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.
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”)
- 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.”
- Salt the boiling water like you mean it and boil the potatoes until a fork inserted meets just a little resistance.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.