Rösti, a naturally gluten-free Swiss Tradition

by Jenn on March 6, 2011

in Breakfast,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains

Rösti with Asparagus Flowers!

If there were any dish the could compete with fondue as the most popular food in Suisse, I think it would be rösti.  Actually, I’m pretty sure rösti is probably more common than fondue in many places.  Rösti is essentially a fried potato pancake, and the possibilities for customization are truly endless.  Several regions en Suisse have their own versions, but the simplest is comprised of simply grated potatoes, salt, and some type of fat for frying.  In restaurants I have been to, it’s not uncommon to see rösti served with meat, or fresh green vegetables.  With the sight of beautiful asparagus finally reappearing again  I knew they would be perfect for our rösti.

Tree buds

Springtime brings with it change and hope, color and light.  Walking around outside in the bright sunlight this weekend, I felt like I was coming out of a deep hibernation, finally waking up again.   Really, I’m just happy that Winter is done soon.  It hasn’t been the most intense weather-wise for us in Europe, however it has been draining, and an overall emotionally exhausting time.  But with the flower blossoms and tree buds, sunshine streaming through the morning mist and birds chirping again comes asparagus, one of the first greens of the changing seasons. Seeing asparagus in the market just brought a smile to my face and I know things are looking up :)

Rösti with Asparagus

Rösti is a rather simple dish, and yet over the past year my husband and I have tried and failed countless times at making successful rösti.  We’ve even bought bags of the pre-made mixes thinking to ourselves,  “well maybe we can’t cook and grate the potatoes in just the right way, or figure out the precise amount of oil needed.”  That didn’t work so we went back to cooking from scratch again.  We’ve tried using different pans, we’ve tried different flipping methods, anything we could think of to make this rather simple dish work.  Our biggest issues? Getting the pancakes to actually hold their shape.  No matter what I tried, I always ended up with just a tasty potato hash.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but not rösti.


But my husband and I finally figured it out – so in case you are also rösti challenged, here are a few tips that should help you out –

Rösti lessons, learned (some the hard way)
Lesson 1 – one MUST use non-stick or castiron pan
Lesson 2 – it helps to stir potatoes around a bit at first, and then once they’ve cooked a little form into shape
Lesson 3 – a lid does wonders to help them cook in time
Lesson 4 – do NOT flip it too early, and use the sliding plate trick which requires more coordination than I have
Lesson 5 – understand some things are best left to others while you just photograph the pretty end result
Lesson 6 – no matter what, fried potato anything is bound to be delicious no matter how it looks

For flavors, you can pretty much add whatever you want to rösti.  Some versions are made with cheese, even apples, some with bacon, or herbs, so be creative.  And accompany it with whatever you like.  Can be a great way to start off the morning with eggs and bacon, or an accompaniment to a dinner.  Nearly every region of Switzerland has their own spin on this classic dish. So go ahead and make something traditional, or try a variation that is all your own. Mine is below, and is particularly tasty with fresh asparagus :)

Maybe Springtime is trying to arrive.... Rösti with Asparagus

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays


Swiss Rösti

Preptime: 1 hour
Cooktime: around 20 -30 min per rösti
Yield: 4-6 rösti

  • 3 kg. potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 200g gruyère cheese, grated
  • 100g diced lardons (i.e. bacon), cooked
  • pepper & nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • butter for frying

*can be dairy free if you omit cheese and use oil instead of butter for frying


  1. Boil the potatoes until they are about halfway done – they should still be firm.  Drain and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, take them out of the fridge and peel and then grate them.   A food processor works well for this.  Once grated, press them against a strainer to squeeze the water out.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add the grated potatoes, garlic, onions, cheese, lardons, and a healthy amount of pepper and nutmeg.  Mix with your hands.  Then add in an egg and use your hands to mix, so that everything is evenly coated.
  4. In a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet, heat up and melt a few tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat – you at least want the entire bottom of the pan to be covered.
  5. You can make large rösti or smaller individual ones, the essential steps are the same.  Add potatoes to the pan, let cook a couple minutes, then turn them and let cook a couple minutes more.  Then use your spatula to shape the potatoes into pancake form and cover, continuing to cook until the bottom has formed a brown crust (around 15 minutes depending on your size/shape/heat).
  6. At this point you need to manage the flip.  Remove the lid, and use your spatula to *gently* loosen the rösti from the pan if necessary.  Place on top of your rösti a plate, upsidedown, of similar (or larger) size.  Lift the skillet and plate together, draining any excess liquid off into a bowl, then continue to turn the skillet completely upside down so that plate is now right side up and underneath everything.  You can now take off the skillet and return it to the stove, and the rösti should be completely flipped onto the plate.
  7. The other side of the rösti should be cooked because of being covered by the lid during the cooking process and should now be able to be served.  If not, you can re-add melted butter the to skillet and very carefully slide the rösti off of the plate and back onto the skillet to brown the other side.  Repeat the flip process, then serve.

*Allergy Note – Some rösti recipes don’t use any egg at all either, so it is totally possible to omit the egg if you need to.  Also, know that when dining out and ordering rösti, it is still worth asking that no flour was used in the preparation.  I have come across a couple recipes that blend a little flour into the eggs to mix with the potatoes.  Though I have yet to encounter a glutenicious version in a restaurant so far en Suisse, it’s worth checking just in case.



Rosa March 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Lovely spring clicks! Flowers are starting to blossom everywhere.

Your Rösti look perfect! The crust is wonderful.



Jenn March 7, 2011 at 3:46 am

Thanks Rosa!! I’m glad it looks like we did it right! Getting the crust to brown enough so we can flip it without burning it took a bit of babysitting until we figured out the timing :)

Margaret Massey March 7, 2011 at 12:50 am

Almost like latkes, and I like those best made with sweet potatoes.

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 3:47 am

Yes they are quite similar – hmmm I’ve never seen sweet potato rösti before, that might be something fun to try :)

Cheryl Doyle-Ruffing March 7, 2011 at 1:10 am

My mother-in-law just discovered your website and passed the link on to me. Your photos are fabulous, and your recipes sound yummy. I was especially smitten by your gnocchi. It’s been too long since I last made gluten-free gnocchi.

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 3:48 am

Oh thank you! I hope you enjoy the gnocchi, I was so happy when we finally found out the key to making gluten free gnocchi work (which is to simply replace regular flour for gluten free, but make sure to replace by weight instead of volume).

Theresa March 7, 2011 at 1:17 am

Yum, I love those! I often eat them by themselves, but it’s so great to remember that you can actually put anything with them.

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 3:48 am

Thanks Theresa!

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) March 7, 2011 at 1:52 am

What a lovely looking recipe. This seems a lot like potato kugel, which we have every weekend in honor of the Jewish Sabbath. I’ll have to try this sometime soon. Looks wonderful.

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 3:51 am

Thank you, I hope you enjoy!

Christine March 7, 2011 at 4:53 am

As always, absolutely beautiful photos! I wish things were starting to bloom around here already.

I’m also so happy that asparagus is in the stores – it’s pretty much my favourite vegetable. Now I wish I hadn’t already had dinner so that I could pair some asparagus with a lovely rösti like this! :)

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

Thanks so much Christine, and yay for another asparagus lover!

Gluten Free Diva March 7, 2011 at 5:05 am

I was in Toronto a few years ago for a conference. We found a restaurant that did great with gluten free including rosti. It was SO delicious….we ate there every day, sometimes twice a day. And we always ordered rosti! Now I can try making it at home. Thx!

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

Oh cool! Yes def. try making it at home :)

Cherine March 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

Beautiful shots!!
This rosti looks so good!

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Thanks Cherine!

Sasa March 7, 2011 at 11:37 am

You have *asparagus*!? Time for me to move to Switzerland ;P Love roesti, used to make them at a restaurant I worked at years ago but haven’t since, I must give them a crack.

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

ha yes we have asparagus, at least in Suisse-Romande :) Hopefully you will too soon!

branny March 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I think I would love these with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt!

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Oh great ideas Branny!

Chris Morton March 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Love the Pics and why did’t I think of a lid!!! might even try tonight with some pulled pork shoulder- love the site

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Ha yeah, a lid helps a lot – sounds like a good accompaniment to pulled pork shoulder, enjoy!

Jenn@slim-shoppin March 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I love your photographs – just beautiful!

I am with you about glad spring is on the horizon. I live in Chicago and it was still snowing a bit over the weekend! I’m ready for it to be warm again!

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Thanks so much – it was predicted Spring would be early this year, yes? Hopefully it comes soon for you!

Biz March 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

gorgeous pics Jenn! I guess I just thought those were potato pancakes – which is one of my daughters favorite things that I make. 😀

But what the hell is a lardon?! I didn’t read the other comments, so sorry if you already answered that!

Jenn March 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

haha sorry I’ve been living in French-speaking land too long! Lardon is the French word for bacon – basically I can buy a slab of salt cured bacon and cut it myself into whatever shape/size I want. Here I had small diced cubes that I fried first before adding to the potatoes.

Natalie March 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

I love rosti! I’ve always had the same problems though, it won’t stick together in the pan. Except for once I tried it with sweet potato & it worked, must be stickier! Thanks for the step by step instructions, I’ll give it another go, congrats on Top 9!

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hmm another vote for sweet potato rösti – I think I will have to make it this way next time!

InTolerantChef March 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

These can be tricky, have you tried baking them? I found it works out really well, just mix everything together and put soonfuls on a well greased oven tray. Bake them until cooked through and crispy. Less mucking around, but still yummy.

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hmm never tried baking them… interesting idea!

Lisa@ The Nourishing Homemaker March 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Hi! I came over from Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Your recipe looks and sounds so yummy! I bet my family would love them. I actually have potato pancakes on my menu plan for this week, but I think I’m going to use this recipe instead.

BTW, your photos are beautiful!

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Thanks so much, hope you enjoy them!

sonia March 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Awesome dish…has come out really well ! Congrats on top 9 !

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm


alyce March 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Thanks for educationg me on rosti. Your photos are beautiful.

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Thanks so much!

Kim - Liv Life March 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Your photos are particularly lovely today!! But then I’m a bit partial to flower shots. I’ve never had rosti, but your tips make it seem like I could do it, and I have a feeling that this would be a pleaser for the whole family .
Congrats on the Top 9 today, well done!!

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Thanks, congrats to you as well for top 9 today!

Chris's GourmetFashion March 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

They look so good, especially combined with the asparagus. They seem to be similar to “tortei” di patate.

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Thanks – yes I believe the two dishes are quite similar :)

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate March 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Gorgeous photos! I also enjoyed your lessons learned, number 6 is my favorite, “bound to be delicious no matter how it looks.” It is interesting how sometimes such unassuming dishes are the most difficult to create. Congrats on a wonderful creation.

Jenn March 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Thanks Lael! Now that we’ve got a method down, I think with a little practice these will quickly become a regularly occurring dish in our home :)

Lisa@bakedinmaine.com March 9, 2011 at 4:52 am

Gorgeous shots Jenn!

I love asparagus and can’t wait to try those crispy rosti. Garlic, potatoes, and cheese….mmmmmm

Jenn March 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

Thanks Lisa!

Linda March 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm

It seems like such a simple dish that I was surprised you had trouble. Then after I thought about it I realized it would end up as potato hash so easily. I’m glad you finally figured it out because it looks lovely.

Jenn March 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Ha I know, it does look like it should be simple! I think I may just be rösti challenged :)

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I love Rösti and your tips are very useful. This dish looks so easy but it’s one of those things that you know is BOUND to have its pitfalls and you have seen your way through these so we don’t have to! Thanks. And thanks for opening my eyes all the time to those things that are naturally gluten free – an endless source for me when I entertain for GF friends :-)

Jenn March 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Thanks Mardi! All my rösti failures are worth it if it makes others’ cooking experiences easier – also nice to see another naturally gluten free and tasty dish!

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Oh does this look fantastic! Only time i’ve had Rosti was at an Australian place near us… and I really enjoyed it.

Jenn March 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm


Sophie April 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

Great & lovely Spring pictures,;..so lovely! I love a good made rösti too!
Yours look great & appetizing too!

MMMMMMM,…!!! :)

Jenn April 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks Sophie!

michelle in wgtn, nz June 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I love making and eating potato rosti.

Do you have a potato ricer? I ask because mine is seldom used on cooked potatoes to make mashed spuds, but is brilliant for removing moisture from grated potatoes you want to use for rosti (whether the spuds are part-cooked or completely raw). And for grated zucchini/courgettes for fritters and grated cucumber for greek and indian style yoghurt dips.

Place your grated veg into the potato ricer and squeeze! I find this is way more effective than salting and draining in a sieve, squeezing by hand and/or wringing the grated veg while they are in a tea towel.

However I strongly recommend that you instantly rinse the ricer in water as plant starches like to stick to cooking implements.

Happy cooking, Michelle and my daft, darling rescue lad – Zebby Cat, downunder in Wellington, New Zealand

Jenn June 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I’ve never used a potato ricer, I’ve always just used the cheese grater attachment on my food processor, but I’m sure others will be appreciative of the tip :)

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