How to Roast Potatoes to Perfection ♥
(Maybe) My Grandfather's Recipe for English Roasted Potatoes

How to Roast Potatoes to Perfection
A two-step technique for roasting potatoes that produces potatoes crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

So I've been thinking about Chocolate & Zucchini's post for Perfect Roast Potatoes for two months now. Seriously, Clotilde, you stopped me in my tracks three ways. Such is the power of blogging, yes?!

THE BIG IDEA First, the idea of mastering, really nailing, the simple recipes you'll make again and again. Until now, my own practice has been all about variety, throwing noodles against the wall to see how each one sticks. That's well and good but what, you know, if you'd just like to roast some really good potatoes? You want to know exactly how to do that. Thank you, Clotilde, this idea has embedded itself in my brain, it won't let go.

SIMPLE IS GOOD BUT IT ISN'T ALWAYS BEST Second, Clotilde's recipe for roasted potatoes. Yes, it takes two steps and usually, I'm all about eliminating steps. But these are by far the crispiest, most evenly cooked roasted potatoes, to emerge from my oven. I've made them every couple of weeks since mid-January, they're fabulous. The lesson is, some times, not always but some times, a little extra effort pays huge dividends.

JUST MAYBE, A FAMILY CONNECTION Third, I call this Clotilde's recipe but all her commenters from Britain are asking, "Isn't this how everyone roasts potatoes?" In a funny way, I keep thinking that this is my grandfather's recipe for roast potatoes -- a grandfather who died when my mother was young, so not a man I knew, but he was English, and family lore says that he loved Sunday dinner's roast beef with roasted potatoes. What a funny recipe connection, this. If my Canadian family ever updates the family cookbook, I'll include this recipe and call it "Grampa's English Roasted Potatoes".

So what's the big deal about these roasted potatoes? Technique, technique, technique.

Step One - Cook the peeled or partially peeled potato pieces in salted water for 5 minutes. This is called 'parboiling' - it means to 'partially' cook.
Step Two - Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. This is the fun part -- do a little dance, shake it up, you want the potatoes to bounce off the sides of the pot and each other, roughing them up a little. It's fun!
Step Three - Drop the potatoes into a baking sheet that's been heated -- oil and all -- in a hot oven. The potato pieces will sizzle as they hit the hot oil, a good thing! Toss them around, covering all the surface. Roast and toss, roast and toss. That's it!

The potatoes (and carrots too, if you're a carrot lover) have been roasted to perfection. You're gonna love these, I promise.

"Just tried this & it is lovely -- " ~ FF
"Wooo talk about delicious!" ~ Rebekah


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 4 - 8 (see TIPS)

1 pound potatoes (see ALANNA's TIPS), washed well and peeled or partially peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound carrots, optional, trimmed, peeled and cut in two-inch lengths on the diagonal
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Bring the potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil. Once the water boils, cook the potatoes for 5 minutes. While they cook, cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and pool the olive oil in the center. Before draining the potatoes, slip the baking sheet into the oven. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Shake the pot around until the outer edges are rough and bruised. Remove the baking tray from the oven and drop the potatoes and carrots into the oil. Drizzle with salt and swish the pieces around until the sides are coated with fat. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes and every 5 minutes afterward. Transfer to a serving dish, serve and savor!

POTATO CHOICES For soft-skinned potatoes like red potatoes or Yukon smooth-fleshed potatoes, say, use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of the skin, one running vertically and one horizontally. For rough-skinned potatoes like Idaho mealy-fleshed baking potatoes, peel the entire potato.
WHY ADD CARROTS? Because they're so good, especially combined with the potatoes. But honestly, I add carrots to the potatoes to provide a lower-carb vegetable to eat with the potatoes.
SERVING SIZE Roasted vegetables shrink so portion size is tricky. I normally allow 1/4 pound of vegetables per serving but have learned with potatoes, especially, even ones that aren't as good as these, that this seems really skimpy and that what 'seems' like a serving if closer to a 1/2 pound. Clotilde, too, says she allows well more than a half pound of potatoes per person. The carrots are my way to 'fill us up' without gorging on potatoes. The other night, two of us ate half of this recipe but I counted it, per person, as one 1/4 pound serving of potatoes and one 1/4 pound serving of carrots. The math works for me. Forewarning, it took will power not to gobble these up!
LESS OIL I'm intrigued that 1 tablespoon of oil per pound of potatoes/carrots is more than enough for these roasted potatoes and carrots. This is the 'standard' oil:vegetable ratio I use. But roasted vegetables always seem to need more, so 2 tablespoons per pound has become my standard. I'm going to experiment with heating the oil first with other roasted vegetables, this might make a big difference in how much oil is needed. I'll check and report in!
OIL vs DUCK FAT Forever and more, I've been intending to roast potatoes in duck fat, something I hear is heavenly. Clotilde mentions duck fat too. In St. Louis, there's just one place to buy duck fat, Kitchen Conservatory, I must get by there soon!

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from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Great technique. I like the red peppers you have with it.

  2. I learned this method as a "French" way to roast potatoes, and it used clarified butter rather than oil. Definitely the best little puffs of roasted potato ever.

  3. I knew I was going to love your blog/website/newsletter!....I roast my potatoes just as you describe, only I hadn't measured out the oil and didn't preheat the pan. Also, I save fat from roasts in the freezer, and sometimes will use a dollop of that instead of oil (and/or also the oil from the roast I've just done). Have to find duck fat! For **years** I've been in search of the perfect texture for my roast potatoes, which is why your recipe thrilled me! They're always delish, aren't they, but that texture - crisp on the outside, fluffy on the indise was elusive. I learned not to crowd the potatoes and also, when shaking up in the pot after par-boiling, I now add a bit of flour (all-purpose works fine, but they say semolina works really well) and salt/pepper. Sandy

  4. I can hardly wait to try this! But just so I'm perfectly clear, you don't parboil the carrots -- right? Thanks for another great dish to try.

  5. Alanna, once again you've posted a recipe that I must try immediately. Great point - in our quest to simplify, simplify... we tend to forget that sometimes the extra step is worth the extra time in terms of flavor.

  6. A more fun way to get duck fat is to cook a duck. One duck prepared using Mark Bittman's (Minimalist Cooks at Home) Pan-Fried Duck recipe yielded a wonderful meal plus several cups of rendered duck fat.

  7. Ohhh yeah, this is definitely how my English husband makes roasted potatoes. He (and his oh-so-propah mum) used to roast 'em with goose fat, but me being vegetarian, that's banned now :) I could make a MEAL off these roasted potatoes... yum. :)

  8. Just tried this & it is lovely -- bet it would also be nice with sweet potatoes added to the white ones.

    The parboiling isn't a big hassle, but the turning every 5 minutes is. Next time, I'm going to try tossing instead of turning -- I'll use a baking pan instead of a cookie sheet (a dark blue one, which seems to brown better & faster), cover it for the "turning" exercises, & just toss really well.

    Thanks a lot, good spuds are always welcome.

  9. I love your ideas. I love carrots with potatoes and this sounds like a wonderful idea. Thanks for good and easy ideas.

    Look forward to all of your email's.

  10. I'm delighted that the post resonated with you and that you adopted the recipe into your rotation! It's become a go-to side when I have guests -- it's relatively low-maintenance and a real crowd-pleaser.

    I, too, was surprised by the number of British readers who commented along the lines of, "is there any other way to roast potatoes?" Apparently they had just kept the technique to themselves all these years. :)

  11. Thanks for sharing this technique. I will try this out in my kitchen soon.

  12. Okay, I love this. I roast potatoes often (usually with lots of smoked paprika on them), but don't typically parboil them first. This is how I'm doing it next time!

  13. Definitely going to try this technique. I love roasted potatoes and don't know why I don't try them more often!

  14. Hey Alanna, how are you? I visit often though you may not see me comment :)

  15. I roast my potatoes and carrots this way; however, you can change it up by adding butternut squash, onions,garlic,eggplant,or anything you like to roast. Of course, this is added after you prep the potatoes for the oven. I use olive and fresh herbs to season. I have never tried duck fat....must try that!

  16. Thanks for the post...I've been skipping the "shake them up" part, but will give it a try. After they are cooked, I love adding some fresh herbs and olive oil, like I do for these rosemary lemon roast potatoes They go with just about anything.

  17. Wooo talk about delicious! I never knew how to roast potatoes properly. What a gap in my education. :) I used russets and beef fat. We loved them.

  18. I've been looking for a great recipe for roasted spuds - and this looks good. Please clarify though: do you parboil the carrots with the potatoes, or are carrots completely raw prior to roasting?

  19. Anonymous ~ Then you've found it, this IS a great recipe for roasted spuds! The carrots are optional but they are not parboiled, only the potatoes. Let me know how the recipe works for you!

  20. I would like to prep the potatoes ahead of time; how do you recommend I do that? Should I par boil and toss potatoes and then refrigerate until ready to roast?

  21. Jessica ~ So sorry for the slow response, you caught me on my dad’s 90th birthday, the day after that, he moved cross-country to come live with us here in St. Louis. Not much blogging going on just now! But! To answer your question, I think parboiling/tossing the potatoes beforehand is the right thing to do, yes. If this is the tack you chose, let me know how it went!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna