The Rule-Bending Cooking Trick for Impossibly Crispy Potatoes (I Can’t Stop Making Them)

published May 23, 2024
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Crispy skillet fried potatoes in skillet.
Credit: Photo: Justin Bridges | Food Stylist: Tyna Hoang

As a food editor, I’m embarrassed to admit that cooking potatoes has always intimidated me. Doesn’t matter if they’re baked whole in the oven, sautéed diner-style home fries (maybe the most prone for disaster?!), or french fried — potatoes are not a food that is intuitive to me in the kitchen, as humble as it may be. It’s because of this that I have actively avoided cooking potatoes at home for dinner for most of my adult life. Which is such a shame, really, because who doesn’t love a good spud? They’re cheap, the ideal vessel for soaking up chicken juices on a sheet pan, and, like most people probably learned long before me, pretty forgiving. 

But that’s the thing: It’s hard to truly mess up potatoes. And it’s also hard to get them to taste as delicious as they do at your favorite restaurant. Well, everything’s changed, folks. I found the potato recipe that has made me someone who is cooking potatoes once a week for dinner. I tried this recipe once and fell so hard for it, and I continue to be amazed by its perfection. 

What Makes This Potato Recipe So Good

Like my chocolate chip cookies, I like a potato that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These get amazingly crispy — you’d think they were properly fried — in the skillet, while the interior takes on a creamy texture. At the last minute you add in a little fresh rosemary for flavor, which makes them truly rival what you’d get served at your neighborhood’s fancy steakhouse.

Why This Recipe Really Works

When you take a bite of one of these potatoes, you might think they were a labor of love that required you to hover over the stove. Fear not! The technique used by our extremely talented Senior Recipe Editor, Christine Gallary, is brilliantly (mostly) hands-off and, most amazingly, requires zero boiling.

Many recipes want you to boil potatoes before pan-frying. This is not on my agenda for a Thursday night; it feels so fussy. Christine insists it’s not necessary: “If you cook the potatoes over medium heat and keep them covered for most of the cooking time, the lid traps in steam,” she explains, “which helps cook the potatoes through.” Instead, she suggests thinking of them like you would when you sear meat. You heat up oil, place the cut potatoes in a single layer, and don’t touch them (be as precious as you’d be with a ribeye). 

Now comes the one slightly annoying moment: After the potatoes cook undisturbed for 20-ish minutes (imagine what you can do with that time!) and take on the desired deeply golden edge, you have to flip them. Yes, each individual potato. I timed how long this took me the other night and I got it done in just over five minutes. Someone more skilled with tongs could work faster, I’m sure. Then the potatoes cook a little longer, you add chopped fresh herbs (if you want, but I recommend it because they become next-level), and a tablespoon of butter.

The result is so undeniably impressive; you won’t believe you can pull off such a perfect side at home. As for me, I’m no longer intimidated by cooking potatoes — only mesmerized.

Get the recipe: Crispy Skillet-Fried Potatoes

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn. See it there: The Rule-Bending Cooking Trick for Impossibly Crispy Potatoes (I Can’t Stop Making Them)