Potatoes Anna, or as the the French say, Pommes Anna, is the ultimate potato dish. The potatoes are crispy and golden on the outside and tender and creamy on the inside. The perfect make ahead side dish!
When I got my first kids' cookbook at the age of about 8 for Christmas I found a recipe for Potatoes Anna.
At the time I had never heard of this dish, I only knew that any recipe that shared my name and contained potatoes MUST be delicious!
The method for making this incredible potato cake originated with the French and is easy but a tad bit time consuming.
The best thing about this elegant side dish is you can make it early in the day and reheat it before serving. Well, maybe that's the second best thing.
The BEST thing about it is... it's only 2 ingredients, potatoes and butter! Carbs and fat. Love and marriage.
What You Need to Make this Recipe
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- An oven-proof skillet with a lid - Or you can use foil to seal the pan if you don't have a lid. The pan does not have to be non-stick (but you may prefer it); there's enough butter that if you follow the method carefully, you shouldn't need it to be non-stick.
- A mandoline to get the potato slices really thin - Or maybe you're really good at slicing things thinly! I don't have a large one, this is the small mandoline I like to use. You can also use the food processor slicing blade, supposedly. I've never actually used it for potatoes so not sure how they come out.
- Paper towels or flour sack dishtowels - You will need lots of paper towels or several flour sack dishtowels. The secret to these potatoes coming out just right is drying them before cooking. The towels help you accomplish this.
- Baking Sheet - to use with the towels for drying the potatoes.
- Clarified Butter - Here is our method for clarified butter. If you're clarifying the butter yourself, be sure to start with MORE than the 8 Tablespoons the recipe calls for because after clarifying, there is less volume. You can also buy ghee and use that. The dish will have a bit different flavor as ghee has a more toasty flavor than straight clarified butter.
- Potatoes - For the best results use russet potatoes because they have the right amount of starch to make this dish perfectly delicious.
- Salt and Pepper - because, everything needs a little oomph! Use the salt sparingly if you're using butter or ghee that contains salt.
Look at these golden crispy layers of potato. And inside the potatoes are tender and creamy. Mmmmm-mmm-mmm.
How to Make these Potatoes
I've tried to make the instructions on the recipe card as detailed as possible with photos. Please let me know in the comments if anything should be clearer.
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Anna's Tender Crispy Potatoes Anna
- Baking Sheet
- Paper towels or flour sack dish towels
- 9" to 10" oven-proof skillet with lid, if no lid, you can use foil
- Mandoline or food slicer with ⅛" slicing blade, or very sharp knife and steady hands!
- 2 ½ pounds russet potatoes
- 8 Tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
- Salt & pepper
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels or a flour sack dishtowel. Have extra paper towels or flour sack dishtowels available.
- Peel and slice one potato into ⅛" to 1/16" slices. Lay the slices in a single flat layer on the lined baking sheet and cover with more paper towels or dishtowel. Continue with the rest of the potatoes until all the potatoes are sliced and drying on the towels. Cover the last layer with toweling. See Gr8 Tip.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of the clarified butter in the bottom of your skillet over medium-low heat.
- Starting in the middle of pan lay one slice of potato. Then continue making circles of potato slices around the center slice. Slightly overlap each slice so you can't see the bottom of the pan.
- When you've finished with the first layer. Brush on some of the clarified butter then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Make a second layer the same as the first, then butter, salt and pepper. Continue making the layers until all the potatoes are used up.
- As you are creating the layers, shake the pan slightly to ensure that the potatoes are not sticking to the bottom. This is important!°
- When all the potatoes are layered, butter a piece of foil and lay on top of pan. Put a slightly smaller, heavy pan on top of the foil and press down to compact the "cake."
- Remove the heavy pan and foil, cover and place the skillet of potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. (The baking sheet will catch any butter that spatters from the pan.) If your pan doesn't have a lid, use foil.
- Uncover and cook for 20 to 25 more minutes, or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
- Carefully drain off any excess butter.
- Run a thin spatula between the edge of the potatoes and the pan to loosen, then slide the spatula under the potatoes to make sure they are loose.
- Lay a serving plate upside down on top of the skillet and very carefully flip the potatoes onto the platter. Careful, it's hot!
- If any pieces of potato stick to the bottom of the pan, scrape them up and lay them on top of the cake. If your potatoes don't come out looking nice, you can use Julia Child's trick below.