Grandma Potatoes

October 28, 2021
23 Ratings
Photo by Julia Garland. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
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.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Baking Sheets
- Ceramic Salt Cellar
- Five Two Silicone Oven Mitts

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

What You'll Need
  • 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”)
  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.

  • Leigh Whitmire Cross
    Leigh Whitmire Cross
  • Lorrie Hanawalt
    Lorrie Hanawalt
  • Deanna Edmunds
    Deanna Edmunds
  • saramin
  • kasia S.
    kasia S.
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

23 Reviews

Janet S. March 30, 2024
These potatoes are really delicious! I’m one who likes quantities and times in a recipe and so I felt like I was winging it, but the potatoes were scrumptious! Thanks, Emma!!
Ann M. May 3, 2023
BEST potatoes ever!!! Cannot thank you enough for sharing this wonderful family recipe. It will be made often in my family too from now on and we will think of you. Everyone loved them last night and I am buying more potatoes today to make them again. It took about 45 min. for mine to become really crispy and golden, and the spices are a perfect combination! Thank you!
Leigh W. May 22, 2022
These are the best potatoes in the universe and I have made pretty much every potato recipe out there. Thank you Emma! They do take a while in my oven-like almost an hour. Plan accordingly!
Granny S. March 23, 2022
I made these with regular potatoes (used this recipe) and also the one from Allrecipes that uses "canned baby white potatoes". They are both excellent recipes. I don't usually buy canned potatoes, so this recipe works better for me. They are a little time-consuming but always turns out great! Yummy!
Marc L. January 3, 2022
I made this for our New Years Eve family dinner. We did a Greek theme, and even though Emma's grandma wasn't Greek, it fit nicely. Everyone loved it. Exactly as Emma describes in the video: crunchy and flavorful outside, creamy on the inside.
My only suggestion is that the fork-tender potato test went really fast (after a pretty long time for the water to start boiling again after adding the potatoes), and so I wound up over-cooking the potatoes a bit. No harm done, they were still delicious and this indestructible recipe still worked. But next time I will start checking for doneness after only a few minutes of boiling. I think the potatoes were still cooking even though the water wasn't boiling yet.
judy December 31, 2021
This recipe is exactly as my Dad's recipe. He roasted them with "roast beast"! Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Sunday dinner. He and Granny must have been from the same generation. They were the best potatoes.!
Thelma L. December 26, 2021
Like all granny recipes, this one leaves out a detail for those who need a little more help in the kitchen.

I used two large russet potatoes. Quartered them lengthwise, then sliced about 3/4” thick. I put them in a pot of water, brought it to a boil, turned down and let them cook for 15 minutes — ie, fork tender.

After cooking, I drained them in a colander then placed on a sheet pan to cool. After cooling, I tossed with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, ground dried rosemary and kosher salt. Popped them in a 425 oven.

Well, I thought they’d be crispy in 15-20 minutes. No, they were wet, almost soggy.

Hostess Tip: I poured everyone a fresh cocktail.

After a little over an hour, total oven time, they were crispy.

The potatoes were a hit with dinner!

We all know granny could cook. She just couldn’t write recipes worth a darn — because she knew what she was doing in the kitchen!
Rebeccasad January 1, 2022
Amen! I tried this recipe twice while I was in Germany and they need to cook for a very long time.
Lorrie H. December 21, 2021
If anyone wants to try a different flavor combo but same method try this: zest one lemon rind into a mortar, add salt, and fresh minced rosemary. Grind it for awhile. Toss it with good olive oil and cooked potatoes. cook in the same way but add unpeeled large garlic cloves to the sheet pan. When it's done cooking squeeze the garlic onto the potatoes. You won't mind the burned fingers from the garlic! I've been making this for over 20 years and my family loves them! I will try this version too!
coachtfp December 29, 2021
This reminds me of a recipe called Garlic Chicken, With Garlic, Garlic, which I found in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine (1986) by Jeff Smith (p.174). It calls for 40 unpeeled cloves of garlic, roasted in the drippings from a cut up chicken roasted on a sheet pan. The objective is to serve the garlic with crackers while the chicken is resting. It is my second favorite "Fruggie" recipe, close behind Barley with Chicken and Onions (p.255) from The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook (1992), one of dozen he has published. I'm 84 and still a fan of this collector of American recipes. Finicky diners may be reluctant to handle the schmaltz-laden cloves. Quell domage!
Noel December 9, 2021
Absolutely loved this recipe! The potatoes were so crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Loved the seasoning and the flavor. I served my potatoes with a salad with mustard vinaigrette, sharp cheddar, dried crans, honey crisp apples, and walnuts. Was a great combo!
Deanna E. December 8, 2021
The seasoning on this is so good! And I love the lacy crispy edges of the potatoes. I'm blown away at how perfect they taste. I'm so grateful that so much flavor comes from a recipe that is easy to memorize and uses ingredients that are always on hand. Thank you for this gift of a recipe!
saramin November 29, 2021
These are so gooood and also remind me of my mother's fabulous roast turkey (she rubs the skin with the same oil/spice mixture and roasts it with an entire bottle of dry vermouth). I'm scheming having both dishes together next year. :)
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!
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.
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
Emma L. November 2, 2021
kasia S. November 18, 2021
So sweet!