven-baked BBQ chicken.
Baker's Potatoes is a very flavorful dish. The addition of fresh onions and garlic provide most of the flavor, but the thyme and rosemary, as well as the white wine, add additional interest. People who don't like onions and garlic (or those married to such!) may wish to avoid this dish, however! If you're like my family, however, you probably double the amount of garlic in everything you make.
The type of potato to use in this recipe is a matter of choice. I've made it with both Yukon gold potatoes as well as russet potatoes. (I've never tried it with red potatoes, but let me know in the comments if you use them in the dish!) Basically, anything you might use for baked potatoes or mashed potatoes would work well in this recipe, too.
You can freeze portions of baker's potatoes after cooking, if you don't want to eat it all at once! Place in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 months. When you're ready to eat them, thaw in the refrigerator beforehand, then reheat in the microwave or a low-temperature oven.
The dish is similar to potatoes au gratin, with every forkful consisting of tender potatoes and cheese. Pommes Boulangère adds in the flavors of onions, garlic, and herbs.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Simply reheat in the microwave, or in a low-temperature oven, until heated through.
Baker's Potatoes aka Pommes Boulangère
- 8 russet or Yukon gold potatoes
- 3 yellow onions
- 6 tablespoons butter plus more to butter baking dish
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup white wine
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese shredded / grated
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Thinly slice potatoes and onions using a mandolin or kitchen knife. You may peel the potatoes before if desired, but peeling is not required
- Thinly slice onions using a mandolin or knife.
- In a skillet on the stove, melt 6 tablespoons butter and all of the olive oil together over medium heat.
- Sauté garlic and onions in skillet until soft and fragrant. Then drain them but reserve the butter/oil mixture.
- Use additional butter or shortening to coat the sides and bottom of the baking dish.
- Add ⅓ of the potatoes to the baking dish, then ⅓ of the onions, then sprinkle some salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary on top.
- Continue layering potatoes, onions, and herbs twice more.
- Pour the remaining butter/oil sauce, the chicken broth, and the wine over the potatoes in the baking dish.
- Bake in the oven at 350° for 55 minutes.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle shredded cheese on top, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
🦺 Food safety
The main thing to be careful with, when preparing Baker's Potatoes, is slicing the onions. Personally, I'm not super professional with a sharp knife; I'm so jealous of contestants on cooking shows who can slice potatoes and onions like a rock star! If you use a knife, just be careful to cut the potatoes and onions and not yourself.
If you choose to use a mandolin, as I do, follow all safety precautions. Never hold the potato or onion as you slice it; always use the holder that came with the mandolin.
Same with the cheese. It's possible to cut yourself on a box grater; trust me, I know from experience! So practice caution with those too.
Did you try this dish and like it? Be sure to drop a comment below and rate the recipe so others know!