Recipe | Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes (made with cauliflower!)

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes (made with cauliflower!)

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes (made with cauliflower!)
Okay, I’m going to say it so you don’t have to: these are ugly duchess potatoes. I am well-aware of this! Most Duchess potatoes look like ethereal little clouds on a baking sheet, while mine are rather inelegant blobs. But see, these aren’t regular duchess potatoes–they’re healthier duchess potatoes. So you have to compromise on looks a little bit, but the good news is that there’s no compromise on flavor. (And that’s really good news, right?!)

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes (Pre-Baking)
I had this idea floating around in my head for a while, but it took me a few tries to perfect it. Typical duchess potato recipes call for egg yolks, butter, and heavy cream. I wanted to make a healthier version that cut down on all those bad things and substituted half of the potatoes with cauliflower. So here’s how my lighter duchess potatoes compare with the real thing (based on one serving of six potatoes):

Trimmed-Down Duchess Potatoes vs. Traditional
How did I shave off over 100 calories and 8 grams of fat? Sorcery!

(Okay fine, it wasn’t sorcery. Ruin my fun!)

In addition to substituting half of the potatoes with cauliflower, I was able to omit the butter altogether by using fat-free plain yogurt in its place. The first time I tried making these, I used a small amount of butter and the result was very dry and bland–the yogurt adds a little bit of moisture and a tangy, sour cream-like flavor. (Yes, I still hate yogurt! But I don’t hate it in things.) With the yogurt already adding some creaminess, I opted to add skim milk instead of heavy cream. And then I added cheddar cheese and chives for a boost of flavor.

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes (made with cauliflower!)
One thing I realized in making these, though, is that cauliflower just does not pipe well. I tried changing proportions, making the mixture wetter and then drier, and no matter what I did, I could not make these healthier duchess potatoes as pretty as the original. So maybe these aren’t holiday party worthy, but they are definitely a great side for a Sunday dinner–they’re not so nice to look at, but they taste really good.

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Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes

Prep Time

40 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

1 hour


36 duchess potatoes


  • oil mister or cooking spray
  • 1 lb. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/4 c. fat-free plain yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. minced chives


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or oil mister.
  2. Steam potatoes and cauliflower in a steamer basket over a few inches of boiling water for about 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with fork. Transfer to large bowl and mash thoroughly–if you’re piping these, it’s important to make sure the potato and cauliflower mixture is completely lump-free! It’s best to use a potato ricer if you have one.
  3. Add cheese, egg, milk, yogurt, salt and pepper to potatoes and cauliflower. Use a hand mixer on low speed to combine ingredients; fold in chives.
  4. Transfer mashed potato mixture to piping bag or a large plastic zip-top bag. Since the potatoes will lose their shape anyway, it’s best just to use a large round tip. If you’re using a plastic bag, cut off the corner and pipe the potatoes through that. I piped in a spiral, starting from the outer-edge and working my way towards the center moving clockwise, but again, since these end up flattening out a little, it doesn’t matter too much how you do it.
  5. Spray tops of potatoes with oil mister or cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn on broiler and broil for about 5 minutes or until edges begin to brown.


Whoa – good job! I know it took a lot of work to get this recipe right but thanks for sharing it now that you have. It cracks me up how beautiful your ‘ugly’ potatoes turned out. If you want ugly blobs, I’ll give you ugly blobs. You, my dear, are not capable of making non-appetizing-looking dishes. Even if you could, your presentation always rocks – I’m so jealous!

I was confused, thinking: Just how are these ugly? Oh, regular duchess potatoes are supposed to look better. I have no idea what duchess potatoes look like, but I think these look pretty damn good!

Must try. I have to confess, I paused when you said no butter. Butter is bad, but so good. But then I saw there’s cheese, so fair trade-off. 😉

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