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Roasting Potatoes

posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetables and Beans, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
difficulty rating

Roasting any vegetable brings out its natural sweetness. There are many different ways to roast potatoes – some healthier than others. Many recipes have you peel the potato and cut it into chunks and par-boil them first, and then roast them in the oven.

Roast Potatoes with Boneless Leg of Lamb

My Mom used to roast peeled potatoes in the bottom of the pan when she was making a pork roast. The drippings made them really crispy and tasty.

Today, I’m taking a few short cuts – I’m going to cut my washed and unpeeled potatoes into wedges, coat them with oil and spices and roast them in a hot oven until they are really crispy.

Depending on where you are from, these potatoes may be called cottage fries or potato wedges.


The picture below shows the ingredients you need to assemble:


You’ll need:

6 Medium Potatoes ( about 2 lbs.)

4 Tablespoons of Olive oil

2 teaspoons of Dried Rosemary (optional)

1 Tablespoon of Salt

1 teaspoon of Pepper and

A sprinkle of Garlic powder and Onion powder (which are both optional)

The equipment you’ll need is:

A Cutting board

A Knife

A Plastic bag

A Vegetable Brush and

A Baking sheet with sides

Position your oven rack is in lower third of the oven. Do this before you pre-heat the oven.

You need to go and preheat the oven to 425 F. (220 C., Gas Mark 7) degrees.

425 degrees is a hot oven, so be careful! It will take about 20 minutes to preheat your oven to this temperature.

Many ovens have several different setting like “bake” or “broil” or “preheat” or “self clean” (if you are lucky!) to name just a few. For roasting potatoes be sure the cooking mode is set for “bake”.

I am not going to peel the potatoes, as the skin will add a really nice texture to the roasted potato.

Wash the potatoes under running water either with a vegetable brush or by rubbing the potatoes vigorously with your hands. Remember….soap is never used to wash fruit or veggies!


Then dry them with a paper towel.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then into narrow wedges about 1 inch thick. Try to cut them all the same size so that they’ll cook evenly.


Stick all the cut potatoes into a clean plastic bag. I like to use the zip-lock bags to seal them tight.


Now add the spices to the bag.

Pour the olive oil over the potatoes.

Add the dried rosemary to the bag.

Add the salt and pepper.

Add a sprinkle of garlic or onion powder if you like.


Close the bag and gently squish everything together with your hands.


Empty the bag of potatoes onto the baking sheet.

(Always use a baking sheet with sides for roasting vegetables.)


Place the baking sheet in the oven.

Roast the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Then turn them over using a spatula or a pair of tongs.


Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes, depending how browned and crispy you like them. Sometimes I leave them in the oven even longer. Watch it though. There’s a fine line between really crispy and burnt.

They will be very hot! Tempting as they look, let them cool a few minutes before biting into them!


They are fabulous as is, but you could dunk them in sour cream or ketchup. You decide!


Roasted Potatoes Ingredients:

(4-6 Servings)

  • 6 medium potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder

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Jon Sacker said:


Again interesting differences between US & UK cooking. For me a roast potato should be soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.

As you have presented them in your photos the potatoes would be called potato wedges in the UK the while a roast potato (or roastie) is chunkier.

To get really great roasties (and when I can be bothered) I cut the potatoes into chunks and then cook them in simmering water for about 5 minutes before putting them into hot oil and roasting for about 45 minutes at 400.


What is also really good is to put in some cloves of garlic (loosened from the bulb but still in their skins) – very tasty.

bethany Riskin said:

Jon, what you are describing is a baked potato in North America (Canadians included) — what you would call jacket potatoes (oh, how I salivate for those jacket potatoes filled with cottage cheese and other goodies consumed on the curb at Covent Garden while watching the street performers). Thanks for translating for the rest of the world.

Kathy, amen! I am forever your servant. Your instructions are so easy to follow and you explain nearly everything so we know why — the best way to learn. You have led me to two questions, however. Is it most efficient to gather all ingredients needed before beginning the dish, or is it just as easy to grab for things as they are necessary? Secondly, why must we never use soap to wash fruits and vegetables (veg for Jon)?

Since I am so nutrient-conscious, this is what I want to pass on: Unless absolutely necessary, do not peel potatoes (or apples), as the skin holds the most nutrients. Carrots, on the other hand, do not contain additional nutritients in the skin and it is very bitter, so always peel carrots. That is my 2¢. : )

bethany Riskin said:

P.S. Jon, love your idea about throwing in some cloves of garlic. I think I never have the patience to roast garlic, but this gets it all done at once. Can’t wait to run to the kitchen to cut up some good spuds and fresh garlic to make this for my hubby!

Kathy (Maister) said:

Hi Jon, You say potato I po-TA-toe……..
My version of roasted potatoes can be cut into any shape or size you wish. I like the wedge shape because you don’t need a fork to eat them!

Bethany I will be demonstrating how to make a baked potato, (or as they say in the UK, a jacket potato!) very soon!

Soap is definitely not used to wash fruits and vegetables.
The USDA says, “Consumers should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap. These products are not approved or labeled by the Food and Drug Administration for use on foods. You could ingest residues from soap or detergent absorbed on the produce.”
Cheers! (I’m off to get some ice cream!)

Rebecca Lewis said:

These potatoes are absolutely delicious! My husband and I can’t get enough of them. Any time my hubby is home when I’m starting dinner he looks at me with a hopeful look and asks for these!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Rebecca, given a choice, my husband would eat roasted potatoes every night of the week! I’m delighted to hear that they are such a hit in your home!

Stefanie said:

I am into health food BUT Roasted potatoes….hm I CAN NOT live withour them. Thank you Kathy.


Rob said:

Hi there. Jon was not describing a Jacket Potato, why on earth would you pre boil a roast potato? He did however neglect to mention that you should peel the spud.

While delicious, your version of the Roasty would indeed be classed as a potato wedge in the UK.

For me the perfect Roast potato goes as follows. Peel and cut your potato’s into quarters; 6 pieces if they are large. Par boil in heavily salted water until soft (don’t skimp on the salt. I really mean it!) then drain the potatoes and give them a good shake so the outsides start to break up.

While your potatoes are par boiling heat some oil (Peanut, or sesame or if you are feeling adventurous Goose fat is the best) in a roasting tray until it is smoking hot. add your drained potato’s to the pan, season and chuck in a couple of bulbs of garlic and a handful of Rosemary. Roast for an hour and enjoy…

Jon (Sacker) said:


thanks for the amend – yes, if you don’t peel them they turn into rocks (yuch).

By chance my father cooked roast potatoes last night and having turned into an adventurous cook he coooked them in saffron. A pinch of saffron ground to a powder, half the powder in the water and then heat the oil and put the other half in the hot oil before adding the potatoes to that. Fantastic!!

Kathy Maister said:

Sorry to disagree Rob and Jon BUT…I rarely peel potatoes when I’m roasting them. Mine have never turned into rocks. In fact the crispy skin gives them a great texture. Rob, your method sounds wonderful, but a bit more involved. (BTW, here is Boston, Goose fat is only available at really top notch gourmet shops. I’ve never seen it in my local grocery store.)

Me said:

Why is everyone making a big deal out of what they are called where THEY live? Is it the name or the recipe that counts?And to those who think they know a better way to make them…well put it on your own blog instead of being negative about this one.I happen to love this recipe for ROASTED potatoes and I want to thank you for posting it.And I could care less what they call it and I could care just about as less about how others decide to make theirs ‘better’.This is your blog last I checked, not theirs.They act live they invented these things and their name for it is the official one.Sounds childish to me and pointless.And I can vouch for the fact that these do not come out like bullets.AND I happen to like the skins on them too :)

Emanuel said:

Great recipe. Can’t wait to try it out!! Thank you Kathy.

Mirela said:

This potatoes are great. I hope I’m not too fat to eat them.

casieopea said:

Me – I guess I enjoy the differences in cultures, the differences in recipes and also the differences in how people do things. Imagine how boring it would be if we all did things the exact same way – AND think of all the things we get to try by listening ( or reading) about how someone does it differently, or that they call it something different.!!

I would like to know what I am ordering in a pub or diner when I go somewhere to eat and I happen to be in another country!!


seabird said:

I think it is fascinating the nuances in the words we use when describing things! If someone were to say to me we are having roast beef and roasted potatoes for lunch, I wouldn’t naturally think of these. I am not sure what I would call them, in fact. In spite of that they look extremely good!

I am from the same school as some of the other brits – we peel and parboil the spuds first, shake them so the outsides get really rough and then into the hot fat for a longer time than the recipe here recommends – I typically allow about 55 minutes. Also delicious, but no more or less so than the recipe posted here.

A girl :) said:

I’m cooking for the family tonight as we do in our family (I’m the teenager, therefore I get it the most) and I stumbled upon this and decided to try it. The family loved it! I didn’t have rosemary, so I used oregano instead. Turned out lovely.

Diane said:

I put the oil in the pan and shake the potatoes round until they’re covered. You could do the seasoning this way too and save the bag.

I do roast parsnips and carrots with them too, and red or white onions quartered. It’s a lazy way of cooking veg and as long as you don’t use too much oil I don’t think it’s too bad for you.

I am a huge fan of roast parsnip – love them more than roast spuds at the moment!

Kathy Maister said:

Diane, you are so right! Adding some carrots, onions and parsnips to the pan and suddenly eveyone is eating their vegetables!

Rob said:

Great work Kathy. I too love roasted potatoes. A tip I’d like to share – I find that preheating the pan in the oven really reduces any potential stickiness from the roasted potatoes. When you put the potatoes on the hot roasting pan, they start to sizzle immediately, instead of slowly warming up with the pan. I find that this results in crispier potatoes.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Rob, my mom always made her oven roasted chicken that way. She heated the oil in the oven before adding the chicken to the pan. It always came out really (really!) crispy.

RPO said:

they look sooo goood

KGWagner said:

This is a great recipe that works well and isn’t difficult at all to get good results from.

One thing I’ve learned just recently after having taken delivery of a new stove that does everything but solve world peace is that it takes a lot longer to pre-heat an oven than I think most people are aware of.

This is a beastie of a stove, not some apartment-grade starter unit, and it’ll use all of 12 to 15 minutes to get to 425 degrees F. You can’t just turn it on, then stick something in there a few minutes later and start timing. It’ll be way off.

This is especially important with things that you’re trying to “oven fry” like potatoes. Put them in a moderate oven, and they’re likely to absorb the oil rather than cook in it, which isn’t what you want. You want that oil to get hot ASAP and transmit the heat to the food. So. start the pre-heat before the food prep. You might get even better results than you have.

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks KGW for the pre-heating reminder. It is essential to have the oven fully pre-heated for proper cooking.
(Think about how many times you may have tried cooking frozen French fries in a non-preheated oven and ended up with soggy fries!)

Julie said:

These look great, and easy. Thanks a lot!

Kathy Maister said:

Given a choice, my husband would eat potatoes everyday! These are his favorites! (Mashed Potatoes are a close second!)

Brian said:

I do very similar. Add paprika and cumin powder. I mix it all up in a large bowl – I like to feel the food so do it by hand – but thats just me.
I sometimes add a little chicken soup powder – awesome.

Kathy Maister said:

Chicken soup powder?

Wow! I never heard of that one before!

KH said:

The discussion about naming is valid. The original recipe and Jon’s comments are describing two different things. Roast potatoes are not potato wedges, and potato wedges are not roast potatoes. But both as just as tasty!

Tatra Man said:

Two nations divided by a common language.” Often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill but more correctly to either Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw.

I was in the USA in ’67 and even in California ignorance of the outside world was apparent. Not recognising my lack of anything but a mild American accent picked up after two months of travelling, I was asked in San Francisco if I came from New England. In a witty mood, I replied that, no, I came from Old England. There was a brief pause until my interlocutor said . . “Oh . . . . . Where’s that?” . . Stunning ignorance for one of the USA’s more cosmopolitan cities! The world is a big place and whilst the internet started in the USA with ARPANET, the World Wide Web is a British invention (Sir Tim Berners-Lee) and we who use it should have an international attitude, not a parochial one. It is disappointing that when I was looking for parsnip recipes and failed to find any I had to check to see if this was an American site by searching for courgettes and aubergines. Sure enough, they are absent whist the American names for these vegetables were listed. A pity, too, that temperatures are still in the little-used °F and not in the more universal °C.

Turning to roast (not ‘roasted’) potatoes, the simple difference between baking and roasting is that the former uses just the hot air and the latter involves fat or oil. What Kathy describes are more like oven fried jacket wedges. Rob and seabird have the method just about right but both have omitted that it is essential to turn and baste the potatoes at 15 minute intervals so that the outsides are crispy and even. If you omit this, they can end up with that tough skin reminiscent of the hated school meals roast potatoes.

To reiterate: one very important point is that very few countries still have ovens calibrated in °F. Most (if not all) use either °C or gas mark numbers. Spuds should be roasted at the same temperature as the roast meat they accompany – usually around 180-190°C – and can be cooked around the meat and basted in the meat fat. If you’re worried about the health implications, cook them separately in vegetable oil.

Having said all this, I shall enjoy trying Kathy’s recipe for jacket wedges. ;-)

Nick Cord said:

Never roasted potatoes like that before, will definitely give it a try. I like potatoes!

Nick Cord

chimol said:

hi Kathy,
i’m a big fan of your website and it has helped me big time on my “cooking skills”! (i knew nothing, really!).

i’ve been trying this recipe 2 or 3 times, and the potatoes always stick to the baking sheet. how can i fix this? also, i don’t know if this makes any difference, but in the “baking” mode, my gas oven only gets heat from the bottom. i have to change it to “grill” to get heat from the top.

hope you can help me… thank you!!

startcooking said:

Try lining your pan with tin foil or using a non stick pan. Perhaps even a touch more oil will do the trick.

Do not set you oven to grill. It should be set in the baking mode with the heat source coming (usually) from the bottom of the oven.

Try using a spatula to turn the potatoes rather than a pair of tongs. Nudge the spatula under the potato to turn it over.

Good Luck!

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