We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Potatoes Anna?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Feb 02, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Potatoes Anna, or Pommes Anna as it is referred to in French cookbooks, is a classic French side dish commonly served with roasted meats and poultry. It is known for its simple ingredients, preponderance of butter, wonderful textures and elegant presentation. A significant number of home cooks balk at preparing Potatoes Anna based on its painstaking preparation and labor-intensive steps.

The history of Potatoes Anna goes back to the reign of Napoleon III in France. Adolph Duglere, a celebrated chef of the time and former student of legendary chef Careme, allegedly created the dish when he was head chef at Café Anglais, generally considered the best restaurant in Paris during the entire 19th century. He reportedly named the dish after a grande cocotte, or great lady of the era. It was never confirmed which lady was the honoree although the three top contenders are assumed to have been Anna Untel, Anna DesLions and actress Dame Judic, whose real name was Anna Damiens.

The original recipe for Potatoes Anna, and the one popularized by late chef Julia Child, calls for copious amounts of melted unsalted butter. Modern variations of the recipe often significantly reduce the amount of required butter. However, a considerable number of traditionalists insist the abundance of butter is necessary to produce an accurate representation of the original dish.

Although the ingredients for Potatoes Anna normally include only butter, potatoes, salt and pepper, its level of difficulty to prepare is typically rated intermediate to high. As with the butter content, revised versions omit some steps for simplicity. In general, fans of classic French cuisine believe following the original recipe is the only way to create a genuine Potatoes Anna.

The conventional recipe calls for raw, peeled potatoes to be sliced very thin. A kitchen slicing tool called a mandoline typically does the best job of creating thin, even slices. The sliced potatoes are neatly layered into a straight-sided heavy skillet about 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 centimeters) in diameter, with each layer sprinkled with ground salt and pepper. A cast iron skillet is commonly preferred for its even heat and browning capabilities.

Melted unsalted butter is then poured over the potatoes until they are barely covered. At this point, the decision must be made to cook them in the oven or on top of the stove. Once the potatoes are nicely browned on the bottom and cooked enough to form a solid cake, they must be turned over and browned on the other side. This procedure normally entails turning the potato cake onto a dinner plate and inverting it back into the pan.

This turning procedure is repeated every ten minutes until the potatoes are evenly browned on all sides and cooked through. At the end of the cooking time, the dish is inverted onto a serving plate and left to rest for a few minutes. At the end of the resting period, it is typically cut into wedges for serving.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.