These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.
Food - Potatoes - Sides

French Farmhouse Potatoes

Last updated on October 15, 2023 by Liza Hawkins

These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a classic, but I give Rachel Ray the credit for bringing this recipe to my attention during one of her holiday specials waaaaaay back in the mid-2000s.

The true credit, however, for the recipe goes to famous French chef Jacques Pépin, who originally made this potato side a favorite on many family tables decades ago. Rumor has it, this particular recipe was made by his French grandmother on a daily basis, served with dinner and loved by all.

Jacques Pépin’s smashed potatoes combines his French heritage with contemporary cooking techniques. He often adds herbs, garlic, and other flavorings to create  a nuanced blend of textures and tastes. 

While not as deeply rooted in French culinary history as some of his other dishes, his smashed potato recipe is a testament to his ability to adapt and innovate. It’s a versatile side dish that can complement a wide range of main courses and is perfect for those who appreciate the fusion of tradition and modernity in French cuisine.

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These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.

French Farmhouse Potatoes

There are only a few simple ingredients needed for what ends up becoming soft, rich and creamy potato goodness with these French farmhouse potatoes. The idea is to boil or steam them until they’re tender, then gently flatten them with a fork or a masher. The process creates a rustic, textured surface that crisps up beautifully when pan-fried in butter or oil.

And while the process for making them isn’t difficult, it does take about thirty-five to forty minutes from start to finish.

Good news is, none of the steps requires much maintenance — complete one, and then go on about your business until it’s time for the next step (I used my kitchen timer to help remind me when it was time to come back).

These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.

A few words of caution: The last five-or-so minutes of the process are what makes these potatoes so delicious. The last five minutes also leave a really hard crust on the bottom of your pan … like a real soak-the-pan-overnight kind of a crust.

So, if you have a deep nonstick pan you may want to use it; however, you’ll probably give up some of the dark brown seared crispiness in favor of an easier wash.

I have a nice heavy bottom stainless deep skillet, and it cleans up nicely after an overnight soak, so that’s what I used.

An enameled cast iron braiser or a cast iron skillet would be good options, too. 

Check out some of my other potato recipes:

These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.
Yield: 4

French Farmhouse Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These simple and mouthwatering French farmhouse potatoes are a Jacques Pépin classic.


  • 6-8 small to medium red potatoes
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Place the potatoes in a deep skillet, add the chicken broth and butter, and sprinkle the pepper on top. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover for 15 minutes (or until the potatoes are fork-tender).
  2. Remove the lid, and increase heat to medium-high. Keep the chicken broth at a hard simmer until almost all the broth has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat back down to medium.
  3. With a flat-bottomed glass, gently push down on each of the potatoes until they just crack – you don’t want to smash them. Let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side so that the skin gets brown and crispy. Remove from heat, sprinkle the tops with sea salt, and serve hot – think mashed potatoes with a light crispy coating. Yum!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 367mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 15g

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

25 Comments on “French Farmhouse Potatoes

  1. Funny that you just posted this. We saw Giada make a very similar dish but you toss with a lemon, parsley, thyme dressing at the end. We printed it out to try, but now we’ll have two versions to compare. Looks yummy!

    1. Where are the herbs? How can you call them French without herbs? I tried a recipe for boiled potatoes that adds herbs and butter after boiling. Company was late and these potatoes steeped in the herbs and butter and were amazing! Also have separate recipe for crispy smashed potatoes that is also delish.

    1. I think you could — only downside is that any crispiness developed would probably get lost since a slow cooker would likely create steam as it kept them warm. It would be need to make these with smaller potatoes for appetizers, bite-sized! If you do, you’ll have to come back and share how it worked.

  2. I made these tonight and it took me way too long to cook. Maybe the potatoes were too big and never did get a crust. Will try again with smaller potatoes. I liked the flavor. Marsha

  3. Parents were from Ireland, we had potatoes every night. Mother would buy a 25-50 bag of potatoes for the winter. these were keep in the basement, because potatoes grow eyes in the light.

  4. To clean your stuck on food from skillet just put some water in it, bring to a simmer and scrape to loosen burnt on food. No need to soak overnight! Home ec 1-0-1

  5. On your ingredients list you have chicken stock and on the instructions you have listed chicken broth. Can you tell me which one to use. Also, can you tell me when I should use chicken stock and when I should use chicken broth….. thanks so much!

    1. Wow, that’s a bold statement! Regardless, appreciate the feedback — there’s definitely a balance to be mindful of regarding revenue and aesthetic. Hope your tomorrow is better!

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