Lessons in Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Many a pan of roasted potatoes I have fixed in our fourteen years of marriage, but it’s not been until the last couple of years that I’ve been truly satisfied with the results!  I want potatoes that are crispy on the outside and still very moist and fluffy on the inside and have finally figured it out.  Here’s what I’ve been learning that I think makes the difference:

Use Yukon gold potatoes.

They cost a bit more, but the texture of these is amazing for roasted potatoes – plus they have a rich, buttery flavor on their own.  Using the right potato probably makes the biggest difference of all of these tips!

Preheat the pan in the oven.

Put your baking sheet in the oven and let it warm up along with the oven.  This helps the bottom side of the potatoes brown and gives them a jump start on cooking, too.  (Be careful when you’re putting the potatoes on a hot pan – often the pan will warp a bit.)

Season liberally with salt before cooking.

I mean liberally.  I have no idea of the proportion of salt to potatoes, but it’s quite a bit and as with cooking just about everything, it really does make a huge difference in the flavor if you salt it before/during cooking.  (And most professional chefs I’ve heard swear that you use less salt by adding it during cooking rather than at the table, which makes sense.)

And, this is not directly related to potatoes, but I have a wooden salt box that I keep next to the stove filled with kosher salt, and it’s what I season everything with.  (I do keep table salt for baking as the smaller granules are needed there.)  If you’ve ever been perplexed by what a “pinch” of salt is, try using coarse kosher salt for awhile and you’ll start to learn how you can salt by “feel”.

I should mention that the Kroger brand of kosher salt is not coarse and does not work well in this way; I recommend buying Morton kosher salt as it is the coarse, pinch-able texture you need.

In these particular photos, I was making roasted potatoes for a breakfast skillet hash and I used Savory Spice Shop’s Wash Park seasoning along with additional salt.

Don’t crowd the baking sheet.

I have known this for a long time, but have finally realized that it really is worth it to dirty two pans to make sure the potatoes are in a single layer and are touching the pan so that they crisp up.

Don’t move the potatoes for quite awhile.

No matter how much you want to stir the potatoes, wait until the top parts of the potatoes on the outer edge have started to brown until you move them.  This allows the potatoes to get crisp against the bottom of the pan, and I never get crispy results when I try to flip them too quickly.

If you have convection, now’s the time to use it.

I don’t use the convection feature on my oven terribly often, but it’s great for getting crispy roasted potatoes!  I usually bake the potatoes on about 450 until the ones near the outer edge of the pan have just started to brown at the edges, and then I stir the potatoes, turn the oven down to 375, turn on the convection fan to accelerate the browning.

I took the cooking process photos while I was making a breakfast hash, but the above picture is from a batch of Lemon-Feta Potatoes that I followed the same technique with.  Roast the gold potatoes and the toss them with some lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and feta for a really yummy potato side dish!

Happy potato eating! :)

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Comments

  1. I like this probably because I’m really particular about my roasted potatoes too. :) Not crowding the baking sheet makes alllllll the difference! And the salt is so key too! I’m going to have to try the yukon gold potatoes and preheating the pans. The lemon-feta potatoes look delicious.

  2. I will have to try this! I am always trying to make crispy potatoes, but rarely does it happen!
    Thank you!

  3. This reminded me… I read once that after you cut the potatoes if you rinse them with in a bowl of cold water and then pat them dry they will have crispier outsides because it rinses off the starch. It does help.

    • Great idea – thanks! I wonder if you could use a salad spinner to help get them dry all the way… Seems like I’ve done that before but I don’t remember what for or how it turned out. :)

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