potatoes on a platter

From one point of view, there’s really no food item more humble than the potato. Affordable, ubiquitous, and used to make pedestrian foods such as fries, hash browns, and home fries, the potato may be about the last food many people think of when they imagine an elegant dish.

But don’t tell that to chef and recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge — not when she cooked up these gorgeous fondant potatoes that look lovely enough to grace the table beside the finest steak. These babies are anything but everyday in terms of taste. But don’t worry, because as elegant and refined as fondant potatoes may look (and taste, of course), they aren’t so complex to make at all. A bit time-consuming, to be sure, but a perfectly manageable dish to prep. "This recipe screams gourmet," says Olayinla, "But it’s so easy to make, and it’s a genius idea to roast potatoes in chicken stock, one of the most flavorful liquids."

Also don’t worry about the word "fondant" in the name: there’s no firm, sugary icing here. Rather, this type of potato prep is rooted in France, where the dish is called a "pommes fondant," which basically translates to "melting potato." This name describes this tender and tasty recipe perfectly.

Gather the ingredients for fondant potatoes

ingredients for the potatoes

There are no fancy ingredients at all needed to make these Pinterest-worthy potatoes — it’s all in how you handle them. You’ll need some russet potatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, butter, sprigs of fresh rosemary, sprigs of fresh thyme, whole cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and chicken stock. You can also use veggie stock to keep this dish vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

Prep and sear the potatoes

uncooked potatoes in skillet

Peel the potatoes, then slice off a ½ inch or so from the tops and bottoms of them so they are made into roughly straight shapes — or more barrel-like, for reference. Next, pour the olive oil into an oven-safe cast iron skillet, and put it on a burner at medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, place the potatoes in the skillet (one flat side down, the other up), and cook them until the bottom of the potatoes begin to brown, which will take around seven minutes. Once one side has browned, flip the potatoes over to sear them on the far side.

Add broth, butter, and herbs and spices

spooning broth over potatoes

After the (approximate) 14 minutes browning the potato ends, add the butter, rosemary sprigs, thyme springs, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper, and cook the potatoes for a further five minutes, flipping them over halfway.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F. Once those five minutes have passed, add the chicken broth to the skillet, and then get a spoon, and scoop spoonfuls of the broth over all of the potatoes so they are well saturated.

Bake the potatoes, then enjoy

potatoes in skillet

Now, it’s time to bake. Pop the skillet into that preheated oven, and bake the potatoes at 350 F for an hour. When the time is up, remove the skillet (very carefully), and then gently lift the potatoes out of it. You’ll want to use a spatula, as tongs may crush the potatoes and damage the look.

Plate the potatoes, ideally with additional sprigs of fresh rosemary or with some parsley for garnish, then serve and impress your guests. (Note that this recipe yields four servings — two fondant potatoes for each diner.) Not that you’ll have any leftovers of these savory delights, Olayinka says, "These are best eaten fresh." This is a great dish to accompaniment any meat, poultry, or fish dish.

  • 8 russet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  1. Peel the potatoes, then slice the top and bottom of them so they are straight.
  2. Place the olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, place the potatoes in it (flat side up), and cook until the potatoes begin to brown, around 7 minutes on each side.
  4. Add the butter, rosemary sprigs, thyme springs, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, flipping the potatoes once.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Add the chicken broth to the skillet, then use a spoon to pour the broth over all of the potatoes so they are well-coated.
  7. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour.
  8. Take the skillet out of the oven, plate the potatoes, and serve warm.