5 Ingredients or Fewer

The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes

November 16, 2013
18 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
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

Test Kitchen Notes

"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

"I have long documented in this space my antipathy for side dishes, and my family has learned to accept a constant round of broccoli, green beans, and yeah, I’ll say it, sweet potato fries straight from the freezer bag.

But sides got a whole new lease on life chez moi with The Best Pan Roasted Potatoes. The best thing here is the reminder to work with waxy potatoes, which really do make a difference in these pan roasted dishes. Yes, you do need patience, and that may not seem like a weeknight virtue—but while these are doing their thing for 12 minutes or so you can be chopping, stirring, or doing whatever else you need to do to get dinner on the table.

Alternatively, you can ask your teenager about her boyfriend, her math homework, or the boyfriend who isn’t really her boyfriend, she says. That took 12 minutes! Okay, it took three. So now go ask another kid why their room looks like a Superfund site. Okay now you can check your potatoes.

Brown! Spitting oil a little! Be careful. Once covered watch them carefully. Mine took 20 minutes to achieve that delicious sort of salty yield between the teeth. Eat on." —Jestei

—The Editors

Watch This Recipe
The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • 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)
In This Recipe
  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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