The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (2024)

Why It Works

  • Large chunks of potato maximize the contrast between exterior and interior.
  • Parboiling the potatoes in alkaline water breaks down their surfaces, creating tons of starchy slurry for added surface area and crunch.
  • Offering you the choice of oil, duck fat, goose fat, or beef fat means you can get whichever flavor you want.
  • Infusing the oil or fat with garlic and herbs gives the potato crust extra flavor.

The Brits get a bad rap for their cuisine, and in some cases rightfully so—the beef cooked until gray and the gravy-made-from-granules that I ate every Sunday while staying in England were not the height of culinary greatness— but dang if there aren't a lot of things they do better than almost anyone else. I'm talking savory pies, fried fish,Yorkshire puddings, and roasted potatoes. The British method of roasting potatoes is one that I've taken a strong liking to. It's simple, and it produces amazing results. Boil chunks of potato until they're just tender, toss them none-too-gently with fat (ideally beef drippings) to rough up their surface, then roast them until they're crisp and crackling.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (1)

The boiling and roughing-up steps are the real keys. They create a thin slurry of mashed potato that clings to the surface of the potato chunks, which ends up crisping beautifully in the oven as the potatoes roast. It's the technique I use for theUltra-Crispy Roast Potatoesrecipe I published back in 2011, and the technique I use for pretty much every holiday.

This year, I decided to reexamine the method from the ground up with the idea of completely maximizing that crisp-to-creamy contrast in each chunk of roast potato, testing and retesting every variable, from cut size to potato type to boiling and roasting methods. The result is this recipe, which I firmly and un-humbly believe will deliver the greatest roast potatoes you've ever tasted: incredibly crisp and crunchy on the outside, with centers that are creamy and packed with potato flavor. I dare you to make them andnotlove them. I double-dare you.

Here's how the testing went down.

Choosing the Right Potato Size and Variety

First things first: Let's talk about size. In my original roast-potatoes recipe, I cut the potatoes into smallish, two-inch chunks. This time around, I wanted to maximize the contrast between the center and the exterior even more, so I decided to leave the potatoes in really large chunks. A full quarter of a potato each. That means each chunk turns into a two-biter, but it makes it easier to crisp them up.

For variety, I tried the three most common supermarket types: russet, Yukon Gold, and red.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (2)

Russetsget the crispest crusts and roast up a pale golden brown. Their interiors are fluffy and mild.

Yukon Goldsroast a little darker owing to their lower starch content and higher sugar content. This leads to more flavor, but it also means a slightly less crisp crust. Their interiors are nice and creamy, with plenty of flavor.

Red potatoesroast up very dark because of their very low starch content, but have difficulty getting crisp. They come out of the oven crunchy, but soon lose that crunch, turning soft and tender.

This is what happens when you press on a russet and a red potato about two minutes after they come out of the oven:

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (3)

Moral of the story: Skip the reds. Stick with russets or Yukon Golds (or a mix!).

Playing With pH: Why You Should Add Baking Soda to Your Water

In my previous roast potato recipe, I recommended adding a splash of vinegar to the water for the initial boil. The idea is to control the breakdown of pectin, the cellular glue that holds vegetables together. Think of it as the mortar between bricks.

Pectin begins to break down at around 183°F (84°C), but its breakdown is also greatly affected by the relative pH of the cooking medium. The lower the pH (i.e., the more acidic), the less it breaks down. Conversely, the higher the pH (i.e., the more alkaline), the faster it breaks down.

To demonstrate this, I cooked four potatoes in water at various pH levels, ranging from slightly acidic to neutral to very alkaline. You can clearly see that the potatoes boiled in more alkaline water have started to break down more than those boiled in acidic water.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (4)

Which way is better? Well, with the smallish potato chunks in my original roast potato recipe, adding a splash of vinegar can help prevent the potatoes from accidentally falling apart completely while you are tenderizing them. Similarly, I add a splash of vinegar to myFrench friesto get them to cook fully without collapsing.

But with a different form factor comes a different set of rules. Is vinegar still the best pH modifier for the job with the huge, chunky potatoes I'm using here?

I roasted those boiled potatoes to gauge the difference.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (5)

As it turned out, the potatoes boiled in alkaline water were actually superior to those boiled in vinegary water. Because the chunks are so large, falling apart is not as big of a problem as it is with smaller potatoes. Meanwhile, the alkaline water helps the exteriors of the potatoes break down more, creating much more of the starchy slurry that leads to an extra-crisp exterior. About a half teaspoon of baking soda for two quarts of water was the right amount.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (6)

That's the level of starchy paste you're looking for on the outside of these potatoes after roughing them up.

Cold Starts Leave Me Cold: Starting With Cold Water vs. Boiling Water

Another element worth considering is the way in which the potatoes are boiled. In most potato recipes, I recommend starting potatoes in cold water and bringing them up to a boil. This helps ensure that the exteriors don't turn to mush before the insides have a chance to cook through. It's especially true for larger chunks of potato, because heat can take a good deal of time to travel through to the core.

But here we've got a whole different ball game. We actuallywantthe exteriors to break down more than the centers. That means starting the potatoes in already-boiling water. I made sure to salt the water well (about an ounce of kosher salt for two quarts of water) to season the potatoes as they cooked.

How Long Should You Roast Your Potatoes?

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (7)

Now for the actual roasting bit, which happens to be the easiest part to do but also the hardest part to prescribe, because potatoes vary so much. For instance, take a look above at two Yukon Gold potatoes that I boiled and roasted in a completely identical manner. The only difference was the store where I bought them. In the time it took the one on the left to brown completely, the one on the right was still pale. This has to do with the starch and sugar content in potatoes, which vary not only seasonally but also depending on how long the potatoes were stored, and in what manner.

Don't worry—you can make great oven roast potatoes regardless, but this does mean that you're going to have to rely on your eyes and nose, using a timer only as a very rough guideline.

I found that roasting the potatoes nice and hot, at 450°F (230°C), was ideal, though with convection turned on, they came out even better. (When using convection, I dropped the temperature down to 400°F (200°C) to prevent the edges from singeing.)

At the start, the potatoes are a little delicate, and trying to shake them or move them too early can result in the bottoms sticking to the sheet pan.

But roasting them without any moving at all leads to uneven cooking. I found that if I left them alone for the first 20 minutes or so, I could then use a thin metal spatula (or my fingertips) to pry them up off the pan and give them a flip. From there, they take another 30 minutes or so, with the occasional flip and shake in the middle. I like to let them get nice and dark to maximize that contrast between crisp exterior and creamy center.

Adding Flavor to Your Potatoes

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (8)

The final step in the process is adding some aromatics to make them a little more interesting. Simply tossing the boiled potatoes with chopped herbs and garlic works okay, but it's not ideal. The high heat and long roasting time tend to burn the garlic, giving the potatoes a slightly acrid flavor. But tossing them in chopped garlic and herbs at the end gives them only a superficial flavor. So what's the solution?

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (9)

I decided to heat up the solid aromatics (minced garlic and rosemary are my favorites) in some olive oil, cooking them just until the garlic started to turn golden, then strain it, separating the infused oil from the solids. That way, you can use the flavored oil to toss with the potatoes, building in plenty of flavor, and add back the garlic and rosemary (along with some minced fresh parsley) at the end. Best of both worlds.

You end up with roast potatoes that have an incredibly crisp crust, with plenty of textural variety and lots of microscopic nooks and crannies for flavorful bits of garlic and herbs to plant themselves.

Did I mention that these are the greatest roast potatoes you'll ever make? I meant it. Take a closer look at their surface texture.


And how about these creamy centers?

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (11)

Oh! So moist! So flavorful!

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (12)

Still on the fence about making them? Come on over and join me on this side, where the deliciousness runs deep and there's plenty to go around for everyone.

December 2016

Recipe Details

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe

Cook100 mins

Active30 mins

Total100 mins

Serves6to 8 servings


  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon (4g) baking soda

  • 4 pounds (about 2 kg) russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, sixths, or eighths, depending on size (see note)

  • 5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, duck fat, goose fat, or beef fat

  • Small handful picked fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Small handful fresh parsley leaves, minced


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) (or 400°F (200°C) if using convection). Heat 2 quarts (2L) water in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt (about 1 ounce; 25g), baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, duck fat, or beef fat with rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.

    The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (13)

  3. When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper, and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed potato–like paste has built up on the potato chunks.

    The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (14)

  4. Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release any stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

    The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (15)

  5. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coat and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (16)

    The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (17)

Special Equipment

Rimmed baking sheet, fine-mesh strainer.


Russet potatoes will produce crisper crusts and fluffier centers. Yukon Golds will be slightly less crisp and have creamier centers, with a darker color and deeper flavor. You can also use a mix of the two.

The potatoes should be cut into very large chunks, at least 2 to 3 inches or so. For medium-sized Yukon Golds, this means cutting them in half crosswise, then splitting each half again to make quarters. For larger Yukon Golds or russets, you can cut the potatoes into chunky sixths or eighths.

The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever (2024)


Why won't my roast potatoes get crispy? ›

Preheat the fat. While the potatoes parboil, add the oil or butter to the roasting pan, transfer it to the warm oven, and heat it for about 5 minutes before adding the potatoes. This allows the outside of the potatoes to crisp up nicely and not just absorb the cold fat when you put them in the oven.

How do you keep roast potatoes crispy? ›

If you want to make this roast potatoes day before recipe and keep the potatoes crispy, ensure you put them in hot oil before baking them. This will help the potatoes stay crispy. If you're preparing roast potatoes in advance and find they have gone soggy in the fridge.

What does adding baking soda to potatoes do? ›

Meanwhile, the alkaline water helps the exteriors of the potatoes break down more, creating much more of the starchy slurry that leads to an extra-crisp exterior. About a half teaspoon of baking soda for two quarts of water was the right amount.

Should you boil potatoes before roasting? ›

Do I have to boil potatoes before roasting? Not necessary but this can help get the perfect consistency and crispiness. Make sure you boil them but leave them a bit al dente and they will crisp up perfectly in the oven.

What is the best oil for roasting potatoes? ›

Neutral, low-cost oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, corn oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc., work well for roasting. These oils have a high smoke point, allowing the potatoes to get very hot to achieve maximum crispiness.

What happens if you don't soak potatoes before roasting? ›

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes.

Can you put too much oil in roast potatoes? ›

Roasted potatoes can become soggy if the water content in the potato isn't fully cooked. Different potatoes have different water content percentages. Also, be mindful of the oil. Potatoes can react like sponges; too much oil can make your potatoes appear to be soggy.

Does soaking potatoes in water make them crispier? ›

Before you bake or fry your spuds, a dunk in regular old tap water is a game-changing step that helps draw out excess starch, creating a firmer, less moisture-packed fry that is crunchier and crispier with each bite.

Why won't my potatoes get crispy in oil? ›

A: This sure sounds a lot like potatoes that have been stored too long, in too cold of an environment before cooking. When potatoes are held below 41°F for too long a period, the starches convert to sugar and it changes the cooking chemistry.

What is the best roasting potato? ›

While all sorts of potatoes are delicious when roasted in the oven, Yukon Gold potatoes are arguably the best potatoes for roasting for many reasons. Yukon Gold potatoes have the perfect amount of starch, which means they soften well in the oven, while their partially waxy texture helps them maintain their shape.

What is the best fat for roast potatoes? ›

The best fats and oils for roast potatoes are: Goose fat. Vegetable oil. Sesame oil.

What does adding vinegar to potatoes do? ›

When a small amount of vinegar is added to the soaking water before frying, it can help impart a tangy flavor to the fries without making them taste overly vinegary. The acid in the vinegar can also help to slightly break down the surface of the potatoes, aiding in the development of a crispier texture during frying.

Why don't my roast potatoes go crispy? ›

The best for crispy potatoes is goose or duck fat or even lard but I as a little healthier have success also with a simple vegetable oil. You always should preheat the oven and get that fat nice and hot. Crispy on outside and lovely and fluffy on the inside. You don't roast them long enough.

How does Gordon Ramsay cook roast potatoes? ›

Carefully add the potatoes to the hot tray along with the garlic and rosemary. Toss to coat in the fat and spread out in a single layer so they cook evenly. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to serve.

Should potatoes be salted before or after roasting? ›

An expert has revealed we should be salting our spuds after they've been in the oven for a "glass-like crunch".

Why are my potatoes soggy and not crispy? ›

Potatoes can react like sponges; too much oil can make your potatoes appear to be soggy. Try placing oil in a spray bottle or using an aerosol to apply the oil to the potatoes. Lastly, ensure that the potatoes are dry before you add the oil.

Why are my potato skins not crispy? ›

Skip rubbing your potatoes in oil and salt until the end of the cooking time. That's when they'll deliver the most texture and flavor benefit for the spuds. If you oil them up early, the skins may not turn crispy. The salt, too, can run off the potatoes in the heat.

Why are my potatoes not getting soft in the oven? ›

Old Potatoes: Very old or stored potatoes can become starchy and may not soften as well during cooking. It's best to use fresh, firm potatoes. Acidic Ingredients: If your soup contained highly acidic ingredients (e.g., tomatoes), it could have affected the texture of the potatoes.

Why are my roast potatoes taking so long? ›

If you're cooking the potatoes after they've been in the fridge, the cooking time may be a little longer than normal as the potatoes will be cold. If you are cooking a whole roast dinner and are in and out of the oven you may find your roasties take a little longer.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated:

Views: 6058

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.