I know this sounds weird, but if I could only eat one thing for a week, it would probably be potatoes. I love the versatility and variety potatoes offer. These roast potatoes are one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes, though believe me, there are many others on the list.
If you like crispy potatoes that are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, these are exactly that. Of course, to get them to this level of amazing, you have to put in the effort. Making the perfect potato is not as easy as chopping up whatever russets you have in the fridge and throwing them in a hot oven.
There’s technique to these potatoes. But I promise if you put in the time, you’ll be greatly rewarded.
I learned to make these potatoes after many disastrous attempts that resulted in soggy, not at all crispy excuses for roasted potatoes. I just couldn’t figure out why they never turned out well, until I learned that the starch and sugar content in potatoes has a dramatic affect and had to be taken into consideration.
Potatoes with a high starch content are lower in moisture, so they brown and crisp up better than low-starch potatoes. Potatoes with higher sugar content will have a more intense malliard reaction, meaning they will brown better.
It’s also best if the potatoes have been chilled for at least a day before you use them for this recipe. Chilling will turn some of the starch in the potato into sugar, which we already know helps with browning.
How to Make the Perfect Roast Potatoes
The size of the potato pieces will have a big impact on the outcome. I suggest larger chunks because it will provide the best crunch to fluffy potato ratio. With small pieces, the crunchy surface tends to overwhelm the small amount of potato inside, so you don’t get much fluffy potato interior.
Once the potatoes are chopped, you need to break down the starch in the potato by parboiling them. It won’t take long. I always put lots of salt and a ½ tsp baking soda in the water. This helps release the starches into the water, which will attach to the surface of the potatoes and help them crisp up.
The potatoes are ready when you can insert a fork and they are tender but not crisp. If they fall apart, you’ve gone too far. Drain the potatoes and – this is important – allow them to sit in the pan and blow off steam for a minute to dry them out.
Pour them into your awaiting bowl, which you’ll have added the olive oil, salt and pepper to, and toss the bowl to coat the potatoes. This will also start to slightly mash the surface of the potato, which will create the perfect crispy crust in the oven.
Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet. Don’t crowd them in. And watch as transform into the perfect crispy potatoes. You’ll likely have to turn the potatoes once or twice midway through the cooking. This will give an even crunch.
Be sure to serve the potatoes as soon as they come out of the oven. That’s when they’re at their most glorious. I like to sprinkle on a bit of flake salt and serve with ketchup. You can also sprinkle on a bit of rosemary or Parmesan cheese for a variation.
Which is the Right Potato?
Russet potatoes are actually pretty good contenders. They’ll crisp up well and be fluffy in the middle. If you prefer a creamier middle, try Yukon Golds. Now that we live in the UK, I’ve completely fallen for Maris Piper potatoes. They always end up with the perfect interior fluffy to creamy ratio.
If you want to experiment with different types of potatoes, it’s actually pretty interesting to see the different outcomes.
How does your recipe differ from ours? Tell us what you love about them in the comments.
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The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes You’ll Ever Make
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1-2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks (how many you use depends on how many you want to eat)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅛ tsp rosemary finely chopped (optional)
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Chop potatoes into large chunks.
- Place potatoes chunks into boiling water with salt and baking soda. Boil for 10 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, put olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl big enough to hold the potato chunks.
- Drain and allow to cook in the pan for 1 minute to evaporate remaining water.
- Transfer potatoes to the bowl. Toss vigorously to coat. The surface of the chunks should break up slightly and become rough.
- Transfer potatoes to a baking tray and spread evenly. Do not crowd. Place the tray in the oven.
- Allow the potatoes to brown for around 20 minutes. Gently flip the potatoes over. Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes until they are crispy golden brown on the outside.
- Remove from oven. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve immediately.