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Anna’s Potatoes

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6 large russet potatoes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
10 tablespoons butter

Anna’s Potatoes

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

About This Recipe

This recipe was the source of my first married argument. I made these Anna’s Potatoes along with a roasted chicken for dinner when we were first married.

Then my new husband tried to eat them with ketchup.


That did not turn out well. He had come from a household where his mother tried to control his every move. I felt strongly that this recipe should be enjoyed all on its own, without any sacrilegious ketchup.

He won. As he should have. Who was I to tell him how to eat and what to eat it with?

But I will tell you – please try this recipe without ketchup first. If you must use it, go ahead, but eat a couple of fries unadorned with that ubiquitous condiment.

This recipe for Anna’s Potatoes is an old family recipe that my mom got out of a cookbook about 40 years ago. We have changed it to include more seasonings and I added mustard (of course). This recipe elevates plain old French fries to a whole new realm.

The fries are coated in a mixture of flour, cheese, and herbs, then baked in a mixture of butter and mustard. The result is incredible: tender and super crisp fries with the best flavor.

You really have to peel and cut potatoes yourself in this recipe. It’s just not as good with prepared frozen French fries. But think of the activity as something to do with your kids! (In fact, have the kids peel the potatoes – it’s good for them.)

Serve these potatoes with a perfectly grilled steak or burger, some fruit salad, and cold beer.

Tips for the best Anna’s Potatoes:

  • You can use frozen French fries in this recipe. Don’t thaw the fries first or they will absorb too much fat as they cook.
  • When you take the potatoes out of the ice water, shake the excess water off, but don’t dry them completely so the flour will stick to them.
  • It’s important that when you’re using a fresh potato that the fries are cut as evenly as possible so they cook at the same time.
  • The potatoes should be spread out in the pan in a single layer so they bake evenly.
  • Serve this recipe as soon as it’s done.

Why this recipe works:

  • Baking French fries can be problematic. But bake them in butter and they will absorb the fat as they bake, making them very flavorful, tender, and crisp.
  • The flour cooks in the fat, adding a super crisp layer to the fries.
  • And the cheese and herbs add fabulous flavor to this wonderful recipe.
  • Ketchup does not enhance this recipe at all. There. I got the last word.



Peel the potatoes. As you work, put the peeled potatoes into ice water so they don't turn brown.


Then cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch strips, using a serrated potato cutter. You can cut them using a knife, but then you won't have all of the ridges that pick up the cheese and herbs.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a plate, combine the cheese, flour, thyme, basil, and salt and mix well.


Melt the butter in a large jelly roll pan with sides. Stir in the mustard until the mixture is completely combined.


Now add the potatoes, in batches, to the flour mixture and toss to coat. When the potatoes are coated, add them to the butter in the pan.


Spread the potatoes in an even layer. Now bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Turn the potatoes with a large spatula every 20 minutes so they brown evenly. After the first turn, sprinkle the potatoes with any remaining flour mixture.


The potatoes are done when they are golden brown and tender. Serve immediately - but NOT with ketchup!


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 50 books (49 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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