Roasted potatoes are a busy cook’s dream recipe. If I could only make one side dish for the rest of my life, it would have to be these crispy potatoes, everybody loves them and they go with everything!
a perfectly roasted potato is a beautiful thing
They’re simple (the oven does all the work) and they’re delicious (who can resist a caramelized potato?) but there are a few key things you need to know to get that perfectly crisp exterior and that creamy interior we all love. I’ll break it down for you so you won’t have to think about it ever again.
This is one of those foolproof recipes every cook needs to know, you’ll rely on it over and over again for everyday meals. It’s also a fuss free side for the holidays ~ kind of perfect, eh?
Waxy, thin skinned potatoes are best for roasting. They can be white, golden, or red. These potatoes are less starchy than russet (or baking) potatoes, and the flesh bakes up to a creamy softness. They’re also naturally sweeter, which means great caramelization in the oven! I’ve used standard yellow potatoes in this post, but waxy potatoes come in lots of varieties and colors, all of which are fabulous, so don’t hesitate to branch out in the produce aisle.
I don’t, I think the peels add lots of great flavor and crispy texture. Just give the potatoes a quick wash and then dry them completely before using. You don’t want any moisture on them at all because that will interfere with the roasting process.
Unless you’re roasting tiny Pee Wee potatoes, I always recommend slicing them, either in half, quarters, or chunks, depending on size. This is because you’ll get the best browning, caramelization, and crispy texture when you expose the flesh of the potato to the high heat.
I love to use a full flavored extra virgin olive oil. And even though the prevailing wisdom is not to use this type of oil for cooking, I think the flavor really comes through in the finished dish.
I go with 425F. It’s hot enough to crisp the potatoes, but not so hot that they’ll burn before they cook inside. An exception to this is when I am roasting very colorful potatoes. I will cook them at a lower temperature in an effort to preserve the brilliant color. In that case I’m willing to sacrifice some of that wonderful browning effect.
the BIGGEST problem with roasted potatoes
They stick! Potatoes are naturally starchy, even thin skinned new potatoes, so when you slice them open to expose their flesh, they tend to stick to the pan as they roast. This can mean broken potatoes, burned pans, and a mess to clean up. But don’t worry, I’ve solved all that for you here.
so HOW do you keep potatoes from sticking to the pan?
It’s a four pronged approach:
- Use oil, and don’t skimp. Toss the sliced potatoes in olive oil so that all the surfaces get coated. Use about 1 tablespoons per pound. A little more is ok, but don’t use less.
- Use parchment paper (buy it in ready cut sheets and you’ll use it all the time.) This is a no fail solution, the potatoes will not stick. If you prefer to use a bare pan, then add oil to the pan as well as to the potatoes. Note: if you don’t use parchment paper, I like to stir the potatoes several times in the first 15 minutes of roasting. This helps them develop a ‘skin’ on their exposed sides that helps prevent sticking as they roast.
- Do not crowd your baking sheet or the potatoes will steam rather than roast. When in doubt, use another pan.
- Make sure your oven is at temperature (425F) and make sure you roast the potatoes long enough. The browning will happen towards the end of the roasting process.
roasting potatoes faqs
Hardy herbs are best for roasting, so I recommend thyme or tarragon. You will roast the potatoes with several large sprigs, and then discard them after roasting and sprinkle the potatoes with the fresh herb just before serving.
Yes, that’s fine, there are lots of great herb blends on the market, so go with what you like.
You can add garlic in the form of garlic powder or garlic salt. If you want to use fresh garlic I would add it during the last 30 minutes of cooking so it doesn’t burn and become bitter.
Yes, tiny potatoes are great for roasting. You will leave them whole, and you can dispense with the parchment paper because they will not stick since the flesh of the potatoes won’t be exposed. You may not need the full cooking time, depending on how small your potatoes are. When they can be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, they’re done.
No, foil will trap in the steam in and soften the potatoes. Leave them uncovered the entire time.
Yes. Let them cool completely on the pan ( and I mean completely.) Then transfer them to a container and refrigerate until needed.
Arrange the cold roasted potatoes on a baking sheet and put into a 400F oven, covered loosely with foil for about 10-15 minutes until they’re hot. Then remove the foil and let them re-crisp for another few minutes. If you’re making a big holiday meal you can reheat the potatoes while the turkey or other meat is resting.
potatoes don’t have to be boring!
- French Potato and Onion Gratin
- Irish Leek and Potato Soup
- Baked Truffle Fries
- How to Make Perfect Latkes
- Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter
- German Potato Soup (Kartoffelsuppe) with Bratwurst
Oven Roasted Potatoes
- 2 standard baking sheets
- parchment paper
- 3 lbs potatoes, use any type except russet potatoes, which are too starchy. I like to use smaller red, white, or yellow new potatoes.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil (a little bit more is ok as well)
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (more to taste)
- 6 sprigs rosemary (about 1 ounce)
- fresh cracked black pepper, optional
- Preheat oven to 425F and line baking pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
- Wash and thoroughly dry your potatoes. Slice them into 2 inch chunks or small wedges.
- Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and salt and use your hands to ensure that all surfaces get covered in oil.
- Divide the potatoes between the pans and spread out evenly, in one layer. You don't want to crowd the pans or the potatoes will steam instead of crisp up as they cook. Take a minute to arrange the potato pieces with a cut side down against the pan. Nestle in a couple of rosemary sprigs per pan.
- Roast for about 1 hour, to 1 hour and 10 minutes, tossing or stirring once or twice during cooking to encourage even browning. Note: if you cut your potatoes into smaller or larger pieces, the cooking time will be different.
- Remove from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs. Check for seasoning, and serve tossed with a few fresh rosemary leaves. Add more salt if needed, and fresh cracked pepper if you love that.