How to Make the Best Roast Potatoes Ever

The humble potato becomes the star of the show when roasted, with a crisp exterior and a soft, warm center.

There’s no mystery or magic in preparing these family favorites, just a few simple steps for rock-solid roasts every time.

Best Potatoes for Roast Potatoes

The variety of potatoes you choose to roast makes a huge difference in the end result. You want a potato that stays chewy but strong enough to withstand high oven temperatures.

When choosing roasting potatoes, avoid waxy varieties because you won’t get that classic crunch.

Maris Piper makes the ultimate roast potato and is also versatile enough for fries, wedges and mash. Alternatively, King Edward potatoes are also a great option for making roast potatoes.

Keep your roast potatoes a consistent size, so they all cook at the same time. Getting the size right is important – bigger roast potatoes are better than smaller pieces.

Larger surfaces lead to crisper exteriors and a softer, lighter center to savor.

Small pieces tend to get tough on the outside and soggy on the inside and are at increased risk of burning in the oven.

As a general rule, cut each peeled potato into 2-3 equal pieces to get the perfect size every time.

How to pre-boil the potato

Boiling potatoes before roasting breaks down the starchy husks, allowing them to soak in oil for the ultimate crisp in the oven.

It also transfers heat to the center of the potato, for more even cooking and to ensure a soft center.

Potatoes that are not pre-boiled tend to have a denser center and oilier texture.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes, until a knife can cut through them with little resistance.

They shouldn’t fall apart because this step isn’t about fully cooking the potatoes – that happens later in the oven.

There is no need to add anything extra to the cooking water because the magic happens when the potatoes come out of boiling water.

One of the most crucial steps in the process of making the ultimate roast potatoes is letting the pre-boiled potatoes dry out before roasting them in the oven.

This removes as much water from the softened potato as possible to get the really crispy exterior. After pre-cooking the potatoes, drain them thoroughly, then return them to the dry pan.

With a lid on the pan, shake the pan vigorously to fluff up the potatoes, then lay them on a clean kitchen towel and place another towel on top.

Then let steam dry for at least 30 minutes, or even better, overnight if you’re making your Sunday roast ahead of time.

If you just don’t have time to wait for the potatoes to dry out, pat them dry with a towel and add 1 tbsp plain flour. Then shake in the pan to fluff up the potatoes and help absorb excess moisture.

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Best oil to use for roast potatoes

Since the oven must be at high temperature, an oil is needed that can withstand it without developing a bitter taste.

Sunflower oil has a high smoke point and a mild flavor that won’t overpower your roast potatoes.

It’s also versatile enough to use in vegan baking and everyday cooking, as well as being a cheap and healthy oil to use.

A light olive oil is a good alternative, but save the extra virgin varieties for drizzling and seasoning instead of cooking.

Heating the oil in a deep roasting pan before adding the potatoes is another way to get that crispy roast potato.

Typically, 3-4 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a large roasting pan will take 10 minutes to heat up in a fan-assisted oven set at 200°C.

You’ll know it’s ready when it shimmers and sparkles.

When you place the potatoes in the hot oil, you should hear a sizzle. Be sure to leave some space between the potatoes and try not to overload the roasting tray.

Only turn the potatoes once, halfway through cooking, to avoid losing oven temperature and disrupting the roasting process.

Season your roast potatoes

If you’re looking to inject a little more flavor into your potatoes, consider adding woody herbs such as rosemary, sage, and thyme, or a halved whole garlic bulb.

Do this towards the end of the cooking time though, as these flavors will burn off if roasted too long.

Brush your pot roast potatoes for an unexpected, more indulgent flavor. Sweet potatoes are a fun alternative, with a shorter cooking time and no need to pre-boil.

Cook them in chili oil and fennel seeds, and finish with untreated lemon zest and smoked sea salt just before serving.

How to Make Perfect Roast Potatoes

For 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 good tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then add the potato pieces. Boil for 10-15 minutes until tender, then drain the water well.
  2. With the potatoes in the dry pan, place them on a lid and shake the pan vigorously to crumple the outside of the potatoes.
  3. Lay out a clean kitchen towel, then place it over the potatoes. Cover with another clean tea towel and leave to rest overnight (in a cool place or in the refrigerator) or at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/thermostat 6. Drizzle a deep roasting tin with sunflower oil. When the oven has reached temperature, place the roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes until the oil is shiny.
  5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and use tongs to place the potatoes into the hot oil, leaving a little space between each potato.
  6. Carefully return the baking sheet to the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the potatoes and return to the oven for another 30 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and season with a pinch of fleur de sel.

We hate food waste and one of the best ways to reduce it is to learn how to properly store your food.

Here are our top tips on how to store food to keep it fresh longer.


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Tanya S. Norvell