French Whipped Potato with Tarragon

06 May

(serves 6-8)
Whipped potato is fast becoming a common staple in modern fine French cuisine and has become a recent favourite of mine. It is lighter, creamier and smoother than your run-of-the-mill mashed potatoes. You can use whipped potato as a base for stewed meat dishes or serve it as a side dish. This tarragon flavoured version is a basic recipe and you can easily modify it by adding some of the flavours suggested in the second half of the recipe.


  1. New Potatoes (500g)
  2. Milk (3/4 cups)
  3. Butter (50g)
  4. Tarragon


  1. Set a pot of water to boil and then place the potatoes in with the skin. Starting with cold water and boiling without the skin will both increase the water content which is what we want to avoid. Some will go as far as to bake the potatoes to avoid the water.
  2. Your potatoes should be fully cooked in fifteen minutes (20 if you are not using new potatoes). If the skin is broken, then its over done. Remove from water and allow to cool a bit. As soon as the temperature allows you, peel off the skin, you can mostly just use your fingers.
  3. Empty the pot of water and add 3/4 cups of milk, 50g of butter, 1t of salt and 2t of chopped tarragon. Heat to a low simmer for a moment to bring out the taste of the tarragon.
  4. Manually break up your potatoes lightly. You needn’t use a wire masher and can make do with a fork since you only need the potatoes broken up into smaller clumps.
  5. Blend the potatoes and milk in small portions in a food processor. Don’t go more than 1 inch above the blades or the higher portion will not get blended. It should take about 10 seconds per batch on high to make your potatoes creamy and get some air whipped into the mixture. Manually stir the batches in a big bowl with a spatula to reach an even consistency.
  6. Your whipped potatoes should be semi-liquid when you are done, such that a scoop of it would flatten by half its height by itself. Garnish lightly with chopped tarragon and serve in individual bowls, with a tea spoon.
  7. Hot milk allows your whipped potatoes to be served warm, so try not to make this ahead of time if possible.


Whatever flavours you wish to add to your whipped potatoes, apply them to the milk. In all the following versions omit the tarragon and remember to adjust the salt accordingly.

  • Fennel
    This will give your whipped potatoes a very alluring aroma. Simply slice up one fennel bulb into the milk before you start heating it up. You can also use fennel seeds if these are easier to procure. Strain after about an hour to recover the flavoured milk.
  • Truffle
    This is ultimate in potato sophistication. Skip the butter and add 2T of truffle oil to the milk AFTER it has been boiled to retain as much of the truffle aroma as possible. Alternatively some actual truffle into your potato before blending. Finish with a few drops of truffle oil on the final product.
  • Meat Lovers
    Leaving any actual meat in your whipped potatoes would go against the ‘Rules of the Kitchen’. One easy way to produce a meaty flavour is to add four slices of bacon into the milk as it boils and fish them out after they are cooked. You can also use stock cubes or powder. You would want to reduce the amount of salt in the basic recipe in either case.
  • Asian Spiced
    This variety would be more unique and invite comments from your diners. 1-2 t of one of the following: Coriander seed powder will give a more sublime flavour. Turmeric will impart a hint of ginger and give the visual illusion of polenta. Cumin will give your whipped potato a curried flavour. Lemon grass is another alternative.
  • Aligot
    Aligot is a Southern French potato dish which uses cheese, typically Tommes or sometimes Cantal. Strictly speaking, this is not the proper way to make Aligot but you can approximate it by doing this: Use garlic salt instead of regular salt. Gently reheat your whipped potato in a pan and then sprinkle in grated cheese while stirring till you get a slightly stringy texture.


  • Why do I call it French? In Kobi vernacular, Whipped = French, Mashed = English and Smashed = American.
  • Whipped potatoes are best made with the white variety of potatoes which are less powdery. I typically look for ‘New Potatoes’ on the packaging. Its a generic term for potato species that are characterized by their small size (half the size of Russet, those potatoes that are baked with skin in tin foil) and their roundness – plus they are white of course.
  • To go the extra mile you can boil the peeled potato skins in the milk plus butter in step3 for that extra ‘potato flavour’. This will probably be more relevant if you are having your whipped potato au natural. As you will have to strain the milk to get rid of the skins, don’t add anything that you want to keep until after this stage. 
  • Some people prefer half and half instead of milk but boiled potatoes are quite creamy when blended, so I don’t think cream is necessary.
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in French, Recipe


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