French Onion Smashed Potatoes are bite-size tender baby potatoes topped with jammy caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, fresh rosemary and thyme. A super tasty, gluten free, prep-ahead appetizer perfect for holidays, game days and when you just want to snack for dinner.
Inspo for this recipe came from Rachael Ray where she stuffs massive russet potatoes with piles of gooey onions and cheese. That's great for a full meal, but these mini French onion soup appetizers are perfect for getting the party started.
Plus, this potato finger food pairs well with a variety of delicious appetizers like this Honey Roasted Pear & Brie Flatbread, Rosemary Filet Mignon Skewers, Pomegranate Guacamole and Caramelized French Onion Dip!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Only 9 wholesome ingredients you probably already have in the pantry and are budget friendly. No packaged onion soup mix required!
- Prep ahead by caramelizing the onions 2 days before assembling AND the smashed potatoes can be assembled a day ahead of baking.
- Easy vegetarian potato appetizer or side dish you can enjoy throughout the year!
- Baby potatoes – Waxy potatoes like baby yukon gold work the best and the ideal size is 1 ¼ - 1 ½-inches in diameter.
- Onion – I like using yellow here for less contrast in color, but red onion is fine to use. Look for large onions when caramelizing because they cook down quite a bit.
- Cheese – Gruyere is traditionally used in classic French onion soup recipes, which is what I used here. But you can also use another smooth-melting cheese like fontina, swiss or jarlsberg.
- Garlic – Adds a lot of flavor to the onions and you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you'd like some heat.
- White wine – Used when making the onions soft and jammy. You can also substitute in sherry or dry vermouth. Non-alcoholic options are vegetable or chicken broth, or a splash of balsamic vinegar.
We’ll start here since you can make the onions 2 days in advance. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot add onion, brown sugar, kosher salt and ground black pepper. Cook until soft then add garlic and herbs.
Deglaze skillet with wine or other liquid and let mixture cook until gooey and jam-like consistency.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Toss potatoes in a large bowl with olive oil and herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Then place potatoes spaced apart on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until they're fork tender.
I used the bottom of a glass to do the smashing or use a potato masher.
Start assembling by layering gruyere, caramelized onions then more gruyere. A sprinkle of fresh rosemary, thyme, and cracked pepper on top is the finishing touch before popping them back into the oven.
In ten minutes or less, the onions and cheese meld together over the crispy skinned, yet tender potatoes.
If you’re looking for more crispy smashed potato topping ideas, try these:
French Onion Smashed Potatoes FAQs & Tips
The best way to know when the potatoes are soft enough to be smashed is when a knife or fork inserts easily and comes out easily. If the potato wants to stick to the utensil, then cook longer.
Use a rimmed, large baking sheet so the potatoes have plenty of room to spread out when smashed and get crispy. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan so use two if needed.
You can, but it's not recommended. (Sorry!) Packaged shredded cheese is coated in a potato starch for preservation. It melts unevenly and can look curdled. It takes just a few minutes but shredding cheese yourself on a simple box grater yields much better results.
More Potato Recipe Inspiration!
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Cheesy French Onion Smashed Potatoes
- 1 ½ pounds baby potatoes , about 36
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 3 teaspoons fresh rosemary , chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves , plus extra for garnish
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 large onion (softball size), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
- ¼ cup sherry or dry white wine
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese , freshly grated
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Toss potatoes in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper
- Transfer potatoes to a parchment-lined, large rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake potatoes 25-30 minutes until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion slices and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 15-20 minutes until very soft and caramelized, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, 1 teaspoon of rosemary and thyme, and cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.
- Deglaze pan with sherry or dry white wine. Cook another 1-2 minutes until liquid has mostly evaporated.
- Remove skillet from heat. (Onions can be made 1 day ahead of assembly. Cover and refrigerate.)
- Remove potatoes from the oven and maintain temperature.
- With the bottom of a glass or spatula, flatten the potatoes until ⅓ to ½-inch thick.
- Using about ½ the cheese, place a good pinch on each potato.
- Carefully place about a teaspoon of onion mixture on the cheese.
- Top the onions with remaining cheese. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary and thyme and some freshly ground pepper over top. (Can be assembled 1 day before baking. Cover and refrigerate. Let them sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before baking.)
- Bake assembled potatoes 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Transfer to platter and serve hot. Enjoy!
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