The Best Pan Roasted Potatoes

By • November 16, 2013 • 49 Comments



Author Notes: Deceptively easy to do, requiring only potatoes, oil and salt; the result here is a not-too-salty, creamy, roasted-slash-fried potato. I think this was inspired by small, whole, oven-roasted and salted potatoes. I wanted something in between oven-roasted and some kind of fried potatoes. To my mind they require no butter or sauce. The trick is to exercise patience and restraint; let the potatoes fry until you are sure they are near burning -- no peeking!Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

Food52 Review: Gretchen wasn’t kidding when she named her potato dish “The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes.” The dish is absurdly simple in terms of ingredients, but it’s the contrasting play of colors and textures that make it worthy of a community pick. The step of keeping the wedges stuck together while the spuds fry results in a striking contrast of light and dark surfaces. One bite through a wedge leaves a delightful confusion on your palate, simultaneously chip-like in crunchiness and mashed potato-like in fluffiness, all in one bite. The flavor of the potatoes shines through in the absence of potentially overwhelming spices, but feel free to indulge yourself with a dash of your favorite seasonings. Panfusine

Serves 2 to 10

  • Small red bliss, yukon gold, or other waxy potatoes, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt (I prefer Morton Kosher salt here as it is more coarse than Diamond Crystal)
  1. Halve the potatoes and place the cut side down; halve each half again but keep these halves together.
  2. Choose a cast iron skillet large enough to accommodate the halved potatoes. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan 1/8 inch deep in oil. Heat the oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Sprinkle a generous layer of salt into the oil all over the bottom of the pan, as evenly as possible in a thin layer. Place the potato halves onto the salt (keeping the pieces of second cut together so the potatoes look like just one half). Fry at medium heat (without peeking) until you are sure that the potatoes must be burning (they're not!), about 10 to 12 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. At 10 minutes, gently turn over a potato half to see if it is nicely browned; if not, continue cooking a few more minutes.
  3. When the potatoes are nicely browned, turn the heat as low as possible and cover the pan. You will hear spattering noises as the potatoes start to steam, and they will continue to brown under cover.
  4. Cook about 20 minutes covered. The potatoes are done when a sharp knife slips into a potato easily. Serve hot. Kept covered with the heat off, they will keep for 30 minutes or more. If you are letting them stand, drain off any excess oil from the pan. They are equally good at room temperature.

Comments (49) Questions (0)

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Steph

4 months ago Stephanie Bourgeois

Stephanie is the Head Recipe Tester of Food52.

For anyone having trouble with the potatoes burning, we've made some changes to the recipe that should help. Let us know if you have any more issues.

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4 months ago Bea

These rock! Added a little bacon fat to the oil....yeah, I went there!!! Cooked them in a cast iron pan and when done, tossed them lightly in all the yummies in the pan and brought the pan to the table. The troops literally fought over them!!! Easy to prepare as they kinda take of themselves. A definite keeper!

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5 months ago Lanny Biehler

Amber, your suggestion of adding beets to the mix inspired me to add other root vegetables like parsnips, turnips or rutabaga. It is still in the thought stage. Since I was trying to caramelize the spuds, why not other vegetables.

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5 months ago Amber K

Do it! The potatoes and beets were delicious! I bet other root veggies would be a dream.

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5 months ago Amber K

I'm making these now, and when you think they are burning they are. I got to about 11 minutes and thought "those suckers are burning, and I'm going to peek", they were. I'm cooking them on medium and all of the 'taters toward the middle have burnt. I saved them by cutting off the burnt end. Luckily they have a delicious barbecue flavor from the burn instead of an ashtray charred taste. I don't have a cover big enough for my ginormous pan so I'm finishing them off in the oven. With the 'taters I threw 2 beets that had been sitting in my fridge for a few days too long to be good raw, and in the oven also waits a few cloves of garlic sitting in olive oil. Tonight I shall feast on the beets and a few pieces of potato, and tomorrow lunch will be a salad from the potatoes, garlic, a smidge of the roasting oil and maybe a few herbs from the pot on my porch. Thanks for the recipe!

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5 months ago Lanny Biehler

I love roasted potatoes. Fortunately, I grow my own so I need not worry about pesticides. I don't use them. I, too, am a fan of black iron pans stuck in the oven. My favorite is crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. My oven rack is in the middle of the oven (Whirlpool manufactured)and temperature set at 450 degrees F. My spuds take about 40 minutes to get to the texture I like. Wonderful taste when pulled out of the oven. They are even good with a little coconut butter, or gravy :)

Stringio

6 months ago Jackie Johnson

love roasted potatoes

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6 months ago Saturday's Child

I've been making these for many years, but in the oven where they brown all over, (skillet and potatoes just brushed or sprayed with canola oil and sprinkled with Mrs Dash), kosher salt on bottom of skillet.

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6 months ago mannyk

Fast,Easy,and Great Baked Potato.
Medium to large potato,wash well with brush, prick with fork few times, place in microwave on a sheet of paper towel for 10 (ten) minutes. Remove, slice center across almost end to end, insert a thin slice of butter in the incision,sprinkle a pinch of salt, place in toaster oven and toast for 5 (five) minutes. Enjoy

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6 months ago mannyk

You crisp potato on one side only. If you crisp on all sides you'll be eating "Shoe Leather". The olive oil will help brown and the kosher salt acts as a buffer between the bottom of the pan and the potato and also adds flavor. I feel from answers here that most are concerned with the time consuming. Well we are so programed to instant cooking and instant gratification that we forgot how to be patient and actually give time to anticipate the end result of a dish prepared from"scratch".

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6 months ago Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

Bingo! Cooking and eating should be a pleasurable experience whether you make something in 10 minutes or 60. These potatoes can be cooking while other parts of the meal are being prepared, so I'm not sure what all the fuss about time is about.

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5 months ago Amber K

Right-o! A coworker of mine called me crazy for chopping up a few veggies and putting dressing on it for dinner. She said, "that's too much work".

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6 months ago Morgan

I can't see the top portion of the reciepe because of the picture! How can I get rid of it?

Stringio

6 months ago Cheryl Rambo

The best way to make the same potatoes without the mess is this. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take small red/yellow potatoes and halve. Put them on a shallow, foil lined pan. Salt/pepper to taste. Add about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Put in oven for about 12 minutes then turn. Let continue cooking for about another 12-15 minutes. Check with a knife. It should go thru the potatoes easily. If not, give them a few more minutes. Can be served hot or at room temp. Easy with little fuss.

Stringio

6 months ago Deborah Sigel

My mother used to make fried potatoes and onions, crispy. I loved them! Adding the salt to the bottom is genius. I wonder if these could be done in the oven the same way. Easier clean-up. And add onions.

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6 months ago Pam Moore Winterrowd

I made some of these TWICE over the weekend and they were DELICIOUS! Which reminds me, there are a few leftover in the fridge, and it IS lunchtime. See ya. (-:

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6 months ago Billy Bob

No; it isn't imperative that you use an iron skillet. And by the way; the pan in the picture is not cast iron, it's stamped steel, very common in most restaurant kitchens.

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5 months ago Scallionboy

It's neither cast iron nor "stamped steel" but forged iron. And from the cross-hatching on the inside, it looks suspiciously like the Turk Extra High Edge Criss-Cross pan sold on this very site: http://food52.com/provisions.... And things must have changed, but these were rare enough in the [numerous] kitchens in which I worked for decades.

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6 months ago Florida George

I can make mouth watering restaurant quality home fried potatoes way quicker than this and I will give you my secret! I like to use small red potatoes preferably and I simply microwave them first for about 5-6 min(4-5 potatoes about 3 inch in dia). You then slice them into bite size wedges and slice one sweet onion into wedges as well and fry in about 1/4c canola oil on med hi heat until browned on all sides. Use a non stick fry pan for best results. This will work every time and will take about 15-20 tops!

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6 months ago Ken

Excellent! Thanks for the tip FG. I can use all the help I can get. :)

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6 months ago candy

good grief...americans are obese...we need to stop the animal fats...ill stick to pan roasted organic veges...no pesticide animal fats fed by monsantos pesticide frankenfood corn and soy for me...no way...

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6 months ago Susan G.

The recipe is for potatoes and olive oil. Not sure what you are commenting on, but it doesn't make sense. (although if you were referring to corn and butter I agree with what you were trying to say)

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6 months ago Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

Cooking potatoes simply with a small amount of olive oil has nothing to do with animal fats, obesity or Monsanto.

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6 months ago Mary

Cast iron, what a great way to cook. Love the potatoes cooked in cast iron. Just the other day I cooked a pineapple upside down cake in cast iron. I cook all my meats and a lot of veggies in cast iron. There is nothing better than a steak or pork chop cooked in them. I'd rather have them that way then going out to dinner. There's no comparison to the taste. Thanks for putting it online!

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6 months ago Ken

Hi Mary! Thanks, I agree in spite of all the "need to be" things it's in violation of. lol I like your ideas and am going to try them. The other day I made a standard bread recipe in one of those ceramic covered cast iron pots. It was baked 'covered' for 30 minutes @ 450, then uncovered for another 10. It looked and had the characteristics of a sour dough loaf. It had a hard crispy crust, but was soft and porous inside. I liked it allot! I appreciate your comments as I'm "an old dog 'trying' to learn...". :)

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6 months ago candy

potatoes need to be organic!! or you are just eating monsanto's pesticide spuds...

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6 months ago Wanda

Candy why don't you go to another site and spout your warnings. We like what we read here and can make choices with out your help.

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6 months ago candy

obese america does need help

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6 months ago Wanda

Maybe but I'm sure we don't want you spouting on sites we enjoy reading.

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6 months ago Ken

Hi! Your fried potatoes recipe sounds awesome and I'd like to try them. But...you might wanna give 'My Granny's' "recipe" (and she lived to be 100) a try. I can't imagine any ever being better(IMO). :) Cast iron skillet, whatever kind of standard type of baking potatoes (skinned and cut probably one more time than your recipe), salt (whatever kind you like), pepper (again...), chopped onions (probably white), fried in bacon 'GREASE' (you can add some oil, only if you don't have enough 'GREASE'). :) Turn till most are browned. You can use a lid 'some', but too much will get them mushy. (You can do cabbage, much the same way) You owe it to yourself to give these a try. I love my Granny, the most awesome cook ever! ;)

Stringio

6 months ago Edwin Mitchell

Hi there Barbara, the reason tjhat the potatoes were split is that when the steam starts it goes between the pots and cooks them much more even.

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6 months ago Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

Thank you, Edwin for the clarification. I thought they would probably cook a little more evenly and faster, but didn't think about the steam between the cut pieces and since I wasn't sure, I did not mention it.