The Ingredient You Need For Ultra-Crispy Roasted Peanuts

If you're a fan of peanut butter, then you're by association also a huge fan of peanuts, since 540 peanuts are needed to make a 12-ounce jar of this creamy, nutty spread, per National Peanut Board.

Rather than sitting down with a bowl of 540 peanuts, however, most people snack on them in small handfuls or incorporate them into dishes like peanut butter soup or boiled peanuts. They're also packed with plenty of protein and monounsaturated fats, which means they may "increase calorie burning," making them a potentially good option for those who are looking to "maintain a healthy weight," as noted by Healthline.

One of the most popular methods of cooking peanuts is by roasting them, especially with various spices and sweeteners, such as honey, cayenne pepper, and ancho chile powder (as seen in Southern Living's recipe for chile-lime-honey roasted peanuts). But there's one ingredient that takes ultra-crispy roasted peanuts to a whole new level, and it has something to do with the humble potato.

Potato starch is a thickening agent

Potato starch is a derivative of potatoes, and it comes from the starch grains of crushed raw potatoes, per Medical News Today. After some cleaning, the starch then dries into the snowy, white powder that helps to thicken sauces, stews, and soups. "But how?" you may think. Well, The Washington Post explains that "when heated in a liquid, starch granules soak up water, swell, and release long, tangly starch molecules, all factors that cause the liquid to thicken." But if the liquid in question is over-stirred or boiled, then all that thickening work goes to waste.

Roasted peanuts may not seem like they need a sauce or a glaze, and sure, some recipes don't require it. But we like extra flavor, and so does Serious Eats, who recommends incorporating potato starch into a mixture of honey, butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Some sugar and salt are added before being heated on a stovetop; the golden-brown glaze then coats about three cups of toasted peanuts, which roast in the oven for 25 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The result, as Serious Eats explains, is a batch of roasted peanuts with a "shiny, crisp coating." Food Business News adds to this by stating that potato starch aids in shinier foods and helps ingredients stick together more effectively. So, in this case, the potato starch helps to bind the glaze and the peanuts together.