I Tried the Crispy Roasted Potatoes Recipe That Crashed Ina Garten’s Website

published May 11, 2023
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A bowl of roasted potatoes.
Credit: Christine Gallary

When Ina Garten first posted about actress Emily Blunt’s English Roasted Potatoes from her cookbook Modern Comfort Food so many people tried to access the recipe that it crashed Ina’s website. And no wonder — the recipe promised crispy, browned potatoes with creamy insides, and it only required three ingredients (in addition to two kinds of salt).

Comfort foods have been on heavy rotation in my house, and potatoes have been consistently popular — plus, I’m always game for cooking an Ina Garten recipe. So I got to work immediately (I already had the ingredients on hand).

Credit: Christine Gallary

How to Make Emily’s English Roasted Potatoes

At first glance, the recipe looks like most roasted potato recipes: Toss chunks of boiled potatoes in oil and roast in a hot oven. But there are a few noticeable departures. The first is peeling and cutting the Yukon Gold potatoes into pretty large pieces (about 2 inches in diameter) before boiling them in salted water. I love that the recipe calls for adding two tablespoons kosher salt to the water (potatoes need a lot of seasoning), but I wish it specified how much water to add it to. I guessed and used three quarts, which I ultimately felt was too much.

After boiling the potatoes for the specified eight minutes, I tasted one: It was tender and just starting to fall apart around the edges. Then came the fun part: I placed the drained potatoes back into the pot, slapped on a lid, and shook the potatoes around to rough up the edges, creating more surface area for browning and crispiness.

Credit: Christine Gallary

After shaking, I transferred the potatoes to a rack set over a baking sheet to cool off and dry out a little. The potatoes finally went onto a rimmed baking sheet that had been preheated with a lot of vegetable oil, then into the oven until browned and crisp. The recipe said it would take 45 minutes to an hour and advised turning the potatoes occasionally as they roasted. Mine took the full hour to get golden-brown and crisp on multiple sides. To finish, I showered the potatoes with 2 teaspoons crunchy, coarse salt and minced parsley.

Credit: Christine Gallary

Emily’s Potatoes Are Crispy, Creamy, and Seasoned to Perfection. But Are They Worth the Trouble?

I brought the potatoes to the table and my daughter’s eyes immediately lit up. She spooned a bunch onto her plate, gobbled them up even though they were piping hot, declared them good, and asked for more. My husband and I agreed: They were most definitely crispy with creamy, tender insides, seasoned with a good amount of crunchy salt. They almost tasted deep-fried.

With that said, I did feel like they were a tad greasy. A half cup of oil is a lot for a single baking sheet of potatoes, and there were still some small pools of oil on it even after roasting. I also felt the vegetable oil didn’t contribute a lot of flavor, and would have preferred olive oil or a more flavorful fat instead.

There’s no denying these potatoes were delicious, but I kept thinking about the mountain of dishes I accumulated in making them: two baking sheets, a knife, a vegetable peeler, a cutting board, a pot with a lid, a wire rack, a colander, a bench scraper to move the potatoes around, and tongs. I honestly felt I could have gotten similar results with Kitchn’s crash potato recipe with half the amount of dishwashing in the end. Still, like most Ina recipes, this recipe delivers exactly what it promises.

If You’re Making Emily’s English Potatoes at Home, a Few Tips

If you want to try these roasted potatoes at home yourself, here are a few tips I recommend.

1. Boil the potatoes in 2 quarts water. I used 3 quarts of water, but recommend 2 quarts instead so that there’s a higher concentration of salt to water to season the potatoes.

2. Use olive oil. Instead of vegetable oil, use olive oil or another flavorful fat for more flavor in the finished potatoes. While the recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, 1/3 cup might be enough.

3. Use a bench scraper to transfer the potatoes. Since you have to transfer the potatoes into hot oil on the baking sheet, the recipe recommends using a large metal spatula. I found a metal bench scraper perfect for scooping up lots of potatoes from the rack, and it was easy to gently push them from the scraper into the oil and toss them around.

4. Wait to turn the potatoes. The recipe is unclear on when to turn the potatoes, so I recommend waiting until the bottoms are starting to brown before flipping them with tongs. I flipped them 30 and 45 minutes into the roasting time.

5. Season the roasted potatoes on the baking sheet. The recipe calls for transferring the roasted potatoes onto a serving platter before sprinkling with finishing salt, but because they’re piled up, you’ll get an uneven seasoning. I recommend sprinkling 2 teaspoons onto the potatoes while they’re still on the baking sheet.

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: I Tried the Roasted Potato Recipe That Crashed Ina Garten’s Website