Nail Perfectly Crisp Roast Potatoes With One Simple Steam Tip

Crisp roasted potatoes capture everything people want out of their spuds. The crunchy exterior gives way to a pillowy soft and creamy center, with tons of flavor from the browning on the surface. But to get that you have to make sure those potatoes stay crisp, which is not the simplest of tasks. Just tossing them in some oil and throwing them in the oven won't do if you want the crispiest potatoes. You need to take a few extra steps like parboiling them and tossing your boiled chunks together to break up their exterior.

There is also one easy thing you can do in between boiling and roasting your potatoes to ensure they get as crisp as possible — you can let them sit. Just spread out your boiled potatoes on a lined baking sheet ready to go in the oven, but hold off on putting them immediately in, and instead give them time to cool a bit and let off some steam. After a few minutes of coming down to room temperature, they can get tossed in oil and go into the oven, where they will crunch up and brown better than ever. And it's all thanks to the simple process of evaporation.

Letting potatoes steam evaporates excess moisture

Nobody likes soggy roast potatoes, hash browns, or fries, but it's not easy to get those things as crispy as we would always like. That has to do with how much water is naturally in potatoes. Spuds are almost 80% water, so they have a lot of liquid they need to lose before they can crisp up, which is only compounded by boiling your potatoes since it adds more moisture to the equation.

That's why a little steam is so helpful for roasted potatoes. The residual heat evaporates all the extra moisture from the surface, so when they hit the heat again, they fry instead of letting out more water. It's also why spreading out your potatoes on the sheet pan is helpful. It's only a small step, and one that requires nothing but a few minutes of waiting, but it can go a long way towards making disappointing roasted potatoes a thing of the past.