The best mashed potato recipe in the world

With just four ingredients, we test chef Joel Robuchon’s luxurious puree de pomme, and can’t stop at one scoop.

Best mashed potatoes

Best mashed potatoes

In an era of complicated, elaborate ingredients, it is impressive when a chef can take the simplest recipe and elevate it without changing its essence. I was recently in Las Vegas and had the opportunity to read dozens and dozens of menus from famous chefs. Among them was Chef Joel Robuchon, a highly decorated French chef who was named ‘Chef of the Century’ by guide Gault Millau in 1989. With a title like that, Robuchon has no doubt worked with elaborate ingredients and prepared extremely sophisticated dishes, yet one of his most famous has just four simple ingredients: potatoes, butter, milk and salt. The revered dish I speak of is his ‘puree de pomme’. These are silky, creamy, smooth and luxurious pureed potatoes that will truly knock your socks off…truly.

2 lbs of butter

1 pound of butter

So what is it that sets this dish apart from your and my mashed potatoes? Perhaps it is that he boils the potatoes skin-on, then peels them and runs them through a food mill. Perhaps it’s the way he stirs cold cubed butter into the steaming hot potatoes. Maybe it’s the jaw-dropping quantity of butter (2lbs potatoes to 1 pound butter) – or perhaps it’s the vigorous stirring required while incorporating the butter. Whichever it is…they are crazy-fantastic! Best of all – I can assure you that you are comfortable working with each of these ingredients.

Run potatoes through a food mill

Run potatoes through a food mill

Note: Chef Robuchon uses a variety of potato called ‘la ratte’. These potatoes are very en vogue (I’m sure Chef Robuchon has helped with that), and they are equally hard to come by. They are yellow fleshed, waxy in texture and are said to have a nutty flavour. In Canada, our  best substitution is large yellow fingerlings or Yukon golds.

Pureed potatoes

Pureed potatoes

Here is the recipe for Chef Joel Robuchon’s puree de pomme – and my best attempt at doing it justice.

Puree de pomme (or my crazy-fantastic mashed potatoes)

1kg Yukon gold or golden fingerling potatoes – all of similar size
454g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup milk
Salt to taste

PLACE unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and peel. Transfer to a bowl and let potatoes cool slightly.
TURN potatoes through a food mill on the finest setting, back into the cooking pot. Heat pot over medium heat stirring until heated through and steam begins to come off the bottom of the pot. Add butter in 5 additions, allowing each addition of butter to be almost melted before adding the next until it all has been incorporated.
STIR in warm milk until combined. Using a whisk, vigorously stir potatoes until fluffy. Season with salt.
SMOOTH the top of the potatoes with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
TRY to stop licking the spoon.

Makes 5 1/2 cups

9 comments on “The best mashed potato recipe in the world

  1. I am appalled when i read this recipe. How can any magazine purporting to offer helpful, healthy solution to modern life even SUGGEST putting a POUND of butter into a recipe of mashed potatoes which serves about 6 people !! That means that each person consumes 275 calories and 31 g of fat from JUST the butter per serving.


    • Ann, this is not a Chatelaine original recipe, but Joel Robuchon’s. They’re just republishing it. It’s widely agreed to be *the* best mashed potato recipe ever. I think by now most people are aware that a recipe with this much fat in it isn’t the healthiest, but I make mashed potatoes very infrequently, and I want the flavor to be worth the work. I, and other people who follow this recipe, are making a conscious, informed choice. It’s also cost prohibitive to make mashed potatoes like this too often, with the sky-rocketing price of butter. So do you, and don’t worry about the rest of us. We’re adults.


  2. Hey Ann
    Learn to enjoy eating good food properly.
    Making these potatoes for Thanksgiving. Thanks Chatelaine:)


  3. Ann, you are hilarious,……………………..,

    I tried these, and they were excellent!!

    As Pierre Trudeau said to the irate lady who was questioning the print on her box of cereal being in French….

    “Madam,…. turn the box around”,……………………

    Chatelaine has, on many occasions. high lighted ‘Healthy Living’ recipes, which we have always enjoyed. It is nice to vary ones eating habits,.. nothing to the extreme is ever good.


  4. Remind me to never invite Ann to a party.


  5. Do wish we could ‘like’ some of these comments. No one is suggesting that we eat them everyday, but for a special occasion they are simply fantastic. Joel Robuchon made his name on these potatoes and his salad! When I hear people lament that they cannot afford one restaurant or another, I realize that the most superb cooking can be done at home.


  6. My only suggestion would be to use common white potatoes, which in terms of flavor and starch are actually closer to heirloom french varieties. In the case of Yukon Golds, don’t believe the hype. Really.


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