I’m generally a lover of potatoes, but who isn’t? Baked, mashed, fried, roasted. All delicious, but many methods require a lot of oil or added fats to make them delicious. After a lot of tweaking and perfecting, I’ve figured out a method that always results in potatoes that are hot and fluffy in the middle, crispy crunchy on the outside, and the perfect amount of salty and garlicky. They’re completely vegan, and you can tweak the spices to your liking. It also works on all potatoes, not just sweet potatoes (especially those little baby potatoes at Trader Joe’s – follow the same steps but just keep them whole!).
Let’s get into it, shall we?
- 6-8 Sweet Potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt*
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper***
- 1. Preheat oven to 425 F. No really, go preheat the oven. You want it really good and hot for the best outcome and I know you’re gonna forget until step 5.
- 2. Oven set? Okay. Now give your potatoes a good scrub under the faucet and remove any potato hairs (is there a name for those) and any gross spots. It can be a very rough job – try not to trim anything you don’t need to! Also make sure to pat all potatoes dry with a towel. This step is more important than you think.
- 3. Cut up your potatoes. I find that potatoes about the size of a quarter and a half inch thick consistently turn out to be the most delicious. Really the most important thing is that the cubes are similar in size so they cook evenly.
- 4. Toss the chopped potatoes into a bowl. I know, I hate unnecessarily dirtying an extra dish (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher I FEEL your pain), but this really is a critical step. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and then toss the bowl several times to incorporate everything into an even coating on all the potatoes. Don’t add the garlic powder yet – we’ll get to that later. I like my potatoes to have an even glaze of oil and a visible amount of salt and pepper.
- 5. Once your potatoes are seasoned, spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. What’s important here is that every potato is in contact with the pan and not layered on top of each other. This allows your potatoes to roast in a hot oven which will crisp up the outsides first, and then cook the insides into pillowy starchy deliciousness. If your oven isn’t hot enough, or if you cram too many potatoes onto a pan, they’ll end up steaming and you’ll miss out on the crunchy texture that makes these irresistible. Use two pans if needed.
- 7. Bake for about 15 minutes, and then pull one potato off the tray and check to see if the side that was touching the pan is sufficiently golden and crispy. If it is, flip all the potatoes individually so that the top side of each potato is now touching the pan. This step takes longer than you think it should, but your perseverance will be rewarded in a mere 10-15 minutes.
- 8. Roast the potatoes on the other side for another 10-15 minutes, again checking the pan side to make sure they’re not getting too dark.
- 9. Once the potatoes are fork tender and golden on both sides, add another quick drizzle of olive oil over the potatoes, a pinch more salt, and a pretty generous sprinkle of garlic powder. Use a spatula or an advanced pan-shimmy technique to evenly distribute the oil and seasonings. Try one for taste. Careful – they’ll be haugh-haw-hawow-oww-hawwwttt and you’ll do that open mouth cool down thing. Adjust seasoning to taste. Throw back in the oven for one more minute to allow the garlic to roast and become sweeter and more aromatic, or simply enjoy as is.
One thing I love about these potatoes is that they reheat fabulously, and are even delicious cold in a salad. If you can avoid eating all of them right out of the oven, you can reheat them by tossing in a pan with a little oil and sautéing until hot and crispy.
& if I haven’t already completely over-explained myself, here are some additional notes:
* I’d recommend making a big batch of potatoes whether you’re cooking for one or an entire family. They’re super easy to incorporate into meals throughout the week, if you can avoid eating them all right out of the oven Trust me, they’re that good.
** Any kind of salt will work, but the flaky crunchiness of Kosher salt really takes these tots to the next level, along with anything else you use it on.
*** Parchment paper is optional, but it helps prevent burning and you can use less oil. I didn’t have any on hand which is why some of my potatoes got a little darker than I like.
Happy cooking 🙂