British Roast potatoes is a bespoke, English way of making the crispiest ‘roasties’.

Browned, roasted potatoes in a white oval serving dish

A perfectly browned and fabulously crispy outside leads to a soft and fluffy center. Just like mum used to make and probably still does.

If you were raised in the U.K. (and ate a Sunday roast or British Christmas dinner) you most likely were raised on these. Read on and found out why they are so popular.

A closeup of British roast potatoes garnished with fresh parsley

There’s a British way of roasting potatoes? There sure is, and we take it very seriously, here’s why. Sunday lunch/dinner is the most looked-forward to meal of the week (see my Roast Beef Dinner/Sunday Roast for all the details) and the potatoes are an important component. These and the gravy are typically everyone’s favorite part of the meal.

Pouring gravy over sliced roast beef

The two important steps in achieving the best result, is to pre-boil the potatoes. After they are tender, you get rough with them by shaking them about the colander after draining. They are then allowed to dry-out slightly. The rough edges and the dried surface allows the edges crisp up in the oven.

Once they have ‘dried’, they are added to hot oil that has preheated in a pan in the oven. Pretty much like when you make British Yorkshire Pudding.

British roast potatoes - roasties fresh out of the oven in a serving dish

The potatoes are essentially shallow frying in a layer of oil/fat. There are recipes out there that recommend a fancy animal-based oil or fat like duck or goose fat to be used, but who has easy access to these? I don’t, so that I why I like to use a light, flavorless oil like vegetable, canola, rapeseed. Lard is also an option.

They need to be turned periodically so they crisp on all sides. Once they are browned, they are finished with a light sprinkling of salt. And that is all there is to achieving the crispiest roasted potatoes. 

Can you make roast potatoes with sweet potatoes or yams? Yes, they crisp up very well too and they are deliciously sweet. See the picture below.

Roasted sweet potatoes/yam and regular potatoes in a white dish
Yield: 4

British Roast Potatoes - Roasties

British roast potatoes - roasties fresh out of the oven in a serving dish

The classic British way of roasting potatoes. Crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy inside.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes 30 seconds
Total Time 55 minutes 30 seconds

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (1 kg) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks * see note
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Add the potatoes to a large pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add a good pinch of salt.
  2. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. They are done when a sharp knife easily inserts into one of the potatoes.
  3. Drain into a colander and shake them around too ‘rough’ up the surface, but not much that they break apart. Transfer them onto a baking cooling rack in an even layer to dry them out, about 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  5. To a high-sided roasting pan, add a thick, even layer of vegetable oil and place the pan in the oven to heat up the oil for 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the pan and place the potato chunks in the oil in an even layer with a little space between them. Return the pan back to the oven for 30-40 minutes. Turn the potatoes every 15 minutes so they are evenly brown and crisp all over. Sprinkle with a light amount of salt while still warm.

Notes

Any potatoes can be used: In the U.S russett, Yukon gold, sweet potatoes/yams, red skin. In the U.K, maris piper, red skin, sweet potatoes, any white potato.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 280Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 498mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.