How to cook the perfect roast potatoes and the common mistakes to avoid

The best part of a roast dinner, they should be crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside
How to cook the perfect roast potatoes and the common mistakes to avoid

Crispy crunchy roast potatoes are fluffy and crispy and completely delicious.

Choose the correct potato for the job

For roasties, you need an 'old' potato, like a Rooster or a Maris Piper. Waxy spuds are not fit for the job. 

Parboil the potatoes in the skin

Darina Allen says that this is the key to the fluffiest spuds. She recommends par-boiling them, and peeling just before roasting.

Dry them as well as you can

According to Darina Allen, after peeling, we should dry the potatoes meticulously with a tea-towel or kitchen paper. "Otherwise, even when tossed in fat or oil, they will stick to the roasting tin. Consequently, when you turn them over as you will need to do halfway through the cooking, the crispy bit underneath will stick to the tin."

Don't crowd

If your potatoes are too close together on the roasting tin, they will steam instead of roast. Give them plenty of room, and if in doubt, use two trays.

Get it screaming hot

Heat the fat in the oven before you add th spuds to the tray. Toss away from you to avoid oil splatter. 

Prep ahead

It is possible to get ahead with your prep, says Darina Allen. "Peel and dry each potato carefully, toss in extra virgin olive oil or fat of your choice, put into a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Alternatively, put into a plastic bag, twist the end, and refrigerate until needed. They will keep for 5 or 6 hours or overnight without discolouring."

Foolproof roast potatoes

recipe by:Darina Allen

A big roasting tin of crusty roast potatoes always invokes a positive response. Everyone loves them. They are easy to achieve but I still get asked over and over for the secret of crunchy golden roasties.

Foolproof roast potatoes



Preparation Time

5 mins

Cooking Time

60 mins

Total Time

1 hours 5 mins




  • 2kg large floury potatoes, quartered

  • 75ml olive oil or 75g duck or goose fat


  1. Carefully place the potatoes into a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for seven minutes. Drain and shake the potatoes in the dry saucepan with the lid on to rough up the edges so the potatoes crisp up well in the oven. Leave them to dry fully.

  2. Heat the oil or fat in a roasting tray on the hob. When hot, toss the potatoes in the fat, coating well. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven with the turkey (at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4) for 30 -60 minutes, depending on the size.

  3. For perfection, potatoes should be similar in size and shape.

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