Classic Lyonnaise Potatoes: the Easy Recipe for the French Side Dish You Need to Try Right Now

Total time: 45 min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

France is famous for its rich and decadent cuisine, but sometimes you crave something that is both simple and quick to make. Enter Lyonnaise Potatoes, a classic French side dish that's easy to make and bursting with flavor. The recipe features tender potato slices nestled alongside luxuriously caramelized onions. It's a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes, or can even stand on its own as a vegetarian main course. Ready to ditch the complicated recipes and embrace simple, satisfying French comfort food? Then try your hand at Lyonnaise Potatoes!

What is Lyonnaise Potato?

Lyonnaise potatoes (pronounced as "Lee-oh-nayz"), also known as "pommes à la lyonnaise" in French, are a deceptively simple yet incredibly flavorful side dish. Thinly sliced potatoes are pan-fried until crispy on the outside and tender within, then combined with caramelized onion. Lyonnaise means, simply, in "Lyon-Style".

Lyonnaise potatoes hail from the vibrant city of Lyon, France. The city boasts a rich culinary heritage dating back to the Roman Empire, but potatoes themselves only arrived in Europe in the 16th century. The first documented recipes for Lyonnaise potatoes appear around the mid-1800s, making it a relatively recent recipe in French cuisine. Early recipes for Lyonnaise potatoes called for boiling the potatoes before frying them. However, by the mid-19th century, chefs like Alexis Soyer championed frying both the potatoes and onions for a more uniform texture. The iconic French chef Auguste Escoffier recommended separate frying of potatoes and onions before combining them for the final dish.


  • Russet potatoes are the traditional choice for their fluffy insides and crispy exteriors. However, Yukon Gold or red potatoes can also work if you prefer a slightly different texture.
  • Uniform thickness is key for even cooking. Aim for slices around 1/8 inch to ¼ inch thick.
  • A quick parboil in salted water for 2 – 3 minutes helps soften the potatoes for quicker pan-frying without compromising their texture.
  • Use a combination of butter and oil for the best results. Butter adds flavor, while oil helps achieve a higher crisping point.
  • Resist the urge to constantly stir the onions. Let them caramelize slowly for a deeper, richer flavor.
  • Don't overcrowd the pan: this prevents even browning and steams the potatoes instead of crisping them. Cook the potatoes and onions in batches if necessary.
  • Salt and pepper are essential, but feel free to explore other herbs like thyme or rosemary for a touch of variety.
  • Finish the dish with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley for a burst of brightness and flavor.
  • Lyonnaise potatoes are best enjoyed hot and crispy, straight from the pan.

What Kind Of Potatoes Are Best For Lyonnaise Potatoes?

Russet potatoes are traditional due to their fluffy interior and crispy exterior, but Yukon Gold or red potatoes work too.

Do I Need To Parboil The Potatoes?

Parboiling helps soften the insides for faster pan-frying without compromising their texture, but it's not strictly necessary.

What Kind Of Fat Should I Use?

Traditionally, goose fat was used, but butter or olive oil, or a combination, works well.

Why Shouldn't I Overcrowd The Pan?

Overcrowding prevents even browning and steams the potatoes instead of crisping them.

Can I Freeze Lyonnaise Potatoes?

No, freezing is not recommended as it can lead to a mushy texture upon thawing.

More Potatoes Side Dish For You

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Potatoes Au Gratin

Grilled Piota Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

How to Store Lyonnaise Potato

Leftover Lyonnaise potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. While they won't be quite as crispy as fresh, they can still be reheated and enjoyed.

How Can I Reheat Lyonnaise Potatoes?

For best results, reheat Lyonnaise potatoes in a pan over medium heat with a little bit of oil. Toss them frequently until warmed through and slightly crisped up again. You can also try reheating them in the microwave, but be aware they might lose some of their crispness.


Vegetable Oil
Garlic powder

How To Make Lyonnaise Potato

Thinly slice the onions and sauté them in a pan with oil over medium heat.

Cook until softened and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into thin slices (around 1/8 – ¼ inch thick) for even cooking.

Boil them in a pot of salted water for 5 minutes to parboil. This step helps soften the insides without overcooking them. Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the parboiled potatoes and fry them over medium-high heat until golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 5-7 minutes per side.

Once the potatoes are crispy, season them with salt, paprika, cumin, and garlic powder to taste.

Finally, add the caramelized onions back to the pan and toss with the potatoes for a minute or two to combine everything.

Serve the Lyonnaise potatoes hot on a platter, garnished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a pop of color and freshness.

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