If you are looking for a delicious change these French potatoes boulangère are easy to make in advance for a crowd. Tender on the inside with a crispy topping, these layered scalloped potatoes are always a hit.
What if I said that there are only 4 main ingredients, no precooking and no tending to, once they are in the oven?
Perfect right? You don't even need to peel the potatoes if you don't want to.
Oh, and they're only 68 calories a portion, so you can fill your boots.
This recipe is a frugal dish, needing only a few basic ingredients that you are likely to have at home already.
There is no cream, or even cheese, so this recipe costs next to nothing to make and won't expand your waistline too much either!
Why are they called potatoes boulangère? Well, it is said that in the past, French people would take dishes to the baker's to cook, as most people did not have their own ovens.
For me, the best bit, is the crispy topping giving way to the soft and tasty potatoes underneath.
Of course, you can also add other ingredients too, and adjust the recipe to suit your own family.
Why you will love this recipe
- Just 4 basic ingredients you will already have at home.
- Quick preparation.
- Frugal recipe ideal for budgeting.
- Family friendly recipe that children love.
- Prepare in advance and leave in the fridge before cooking.
- Potatoes - For best results use a floury potato like a maris piper, russet or King Edward. If you don't have these potatoes use whatever you have.
- Onions - brown or yellow onions.
- Stock - chicken or vegetable stock from a cube is fine. Some are more salty than others so you may need to adjust the salt in the recipe.
- Butter - for taste.
- Salt - cooking or table salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Thyme - fresh thyme goes beautifully with potatoes, so if you have some in the garden use it. I'm not a fan of dried herbs, especially dried thyme as it tends to be very woody.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Food processor / mandolin
- Sharp knife
- Shallow oven proof dish approximately 30 cm x 20 cm x 5 cm
- Pastry brush
💭 Top Tip
First peel the potatoes, if you want to, or just give the skins a scrub if you can't face it.
Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the potatoes thinly or do it by hand. I prefer to use a food processor for this.
There is no need to wash the potatoes after slicing. When the potatoes are cut they start to release the starch and this helps them to hold together in a dish.
Peel the onions and slice thinly.
Take the leaves of the thyme off the stems and chop.
My dish is 30 x 20 x 5 cm. You can use something slightly smaller but make sure it's not too shallow, as you will be adding stock to it.
Use some of the butter to grease the dish and arrange about a third of the potatoes over the base. Pour over a third of the hot stock.
Sprinkle over half of the onions, herbs if using and season with salt and pepper.
Add the next third of potatoes and stock, the remaining onions, some herbs and seasoning.
Finish with the last of the potatoes, stock and seasoning.
Divide the butter into pieces and dot over the potatoes.
⏲️ Cooking time
This potato bake needs about an hour at 200C/400 F/180 FAN/Gas 6.
While it's cooking you don't need to check on it, cover it or do anything with it, giving you time to get on with something else.
When this comes out of the oven the potatoes will be perfectly cooked on the bottom and the top will look like potato crisps, (or chips).
Scatter on a few herbs to serve if you like and dig in!
🥗 Side Dishes
These potatoes go well with any main dishes, including fish and vegetarian, because there isn't any cheese or cream. Here are a few of my favourites.
- Beef Olives
- Bacon Wrapped Monkfish
- Savoury Mince
- Honey Roast Gammon
- Pork Confit
- Cod Mornay
- Coq au Vin
- Duck Confit
- Chicken and Leek Pie
- Philadelphia Chicken
- Herbs - fresh herbs have a better taste if you have them. Try using parsley, basil, tarragon or rosemary. If you want to use dried herbs substitute a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs for a teaspoon of dried ones.
- Onions - sometimes children, (and adults!), can be picky about onions so just leave them out.
- Potatoes - replace with sweet potatoes but reduce the cooking time and check check at around 30 minutes. Sliced celeriac would also be delicious or try a combination of celeriac and potatoes.
- Onions - replace with finely sliced leeks, fennel or spring onions for a change.
- Cheesy - add some grated cheddar to each layer for a cheesy potato bake.
Absolutely. You could prepare the ingredients the day before and leave it in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before cooking and add a few extra minutes to the cooking time, as the stock won't be hot.
This term refers to cooking anything with sliced onions in the oven.
French potato dishes to try
Check out all of the French potato recipes or take a look at some of the most popular ones here.
- 1 kg potatoes maris piper
- 2 small onions sliced
- 400 ml stock from a cube ir canned
- 40 g butter
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme or other herbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Peel and slice the potatoes thinly, by hand or by using a mandoline or food processor.
- Use a little of the butter to grease a dish around 30 x 20 x 5cm.
- Arrange about a third of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish and pour over a third of the hot stock.
- Sprinkle over half of the onions, herbs if using and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the next third of potatoes and stock, the remaining onions, some herbs and seasoning.
- Finish with the last of the potatoes, stock and seasoning.
- Divide the butter into pieces and dot over the potatoes and bake for an hour at 200 C, 400 F, 180 FAN or Gas 6.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove