This is the ultimate How to Roast Potatoes guide. It’s a step by step tutorial of how to make roasties which are both perfectly fluffy and perfectly crispy. Trust me, boiling the potatoes is a step worth taking for the ultimate carb side! And it works every single time.
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I don’t tend to faff with my roasties. I don’t throw loads of herbs or garlic or strange goose fat at them. And I don’t coat them in semolina or cut them into fancy shapes. Much like with Scones or Pancakes, I like to keep them plain and simple to let the flavour and texture sing.
This is especially important to me when roasted potatoes are served with a roast meal. Too many flavours can become overwhelming on a plate.
However, having said all that, there is clearly a time and a place for a gussied up roastie. I would usually take this route when I’m making a more pared back meal where the potatoes are taking a more central role.
The joy of this “recipe” or step by step guide is that is can also be a neutral base to add any additional flavours you like. And this basic recipe is vegan and free from pretty much all common allergens. Which makes it entirely flexible and we can concentrate on making perfectly golden and crunchy roast potatoes.
To Parboil or Not to Parboil?
There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to roast potatoes. There is the “throw potatoes into the oven from cold and cook them entirely in the oven” method. And then there is the “part boil the potatoes then throw them into the oven to get crispy” method.
I am a fan of the second method and that is what I have included in this step by step guide. You can get a tray of serviceable roast potatoes without boiling them. The parboiling method does take slightly longer. And it does involve slightly effort. But my god is it worth it! Instead of perfectly serviceable potatoes, you get super fluffy on the inside and gloriously crispy potatoes every time.
I will say that parboil is a word that I hate! Whats wrong with part boil?! But mostly the point in the context of this recipe is that we’re not really going to “part” boil them, we’re actually going to boil them until very very nearly cooked.
Heating the Tray & Oil
The other part of my technique is to heat the cooking tray and oil whilst the potatoes are parboiling. This gives the cooking a headstart. I use exactly the same technique when roasting Parsnips.
The other benefit of getting the oil smoking hot before adding the potatoes is that the potatoes will cook in the oil. Cold oil will simply be absorbed by the boiled spuds and that can make them greasy and less crispy.
Make Roast Potatoes into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
Roast Potatoes are obviously a major element of a traditional British roast dinner.
What else is included in that roast dinner also varies from household to household, cook to cook and region to region. And if you’re anything like me, one roast dinner to another!
The Roast Dinner
Traditionally a roast dinner will revolve around a joint of meat. This could be anything from a Sirloin of Beef or a shoulder of pork to a classic Roast Chicken or leg of lamb. There will be a gravy made from the meat juices and I include Yorkshire Puddings every single time.
Of course vegetarians tend to be less inclined to serve a joint of meat so some kind of nut roast or wellington is quite a common substitute.
Vegetables come next. I like to have at least one roasted vegetable like my favourite parsnips. I will sometimes go for Roasted Sweet Potatoes instead or follow exactly the same recipe with butternut squash. Carrots are another given in my house. I especially love the buttery sweet glaze of Vichy style Carrots.
And then something leafy and green is needed. Savoy cabbage is a particular favourite of mine. Simply boiled white cabbage or spring greens come a close second followed by sprouts or kale/cavelo nero.
And if you are really northern and British, you’re also going to need a slice of bread and butter to mop up any gravy left on the plate! Try it, its great!
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Roasted Potatoes
Obviously the potato is vital to the dish. In my opinion it is essential to peel the potato before roasting. Skin on roasties are misshaped wedges and have a different flavour entirely.
It is also important to not keep a peeled potato out of water for any longer than possible. This is why as part of my step by step guide I tell you to peel the spuds and put them straight into cold water. And then chop them and put back into cold water.
As well as preventing the potatoes from discolouring, there is another reason for this. You will notice that when you drain the water away, it is cloudy. This is starch released by the potato. The less starch there is, the fluffier the potato will be. Which leads me to the big question…
What Variety of Potato is Best for Roast Potatoes?
Potatoes largely fall into two categories; waxy and floury. Some varieties do sit on the line, but you want to use a floury potato variety for roast potatoes.
King Edwards are roast potato royalty. They are my go-to variety and what I seek out for Christmas. Other common varieties that make great roast potatoes include Maris Piper, Rooster, Vivaldi, Apache, Elfe and Russett.
Potatoes don’t always come labelled with the variety. But you can look for potatoes labelled as “floury”, an “all rounder”,”suitable for baking” or “jacket potatoes”.
What you want to avoid is the waxy kind. These include Jersey Royals which are more suitable for boiling and serving with butter. You can roast them. But they don’t make roast potatoes!
There are several reasons why I choose to use vegetable oil rather than olive oil, goose fat, butter, beef dripping or any combination of those. They are largely due to smoking point and flavour.
As I’ve explained, I believe that heating the oil in the oven before adding the parboiled potatoes is one of the best ways to get ultra crispy but fluffy (and not overly greasy) roast potatoes.
To be able to heat the oil to a good high temperature, you need that oil to have a high smoking point. The general rule of thumb is that the paler the oil, the higher the smoking point. So any kind of light neutral oil will be ideal.
With regards to flavour, the neutral oil is obviously not going to significantly flavour the potatoes. And that is what I am looking for. Again, I want the potatoes to shine and to complement the other flavours on the plate.
If I’m serving potatoes with Roast Beef, the beef and gravy should taste of beef. You don’t need the potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire Puddings to also taste of beef or another strong flavour. Plus using a neutral oil ensures that the spuds are suitable for veggies and vegans too.
Vegetarian or Vegan Roast Potatoes
By using vegetable oil to cook the potatoes, this recipe is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans without any substitutions needed.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This roast potato recipe is free from gluten, dairy, egg and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for How to Roast Potatoes
I use a good set of silicone tongs to help make tossing the roast potatoes in the tray easier.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
How to Roast Potatoes – Step by Step
Keep scrolling to find the full and printable recipe.
Peel Potatoes and put each into the pan of water as you peel it. This stops the potato discolouring. Make sure to cut off any brown or nasty spots on the potatoes.
Cut each potato into chucks around the size of a golf ball. You can vary the number of cuts on each potato depending on its size. You also don’t have to cut everything straight. The more faces and edges to a potato chunk, the more opportunity for crispiness.
Replace the chunks back into the cold water as you work.
Once the kettle has boiled and everything is cut, drain the cold water out of the pan using a colander.
Drain and return the potatoes to the pan and cover with boiling water. Add Fine Salt and give it a stir.
Boil the potatoes on a medium high heat for roughly 20 minutes. Test the potatoes with a small knife. They want to be almost cooked through. The best roast potatoes are made when you are convinced that you over boiled them!
While they are boiling, put Vegetable Oil into a large roasting tray. Put the tray into the oven to heat. You want it to be good and hot.
Drain the potatoes in the colander again. And give the colander a light shake to rough up the edges of the potatoes. Leave them to sit for a minute. You want as much water to evaporate off as possible.
Take the tray with hot oil out of the oven and tip in the potatoes. Sprinkle over Sea Salt Flakes and toss the potatoes in the oil and salt.
Put the potatoes to the oven and leave them alone for 30 minutes.
You can then take them out of the oven and turn them over and move them around the pan. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Still Have Questions?
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Instructions in Brief
How to Roast Potatoes
- 1.2 kg Potatoes – Floury
- 4 tsp Fine Salt
- 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Put a kettle on to boil and preheat the oven to 250°c | 230°c fan | GM 4 | 480°f (or as high as it will go).
- Half fill a large saucepan with cold water.
- Peel 1.2 kg Potatoes and put each into the pan of water as you peel it. This stops the potato discolouring. Make sure to cut off any brown or nasty spots on the potatoes.
- Cut each potato into chucks around the size of a golf ball. You can vary the number of cuts on each potato depending on its size. You also don’t have to cut everything straight. The more faces and edges to a potato chunk, the more opportunity for crispiness.
- Replace the chunks back into the cold water as you work.
- Once the kettle has boiled and everything is cut, drain the cold water out of the pan using a colander.
- Return the potatoes to the pan and cover with boiling water. Add 4 tsp Table Salt and give it a stir.
- Boil the potatoes on a medium high heat for roughly 20 minutes. Test the potatoes with a small knife. They want to be almost cooked through. The best roast potatoes are made when you are convinced that you over boiled them!
- While they are boiling, put 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil into a large roasting tray. Put the tray into the oven to heat. You want it to be good and hot.
- Drain the potatoes in the colander again. And give the colander a light shake to rough up the edges of the potatoes. Leave them to sit for a minute. You want as much water to evaporate off as possible.
- Take the tray with hot oil out of the oven and tip in the potatoes. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes and toss the potatoes in the oil and salt.
- Put the potatoes to the oven and leave them alone for 30 minutes.
- You can then take them out of the oven and turn them over and move them around the pan. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- And serve!
This post was shared with the #CookBlogShare group which is hosted by Recipes Made Easy, Lost in Food and a selection of guest hosts.
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