“Crispy potatoes”–it just might be the most universally-loved phrase in the English language. Most of us save our consumption of truly crispy potatoes for restaurant meals, where’s there’s access to a deep-fryer and vats of oil. My personal favorites are made by my British mother-in-law, who’s British. She makes her incredibly crispy roast potatoes in the oven, and I devour them whenever I’m at her house. Though she’s explained the exact steps to me numerous times, mine never come out quite the same.
After years of experimentation, I’ve finally locked on my own signature recipe for crispy potatoes. They’re pan-roasted in a cast-iron skillet, and it’s a simple technique that results in the most golden, caramelized, ultra flavorful, and crispy potatoes you’ll ever make. Read on for my foolproof method–they only require 4 ingredients!)
Tips for crispy potatoes
Here’s exactly how I make super crispy potatoes on the stovetop. After trying this method, you might never oven-roast them again!
Preheat your pan
This is a great little secret that works for just about any vegetable where you want those golden brown edges. Make sure that your pan is nice and hot before adding the potatoes. Preheating the pan in advance creates that sizzle and golden-brown sear on the exterior of the potatoes when they hit the hot pan.
Don’t crowd the pan
This is key: to develop crispy edges, your potatoes must have contact with the hot surface of the pan. This means: don’t crowd the pan–your potatoes should be spread out in a single even layer. Too many potatoes for your pan? Cook them in two batches.
The potatoes need to have sustained contact with the heat, so you want to let them sit undisturbed for a full 10 minutes before flipping them. Yes, this is going to feel like a long time, and you’re going to think the potatoes are burning. But the key to these potatoes is to let them develop a dark golden-brown crust on one side before moving them, resulting in the crispy almost fry-like quality we’re after.
What type of potatoes should I use?
For this recipe, I like the little spuds–new potatoes and fingerling potatoes both work beautifully in this dish. I also love that they don’t require any peeling and (depending on their size) might just need to be halved. Since potatoes are a dense vegetable and take longer than other veggies to cook, small potatoes can cook all the way through in the pan by the time the outside is browned and crisp.
Why won’t my potatoes get crispy?
A few culprits can stand in the way of you and the crispy potatoes of your dreams:
- Did you use enough fat? I’ve definitely been guilty of skimping on the EVOO, but for this recipe, you’ve got to give it some love for truly crispy potatoes! You’ll want to coat each potato really well with oil, which helps them brown, caramelize, and absorb that rich flavor you’re after.
- Was your pan really hot before adding the potatoes? You want to give it ample preheating time to get that sizzle!
- Did you get tempted and move the potatoes around before they’d created an exterior crust? That’s a no-no, too. Be patient! If your potatoes are sticking to the pan, give them another minute to form the crust that will then release from the pan when it’s ready.
What to serve with crispy pan-roasted potatoes
These crispy potatoes just so happen to be vegan and gluten-free, so they make a perfect side dish for just about any meal to fit any dietary requirement (except low-fat, haha.) Here are a few main courses I love to serve them with:
- Slow-Roasted Salmon with Citrus and Herbs
- The Best Roast Chicken With Tomatoes, Lemons, & Cilantro Salsa Verde
- Alongside one of these salads for a hearty vegetarian dinner
Scroll on for the recipe, and if you make these crispy potatoes, be sure to leave a comment and tag us on Instagram!
dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more for drizzling
- 1 - 2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped chives for garnish
- In a large cast iron skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom by about 1/4 inch. Heat on medium until it comes to a shimmer, then sprinkle an even layer of salt across the bottom of the pan and a few grinds of black pepper. Lay the potatoes cut side down in the pan and leave them, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
- The cut side of the potatoes should be quite brown--if so, turn heat to low, add 1/4 cup vinegar to the pan and cover.
- Cook for 15 minutes, covered. You'll know they're done when they're tender inside. Transfer to serving dish if desired, drizzle with another couple tablespoons of vinegar, a pinch of flaky salt, and chives. Eat!
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