Do you always wonder how some people just seem to get amazing roast potatoes that are so golden and crunchy on the outside but still fluffy in the middle. 

Getting perfect roast is easy – trust me, it’s easy. There are a few important rules but nothing difficult and I promise your family will coming back for more.

Crunchy roast potatoes with thyme and salt flakes in a white dish.

The golden rules

  • Use the right potatoes – more on that below
  • They need to be twice cooked – aka boiled first, then roasted
  • Always drain then dry them out
  • Rough up the edges after boiling – this creates the edges that get all golden and crispy
  • Roast them from cold
  • Heat the oil before adding the potatoes
  • Add a little salt
  • Roast in a hot oven

That’s it. Easy right?

Roast potatoes on a wooden spoon held above a bowl of potatoes.

Which potatoes for roast potatoes

It does depend on which potatoes you have available where you live.

Ingredients for roast potatoes.

Here in Australia, I love Royal Blues (pic above, bottom right) for their creamy, well flavoured flesh and these are what I use most often. While they get nice and crunchy, you’ll get an even better crunch from Coliban (cream skin, top left) or Desiree (pink skin).

In other parts of the world, Yukon Gold, Russet, King Edward and Maris Piper are the way to go. 

Making roast potatoes – step by step

With just a few steps and 3 ingredients you’ll have a tray of hot taters that you’ll be happy to eat all on their own.

4 images showing the steps to making roast potatoes
  1. Chop the peeled potatoes in to chunks roughly 1.5 to 2 inches (photos 1&2)
  2. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with cool water straight from the tap (photo 3)
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then boil for around 7-8 minutes. 
  4. Drain the potatoes through a colander, then return them immediately to the saucepan.
  5. Put them back over the heat, shaking every few seconds, for 15-20 seconds or until they look dry. We’re aiming to dry them out without burning them and get little pieces falling off and rough edges. 
  6. Chill the potatoes until they are cold before roasting.
  7. Heat oil in a pan in a very hot oven for 10-15 minutes, then carefully add the cold potatoes (photo 4), turning them over to coat them in the hot oil. 
  8. Roast for 50-60 minutes.

Once they’re in the oven you can sit back and relax because they work best if you don’t touch them for at least 40 minutes.

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure all your chopped potatoes are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Put them into cold water, not hot. Why? Because the inside will be only just cooked, whilst the outside is ready to rough up.
  • When boiling the potatoes, you can tell they are done when they are fork tender. Poke in a fork, they will still feel a little firm in the middle but the outsides will be very soft.
  • Don’t overcook. If they are so soft that they break apart when you poke the fork in, they are overdone.  You can still make them work but you’ll need to be a little more gentle with them.
  • You must dry out the potatoes (step 5 above). Soggy potatoes will never get that earth-shattering crunch we’re after.
  • While you shake the pan, you’ll see small bits break off and the edges get rough – aka perfection.
  • Chill the potatoes – this allows the potatoes to relax and will firm up those rough bits so they get super crispy on roasting.
  • Always heat the oil first – it gets those edges cooking immediately
  • Leave them alone – there’s no need to turn the potatoes for at least 40 minutes, just let them roast and get crisp in that hot oven. Once you turn them, cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Don’t use olive oil – the flavour it too heavy and chemical compounds in lighter ones break down at high temperatures. Use an oil well suited to high temperatures like rice bran oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil. Goose or duck fat also work really well.
A crunchy roast potato on a fork.

Can I boil the potatoes ahead of time?

Yes, you can. I like to do mine at least 3 hours prior to roasting, so they have plenty of time to get nice and cold. Even overnight is fine in the fridge is fine. See below for freezing them.

Can I freeze roast potatoes?

Roast potatoes are best roasted right when you want them, but you can take them up to the boiled and roughed up step, then freeze them.

After you’ve boiled, then shaken and dried the potatoes, lay them out on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Place the tray in the freezer until the potatoes are fully frozen. Transfer them to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.

You can roast them from frozen, but you may need to roast an extra 10 minutes.

Change it up

Here’s some ideas for flavouring up your roasties;

  • Rosemary and parmesan
  • Spanish spice – add some paprika, cumin, mustard powder and pepper
  • Herb and garlic – add some dried oregano or thyme and roast alongside some garlic
  • Cajun – similar to the Spanish spice mix but also add some onion powder, garlic powder and dried oregano
  • Bacon and cheddar – for a decadent side, crisp up some bacon in a pan and sprinkle it over with some cheese in the last 10 minutes or so.

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Closeup of roast potatoes with thyme and salt flakes.

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Closeup of roast potatoes with thyme and salt flakes.

How to make Crunchy Roast Potatoes

4 from 3 votes
Crunchy roast potatoes make the ultimate comforting side dish and, they're easy to make. Crispy and golden on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside – you'll find all the tips you need to make perfect roasties, right here.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg potatoes (notes) (2 ¼ lb)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (notes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Peel the potatoes and chop into 1.5 – 2 inch chunks but all about the same size.
  • Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cool tap water. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook for approximately 7-8 minutes until fork tender (the edges should be soft and break away easily).
  • Drain in a colander, then return the potatoes to the saucepan and back over medium heat. Shake them around fairly vigourously to keep them moving in the pan while they dry out, and to rough up the edges – only for about 20-30 seconds. Don’t worry if lots of bits break off, they’ll crisp up beautifully in the oven.
  • Place in a dish in the fridge uncovered until completely cold (at least 3 hours)
  • Preheat your oven to 230C / 440F / 210C fan forced.
  • Pour the oil into a baking dish and place the dish in the oven for 15 minutes until it’s very hot.
  • Tip the potatoes into the baking dish, taking care not to let the hot oil splash. Turn the potatoes over through the oil to cover. Sprinkle with the salt.
  • Roast for 40 minutes without touching them, then turn them over and scrape any stuck bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake for at least another 10-20 minutes until the roast potatoes are perfectly golden and crispy.
  • Season with extra salt to taste and serve while hot.

Notes

  • Royal Blue, Desiree, Coliban, Maris Piper, King Edward, Yukon Gold and Russet all work well.
  • Don’t use olive oil as the flavour it too heavy and chemical compounds in lighter ones break down at high temperatures. Use an oil well suited to high temperatures like rice bran oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil. Goose or duck fat also work really well.
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