What is Pommes Anna?
Pommes Anna is a simple four-ingredient recipe of thinly sliced potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper. A classic French recipe, the potatoes Anna is as beautiful as it is delicious. A gorgeous potato recipe with a perfect contrast of a golden brown, crispy crust, and the delicate creamy soft interior. Julia Child called Pommes Anna the “supreme potato recipe of all time”, and who’s to argue?
How to slice the Potatoes
When making the Pommes Anna recipe, the potatoes need to be sliced very thin. I use a knife, as a cook, you need to have good knife skills. Slicing 2 ½ pounds of potatoes into 1/8-inch slices for the Pommes Anna is a really good exercise. A mandolin is probably the best tool for slicing the potatoes, however, I personally dislike mandolins. If you use a mandolin to make Pommes Anna, please use all the safety attachments.
Ingredients for Pommes Anna
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: The best potatoes for the Pommes Anna are a slightly waxy and slightly starchy variety. The Yukon Gold is the best of both the waxy potato and the high starch Russet, they hold their shape and have a beautiful golden brown color you want. I start with 3 pounds of potatoes, after peeling I wind up with 2 ½ pounds. The potato peels make an incredible recipe, Crisp Potato Skins, probably the best potato chips you’ve ever had, I’ll post that recipe tomorrow, so don’t throw those potato peels away!
- Unsalted Butter: I always use unsalted butter so that I can control the amount of sodium.
- Salt and Pepper: Potatoes love salt and pepper, and require a decent amount to taste right. I find that around 1-teaspoon of salt and 1/2-teaspoon of black pepper per pound of potato is usually the right amount.
Layering the Potatoes
Presentation is everything with a Pommes Anna and the main reason for going to such an effort to create this beautiful potato recipe. A picture worthy presentation requires that you think upside down when layering the potatoes. Not as difficult as it sounds, actually, the first layer and the outer edges are the only visible potatoes. I’ll walk you through how to layer the potatoes step by step for a beautiful Pommes Anna.
- Start in the center of a well-buttered skillet, lay one potato in the center.
- Lay a second slice roughly halfway overlapping the centerpiece.
- The third piece will overlap both the center and second pieces equally. Then continue the circle until it meets, the final piece is tucked under the first, so you can’t tell where the circle starts or ends.
- Repeat this process for the following rings until you reach the edge of the skillet.
- All remaining layers do not require the attention to detail the first layer does, but you want the middle layers to still be even and have an equal thickness.
The good news about layering a Pommes Anna is that it isn’t rocket science. If you’re unhappy with how you laid out the first layer, pick them out of the skillet and start over. This recipe doesn’t have to be perfect on your first attempt or even your 50th attempt, but with practice, sooner or later it just might be. Most importantly, have fun making it!
This is my Pommes Anna recipe:
- Non-Stick Skillet
- 3 Pounds High Starch Potatoes Peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed ovenproof non-stick skillet with a lid, remove from heat
- Peel the potatoes (save the peels for the Crispy Potato Skins recipe)
- Slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices
- Start in the center of the skillet, lay single slices of potatoes in a decorative pattern of overlapping concentric circles all the way to the side of the skillet
- Salt and pepper each layer as you go
- When all the potatoes have been layered, and salt and peppered, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on top
- Place the skillet over medium heat on the stovetop for 4 minutes
- Gently shake the skillet to ensure the potatoes don’t stick
- Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven for 25 minutes
- Remove the cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes, again gently shake the skillet to ensure the potatoes don’t stick
- Remove the skillet from the oven, gently shake potatoes to make sure they move freely
- Lay the serving plate face down over the top of the skillet, hold the plate securely to the top of the skillet and in one maneuver, turn the skillet over and transfer the Pommes Anna to the plate
Use a very sharp knife to slice the Pommes Anna.
The golden-brown crust is slightly crisp, and the interior of the Potatoes Anna is soft, delicate, and creamy. If you press too hard, the layers may slip if your knife is dull. Take your time and use a slicing motion to gently slice through the crust. Your slices will be just as beautiful as they are delicious.
Thank you for visiting my Food Blog. I hope you enjoy my Pommes Anna recipe. Please come back and visit again soon! Bon Appetit, Steven
fast with eggs and bacon
The recipe for Pommes Anna sounds delicious but you did not say what size non-stick pan should be used?
Hi Donna, thank you for the question. I use a 12″ nonstick pan with a lid for my Pommes Anna in the photo. However, the good news is you can use any size pan from 12″ down to muffin pans to make miniature, individual Pommes Anna. I would not go larger than 12″ though, as it will be heavy and more difficult to turn the Pommes Anna over for the finished presentation. I hope this information helps!
OK, maybe my Pommes Anna doesn’t look as beautiful as yours but, it tastes like heaven in a skillet!
Can Pommes Anna be made only I the oven?
Hi Melinda, thank you for the question. A Pommes Anna is thick, with many layers of potatoes. In order to cook the interior potatoes to a lovely creamy texture without burning the exterior, it does require time in the oven. Sorry
Your picture is probably the prettiest Pommes Anna I’ve ever seen. I just watched the Julia Childs pommes anna episode and it was a little bit of a train wreck! lol But I love her just the same
Thanks, Mike! I’m not a very good photographer, so getting a nice picture of my Pommes Anna recipe was pure luck, haha. Yes, wow! I have the Julia Childs Pommes Anna show on DVD. It’s amazing to watch a cooking show with no editing and no second takes. It shows what a true pioneer Julia Childs was.
I made these today for Christmas dinner. They tasted good but the potatoes on the bottom were dark and crispy. If make again, will probably need to adjust the temperature or cook time.
Hi Mickey, I’m glad you made the Pommes Anna recipe, Although I’m disappointed they didn’t turn out perfect. Every stovetop is different, what is medium heat on my stove may be blistering hot on yours. Please make the recipe again, I know by next Christmas you’ll be a master of the Pommes Anna! Bon appetit!
Delicious! Is this Julia Child’s recipe?
Hi Sarah. No this is my Pommes Anna recipe. However, I did use a quote from Julia Child in the story. Julia Child called Pommes Anna the “supreme potato recipe of all time”. And I have to agree! Bon appetit!
Can I make this ahead of time? If so, how does the cooking time need to be adjusted?
Hi Lisa, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, I have never tried making the pommes Anna ahead of time. So to be perfectly honest, I don’t know and I don’t want to give you bad advice. But if the serving platter is oven-proof, I don’t really see why it can’t be rewarmed in the oven prior to serving. Sorry for not giving a better answer, Steven
Can you make this in a cast iron skillet?
Hello Rita, If the cast iron skillet is well seasoned and the potatoes release easily when browned, then I see no problem with using a cast iron skillet. I hope this helps, and I hope you have great success with the recipe! Cheers, Steven