What Are the Best Potatoes for Roasting?
Crispy, roasted potatoes with a soft inner flesh are one of the easiest, most mouthwatering sides out there — but which potato actually gives you the best result? Imagine a potato spectrum, if you will. One end reads "waxy" and the other reads "starchy." For roasting, you want to strike a balance between these two extremes.
Starchy potatoes crisp up nicely on the outside, but can lose their shape when roasted, creating a fluffed up center rather than a creamy, flavorful one. Waxy potatoes on the other hand, hold their shape well when roasted, but they don't crisp up as easily and their firm flesh takes longer to cook.
So, is there a potato that falls in the middle of this waxy to starchy spectrum? Of course there is!
The Best: Yukon Gold Potatoes
The Yukon Gold potato — which is also one of our favorites for mashing — is an obvious choice for roasting. Their skin is thin, so they cook through fairly quickly, and they're just waxy enough to hold their shape. But if you've ever had a Yukon Gold potato, you know what really sets them apart is their buttery, creamy center, which lends itself so well to roasting.
Other Types of Potatoes for Roasting
Though not our favorites, russet potatoes and red potatoes can also be good candidates for roasting.
Russet potatoes are another popular option for roasting. They lean more towards the starchy end of the spectrum, which results in a nice, crisped up crust. However, the starchy flesh will fluff up when cooked, resulting in a less creamy result than that from Yukon Gold potatoes. Russet potatoes are, however, an excellent choice for oven-baked fries because they'll slice nicely into those steakhouse-style wedges.
These potatoes are more waxy with a smooth skin, meaning they'll hold their shape nicely when roasted. However, they can take a while to crisp up due to their low starch and high moisture content, so be sure to allot plenty of time to cook them.
In addition to variety, size also plays an important role in getting perfectly crisp potatoes. For a nice and crispy result, you'll want to cut your potatoes into about two-inch chunks.
When purchasing potatoes in bulk, try to aim for uniformly-sized potatoes, so that they will all cook at the same rate. But if for whatever reason your potatoes are of all different shapes and sizes, you may need to quarter some of the larger ones and half some of the smaller ones until they're all roughly the same size.
How to Roast Potatoes
For the best exterior, you want to cook potatoes hot and fast: Between 400 and 475 degrees F. We'd also recommend pre-boiling them for about 10 minutes to help break down the exterior so it crisps up even more. For more, read our guide to making the crispiest potatoes.
Favorite Roasted Potato Recipes
Get started with some of our favorite roasted potato recipes:
- 8 Ways to Use Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Here's How Long Potatoes Last If You Store Them Correctly
- Browse our entire collection of Roasted Potato Recipes.