Pack your bags: you’re going to roast potato heaven.

Give it up for the crispiest, fluffiest, creamiest roast potatoes of your dreams.

Pack your bags: you’re going to roast potato heaven.

Bend the knee, because I’ve discovered roast potatoes so good, they’re fit for royalty. Crunchy and crispy on the outside. Fluffy and creamy on the inside. And impossible to resist. Well, pinch yourself, because the roasties of your dreams are a reality – and they are. within. reach. Strap yourself in as I step into the test kitchen ready to try out techniques (is parboiling really necessary?), fats (does duck fat reign supreme?) and which spud is superior (what even IS a floury potato?). Watch. Learn. Activate new adulting level. Sunday roasts have never tasted better.

How to make the ultimate roast potatoes

Ok, so there’s a lot of fan theory behind the process of roasties. Some people swear by olive oil. Some people swear by a waxy spud (more on that later). And others just bung some potatoes in the oven, cross their fingers and hope for the best. No longer. Let’s settle this argument, once and for all.

1. Do I need to parboil my potatoes?

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

Ah, the age-old question. To test the conundrum, I popped one batch straight into the oven after a lick of olive oil, and the second batch was parboiled for 10–15 minutes in boiling water. You want to boil until a knife pierces through – things should feel soft and tender, but not so soft that your ‘tater ends in tatters, you get me?

Cook at 200°C for around 50 minutes until golden and heavenly looking.

The results

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

Colour looking good, but what about that crunch and what’s happening on the inside? Parboiled roasted potatoes have the crispier skin… and they also win HANDS DOWN on fluffy inners. The plain was still firm, and wasn’t giving off any of those creamy, crumbly vibes that I’m yearning for. 

Verdict: Parboiled for the win.

2. What type of potato is best for roasting?

Now that I know parboiled trumps plain, it’s time to work out which potato takes the medal. Because I don’t know about you, but so many spuds, so many decisions. Welp. 

Here are some of the most common varieties typically found in supermarkets that I’m testing next, plus their credentials:

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

Desiree: red-skinned, waxy, high moisture, a little floury
Dutch cream (Yukon gold): medium starch, high sugar
Sebago (russet): high starch, low sugar
Kestrel: waxy, high starch

Again, I’m parboiling, then giving them a splash of olive oil and a little salt, before transferring to the oven to work their magic.

The results

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

Quite the varied outcome by appearance alone (yes, I judge potatoes by their covers), and colour and crunch potential vary across the spud spectrum. 

You can hear the full report in the video, but we get it: you’re reading. You want answers and you want them now.

Verdict: Dutch Cream takes the clear gold for crunch, flavour and texture, with sebago coming in silver. Desiree and kestral can have participation medals, but sorry – they’re not worthy of a bronze. Get off the podium and go home, I say.

3. What do I cook roast potatoes in?

Next up, let’s talk FATS. Some of the most popular cooking fats used for making roast potatoes are olive oil, duck fat, butter and lard, so let’s test things out. Oh, and handy tip: preheat your baking trays first so that the solid fats will melt and give you a better coverage on your potatoes. 

The results

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

On looks and crunch potential, it was hard to pick a winner, so this test was going to come down to texture. First up, olive oil. Not as crispy as I thought it would be, but still a nice flavour. Next up, butter. Crunchier, yes. And dang, that buttery flavour is FINE. Who doesn’t like butter? Then it was on to the lard contenders and what my subconscious bias told me would be the victor: the duck fat. 

Verdict: Surprisingly, duck fat doesn’t win. Who does? LARD. Crunchy, savoury and with a slightly roast porky carry through in terms of flavour. Subtle, but totally epic.

4. To bicarb or not to bicarb?

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

I’ve cooked what feels like a million potatoes, but I’m not done yet. Because in one final sprint to the finish line, I have bicarb soda (baking soda) making a last-ditch effort to get in on the title as a wildcard contender.

My research (aka Google) shows that adding bicarbonate of soda to your water when parboiling potatoes turns the water alkaline. This, in turn, will help break down the outside of the potato more quickly, helping create a fluffier result. (Disclaimer: pretty sure there’s more hard science behind this, but for now let’s just make some roasties.)

Two litres of water, four teaspoons of bicarb, then the usual fanfare of parboiling, preheating the traying, larding, salting, roasting, then side by siding. 

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

Verdict: It’s very marginal, but there’s some slight texture malfunction going on with the bicarb potatoes. Dare I say… hints of… slime? For me, plain, old-fashioned water takes the title.

And the best roast potatoes? The winner is…

Best Roast Potatoes Test Recipe

How to get the best roast potatoes? Parboiling. Dutch cream potatoes. In plain water. Then roasting in lard.

So there you have it. Enough potatoes to feed an army, and the ultimate roast potato recipe to show for it. 

Signing off now – carb coma awaits…

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Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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