Grandma Potatoes

October 28, 2021
4.8 Stars
Photo by Julia Garland. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
Author Notes

My grandma, Jolly, has been making this recipe since she got married the first time—which was 72 years ago. In our little family, it is iconic: the side dish you fight about at Thanksgiving, and beg for every other holiday. Like all good roast potatoes, Grandma’s are extra crispy, aggressively seasoned, and greasy in a good way, so the paprika-stained oil lingers on your lips.

Just about any kind of potato works, depending on what you can get your hands on, though Grandma doesn’t care for those “itty-bitty ones,” which are “really gourmet” and “not available in the average supermarket.” You can peel them or not, “whatever you feel like doing.” The oven temperature has gotta be “hot,” but could be 400°F or 425°F, depending on your mood. That all said? Grandma has never measured the oil or the spices. “Never!” And while she gave me permission “to measure it out, you know, if you want to write a recipe”—for once, I opted not to. That just isn’t how they’re made.

A few annotations: Estimate ¼ to ½ pound of potatoes per person (you know your relatives better than I do). Red potatoes are our favorite, but Yukons or russets are fair game, too. This is not the time to use your most expensive olive oil; something cheap does the trick. Use more paprika than you’d think, and don’t swap in smoked or hot paprika—Grandma wouldn’t like that.
Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish is part of Residentsgiving—aka the Thanksgiving menu of our wildest dreams—created by Food52's resident experts-slash-superheroes. Devour the rest of the spread here, and while you're at it, learn how to Remix & Remaster your Thanksgiving. —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
  • Potatoes (“I don’t care what kind”)
  • Salt and black pepper (“a heavy hand”)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (“enough to coat”)
  • Sweet paprika (“a lot!”)
  • Garlic powder (“never fresh”)
  • Dried rosemary (“just a little”)
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. While that’s working, peel the potatoes or don’t, “whatever you feel like doing.” Chop them into chunks: “not small cubes, bigger are better.”
  2. Salt the boiling water like you mean it and boil the potatoes until a fork inserted meets just a little resistance.
  3. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a rimmed sheet pan, and let them cool while you get the oven really hot (say, 400°F or 425°F).
  4. Drench the cooled potatoes in oil—enough to coat, plus some excess pooling on the sheet pan. Season with a ton of paprika, a lot of salt and pepper, and, yeah, a lot of garlic powder, too. Crinkle some rosemary between your fingers and sprinkle all over. Toss everything together. The seasoned oil should taste good to you, so adjust however you want. Spread out the potatoes so they’re in an even layer, cut side facing down.
  5. Roast until they’re really browned and really crispy, stirring with a spatula halfway through. These are best hot, but you can serve them warm, too.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kasia S.
    kasia S.
  • Sebastian Sardo
    Sebastian Sardo
  • Talicia Smith
    Talicia Smith
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

10 Reviews

Joan S. November 25, 2021
Love this recipe, not only in the way the ingredients read, but the way it taste so good!
kasia S. November 18, 2021
I made this after watching the video twice, and omgosh, I've roasted potatoes before but these.. uff, dreamy! Boiling them until just fork tender, not lining the cookie sheet and really using lots of oil made these potatoes incredible. The spice blend is fabulous too, the dried rosemary has more of a woody note rather than if we used fresh that's more green/soapy lol. I passed a bowl of these to my bf who was on a zoom meeting ( no video) and he looked at them like, its a bowl of potatoes? But his eyes lit up when he tasted one and ate the whole bowl haha. Everytime you share your family recipes they are a hit! Your mushroom puffs are my other favorite to make.

Next time I'm going to make a sunny side up egg and side salad of cucumber and sour cream with them :)

I hope it's ok I copied my YT review of the video into this, so it's same comment about this recipe :)
Nicki I. November 16, 2021
These are almost identical to the potatoes I've done pretty much my whole life, with the exception I usually use meat drippings (whichever roast I'm cooking). My mother taught me the recipe when I was a young girl and I taught my kids as they learned to cook. They are a family favourite!
Author Comment
Emma L. November 17, 2021
Yum, that sounds delicious!
CeeCee November 16, 2021
I would give 10 stars if I could. Thank you for sharing. Our family too loves these potatoes. I learned from my German mother to make these except for the par boil. She never did that. I cheat and microwave them first. Something that I came across one Christmas in a panic because I forgot to put them in the oven. Saved my bacon and roasted so fast that I now do it every time. They are honestly the best and get rave reviews every time I serve them. My Grandkids call them Nana's potatoes but to be honest, they came from my great grandmother.
Author Comment
Emma L. November 17, 2021
Thanks for sharing this, CeeCee! It's so special to have a recipe that everyone in the family looks forward to.
Sebastian S. November 16, 2021
These measurements are brilliant! I'm buying potatoes (and dried rosemary) today to make these :)!
Talicia S. November 2, 2021
I can hear my grandmother in those measurements
Author Comment
Emma L. November 2, 2021
kasia S. November 18, 2021
So sweet!