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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

      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.

              1. the key stages are:
                -peel potatoes
                -par boil them
                -whilst boiling them heat the pan you intend to roast them in, with oil
                -once they're parboiled put them in colander or metal sieve and shake them around so that you really scratch the surface of the potatoes (the little bit of scratched potato cook much better in the oil)
                -put in the dish of hot oil, drizzle some of the hot oil over the potatoes
                -finely cut some onions over the potatoes
                -sea salt and pepper
                -cook

                they'll be the best roasties you've ever had

                1 Reply
                1. re: londonosher

                  All great advice, also, after parboiling them I scratch the outside(on all sides) of the spud with a fork. This really helps oil, herbs or whatever to stick and also helps with the crispyness.

                2. I just made some last night that were very crunchy: Baking potatoes peel on & cut into large dice, glass baking dish, a few good blops of olive oil, lotsa salt & pep, put in preheated 400 degree oven for 45 mins. My timing was off for the main dish, so the potatoes ended up sitting in the oven at 250 for another 20 mins, and by the time we ate them, they looked horrible (shriveled and burny) but tasted great!

                  1. Forgive me if this was already posted, but here's another great discussion packed w/ ideas for making crisp roasted potatoes. A lot of the ideas are echoed on this thread as well. As for me , this previous discussion converted me to a parboiler before roasting :)

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. OK, here's the best way to get really crispy potatoes...my mum's tried and true recipe, passed on from her mother, and so on. It works brilliantly, and now no other roast potatoes compare!!

                      First, you get your baking pan and pour quite a lot of olive oil into it. Put it in a 400 degree oven to get really hot. Then you parboil peeled OLD potatoes (have to be old), and then, and this is the important part, you "scuff" them. Place them in a sieve and shake them really hard until they're fluffy on the outside. Place in the oil with salt etc. and roast as you normally would. Make sure to toss them once in a while.

                      They will be golden and crispy!!

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: oc500

                          Yes, shake / scuff / rough up -- it works.

                          1. re: blue room

                            My hubby does roasted potatoes regularly.... he tosses the potatoes in oil (just a little really, but enough to coat) then he also coats the pyrex baking dish in veg oil and lets the dish heat up in a hot oven (4000 for about 15 minutes... then the potatoes go in and lets them cook until brown....toss once during cooking

                        2. I've been making what I thought were decent roast potatoes for years (russet potatoes/oil/450 til brown) --but I stumbled upon this thread yesterday and thought I'd revise my approach. Last night I used the parboil (15 min) / drain/ scuff/ toss in oil/ salt/ roast method I learned from reading the posts here.
                          Well- they were absolutely the best, crispiest, creamiest most AMAZING roast potatoes I've ever made!! Thank CHers-you are great!!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: serenarobin

                            Just found this old thread -- it's addressing some of the questions I have. But some others: I bought fingerling potatoes -- I was going to use them with the skins on, cut lengthwise. Does that sound ok? And can I parboil them ahead of time and let them cool?

                          2. not only can you parboil the potatoes before roasting... you can steam them, too

                            1. I coat the bottom of a 9x13 or a roasting pan with oil then place the potatoes in the pan, sometimes I add garlic cloves. I do not coat the potatoes w/oil at this time. Then I put the pan of potatoes in a cold oven and turn it to 425. After about 20 min or so I stir them up to make sure everyone is now coated w/oil and they get a little beat up. Now is the time I will add herbs like rosemary. Let them cook another 20 min or so and they come out crispy w/fluffy interior - delicious. I think starting in the cold oven creates a better potato, like boiled potatoes start in cold water. But I will have to try the parboil method just to see :-)

                              1. I tried for years to get crispy roast potatoes, and what made me crazy is that sometimes they worked, other times not. I was using russets, quartered, and mostly put them in with a standing roast. Then I finally figured it out -- starch content!

                                I switched to red potatoes. Peel them, quarter them, and put them in a pan sprayed with oil or lightly greased. Season if you like with some salt & pepper or Season-All or whatever. Put small pats of butter (teaspoon or so each) around on the tops, just so it'll melt and give you some butter at the bottom of the pan.

                                Set over to between 350 - 425, depending on how quickly you want the potatoes done, and bake 30 minutes. Then turn each potato piece and bake about 20 minutes more. When you first turn them, you should see some browning, but not all that much. At the end of the 45 minutes to 1 hour, they'll be crispy brown on the outside, and fluffy moist on the inside.

                                This works time after time, never fails. The only variation is how large the pieces. If you use halves of red potatoes, they'll take a few minutes longer. For a faster dinner, make the pieces into "nuggets" --- like a tablespoon size. (Quarter the potato then halve each quarter.)

                                It's the red potatoes! And you can do this in a good toaster oven, with no problems. Otherwise, if you're doing a prime rib or roast, just do the same thing as above, about 40 minutes before you're ready to eat. That way the meat comes out and can rest for a few minutes while the turned potatoes are finishing. Never fails!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: keyscl

                                  there's a greek recipe that i make all the time with fantastic results. i start with 3lbs of yukon golds, washed and dried, unpeeled and cut into eighths. put in a big bowl with olive oil, the juice of two lemons, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, about a tablespoon of dried oregano and stir it all to combine. let these marinate for about an hour.

                                  put them on a big sheet pan in a single layer (important!) dot with cubes of butter (about 3 or 4 tablespoons) cover with foil and roast at 375 for an hour. then take off the foil and flip the potatoes and roast again for another 30 minutes -- maybe more. it takes a long time but is so so worth it.