Crispy and Fluffy Roast Potatoes

The perfect roast potato is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Forget the complex creations of top chefs, if you can master the roast potato you will be considered a culinary expert by friends and family. After all, who doesn’t love a good roast potato?

I believe there are 4 keys to making really good roast potatoes. They are:

  • Choosing a floury potato, such as King Edward or Maris Piper
  • Parboiling
  • Proper fat, by which I mean goose or duck fat or beef dripping, which is sizzling hot when the pototoes go in
  • A hot oven

Parboiling the potatoes before you roast them is what gives them that fluffy inside as they’ve already started to cook in the middle before they go in the oven. You don’t need to parboil them for long – you’re not cooking them through, just partly cooking them so that a knife will easily pierce them but not go right through.

When the potatoes are parboiled drain them and rough them up so that the edges aren’t as smooth. I drain them in a colander and rough them up inside it by shaking them about.

The fat you use is the one thing that will make the biggest difference to your roast potatoes. The optimum fat is goose fat. This rich fat makes your potatoes taste amazing. I tend to save this for special occasions such as Christmas. You can also use duck fat or beef dripping, both of which will also make your potatoes taste great. Alternatively you can use olive oil.

Whatever your fat or oil, put it in the roasting tray in a hot oven to heat it up before you add your potatoes. Make sure it’s really hot, you want a nice sizzle when you add the potatoes. When I add the potatoes I toss them around in the fat so that they get a covering before putting them in the oven.

The oven should be at a high temperature, at least 200c, preferably 225c. At 200c they’ll take about an hour, depending on their size.

About halfway through the cooking time, when the bottoms of the potatoes sitting on the roasting tray are golden and crisp, turn them over.



  1. Paola
    December 7, 2008 / 1:42 pm

    Julia, these were delicious, thank you for sharing!! I had to use olive oil because here in Italy duck or goose fat is apparently not available commercially, but the result was excellent and with a minimum of fuss. I can only imagine what they must taste like with the right kind of fat. Next I’m going to try your roast chicken, which looks positively yummy. 🙂

  2. divineorder
    March 11, 2009 / 7:19 am

    Your roast potatoes look so gorgeous, I am drooling just looking at them. I’m from the UK, now residing in San Diego, CA. Unfortunately, I have never seen King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes here, can you suggest an alternative?


  3. Julia
    March 11, 2009 / 7:45 am

    Paolo – I do get good results with olive oil too, nothing wrong with using that, and it’s certainly healthier.

    Divineorder – any floury potato will be fine.

  4. divineorder
    March 11, 2009 / 5:25 pm

    Now if only I could just find a good cornish pasty recipe …

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