Cooking tips

Three hacks for making the crispiest roast potatoes ever

Simple cooking tips to help exaggerate that crunch factor

19 December 2019 - 12:11 By Toni Jaye Singer
When it comes to roast potatoes, it's certainly a case of the more, the merrier.
When it comes to roast potatoes, it's certainly a case of the more, the merrier.
Image: 123RF/Olexiy Bayev

Let's be honest, serving a roast without roast potatoes is a deal breaker. They've got to be fluffy on the inside, they've got to be super-crispy on the outside — and there have to be plenty of them.

Here are three ways to give your roast potatoes that extra crunch factor and make them the most memorable part of the meal:

1. ROUGH 'EM UP

Once you've parboiled your potatoes, drain them in a colander and allow them to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Next, gently shake them around in the colander to roughen up the edges. While roasting in the oven, the hot fat will collect in all those little cracks, creating lots of crispy bits.

2. SQUASH 'EM

A potato masher is celeb chef Jamie Oliver's secret weapon when it comes to making super-crispy roast potatoes.

After parboiling his spuds, Oliver drains them and gives them a good shake in the colander to roughen up the edges (see point 1).

He then roasts them for about 30 minutes or so, before gently squashing them with a potato masher to “increases the surface area the potato has on the bottom of the pan”, which is what gives them the “maximum crunch factor”. 

“Give this a try and you won't regret it,” he says in a YouTube video.

WATCH | Jamie Oliver's favourite roast potato recipe.

3. DUST 'EM

Le Creuset advocates tossing the parboiled, drained potatoes in a little polenta before roasting them, as this helps to “exaggerate” that crispy crust. (Try Le Creuset's recipe for polenta-crusted roast potatoes with Parmesan.)

Celeb chef Nigella Lawson does the same, but uses semolina instead of polenta. After sprinkling the spuds with semolina, she advises returning them to the (dry) pot you pre-cooked them in, popping on the lid and giving them a gentle shake. This helps to evenly coat them in the semolina and roughen up those edges (see point 1).