Crispy Smashed Potatoes Recipe

Golden brown and unbelievably crispy, with a great creamy center.

Golden brown crispy smashed potatoes on an oval white plate on a dark textured background.

Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Why It Works

  • Boiling the potatoes before frying ensures a crispy exterior and creamy center.
  • Panfrying the flattened potatoes allows excess moisture to evaporate, leaving behind an extra-thick crisp crust.聽

For years, I've been serving Ultra-Crispy Roast Potatoes for all major holidays using a technique I first read about in The River Cottage Cookbook. The idea is simple: boil chunks of potatoes in salted water until they are tender, toss them in a large bowl with some fat using a fork to bash and roughen up their surfaces, then roast until crisp. The boiling and bashing steps are key, as they add surface area to the potato chunks, allowing them to roast up with a thick, ultra-crisp shell. They're crunchier than the best french fry, and packed with great roasted flavor.

Indeed, the only potatoes I've had better are the ones that April Bloomfield used to serve at the Spotted Pig as a side dish to her roast suckling pig. For those potatoes, she utilized the same concept鈥攑ar-boiling and roughing-up鈥攂ut instead of roasting, followed it up with a deep-fry in duck fat. The results are gloriously golden brown, crisp nuggets with fluffy, potato-y centers. The crisp nooks and crannies around the edges capture that wonderful duck aroma, giving them an almost meaty bite. There are few things in the world that go better together than potatoes and duck fat.

The one issue with April's recipe is that the potatoes stay in large, irregular chunks that require a ton of fat in a deep pot to deep-fry properly. To get around that problem, I took a cue from my Colombian wife and her native country's patac贸nes; crispy plantain disks that are par-cooked, smashed flat, then fried again. You'll see them as tostones in other parts of Central and South America.

Par-cooked smashed potatoes

Rather than starting with chunks of larger potatoes, I use whole new potatoes boiled until soft (any variety will do, though red-skinned varieties will end up creamier in the center, while yellow or white-skinned varieties will end up fluffier). After I smash them under a frying pan, their skins burst and their flesh spreads around, giving the finished disks some awesomely frayed edges for crisping.

Once flattened like this, they can be fried off in a shallow layer of duck fat (or fine, vegetable oil if you'd like). The key is a slow, gently fry, which gives plenty of time for excess moisture to escape the outer layer of the potatoes, leaving behind an extra-thick crisp crust around them.

Pan-frying does limit the number of potatoes you can cook at a time, but the good news is that you can cook them in advance鈥攅ven refrigerate them overnight鈥攖hen re-crisp them in a hot oven just before serving. They'll end up just as crisp-on-the-outside creamy-in-the-middle as fresh-fried. It makes last minute prep before the big meal a snap.

Make far more than you think you'll need because these will be disappearing from the kitchen long before you even get them to the table.

1:03

Click Play to Learn How to Make Crispy Smashed Potatoes

November 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

Rate & Comment

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds small red or聽Yukon gold potatoes

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed (see note)

  • Freshly聽ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup sliced chives, parsley, or tarragon (optional)

Directions

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until potatoes are completely tender, about 10 minutes after a boil is achieved (poke a potato with a sharp knife or cake tester to test for doneness). Drain in a colander set in the sink and let rest for 10 minutes to dry and cool slightly.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows small Yukon Gold potatoes inside a pot of boiling water. The bottom image shows the potatoes, now cooked, being tested for doneness by a hand holding a metal cake tester.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Working one potato at a time, place potato on cutting board and smash firmly with the bottom of a heavy skillet to a thickness of about 1/2-inch thick. Transfer to a large plate or tray as you work.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows one of the boiled potatoes on a wooden cutting board, being crushed flat by a cast iron skillet. The bottom image shows a wooden cutting board with nine smashed potatoes lined up on it in a grid.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add as many potatoes as will fit in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until bottom side is deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip with a thin metal spatula and cook until second side is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to drain.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows five smashed potatoes placed into a cast iron pan holding half a cup of hot oil. The bottom image shows the potatoes in the pan, flipped over, revealing they have turned golden brown.

    Serious eats / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Continue cooking potatoes in batches, adding more oil or fat as necessary, until all potatoes are cooked. Potatoes can then be left aside until ready to serve.

    Four crispy smashed potatoes resting on multiple sheets of paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  5. To serve, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 400掳F (200掳C). Spread potatoes over to large rimmed baking sheets. Transfer to oven and cook until heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, add herbs (if using), toss to distribute, transfer to a serving platter, and serve.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows six crispy smashed potatoes resting on a well-seasoned sheet pan. The bottom image shows the potatoes placed inside of a serving bowl and sprinkled with chopped herbs.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Special Equipment

Cast iron skillet

Notes

Duck fat will make for even tastier, crispier potatoes.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Potatoes can be fully cooked a day ahead. Refrigerate overnight and re-crisp in the oven.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
267 Calories
11g Fat
39g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 333mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 17mg 87%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 974mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)