Potatoes yahni (Πατάτες γιαχνί )

Potatoes yahni

A traditional Greek potato stew

Potatoes yahni

Raise your hand if you love pototoes! You there, in the back, holding a fist-full of french fries, we see you!  And we love you!  And, we too love potatoes.  Whether they are roasted in the oven, bathed in all sorts of beautiful Greek flavours, or boiled and mashed and then transformed into the very distinctive Greek garlic spread called skordalia, we adore them.  Potatoes are so versatile, so available, so economical, that it’s no wonder that the rustic cuisine of Greece has taken this commonplace vegetable and made it the star of a stew which we know will find a happy place in your hearts and stomachs.

Potatoes yahni
Potatoes yahni is in a class of meals called lathera, typically vegetarian dishes where the ingredients are stewed in olive oil and tomato sauce.  These are meals where quality ingredients are key, because there are so few of them, and they are treated so simply.  You can easily imagine village women gathering these simple vegetables from their gardens, picking their fresh herbs and then cooking it all slowly over an open fire while a loaf of fresh bread baked in the outdoor wood-burning oven.  Our mother remembers her mother doing just that, as potatoes yahni was a regular meal for her when she was young.  And no surprise; despite being simple, it is filling and hearty, perfect for feeding a hungry family.
Helpful hints
The potatoes are the stars here so you must use the best quality potato you can find.  We always prefer the yellow-fleshed potatoes, however if you have another preference, or happen to have a bushel of some other type of potato on hand…go ahead and use that.  Your dish will still be delicious.
Although not actually an ingredient for this recipe, another important element is bread.  Although you could, you really should not, ever, eat potatoes yahni or any other lathero without a few slices of fresh bread.  The sauce which will be left behind in your dish, tomato sauce mingled with olive oil and flavoured with veggies and herbs, is meant to be sopped up with as much bread as you need.  Trust us, this is not too be missed.
Our parents always add pitted Kalamata olives to their potatoes yahni although they both admit that growing up, olives were never included in this dish.  We think that it’s a wonderful addition however; the brininess of the olives is perfect with the rest of the flavours. Having said that, finding pitted Kalamata olives is not always easy.   The good news is that pitting them yourself is. Most olives come with a slit in them. By pressing on your olive with the back of large knife (be careful) you can usually open the slit up just enough to easily pry the pit out.  And, if you tear open your olive in the process…it doesn’t matter one bit.
Potatoes yahni
This is a perfectly vegan dish, making it perfect for those following a vegan diet and those who may be fasting during periods of Orthodox lent.  Having said that, if you are eating dairy, give potatoes yahni a try with a side of feta (and don’t forget the bread). You may hear angels sing.

Potatoes yahni
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Potatoes yahni

Potatoes Yahni

A traditional Greek potato stew
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 medium sized yellow fleshed potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives


  • In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the onion,  garlic, sprigs of fresh rosemary and bay leaves.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot except for the Kalamata olives and oregano. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil.
  • Once it comes to a boil, lower the temperature and cook over medium heat with the pot covered for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness by piercing them with a sharp knife.  The knife should slide into the potato easily.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, add the Kalamata olives to the pot along with the oregano, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes with the pot uncovered.
  • Let cool a bit, off the heath, and serve warm with a loaf of fresh bread, perfect for soaking up the sauce.
  • Enjoy!


This is a dish which keeps very well, and in fact, the flavors tend to develop over time. If you are eating dairy, this is a dish which pairs beautifully with feta and fresh bread.

Thanks for sharing!


  1. popsiclesociety says:

    I love potatoes 🥔 I think are part of my life 😊 So delicious this recipe 😋😋

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thank you so much!! Yes, potatoes are a big staple for us as well.. so versatile and delicious 🙂

    2. miakouppa says:

      They should be their own food group!!

  2. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

    This looks really good! I think that I am going to make it tomorrow!

    1. miakouppa says:

      We hope you did and hope you enjoyed it 🙂

      1. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

        I realized that this is a very flexible recipe and it can be easily adapted for many different flavors. 😋

      2. miakouppa says:

        Yes, it absolutely is an easy recipe to play around with!

    2. miakouppa says:

      Hope you enjoyed it!! 🙂

      1. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

        I am making it tomorrow for the sabbath. I thought I would try making it in a crockpot,

      2. miakouppa says:

        Awesome!! Would love to hear how it turned out!

      3. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

        I am hoping that it comes out better than last week.

      4. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

        I tried it but quite frankly, I think I tweaked it too much. Yours sounds much tastier 🙃

      5. miakouppa says:

        Hope you give it another try 🙂

      6. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

        Yes. But I think I will follow your recipe and not be so creative before I know what it is “really” supposed to taste like. Do you always use a tomato base? I am hoping to get this worked out. I think it would make a very nice dish!

  3. Nick @ GreekBoston.com says:

    Potatoes Yahni is a classic Greek dish that is a staple food in our home. I love to garnish mine with either chopped fresh chives or parsley.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Sounds delicious Nick!! Fresh herbs are always a great idea 🙂

    2. miakouppa says:

      Thanks Nick!! Certainly sounds like a great addition!

    3. Cooking For The Time Challenged says:

      Parsley and chives? That sounds great!👍🏻

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