Parisian Potatoes


If you are cooking ,for somebody special on date night, these gorgeous crispy potato balls would be an excellent choice. They are essentially a round butter-flavored French fry. You will need a Parisian scoop (melon baller) to make this recipe. Serve with a nice bistro steak.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

Parisian Potatoes – They're Not Supposed to Be Easy

There were several recipes and techniques we learned at culinary school that the chefs joked we'd probably only see there, and for me Parisian potatoes were the most memorable. I thought they were just the dumbest thing ever, and with all the amazing, and much easier ways to prepare potatoes, I couldn't fathom why we were wasting time learning how to make them. But, that's because I was thinking like a prep cook, and not like the guest in a restaurant.

Of course they were annoying, and time consuming, and tricky to cook perfectly on a large scale, but they certainly impressed the lucky few who got to enjoy them. People generally love things that are hard to make, or at least look hard to make, and being fried crispy in butter doesn't hurt. Happily, as predicted at Paul Smith's College, I only prepared these a few times in my career, but over the years, I've done them as a special occasion side dish, always to rave reviews.

There are no critical tips to give other than the few things I stressed in the video. When scooping, don't try getting too many balls per potato, otherwise they won't be perfectly round, and if they're not perfectly round, then what's the point? Also, don't overcook them when you parboil. We want the inside to get perfectly soft and fluffy at the same time the outside gets golden and crisp, otherwise they might get dry. I hope you never have to scoop a 5-gallon bucket of these, like a certain cook I know, but for a special occasion, for a much smaller group, I really do hope you give these a try. Enjoy!


  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter


  1. Scoop out as many potato balls as you can per potato using the smaller end of a Parisian scooper, 8 or 9 balls per large potato. You can't get too many out of each potato. If you want perfectly shaped balls, don't scoop too close together.

  2. Drop potato balls into a large bowl of cold fresh water so they don't discolor. Use potato carcasses for another use, e.g. potato pancakes.

  3. Add potato balls, water, and kosher salt to a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water is boiling, boil for just 2 minutes. Potatoes should still be firm, but not raw.

  4. Turn off heat and remove potato balls with a strainer. Allow to drain in one layer on a plate lined with paper towels. Cool until they are room temperature.

  5. Heat clarified butter in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Carefully add completely dry and cooled potatoes to butter. Brown potatoes until outsides are golden and crispy, and the insides are tender and fluffy, 7 to 10 minutes. Move and stir potatoes often so they brown evenly .

  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

    Parisian Potatoes
    Chef John

Cook's Notes:

You can use 1 tablespoon regular salt instead of kosher salt.

Parboiling the potatoes in well-salted water makes for the nicely seasoned Parisian potato, but potatoes can be cooked in plain water and seasoned with salt at the end if so desired.

Potatoes must be dry and fully cooled before browning in butter. May be made ahead and refrigerated.

To make clarified butter—the pure butter "oil"—melt unsalted butter, and skim off any and all of the white milky foam from the top. Spoon the pure golden butter into another ramekin, being careful not to include any liquid at the bottom.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

404 Calories
13g Fat
67g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 404
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 5793mg 252%
Total Carbohydrate 67g 24%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 8g
Potassium 1544mg 33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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