Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How to make perfect roast potatoes

I think roast potatoes are my favourite part of Sunday dinner, even above the meat. And I would go so far as to say that roast potatoes are my favourite way of eating spuds. Perhaps this is because we rarely had them in my family. They were seen as unhealthy. However, when made this way, they contain little saturated fat but are still golden, crunchy and fluffy all at the same time.

Lots of people seem to struggle with roasties, but they really aren't that difficult to make after a little practice. There are just a couple of things to consider. The first is the type of potatoes. I use red skinned Desiree, which is a good all-rounder, but King Edward and Maris Piper would work equally well.

The second consideration is fat. Animal fat from the meat imparts a great flavour, but is unhealthier. I tend to use vegetable oil for a more guilt free roasty. I may occasionally add a little fat from the meat on special occasions.

Third is the coating and the shaking up, steps that many people miss. Breaking up the edges of the potato is what creates the gorgeous crispy outside, and adding flour accentuates the crunch factor. I have tried using ground semolina, as Nigella Lawson recommends, but I didn't notice any significant improvement.

Last is the temperature. You must put them into a hot oven, as hot as it will go, to crisp up the outsides and make sure that the centres are soft and fluffy. However, if you leave your roasties at a high temperature for too long you run the risk of burning them.

Follow these steps and you are but a boil, a shake and a bake from roast potato heaven.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Makes enough for two to three people

600g potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 heaped tbsp flour

1.    Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. I like a variety of sizes as larger and smaller roasties each have their particular charms. Put into a large pan with a lid and cover with water.

2.    When you take your meat out of the oven, set it to rest covered in tin foil and turn the oven up as high as it will go. Salt the potatoes generously and bring to the boil.

3.    When the potatoes are boiling, pour the oil onto a baking tray and put into the oven to get hot.

4.    Boil the potatoes for 5 or 6 minutes, so that the edges start to soften.

5.    Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Add the flour and, with the saucepan lid on, shake the potatoes vigorously to coat with the flour and break up the edges.

6.    Remove the baking tray from the oven and make sure that the hot oil has covered the entire surface. Tip the potatoes onto the tray. Spread them out a bit and return to the oven.

7.    Wash the saucepan immediately, as the flour and potato combination is a nightmare to remove!

8.    After around 15 minutes move the potatoes around in the pan, turning them over to coat in the oil. Reduce the oven to 200°C as the potaoes can burn. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the roasties are golden and crisp.


  1. I sometime struggle to get really crispy roast potatoes and I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but these look really good so I will try this method on Sunday!

  2. Love the look of your roasties! Will definitely give them a go this Sunday, looking forward to more of your recipes.

  3. Hi! Thanks for your comments. Glad you found this useful. Good luck!


  4. They look soooooooooooooooooo great! Am definitely going to try making them following your recipe. Thank you :)