Roast potatoes can go well with several dishes, ranging from barbecued chicken to pot roast, among others. While seasoning makes a tremendous difference, you should also consider the type of potato you’re using. This is especially the case since they don’t all roast the same. So, which potato types are the best for roasting?
What qualities are needed to make the best roast potato?
Firstly, you need to choose a potato with the optimal balance of waxiness to starchiness. This not only can make a difference in how the potato cooks but will affect the finished product.
For instance, mushy or waxy potatoes won’t give you the texture most people desire with roasted potatoes. In other words, they won’t be fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
It’s also vital to consider the skins. You want to focus on how well they hold up when you cook them. The skins of some potatoes aren’t stable enough for roasting.
What are the best potato types for roasting?
Ideally, you want a “floury” potato. These spuds are dry and fluffy, which means they won’t be mushy inside when you roast them. Even their presentation on a plate differs from moister potatoes. Floury potatoes are more mealy. In other words, the potato has a more coarse or grainy texture. When a potato is more mealy, it retains its texture better when you bake it.
Another consideration is the level of waxiness. As a general rule, you want a potato with a low-to-moderate level of waxiness, so it bakes up and is fluffy. When a potato is too waxy, it means it has a low starch content and is moister.
As noted, you need a potato with skin that will hold up well as it bakes. You might notice that certain potatoes will fall apart and won’t be able to maintain their shape. On the contrary, if you have a potato with skins that are too tough, it may be difficult to cut or eat, even after baking it fully.
As a general rule, the best potatoes for roasting are flour, moderately-waxy ones.
Why are these potato types the best for roasting?
As briefly noted, these potatoes reign supreme when it comes to roasting because they can withstand baking on a high heat setting for a prolonged period.
In addition, their skin will crisp up well, which gives you the ideal contrast of crunchy and fluffy.
To get an idea of serving sizes take a look at my article How many potatoes in a pound?
Which potato varieties make the best roast potatoes?
Surprisingly enough, there are around 4,000 varieties of potatoes found around the world. The United States alone sells about 200 types. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, there are over 500 kinds of potatoes. Only some of those potatoes in the UK are sold and commonly used for cooking.
With so many options to choose from, it’s important to know which ones stand out as the best for roasting. The United State’s best roasting potato is the russet potato. Fortunately, this potato variety is the most cultivated potato in the US. They’re known for having a flaky texture on the inside. They’re also a drier potato, which does better when you’re roasting it. Russet potatoes are starchier potatoes. Therefore, they have the mealiness suitable for cooking a potato in this manner.
In the United Kingdom, Maris Piper potatoes rank as one of the best for roasting potatoes. They are originally from Ireland but are grown more than any other potato in the UK. This particular potato becomes fluffy when you bake it. They have enough mealiness that they can hold during the baking process. Plus, when you cook the skin, it crisps up rather than remaining moist or falling apart.
Secret tips for cooking the best roast potatoes
The type of potato you use for roasting is only part of the equation for making a top-notch roasted potato. How you cook them also makes a difference.
Pre-boil the potatoes
Ideally, you want to pre-boil the potato before putting it into the oven. When you boil the spuds first, you cook them fully. Therefore, when you transfer them into the oven, you’re waiting less time for them to cook. Boiling also ensures they’re fluffy. With this method, you only bake them in the oven to crisp them.
You should only boil them for about 10 minutes. Monitor them carefully because you only want to boil them until the edges begin to break up.
Use duck fat
Next, you should cover the potatoes in hot duck fat as opposed to cold oil. For one, the duck fat gives the potatoes a richness that other oils can’t provide. Additionally, this particular fat will help the skins and the rest of the potato to crisp on the outside. The inside of the potatoes will remain fluffy and creamy, though, when you roast it in duck fat.
Seasoning your potatoes
When you cover the potatoes in duck fat, you also want to season them at the same time. This is a personal preference for people. Some examples of seasonings for roasted potatoes, though, include:
- Onion powder
You could even choose to make them a spicy roasted potato by using cayenne pepper.
You should finish cooking the potatoes by baking them at 425 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit which is roughly 220 to 230 Celcius. As you bake your potatoes, make sure you watch how crispy they’re becoming. You want the potato to have the exact amount of crunchiness without burning them.
By starting with the right potato for roasted potatoes, you’ll be more likely to achieve the desired results — crispy potato with a fluffy instead. How you prepare and cook the potatoes makes a difference, not just the potato variety you choose.