Perfect Roasted Potatoes Recipe

I strive to master simple dishes. I don’t aspire to be a person of whom one says, “What an ambitious cook!” or “She should really open her own restaurant!”

No. I want to be someone who can be trusted to prepare a good, well-rounded, home-cooked meal. A meal that has personality, yes, but one that doesn’t try too hard, and relies chiefly on good taste and good technique.

This is why I had long been frustrated by my limited potato roasting skills. Oh, I’d roasted my share of potatoes, but I had never been able to make perfect roasted potatoes, golden and generously crusty on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.

By the time the chunks had developed enough of a crust, the flesh had begun to dry up inside, and I was left with something a bit cardboard-y. Not inedible — it takes considerable effort to render a potato inedible in my book — but not my platonic image of the roasted potato, either.

And then some years ago, my friend Pascale* shared the recipe she uses for pommes de terre rôties, which she learned from her British mother-in-law. I have blind kitchen faith in Pascale — she has never steered me wrong — and I was very excited about her technique, a classic in British cooking that was unknown to me at the time.

Here, let me show you in this video:

The Secret to Perfect Roasted Potatoes

The magic behind Pascale’s roasted potatoes unfolds thusly: the potatoes are parboiled for five minutes first, drained, and returned to the saucepan. At this point — and this is the crucial step, so pay attention — you grab the lidded pan and shake it vigorously, which not only is fun, but also makes the surface of the potato pieces fuzzy from rubbing their sides one against the others.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

And wouldn’t you know it, it is this very fuzz that fosters the formation of a splendid crust when you then bake the potatoes. The parboiling step reduces the baking time and ensures that the flesh inside stays moist.

Pascale posted this recipe in late afternoon on a Sunday in December. I read it in early evening, and an hour later, the roasted potatoes were gracing our table, making this a personal TTK (time-to-kitchen) record.

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

Seven years have passed (!) since that inaugural batch, and I have made the recipe dozens and dozens of times since then, using oil or duck fat and different potato varieties (ratte, roseval, charlotte, vitelotte…) to stupendous results, every time.

It is a dish that’s great for dinner parties, too: you can parboil and bruise the potatoes before your guests arrive, then slip them in the preheated oven as everyone’s settling in. I’ve served them with Muriel’s chicken, with whiskey-flambéed veal paupiettes, and with seared duck breasts, but I think my favorite pairing was with the quails I stuffed and roasted, loosely following a recipe in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon.

So, is this one you have in your repertoire? Are you going to try it? (I’m warning you, there’s no way back!)

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

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Perfect Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4 generously (see note).

Perfect Roasted Potatoes Recipe


  • 1.2 kilos (2 1/2 pounds) potatoes (waxy or floury -- both types will work equally well)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or duck fat
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F).
  2. If your potatoes are smooth-skinned, scrub them well and peel them in alternative stripes so that strips of skin remain. If, on the other hand, the skin of your potatoes is rugged and grainy, peel it off completely (no need to scrub) then rinse the potatoes well in cold water.
  3. Cut the potatoes into even chunks, about 2 cm (3/4 inch) in width. Place them in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them, cover with cold water, and add 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Set over high heat, cover, bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. As soon as the water boils, pour the fat into a rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet in the oven, so the fat and baking sheet will heat up.
  5. After the 5 minutes of boiling, drain the potatoes -- they will not be cooked at that point -- and return them to the saucepan. Add the fine sea salt and the rosemary, if using.
  6. Place a lid on the saucepan. Holding the lid firmly shut with both hands (the saucepan will be hot, so wear oven mitts or use dish towels), shake the saucepan vigorously for a few seconds, until the surface of the potato chunks is fuzzy; this will help the formation of a crust.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, pour the potatoes onto the sheet, and stir well to coat with the fat.
  8. Return to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through, until cooked through (when you insert the tip of a knife in one of the pieces, it should meet no resistance), crusty, and golden. If you want a little more color on them, you can switch to grill mode for the final few minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.


  • I normally plan to serve about 200 to 250 grams (7 to 9 ounces) of potato per person, but these are so good people tend to want a little more.
  • Adapted from Pascale Weeks' pommes de terre rôties.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

This post was first published in January 2010 and fully updated in October 2016.

  • I made roast potatoes last night! I love the shake-it-in-the-pot trick – I’ll have to use that next time. My secret was to roast them, um, underneath a chicken. Or around the sides. I put the chicken in when I started boiling the potatoes, and then threw the potatoes in the baking pan when they were parboiled. Because the only thing better than making potatoes with duck fat is making potatoes with chicken deliciousness seeping in, right?

  • Emma

    Ah, the old shaky pan method – I think it’s the preferred method for most Brits when it comes to roast potatoes. So much so that it never even crossed my mind that you might roast them without shaking…!

  • Jim Blomquist

    A few years back Cook’s Illustrated published a recipe for roasted potatoes that simplifies it with one less step. Once you have tossed the cut potatoes in your fat of choice and sasoned them with herbs, salt and pepper, place them in a non-stick baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Into the hot oven for 12 minutes or so to have them cook in their own moisture without browning. Then remove the foil, put them back in the oven and proceed to brown them on the cut sides as in your recipe. I think you’ll like this way of cooking them, too. With one less pot to clean. JB

    • Sunny See

      Does the Cook’s Illustrated recipe eliminate the parboiling of the potatoes?

      • I was able to find a similar recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which uses the same method including parboiling.

        It does not mention the foil technique, though, but this other Cook’s Illustrated recipe for roasted *sweet* potatoes does. I wonder if it’s the one Jim was referring to?

  • sam

    I made these on Sunday with some Goose Fat I smuggled in from the UK. Fred loves them. It’s the British way of doing them, for sure. I can’t personally attribute them to Pascale, though, In CA they are known as “Sam’s potatoes”, but really, it is Delia Smith to whom we all have to be indebted, I think.

  • I’d never heard this tip before, thanks for sharing! TTK – that’s a great acronym :)

  • How interesting! I am also someone who loves the simplistic, and I don’t aspire to be told I shoudl open my own restaurant. Mastering the basics could last a lifetime.

  • blowback

    I’m with Sam, Delia and Nigella (not the seeds). Goose fat every time. The best I ever had were cooked with the fat from a couple of jars of confit d’oie.

  • What temperature should one use of a standard oven? I’ve heard of, much less seen, an oven whose temperature gradations are anything less than 25 degrees each. Therefore, the only options are 400F or 425F.

  • We always roast our potatoes under the broiler. They get crispy on the outside and stay creamy on the inside.

  • Constance – My oven works in 10-degree increments, but if yours doesn’t, I’d suggest you set it at 425°F. As with any recipe though, you need to keep a close eye on what you’re baking the first time you try it, to see how long it takes in your own oven.

  • Oh I’ll have to try these. My current method is to follow the New Best Recipes baked French fry recipe and simply use potato wedges instead. It does involve roasting the quartered potatoes. But half the time they are covered to help them get soft and delicious on the inside – probably the same thing the boiling does for your version. Then finish them off by uncovering and browning. I feel a side by side recipe trial coming on!

  • Great new trick! – I can’t wait to try it!

    I have also found that if you smash the parboiled potatoes slightly with the palm of your hand (so that the skin splits but the potatoes stay whole) and then roast in a very high oven (475-500) in a decent amount of olive oil or duck fat, you get a similar effect – crusty and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside! (I like to squeeze a little lemon and sprinkle some Maldon on top as well!)

    I love potatoes.

  • That is the way i have been doing roast potatoes for a long time now since Darina Allen enlightened us here in the south of Ireland, in Cork! I parboil the quantity, shake them in a sieve, and place them in hot goose fat or oil and roast them for 20 mins or so depending on size.My fan oven does them at 180/200 degrees c.

  • Wait, no rosemary? I think that might be sacrilege!

  • Mrs Redboots

    I think the “truc” of shaking the pan must be a typically British thing, as I wouldn’t dream of trying to roast potatoes without! My mother sometimes sprinkles hers with flour, too, but I don’t.

  • This is indeed the best way to go – they look delightful. Heston Blumenthal has a recipe in ‘In Search of Perfection’ which is similar – but he boils his for 20 minutes first, trying to get them as fuzzy as possible. He sometimes sprinkles flour on them too. And the choice of fat makes a big difference – olive oil is fine, but duck or goose fat is sublime.

  • EB

    Mmmmm splendid crust. Fabulous.

  • These are simply the best I’ve ever had! Thank you!

  • I also apsire to be the kind of cook who is trusted to put a delicious and well rounded meal on the table! The kind of cook all my friends look forward to coming over for dinner ;)

    Shaking is a must! Goose fat is truly exceptional… do you want to know one more secret to make them extra crunchy?! Read about the main course here.
    Who doesn’t love roast potatoes, I ask you? :))

  • Hello Clotilde,
    I am not surprised to see so many comments here – so soon! Well-roasted potatoes are heaven-on-earth, but few can do this well. My neighbors, (British), are true gourmet potato connoisseurs. They have been tutoring me on the subject, and I am an enthusiastic student! So thank you for this post, by the time I have a garden full of fresh spuds, I will hopefully be a roasting expert !
    All the best to you,

  • A

    The Portuguese have a potato method, which though not roasted, is delicious. They are called “batatas a murro” or smashed potatoes. Boil small potatoes in their jackets until done. Remove and cool. Flatten them with your palm, not too flat. The potato skin will break, of course. Heat a little olive oil and brown the potatoes on both sides until crusty. Sprinkle with sea salt.

  • thriftymum

    OK, so here’s the lowdown from someone whose roast potatoes ALWAYS elicit gasps of delight:
    Parboil potatoes. If they are floury potatoes, parboil until they are just fluffy on the outside. If they are more waxy they’ll need a little bit longer. Drain, shake well in the pan and leave to steam for a bit. If the potatoes are waxy and don’t rough up when you shake them, add a sprinkling of flour (and a bit of parmesan for added crisp). Heat some goose fat in a roasting dish until very hot. Olive oil works too, but you might want to add some garlic cloves and rosemary for extra flavour. When the fat is really hot, add the potatoes, and stir to coat them well with hot fat. Return to a very hot oven for about an hour. Half way through cooking you can take them out and squash the potatoes down with a masher. This increases the surface area, giving you more crunchy crispness.
    NB: while potatoes will roast well in the same pan as a chicken, if you put them on a rack above a roast they will steam rather than roast, so if you don’t have space in the chicken pan, it’s better to roast them in the top oven if you have one.

  • C.

    My father does this basically your way — but instead of a roasting pan he uses a cast iron skillet. Preheat the iron before you put in the shaken potatoes, toss in fat, season then pop in oven as normal. A nice crust forms on the bottoms as well as the tops. Also nice with a bit of garlic and rosemary.

  • Hi Clotilde,

    the nature of the end product sounds like french fries (crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside), so i was thinking whether they could be prepared in the same manner: baked at 325F and then quickly fried at 375F, all in oil?

    In addition,before putting the dish in the oven, if you add rosemary and garlic slices (or even better garlic flavoured oil to prevent burnt garlic pieces), it will make your potatoes taste heavenly!

  • Iain

    Here, I parboil, and drain in a plastic sieve: that roughens the surfaces enough. Then back into the pot with a dash of olive oil (or duck/goose fat), stir around so that the oil coats the potatoes, and into the oven, either with the roast or (if space/sauce does not permit) in their own dish. Increasing the surface area for roasting is the only way.

  • The Leopard

    I do exactly this, but…

    When the fat in the baking sheet is hot, I pour it onto the shaken potatoes in the saucepan. This means you can shake the potatoes about a second time, ensuring they are truly covered in the fat, before returning them to the baking sheet.

    Hungry just thinking about it.

  • Richard

    Another Brit here who uses this method, and a variant which I think works even better: instead of shaking in the pan, drain the parboiled potatoes in a plastic colander (one with big holes), and then shake the potatoes in the colander. The potatoes get seriously beaten up, but shouldn’t fall apart.

  • All – Thanks for all the alternate suggestions! Funny to see that the shake-in-the-pot trick seems to be in the blood of the British people — I do think the rest of the world needs to know about it now! :)

    Also, regarding the flavorings, I find that if I start with a good, flavorful variety of potato, it really needs no embellishment.

  • I cannot remember the name of the potato we had for roast at christmas, but they were fantastic, and did not need shaking at all. They were the best roast potatoes I have ever made. Crispy on the outside and soooo soft in the middle.

  • Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this method, though, as an Italian, I find British roasties always a bit overcooked for my tastes. My fault, I know.. By the way, a Claudia Roden’s tip I just discovered: mix hot from the oven baked potatoes with a chopped coriander and lemon juice, and serve cold as an appetizer (if you can wait for them to cool). Sounds a bit unusual, but the result is addictive!

  • I had never heard the ” shaking-in-the-pan” before… Thanks for sharing this trick; I’ll definitively give it a try soon. But yes, goose or duck fat work REALLY well…

  • Thomas

    The German technique is to cook the whole potatoes in water, then slice, then roast. It’s the same principal, in that it gives you a rough edge that will get nice and browned, but this British version sounds easier!

    Constance & Clotilde – I think you are talking past each other a little. The 25 F increments that Constance’s oven provides are just a little more than 10 C. But really, unless you have a an oven thermometer in there, I wouldn’t count on anything more than 30 C accuracy.

  • H

    British reader here too and the shake in the pan is a MUST! I also adhere to Nigella Lawson’s tip of shaking with a little seasoned flour or semolina to help the crust along.

    There is an excellent Guardian article testing out Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Heston Blumenthal’s methods.

  • Tracey

    I think the Brits have spent years mastering the techniques involved in making perfect roast potatoes – I guess the whole ‘Sunday roast’ thing is our national dish. Floury, rather than waxy, potatoes should be used, and another tip – after bashing them in the colander or pan, leave them to cool until they have stopped steaming, so they go into the hot oil dry. That’s a tip I picked up from Nigella Lawson and other food writers, and it works well.

  • These look wonderful. I am on the quest for the perfect roast potatoes this year also and just discovered how shaking the potatoes in the pan will make them fuzzy which will, in turn make them crispy… I will definitely be trying this recipe…

  • Matt

    Yes, the parboil then shake technique is embedded in British cookery now. I have no idea where it came from, but I think I first saw it from Delia Smith, and every TV cook does it now – Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey…

    It works, but I’m odd and prefer a slightly softer finish, so I tend to do a slight variation where I parboil, then drain in a colander (reserving the liquid for use in gravy-making, if gravy will be made) and dump them into a roasting tin which has not already been filled with hot fat. This tames the crispiness a bit and gets me my preferred result.

    Well, mostly. Sometimes I do fancy crispy, so bring on the shaking and the extremely hot oil! I do get nervous doing that when the cat’s taking an interest in my cookery though.

  • Is there another way to do them?!

    I’ve always done them like this and it works every time! You do have to heat the oil up first (I use olive oil with a small nob of butter) and I usually keep the roasting tin on a low/med flame on the hob whilst I put the potatoes in and roll them in the oil to coat them. If I’m cooking meat, I prefer to put the roasties in the small oven so that they go crisp rather than steam!
    Enjoy! :)

  • The Paris Food Blague

    whoever said “no rosemary” above….i know! how sad…

    but the recette looks delicious, all the same. i’ve never been a huge potato person, but with winter’s lousy vegetables getting me down, i may convert…

  • Kayla

    While my method lacks the fun factor of vigorous pan-shaking (!), my family’s roasted potato secret is the convection oven. Tossed with plenty of olive oil, salt, and pepper and convected until golden, they reach that sublime soft-crusty balance!

  • Wow, I simply love techniques like this. Just a few tweaks and the entire dish changes. I am definitely going to try this out. SHAKE the pan! Who knew?!

  • Its an art :]


  • I really like potatoes especially if they are mashed and of course, roasted! It has been a childhood favorite!

  • Now I know what I’ll be eating for lunch today!… I have some duck fat left in the fridge, this is going to be delicious :D

  • nomi

    Try adding a bit of olive oil & salt when you shake the potatoes. (I don’t shake, I just mix it together for a while) Then roast, the salt help to rough up the surface more, and you get a better roasting area. The olive oil adds a little more flavor & helps w/browning.

  • I use that shake in the pot trick even when I make mashed potatoes. It dries them out nicely. I think you’ve finally found the perfect roasted potato!

  • Your first paragraph are my sentiments exactly. I just could not have written it as well as you have. The words flow so well for you. I love good roasted potatoes with a crust and will be eager to try the tip that you have shared with us.

  • I want some right now!

  • Great technique! It sometimes still amazes me how sometimes the simplest things make all the difference.

  • Everyone loves roasted potatoes, but not sure how to make it better. Thanks for the tip!!

  • I made these last night with sea salt and olive oil and they were divine. Thanks for the tip!

  • blowback

    BTW, nobody has mentioned varieties of potatoes for roasting – someone does mention floury potatoes being better than waxy potatoes but many swear by Maris Piper. Personally, I prefer King Edwards.

  • phillippa

    You’ve changed my potato-loving world. Thank you! Where, in Paris, can I buy duck fat? What is it called in French?

  • I never thought about the duck fat…Looking forward to try this as soon as I can find some duck fat…

    Thanks for the tips,

  • A few other tips with this method:

    – if your oven is fan-forced, turn that on, it helps the browning
    – counter-intuitively, the less fat/oil you use, the crispier
    – a sprinkle of rosemary over the top is a nice variation


  • Oh yum! I love roasted potatoes – well, really, potatoes of nearly any kind:) I’ll be roasting some this afternoon!

  • A lesson to us all, when you need a good recipe for something simple, go to the cultural experts! Thanks Clotilde, for your consistently fabulous blog…I never miss a post!

  • EllaBleu

    Thank you for this great recipe, Clotilde. I tried it yesterday night – to fantastic results!! I added two teespoon of olive oil to the saucepan before shaking the potatoes – that worked out great! All the potatoes got covered with oil an the crust turned out perfect. I’ll definetely stick to this technique…

  • This is the way that virtually all Brits make roast potatoes! It also works if, after par boiling, you shake them in a metal colander – that’s the way I do it.

  • Crystal

    Made exactly as you instructed, turned out beautifully. Thanks!

  • sophie

    ah yes, the jamie oliver potato fuzz. :) delicious!

  • Oh, these look wonderful. I love roasted potatoes, and these instructions are great. I’ll be trying this out!

  • These do indeed look perfect. I want some right now! Thanks for the tips and information! I love your blog

  • oh how i love roasted potatoes. i dont even like fries as much

  • Clotilde, I followed your recipe a couple of nights ago and they were fantastic! A lovely crunchy crust, and soft and fluffy on the inside. I added a few whole cloves of garlic when I boiled the potatoes, and then roasted the potatoes and the garlic cloves with a couple of fresh bay leaves in olive oil, and they were spectacular! Thanks for the tip.

  • This is great! I have always been not successful in making a nice roast potatoes…I have to try the shaking technique and the duck fat.

  • rjw

    It does seem a British phenomenon. Delia Smith has this method of making the potatoes, with saffron. It is to be found in the US version of “How to Cook” (DK Publishing, 1 volume, from 2001), on pate 186. It is delicious.

  • I tried this with sweet potatoes and it worked very well — it needs a little less time in the hot water, though, so that the shaking stage doesn’t destroy the potatoes. Say, three minutes instead of five?

  • All – Thanks so much for weighing in with your own tips!

    Philippa – Duck fat in French is called graisse de canard. You can buy it at some butcher shops, but the best way to get it is to buy a can of duck confit or duck gizzards, cook the meat whichever way you want, and save the fat that it’s packed in.

    John – That’s great to know, thanks so much for reporting back on the sweet potato experiment!

  • Roast potatoes are like mothers milk to me – yes in Australia we learnt well from our british foremothers – I parboil but don’t shake mine in the pan as I prefer to leave skins on – I also have them in large chunks and roast them for well over an hour as I love them really crispy – in Australia we also put some pumpkin in the pan – it doesn’t need to be peeled or parboiled, just cut into chunks and it is wonderful with a roast dinner

  • Anjali

    Thank you for a tired & true technique for good simple food.

  • Sylvia

    I did the potatoes exactly like the recipe AND drizzled white truffle olive oil to finish ’em off. So YUMMY!

  • My wife’s uncle (Brit) makes this amazing (best in Canada). I’ve just started to perfect my own recipe for these wonderful roasted potatoes, but I’m still to match his.

    happy cooking


  • I do them the same way. I just love the taste.

  • Another Brit chiming in to say this is how I grew up making them, too – I remember both of my Grandmothers doing this (they would both have learned to cook in the 1920s, so well before Delia!)

  • Celia

    As a Brit and fan of Delia, glad that the potato shaking tip seems so successful – I definitely learnt it from Delia so big it up for her

  • Marya

    I also cook roast potatoes like this all the time but I like to add one more step – I add a tablespoon or thereabouts of semolina or rice flour or maize flour to the roughened potatoes or spuds as we call them in Ireland and give them one last shake before they go in the hot fat! Yum yum yum!

  • Rissfish

    Yeah, I think your friend’s mother-in-law has Jamie Oliver to thank for that one. Old news.

  • Rachel

    Wowsa! This recipe has revolutionized my roasted potatoes. Who knew such a simple trick could do so much… I actually restrained myself and had some leftovers, and even they were still crispy and delicious the next day! Wahoo! :)

  • Made these tonight for my 2,5 year old daughter and myself – YUMMY!!! They were fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
    Oh, and also, this months’desk top saver is really beautiful. I love the orange and pale blue contrasting colors ;-)

  • Thank you for posting this recipe! Since you introduced me to the boil-shake-roast technique, I have made these potatoes at least a dozen times. My favorite seasoning for these is smoked Spanish paprika… I would eat the whole pan if not for the thought of my husband’s disappointment!

  • Best way to roast potatoes is in a Dutch oven. Nothing roasts, bakes, or stew better. I love mine, and I almost cook everything in it. ha ha

  • Takako

    When I tried this recipe, potatoes stuck to the baking sheet. So, the golden crust remained on the sheet. Even though I used oil, this kept happening. The crust must be the most tasty part. Does anyone have a tip to avoid this?

  • Takako – That’s strange, I’ve never had a problem with sticking: is your oven hot enough? do you preheat the baking sheet and fat as instructed in the recipe? I think that’s a key step.

    Also, with potatoes, sometimes if they stick it’s because you’re flipping them too early: try giving them a little more time and the crust may loosen itself of their own accord.

  • Lesley

    I am guessing that the omission of rosemary was a typo. =-)

    I look forward to trying this recipe tomorrow.

  • chops

    Often when food bloggers rave about a recipe, I get all worked up and then when I make it, it’s tasty but it doesn’t really blow my socks off. This did, however. So simple, I can’t believe I didn’t know the fuzzy trick! They’re like awesome restaurant home fries – so moist inside that you can eat them without a “lubricant” like ketchup, and delicious and golden-crispy on the outside…I would have thought you’d have to fry them to achieve this flavor and consistency but apparently not!

    I had to bake mine for more like 45min at 425, and threw them under the broiler (stirring often) for the last 20min.

    I also tend to have problems with food sticking to the baking sheet, so I only bake things on a layer of parchment paper. No sticking for me! :)

  • These look so delicious! I want to try this at home during weekends plus bonding with kids. We own a Dining Table ecommerce site and are always looking for great content to help inspire. Thanks.

  • Crystal

    Oh these look amazing! My husband loves any type of potato, especially roasted! I can’t wait to try this one.. I think it’d be great with steaks and corn. Yum!

    Propane Burners

  • As an American living in the UK with a British husband, roast potatoes were one of the first things I started learning to cook. I failed many times, but once I discovered the ‘roughing up the edges trick’, I’ve been successful since. Looking forward to trying them in goose fat though! sounds delicieux.

  • bonnie

    ….flour-ie potatoes……waxy potatoes…..please forgive me….would it be possible for you to be more specific…like names? i live in the mid-west of the united states and get confused as to the true nature of spuds.
    we have something here called ‘yucon golden’ potatoes…..then there are the red ones and then the brown ones…
    please, once and for all – enlighten me.

    • The names of potato varieties differ widely depending on where you live, so I’m afraid I can’t offer guidance regarding the ones available in your area. In general though, floury potatoes are the ones you would use for mashing or french-frying; waxy potatoes are the ones you would use for potato salads.

  • amanda

    Hi Bonnie,
    I know what you mean about trying to figure out which potato is which… I did a quick search >what kind of potato< and unearthed a google-load.Yukon Gold seems to be a waxy!This was my fave – has pics! – but sadly for those on another continent, only British spud varieties.

  • Thank you so much for this recipe! I have often steamed potatoes before oven roasting them but have never shaken the pot. These look so good I’m going to make them for dinner!!!

  • Thanks for the post…I love using duck fat for dishes like this…it so flavorful. I also like adding herbs right after cooking like these rosemary lemon roast potatoes – I like the shaking the pot technique…will try it.

  • April H

    Delicious! I used coconut oil for my fat and they were crisp and delicious! This is my go-to “recipe” :)

  • Chandler

    Cette recette est génial. J’ai fait ces pour le diner hier soir, et ils étaient délicieux! Ils sont les meilleures pommes du terres que j’ai jamais mangé. Merci beaucoup, Clothilde!

    • J’en suis ravie, merci de m’en donner des nouvelles !

  • Saulut Clotilde!
    I love this recipie/trick.
    I also love your philosophy of mastering simple dishes. I’m curious if you have a list somewhere of the top 10 or 12 simple dishes for a beginner to master- such as roasted potatoes, omlette, spaghetti bolognese, vegtable soup…Merci!

    • I don’t, but I love the idea and I’ll work on such a post!

  • mike

    Made them exactly as described in olive oil. They were heavenly. Thanks!

    • Wonderful to hear, thank you Mike!

  • shellito1012

    I am over the top in love with these potatoes….thank you so much for posting this!

    • That’s great to hear, it’s a favorite of ours, too!

      • shellito1012

        Oh sorry about that picture….my father has colon cancer and it was a colon cancer ad….not trying to be obscene :-).

  • Lisa Ferris

    Just tried these potatoes with grilled salmon and greek green beans! Absolutely perfect! I’ve tried for years to get these to roast just right. The parboiling and then shaking the pot did the trick. I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil (and I would never have duck fat sitting around the house) and it worked just fine.

    Merci beaucoup from Arkansas, USA!

  • Zondervrees

    To get a crust on potatoes, fries, wedges, whatever: make sure those tatters release as much starch as possible. By shaking them and certainly not washing them too much. Ask any Belgian frituriste: the secret of golden brown fries is in the constantly shaking of the fries, before they hit the oil, during and even after frying.

  • Oh Clotilde, thank you so much for sharing this tip! You have no idea how happy I am to learn this trick as this is the way I like my roast potatoes. :-)

  • yannka

    Dear Clotilde, I used your recipe to make potatoes for patatas bravas and it was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing the shaking trick!

    • Now, you can’t tease us like this and not offer details on your patatas bravas. ;) What’s your sauce made of, and how do you proceed to get from these roasted potatoes to the finished dish?

      • yannka

        I do not exactly feel like giving advice on patatas bravas as this was my very first attempt :) I went through a lot of recipes and it seems that potato preparation methods vary from simply boiled to roasted or even fried. I remembered reading your method and thought it might work well.
        As for the sauce, I made something like this, adding smoked paprika and a splash of wine and some sherry vinegar. (I froze a part of the sauce and plan to use it with roasted cauliflower next time.)
        Instead of proper aioli, I am ashamed to admit I just mixed some store-bought mayonaise with sour cream and garlic. I finished it with some basil leaves, parsley would have been nice too.

        • That sounds so good! And I love the idea of the cauliflower bravas — I don’t speak Spanish so my conjugation is probably all wonky, but you get the idea. ^^

  • Ivan Rivero

    I made this recipe for dinner, and my mother just love it! Merci beaucoup, Clotilde!

  • Peppermint Dolly
  • Taste of France

    I’ll have to try this. I have had success with just roasting them directly, but I’m willing to see whether this is even better. I usually also toss in minced garlic.

    • I often find garlic burns if I add it to roasted things. Is there a trick?

      • Taste of France

        I wish I could claim I had a trick, but no, I have had no burn problems. Maybe my little oven doesn’t get all that hot?

  • ademarco

    You are absolutely right. I made these once and I was hooked. And they are amazing with duck fat. AMAZING. :)

  • tempsperdu

    An addition (courtesy of Nigella) that makes them even better: once you have shaken the potatoes, dredge lightly with semolina flour and shake again. It makes them even more crispy.

    • I will try that for sure! How much would you add, if you had to give an estimated measurement?

  • Wow! Will try and report!

  • Linda Gomez

    What exactly are waxy or floury potatoes?

    • Potatoes typically come in two kinds: those who turn to mush when cooked (floury potatoes) and those who keep their shape (waxy potatoes). Does anything in your own cooking experience relate to that?

      • Linda Gomez

        Thank you, Clothilde. Whenever I see recipes using potatoes, they always mention the type of potato (yukon gold, russet, red potatoes, etc.) so floury and waxy were 2 terms I was not familiar with. Thanks for clarifying!

  • how very funny; I just have put away the leftovers of my ‘improvised’ patato gratin – again (and I’m sorry to repeat that quite often) w/o recipe but only with a look into my fridge.
    I never ever had crispy outside-dry inside roasted spuds but I also come from a poor (originally) country and all every family always had plentiful, were patatoes. I did much love the sassy, quick, wordless video and I loved the fact that you cut your goods in different shapes and forms – makes it more fun.
    I had taken yesterday’s Charlotte (or was it Amandine?) potatoes, and put them sliced into a gratin form. I added first a prepared mix of roasted onions, garlic and bacon stripes, a tiny bit of ‘bouillon’ then layered everything with thick slices of my last heirloom tomatoes (Sunday market Aligre), spiced them with Maldon salt flakes & rosmarin as well as some freshly ground pepper. On top a layer of raclette cheese and hop, in the oven. 20 min later a fabulous meal was ready and we ate far more than the ‘allocated’ 250 gr of everything…. We had just left enough to make it for another meal, with a large mixed salad and maybe a small ‘cup of soup’ beforehand – ah, Clotilde, you are a cook after my heart.
    A question, why do I get this today, one day after you have written the post, but with comments (which I can’t read now) going back several years? (I find 122 comments listed….) – Is that a re-upload?
    Love from a well fed patato-pot-bellied happy Kiki

    • This is a post that I originally posted in 2010, and completely revisited now, so I’m republishing it afresh.

  • arrxx

    A cast iron frying pan works well to for roasting.

    • Yes, absolutely! Mine isn’t quite big enough to fit the amount of potatoes I typically roast, though. Do you own a very large one?

  • Gill Kaye

    I am just pleased that finally the British can teach the French something about cooking!!!

    • Ha ha! Actually, so much good stuff. Beans on toast and scones spring to mind also! :)

  • Susan Foulds

    Thank you for this recipe and the great explanation.I have struggled with perfecting roast potatoes for years. After you posted this,I emailed a friend. She parboils her potatoes in chicken stock. Worth a try also.

    • Oh yum! What does she do with the stock afterward? Can it be reused?

      • Susan Foulds

        I decided to put the cut up potatoes in a largish skillet and added just enough chicken stock so the potatoes were about 1-1.5cm in liquid. I put a lid on the skillet and steamed/boiled the potatoes for about 5 minutes, then removed the lid and quickly evaporated the remaining liquid off. After shaking them in the pan as outlined I then put them in the oven. The potatoes were delicious. My friend is on holiday for two weeks and I shall ask her about the stock when she returns. I suspect she discarded the stock.

        • Love this extra tip, Susan. I’m sure it makes the potatoes even more flavorful. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to hearing from your friend, also. If she only knew she’s the center of a debate about potatoes, I’m sure she would cut her trip short. :D

      • Jackie Cauthron-Schafer

        You could try using it to make a thick gravy. I imagine you’d end up with a really thick gravy.

  • Andreas

    I’ve always used the shaking method for my roast potatoes, and it works extremely well! I cut mine into bigger chunks though, but then that’s entirely down to personal preference!

    • I should try the bigger chunks, I think that’s how Pascale makes hers.

      • Andreas

        i cut an average size potato into three chunks, but to get these large chunks to crisp up nicely I peel the potatoes.

  • Velia

    I cut my potatoes in wedges, they work just as well.

  • NotJoking

    I’ve made roast potatoes like this for a long time, first discovered this procedure through a Gordon Ramsay tv programme. One of my friends adds a little mustard powder to the semolina flour mentioned in one of the comments and shakes the potatoes in that. One question I have: is it important to start the water from cold or can it be boiled up in the kettle first, poured over the potatoes and brought back to the boil for the five minutes? By the way, this site is inspiring.

    • You know, I learned from my mother that you start root vegetables from cold water, and non-root vegetables from boiling water, so I do what my mother says. :)

      In this instance, though, I think you’d be fine starting with boiling water from the kettle, it’s just that the potatoes won’t be as far into the cooking after 5 minutes’ boiling time. (They start to cook as the water slowly heats up.) So maybe if starting from boiling water, boil for 6-7 minutes? Not a huge difference I don’t think.

  • sdharbinger

    Hi Clotilde

    In England we use far larger potatoes and peel and cut them into three or two depending on the size. We usually use Desiree or similar red potatoes or King Edwards. I generally boil them for 10 minutes though you can check them with a fork after 8 minutes if you’re not using red potatoes which tend to hold together better when boiling. You can also boil your potatoes in chicken stock for a little bit more flavour.

    With regard to cooking fat I have found the best thing is to collect bacon fat during the week if you are grilling streaky bacon and then use that along with some vegetable oil in a tea cup about 3/4 full and using some ice-tongs dip each potato into the cup of fat and then hold it above the cup and let excess fat drain off. This stops the potatoes sitting in oil in the oven which can make them too greasy. The largest potato should start to bring the oil to the top of the cup when you dip it if that helps give you an idea of the size.

    I normally start them for about half and hour at 180 C and then lower the temp down to 130c and cook them for a good hour before a final blast for 20 minutes at 200c (usually when we’ve put yorkshire puddings in the oven).



    • Thank you for these tips, Simon! Love how precise you are, with lots of visual cues.
      I’ll try keeping my potatoes bigger next time — I’m sure it changes the result quite a bit.

  • Cristina C

    This method really does make excellent roasted potatoes. I like to throw in the peeled cloves from a whole head of garlic – usually about 5-7 minutes after the potatoes go in the oven.

  • Janet

    So glad to learn this. I have always wondered why sometimes my roasted potatoes are crispy outside and moist inside. Now I can make that happen 100% of the time!

  • Sundee Koffarnus

    I am going to try this! My current method has been to large dice the potatoes (small dice do not hold up as well), spread onto a plate in a flat layer, microwave (uncovered) until slightly fork tender (start at 1 minute then check), and finally, brown in a cast iron pan to crisp.

    • An interesting method! I don’t have a microwave though. :) What kind of fat do you use in the pan? And do you stir them as they brown or leave them be?

      • Sundee Koffarnus

        I’ve used a light olive oil or bacon fat and stir to brown all sides — sometimes I’m so picky I use tongs to turn them individually ;)

  • Annabel Smyth

    Incidentally, did you know you can also cook parsnips (les painais) the same way? I am doing just that right now this minute, which is what made me think of it. Roast parsnips are traditionally a part of the English Christmas Dinner, but they are delicious with any roast dinner. Or any time, really….

    • I didn’t know that! I would have thought they would just turn to mush. Will try next time I have them in my weekly basket!

      • Gill Kaye

        It’s the best way to eat them – always do this with roast dinners. I try to chop them to equal thickness (no thin bits) then put them in cold water and bring to boil. As soon as they come to boil drain well and add to hot fat (or add hot fat to them which is easier I think) so they are coated. For extra special after they are drained put in plastic bag with Parmesan and flour and seasonings so they become lightly coated then add to fat. (Think this may be a Delia Smith recipe)

        • Annabel Smyth

          My mother always does the Parmesan bit, so I expect it was a Delia, but I almost prefer them without. At one stage, roasted was the only way my husband would eat parsnips, but he quite likes them in a root vegetable mash these days. Neither of us much likes parsnip soup, though.

          • Ha ha, love how you infer that a recipe is from Delia Smith from the simple fact that it’s the way your mother did it. :D

          • Annabel Smyth

            Mum likes Delia – in fact, I think she gave me my copy of the “Complete Cookery Course” to stop me nicking hers. I have a horrible feeling she threw out a lot of her old cookery books last year when she moved house, though. Even now, I still ask her for cooking tips on occasion, even though our cooking styles and food choices are very different.

        • The addition of Parmesan sounds lovely!

    • BattyOldGrump

      There’s a “Cook and the Chef” on iView (Australian ABC TV) suggest they be parboiled, halved, and put cut side down on the hot baking tray, but using butter rather than oil or duckfat. Very good. Somewhere else I think they dress them with Orange Juice, not convinced on that one.

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