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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.

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes Recipe

Trimmed-Down Cheddar & Chive Duchess Potatoes

These duchess potatoes are lower in calories and fat than the traditional version. The secret? Replacing butter with yogurt, heavy cream with skim milk, and half the potatoes with cauliflower. They're not as pretty, but they taste just as good!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 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


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or oil mister.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 6g
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  • Reply
    April Decheine
    September 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Oh I am going to have to make these, I love substituting cauliflower in recipes that ask for potato. They look really good!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Wait, you hate yogurt? How is that possible?

    These looks so good, sure not ethereal but so yummy. And in the end, that is what matters. At least to me….

    • Reply
      September 24, 2012 at 10:24 am

      Yogurt is so nasty! It smells!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Beautiful presentation – looks supper yummy

  • Reply
    TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs
    September 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      September 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Well, they might look okay here, but if you lined mine up side-by-side with the real thing, they look pretty sad. 😉 But at least they are tasty!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    September 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve never made duchess potatoes so not sure what they should look like … but these still look yummy! I need to try this with my regular ol’ mashed potatoes too!

    • Reply
      September 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Well, they look a lot fancier than mine. 🙂 But you could definitely do something like this with leftover mashed potatoes!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    oh these look fantastic!!! beautiful and delicious!

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    September 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Oooooh, these look fantastic! I can hardly believe that you managed to make them that much healthier. And they look just as delicious to me 😀

  • Reply
    Jennie @themessybakerblog
    September 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Who cares what they look like (they look gorgeous), they sound delicious, and they’re half the fat and calories of the original version. Love it!

  • Reply
    Courtney Rae Jones
    September 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    These look so so so so delicious!!!! And quite fancy too!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    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. 😉

    • Reply
      September 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      I also wonder, if I want to skip piping, do you think scooping them works?

      • Reply
        October 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        Yup, I did that the first time I made these, when piping wasn’t working out well. 🙂

        • Reply
          October 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

          Awesome. I like piping, but scooping is easier.

    • Reply
      October 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I was fully prepared to add butter, but I tasted it and before adding it and realized that it didn’t need it. I think it’s the yogurt/cheese combo!

  • Reply
    Monjula Ram Kumar
    August 4, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Egg substitute please

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