How To Make Sure Potatoes Cook Properly When Making Sheet Pan Fish Dinners

Short on time and energy at the end of a busy day? Sheet pan dinners are always a great option for getting a hot, homemade, and healthful meal on the table with as little fuss as possible. And since everything is in one pan, there's minimal cleanup and maximum flavor, as ingredients and juices mingle, softening, crisping, and caramelizing together. Likewise, fish like salmon is one of the easiest and quickest proteins to cook. Combine them with potatoes and you'll get one mouthwateringly delicious meal.

The only question is how to make sure your potatoes are thoroughly cooked through by the time your fish is done. As most of us know, fish like salmon, tilapia, and snapper (as well as most tender veggies like kale, spinach, or chard) cook much quicker than potatoes and other root vegetables. Knowing how to properly time potatoes (and other hearty veggies) when making a sheet pan dinner is vital but it becomes even more crucial when including fish in your meal — especially when it comes to more expensive pieces of fish like salmon, halibut, or sole. The secret is to cook your potatoes first.

How to perfectly time fish and potatoes

Depending on your oven temperature and how large you cut your potatoes, it can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook them to your desired doneness. Fish (like salmon) on the other hand, takes about 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size or amount of fish). Obviously, the problems you risk running into when pairing the two are overcooked fish (if you leave it in, waiting for the potatoes to finish cooking), cold fish (if you take it out to wait for the potatoes), or undercooked potatoes (when you take them out prematurely because the fish is ready). That's why cooking them together from the start is always a bad idea.

Instead, spread your potatoes out on either side of the pan, leaving a strip of space reserved in the center for your fish. Then, once the potatoes are mostly done (in their last 15 minutes or so of cooking time), place the salmon, halibut, snapper, sole, etc. on the pan between the potatoes and other vegetables. The potatoes should be fine to continue cooking alongside the fish for another 10 to 15 minutes, giving them a final bronzing and crispness to their edges. There's nothing fishy about this tip!