This Simple Step Will Take Your Roast Potatoes To The Next Level

There are roast potatoes, and then there are English roast potatoes, which has made culinary experts like J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats give two thumbs up — "The British method of roasting potatoes is one that I've taken a strong liking to. It's simple, and it produces amazing results," says he. Actress Emily Blunt's version of English roast potatoes was even enticing enough to cause Ina Garten's site to crash, leading the Barefoot Contessa to apologize, saying, "So many people wanted the recipe that the site crashed. We're fixing it now. Try again soon. They're worth it!! Xxxx," per People

But leave it to a cooking expert like Lopez-Alt to take a good thing and make it even better with just one tweak: the addition of baking soda in your potato cooking water, because science. As Lopez-Alt explains, "The alkaline water helps the exteriors of the potatoes break down more, creating much more of the starchy slurry that leads to an extra-crisp exterior. About a half teaspoon of baking soda for two quarts of water was the right amount." 

A bit of baking soda helps roasted potato achieve crisp and color

Lopez-Alt isn't the only culinary expert who swears by baking soda as a way to help roast potato reach new heights. Others, like New Orleans' chef de cuisine Byron Halliburton of SoBou tells Insider that "baking soda breaks down the pectin in the potato and draws starch to the surface. What do you get? Wonderful browning and a crispiness you wouldn't otherwise achieve."

Of course there are other things that will need to be done to get the roasted potatoes just so. In her recipe shared with Barefoot Contessa, actress Emily Blunt recommends roughing up the potatoes in a covered pot by shaking it when its done to create a layer of mash, and its a technique Lopez-Alt can also get behind, per Serious Eats. Once that's done, make sure the fat you use to crisp up your potato, whether its vegetable oil as Blunt recommends, or beef/goose fat as Lopez-Alt suggests, is smoking hot, which should result in potatoes you aren't likely to forget