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Mar 18, 2005 08:48 AM

How to make roasted potatoes crispy - help, please

  • g

I tried making roasted potatoes last night but they turned out soft not crunchy or crispy. I used red bliss potatoes, cut them into pieces, soaked them in water and dried them - seasoned with olive oil, S&P, etc. and placed in a baking pan in 425 degree pre-heated oven for 35 minutes. They smelled great and tasted OK but how can I get them to turn out crispy and crunchy?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I usually parboil my potatoes (10-15 mins) before roasting them. That helps with the roasting, somehow, and they get crispy, but not dried-up. After parboiling, I toss them in olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and then put them on one layer, in a roasting pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (to ease the clean up). I roast them in a preheated 400-450 F oven and they become golden and crispy. Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Louise

      Your instructions sound great. One question: what variety of potato do you use?

      My M-I-L used to use a 1/2" of oil in the pan--the potatoes were great, but I don't consider that a viable option.
      Thanks, p.j.

      1. re: p.j.

        I use whatever I have on hand, really, but most of the time will use an oblong white potato with a paper-thin skin that I do not peel. (I hope I'm not making a roasted potato faux-pas by not using the proper potato!) :-)

    2. Well it seems you are partway along the Cooks Illustrated method: red potatoes, oil and seasonings, and 425F.

      The other part of CI's method (paraphrased) is to cover the potatoes for the first part of the roasting time, to steam the water out of the potatoes (instead of parboiling them). Put the potatoes cut side down on the roasting pan and cover with foil for the first 20 minutes of roasting. Then remove and roast until the cut side is browned (about 15 mins), then turn the potatoes with a spatula (if you press downwards against the pan instead of upwards against the potato, you'll be able to save the crust) and cook until skin is wrinkled in about 10 mins. Remove using the same spatula technique.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Karl S.

        I just got the cook's Illustrated cookbook and in there it says russets - not red or yukon gold - were the best potatoes for crisping and that you must remove the skin.

        Also - they tested several methods and soaking in hot tap water for 10 minutes produced the best results and using a heavy duty pan for your potatoes on the lowest level in the oven.

        If you're going for as crisp as a french fry - use exactly five tablespoons of veggie oil for 3lbs of potatoes and to keep from sticking they recommend putting 4 tablespoons of that oil in the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss the potatoes in the remaining 1 tablespoon and then arrange them on top. The salt and pepper act as sort of ball-bearings to help with sticking. The potatoes were cut into 8-12 wedges for each potato.

        Good luck!

        1. re: krissywats

          I agree: if you want them more crispy ("crispier" as some of us like to say), you have to peel them. Raw potatoes have a significant amount of water in them, and the skin tends to act like a barrier to prevent the water from evaporating during cooking. I've always found that you can get a great crust on the cut side of the potato, and have it still be mushy. Peel it, then a healthy amount of oil and salt -- not too much oil or you will end up frying them (which ain't bad either....).

          Getting a good peeler will make this alot easier.

        2. re: Karl S.

          I also use this method although I don't do the last turn- I just turn once. I also recommend not crowding the potatoes- the less potatoes I roast, the crispier they get.

        3. In addition to parboiling, roast them in melted ducks fat (you can buy small tubs of this by D'Artagnan at your local gourmet place). Sprinkle with sea salt.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Ellen

            I've never par-boiled before roasting. I just make sure that they are well coated in some sort of fat. Also, I do not use new potatoes, red skins etc. I find them too waxy. I prefer to use cut up russets. Just personal preference, but I do think they crisp better and have better texture.

            1. re: Candy

              The parboiling is not necessary, but it does make then more fluffy inside, which is how I prefer them. Russets are good for that purpose.

          2. a few thoughts-
            *in general, the more oil you use the crispier they will be (think frying). Don't be afraid to coat the potatos in oil.
            *cooking longer helps, especially raising the cooking temp by 50 degrees for the last 5 or 10 minutes.
            *The more surface ratio, the more surface to crisp. So roast thin wedges as opposed to quarters, and spread them more thinly in the pan.

            1. In addition to tossing them in oil, preheat the pan with a generous coating of oil on the bottom.