How to make the perfect roast potatoes

03.07.24

Everyone loves a roastie

I think this is it – my favourite form of the humble potato. It’s crunchy, it’s soft, it’s salty, all of the best things together in one little golden parcel.

You need to cook these for your next Sunday roast (or just as a little snack with a pot of gravy – I don’t judge) so here’s some ingredients for you to grab:

  • 4 maris piper potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized chunks
  • 100ml/3fl oz vegetable oil
  • Plenty of salt

Some of you will look at my roast potato recipes and yell WHERE’S THE FLOUR AND SEMOLINA?! Well in my book as the High Priestess of Potatoes, you don’t need it! Have a little look at my recipes and watch my new Youtube video, that’ll give you all of the information you’ll ever need.

For a roastie I love a Maris Piper, but in the UK a King Edward is also a good substitute. For the US, use a Yukon gold or russet. My general rule of thumb is two potatoes per person for a roast, although if they’re massive then maybe scale it down a bit (or not, I’m not the boss of you).

Get your spuds out!

To peel or not to peel, that is the question. Well it’s up to you bab! Personally I’m a peeler, but if you want a bit of extra fibre then go ahead – just make sure you give them a good scrub first. Cut your potatoes into halves or quarters. They still need to be quite large but all equal sizes so they cook evenly.

Get your potatoes into a large pan of cold water, heavily seasoned with table salt. Don’t waste your good flaky salt on this, because it just goes down the drain plus it doesn’t get into the potatoes as well. Bring your pan to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until just knife tender. Use a small blunt knife to test your potatoes, so that way you know they’re soft.

Steam drying

Drain your potatoes and pop them back over the hot pan you cooked them in, still in the colander. Drape a clean tea towel over the top and leave for 10-15 minutes to dry out. You’ll know they’re ready when they start to go white around the edges and get a bit fluffy.

Keep your potato water! When it cools down it’s perfect for feeding your plants or use it when you make the gravy for your roast dinner. The starchiness of the water will help to thicken it, like pasta water does.

Hot stuff

While your potatoes are steam drying on the side, get your oven preheated to 220ºc/430ºf. Next up, pick your roasting tray, I like an enamel or metal baking dish but pyrex glass dishes also work well to get a super crispy roast potato.

There’s so many options for when you make these little golden delicious spuds, so you now have to choose your cooking fat. Vegetable or sunflower oil seems to give the best crispiness, or animal fat also adds extra flavour – I like beef or goose fat!

Whichever fat you choose, put plenty of it into the bottom of your roasting dish and get into the oven for 10-15 minutes to heat up. It needs to look like it’s shimmering when you take it out of the oven, but not so hot that it starts to smoke.

Give your potatoes a really good shake in the colander so they get fluffy all the way round. Very carefully tip your fluffy potatoes into the hot fat and use a pair of tongs to turn them over so all sides are coated. Make sure they’re flat side down on the tray as the contact with the fat and the tray is what will help them go golden.

Roasting your tatties

Pop your tray of potatoes into the hot oven for 20 minutes. One of my big tips for roast potatoes is to only turn them once. Yes, you need to leave them alone! Don’t keep opening the oven to check on them – they’ll be fine, trust me.

After 20 minutes grab them out and gently turn them over. If some potatoes are stuck, just leave them to it, they’ll come free eventually. Turn the oven down to 200ºc/400ºf and return to the oven until golden brown all over, checking again after another 20 minutes.

When you turn the oven down it’s a great time to add in any extras like garlic cloves or hard herbs like rosemary and thyme to flavour your potatoes. If you add them in too early they’ll burn and turn bitter.

They’re perfect!

Look at the fluffiness! The golden crunchiness! I’m obsessed with roasties, especially when they look this good.

Dish up a big bowl of spuds with loads of flaky salt and serve them with your next Sunday roast, or just have them every day because they’re that good.