Joel Robuchon's Historic Mashed Potatoes

the mashed potatoes capable of making every grandmother cry with envy»: this is how, in the 1980s, the New York Times described the purée prepared by the French chef Joël Robuchon , which entered the history of world gastronomy as the most starred chef in the world, with a total of over thirty Macarons earned around the world . Exactly what they said Bruno Barbieri, Antonino Cannavacciuolo and Giorgio Locatelli to the unfortunates of the first Pressure Test of this one new season of Masterchef Italia , adding a pinch of performance anxiety to an already tiring test. Replicating a legendary dish is not something that can be done in twenty minutes, even when it is a seemingly simple purée.

The recipe for the legendary mashed potatoes by Joël Robuchon

They noticed it at their expense the ten contestants finished wearing a black apron to face the last test of Italy's most loved culinary talent , the one that involves a certain elimination (which in fact, there was, caused by an excessively lumpy mashed potato). Not everyone was in fact aware of the secrets for making a perfect purée, worthy of Joël Robuchon : yet, a few simple steps are enough, as the chef himself was able to explain in a video.

Robuchon's mashed potatoes recipe


  • 1 kg of ratte potatoes
  • 250 g of butter
  • 25 cl of whole milk
  • coarse salt and fine salt


The recipe for the legendary mashed potatoes by Joël Robuchon

The choice of potatoes is crucial: Chef Robuchon's recommendation has always been to use the right raw material (in terms of quality, but also of type) to make the difference in the success of a "simple" dish like purée. His advice was to use the ratte potatoes, a French variety, or in any case to choose potatoes that were all the same size , preferably small ones, because they are tastier and cook faster without absorbing too much water.

Wash the potatoes and cook them in their skins, covering them completely with water up to one-two centimeters above the surface of the potatoes. Add two grams of coarse salt for each liter of water used. After twenty-five minutes, check the cooking of the potatoes by piercing them with a knife: «if the potato, once skewered, falls back into the water, then it means that it is cooked», Robuchon explained . The potatoes are then drained, dried well and peeled while they are still hot.

At this point the potatoes go Pass through a vegetable mill, and not a potato masher, to obtain a finer result and avoid lumps . Even better if you repeat the operation twice, to be sure of a perfect final result.

In a saucepan with a drop of water in it, cook the whole milk until it boils.

Take the cooled mashed potato mixture and work it over the heat (medium) adding the cold butter, cut into cubes, a little at a time (again, the recommendation is always to choose a high quality butter). Gradually add the milk to the mixture, continuing to work it until it is perfectly incorporated. Mix vigorously with a whisk, finishing adding the milk. To make the puree even finer, pass it through a sieve once or twice , and adjust the salt once the operation is finished. The result is a very creamy purée, to be brought to the table as a main course (perhaps decorating it with a spatula, as chef Robuchon used to do) more than a simple side dish.

How to prepare the best puree in the world: the iconic recipe by Joël Robuchon

It is the quintessential comfort food: soft, warm, rich and golden. With that scent of butter that conveys the feeling of home, up from the nostrils to the center of the brain, full of childhood memories. It seemed impossible to perfect it, yet Joël Robuchon, the most starred chef ever, succeeded and made it his icon. It was 1980 and it was precisely the variety of ratte potatoes, small and nutty, that inspired him.

Thierry Karakachian, chef of his Atelier Étoile in Paris, explains step by step to "Madame Cuisine", a supplement to " Le Figaro ", a recipe that is now part of the history of cooking, easily replicable at home. Because, as Robuchon repeated, “le meilleur est souvent le plus simple” We always start with the material, therefore ratte or ratte du Touquet potatoes; otherwise BF15 of the same caliber. The dimensions are essential, so that cooking is quick and the tubers do not swell with water, to the detriment of the taste. Then Normandy butter (in his case), milk and salt, without adding pepper, nutmeg, oil or cream. In the most absolute way.


Correct execution, however, is also a matter of equipment: the chef suggests a shallow rondeau for cooking and a fine vegetable mill for preparation; the rule of art would also require a passage through a fine sieve for maximum silkiness.


The potatoes (1 kg) must first of all be well washed, never peeled or broken up, to prevent too much water from entering. Placed in the rondeau, they should be sprinkled with cold water, salted at a rate of 10 grams per litre, to cover them by a couple of centimeters and cooked for between 20 and 30 minutes in boiling water, checking the consistency with the tip of a knife. If, once planted in the center of the potato, it comes out effortlessly, it means that it is cooked. The tubers are then drained, dried and peeled when hot, if necessary with the help of a cloth.


As for proportions, Karakachian suggests 250g of butter and 250ml of whole milk for every kilo of potatoes; but the original recipe called for a tant pour tant, therefore 500 g of butter and 500 g of milk , to be mixed with a whisk so that the mixture forms a shiny and smooth cream, similar to a ganache. On the border with the pastry shop.

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