The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes



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
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  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.

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Reviews (69) Questions (0)

69 Reviews

LFK October 1, 2018
Cast iron doesn't heat evenly. Next time I'll put the skillet in the oven at 400 or so to get the entire pan to the same temperature. The potatoes at the center of the pan were browned, but the potatoes away the edge were not. I would consider using a higher smoke point oil rather than olive oil, perhaps avocado? I used kosher salt and found the potatoes to be far too salty. I may have put down too much salt. <br /><br />
 
LFK October 1, 2018
Oh...I found just shy of 1.5 pounds of halved small red potatoes filled a 12" skillet.
 
Carol G. August 20, 2018
I followed the recipe except I used refined coconut oil. They turned out perfect! I did monitor the time though as I am not yet skilled using cast iron cookware. Potatoes were the Dynamic Dual creamer potatoes from Costco. I halved the smaller ones and quartered the bigger ones. Followed the instructions for placement etc. Awesome!!!!
 
Carlos R. June 15, 2017
Just made it as a side dish for dinner and it turned out great. Thanx for the added recipe to the arsenal
 
Chris S. June 14, 2017
Recipe is perfect as it is!! Cookingbsecond batch now with Chicken Cordon bleu in the oven.! Did add some rosemary and thyme and it's smelling so so good
 
Barb H. April 27, 2017
The best skillet potatoes I ever made after 4p yrs of cooking!! My family loved them,even my picky 8 yr old grandson!<br />
 
Robin August 9, 2016
Very good. I used fresh lard and added 1/4 inch water. Covered and cooked for 5 min or so, then uncovered and cooked until the water was gone and the potatoes were brown. Crisp and creamy.
 
Smaug August 9, 2016
Really no reason to add water; the potatoes have more than enough moisture of their own, and will cook faster and more evenly if left covered. You'll probably still have a bit of free moisture to cook off.
 
vivs June 2, 2016
Everything was going well until I covered the pan. Sure, the potatoes cooked quickly, but those beautiful crisp sides went soggy! I salvaged them by taking off the cover and letting them recrisp. Next time I might cover them in the beginning and then remove the cover to let them crisp to their full potential! One thing I learned from this is to stop flipping the potatoes constantly. Thank you!
 
Smaug May 4, 2016
This is actually a pretty versatile way to cook potatoes- first time I ran across it was Penelope Casas' "Poor Man's Potatoes" (if I remember aright), which are sliced thinly. My versions always include onion and almost always some kind of peppers, nearly always rosemary and thyme, at the least, but it can be spiced up with all sorts of sausages, corn etc- (Mexican) chorizo, corn and potatoes is a classic combination that works great with this cooking method, but the possibilities are endless.
 
Smaug May 4, 2016
Also, I usually cut them bite sized.
 
alidee06 March 31, 2016
I made these exactly as the recipe said but I threw an onion into the pan...AH. MAZE. ING. I'm obsessed!!
 
Carol H. December 26, 2015
My first try needed extra time because my potatoes were too big. Still great though. The second time I boiled them with a cup of vinegar first (using the vinegar potato recipe) before following this recipe and they were excellent!
 
chris April 23, 2015
Oh, my, but these were good. I managed to fit an lot of potatoes into my 12" Le Creuset skillet and, sadly, there are none left. (I'm not going to admit how many of us ate.) Excellent directions, and wonderful resulting potatoes. I used olive oil and my "generous" amount of kosher salt was perhaps a wee bit excess. Still, it takes a lot to over-salt potatoes. Delicious, and a great method when I'm not using the oven for something else. (I usually roast potatoes alongside whatever chunk of beast is cooking.)
 
Tatiana April 23, 2015
I tried these for dinner tonight. Ended up with black potatoes even though I only cooked them for 10 minutes on less than medium heat. I don't even have a commercial grade cook top, so I know my BTUs were rather low. Sigh.
 
Jeany April 23, 2015
Could the oil of choice be ghee?
 
Lanny B. April 23, 2015
Hi Jeany, Butter tastes good on everything :) I was thinking about the smoking point of ghee, so I looked it up on "whatscookingamerica.net" and ghee has a high smoke point (375-485 degrees F) I don't see a problem with using ghee.<br />If I had some, I would use it for everything I cook. I just haven't taken the time to clarify butter. Maybe tomorrow :).
 
xxx Y. October 4, 2015
Ghee is available at the grocery store in the ethnic section. No muss, no fuss!
 
Stephanie B. April 3, 2014
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.
 
Bea March 19, 2014
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!
 
Lanny B. March 10, 2014
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.
 
Amber K. March 11, 2014
Do it! The potatoes and beets were delicious! I bet other root veggies would be a dream.
 
Amber K. March 9, 2014
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!
 
Brad R. October 17, 2014
I had better luck putting my stovetop element at one notch below medium and first checking at around 8 minutes instead of 10-12. I don't have a cover for my cast iron either, so I used a few sheets of tin foil laid loosely across.
 
Lanny B. March 9, 2014
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 :)
 
Jackie J. February 1, 2014
love roasted potatoes
 
Saturday's C. January 21, 2014
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.