5 Secrets for the Crispiest Skillet Potatoes Ever
They're loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals. They're one of the best foods for your blood pressure, are remarkably versatile and offer one of the biggest values at the grocery store. These days you can find them in petite and purse-sized formats, and in hues ranging from white to orange to purple. If you haven't guessed what we're teasing yet, we'll dish: it's potatoes!
Despite being villainized by recent trendy low-carb diet plans like keto, due to all of the benefits listed above and the fact that they have a super-long shelf life, we're still sweet on spuds. And since we are, we're also always seeking new ways to add the potassium-rich tubers to our menu.
One of our latest beyond-fry ways to feast on potatoes is cooking them in a skillet. Inspired by Camille Styles, founder and editor-in-chief of CamilleStyles.com, who declared the cooking technique a "GAME CHANGER" on Instagram, our current obsession is sizzling up spuds in a skillet. Styles shows how it's done in her recipe for Salt and Vinegar Crispy Potatoes.
Lower in fat and calories (and safer for sometimes-clumsy cooks like me!) than deep-frying, this stovetop roasting method is quick, easy and results in audibly crispy potatoes … if you follow a few pro tips.
5 Secrets for Crispy Skillet Potatoes
1. Choose the proper potato.
"Different types of potatoes produce different results. Russets will be the crispiest on the outside and have fluffy centers, while more waxy potatoes like red and yellow will get less crispy on the outside and be more creamy in the center," explains Carolyn Malcoun, senior food features editor for EatingWell.
Styles prefers new potatoes or small fingerlings, each cut in half, for her salt-and-vinegar-seasoned recipe, but any uniformly cut potato (aim for about ¾-inch pieces) will do.
2. Boil 'em up, then dry them off.
If you have time, Malcoun recommends following the lead of EatingWell's Crispy Oven-Baked Fries. After "a lot of testing," she says, the Test Kitchen perfected this step that makes your potato recipe "slightly more complicated, but they are SO CRISPY!"
Boil cut-up potatoes in salted, acidulated water (try 8 cups of water plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt per 1½ pounds of potatoes) for about 10 minutes before skillet-cooking them. The salt helps extract moisture from the potatoes, and the vinegar bolsters the exterior so the potato pieces hold their shape better.
"The result? Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside," says Adam Dolge, EatingWell's lead recipe developer.
Once the boiled potatoes begin to get tender, drain and dry them, Malcoun advises. This will ensure ample crispiness and prevent splatters. (Oil and water don't play nicely together.)
"I always keep tea towels in my kitchen for drying produce, since they are less likely to transfer lint to food than other fabrics," Malcoun says.
If you decide to skip the boiling step, simply give them a rinse and they'll be sturdy enough to take a spin, adds Sean Brady Kenniff, senior digital food editor for EatingWell, if you prefer that to giving them a pat-down. "Since water is the enemy of crispness, take them for a ride in a salad spinner to ensure they're rid of any excess moisture," advises Kenniff.
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3. Preheat the pan.
Preheating the pan on the stovetop works just fine since that's where we'll be cooking the potatoes. (Psst ... feel free to multitask and get this going as you get those potato pieces boiling in another pot.)
Add a coating of oil to a large skillet, crank up the heat to medium-high and wait for the fat to shimmer. You want the surface to be sizzling as you add the diced, sliced or small halved potatoes to help them score that lovely golden-brown sear.
4. Use enough oil.
Styles suggests using about ¼ inch of oil in the bottom of the skillet for the best flavor and texture. The potatoes won't absorb all of this, of course, and keep in mind that fat helps with the absorption of certain important nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K if those happen to be part of the rest of your meal.
"The oil conducts the heat that crisps the potato up," Kenniff says.
5. Don't flip too soon.
"One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking in general—and this applies to roasting potatoes—is trying to flip before they're ready. If the food doesn't release easily from the pan, it's not ready to turn," Malcoun says.
Do not disturb the potatoes for at least 10 minutes before flipping, Styles says. You might feel like they're on the edge of burning, but trust the process. Use tongs or a spatula to gently try to flip one potato, and if you notice a lot of resistance, let them go for a few minutes more. Once they naturally release, flip and you're nearly good to go.
"The second side takes less time than the first. I'll often roast hard veggies like potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes on the first side, flip, then they just need 10 minutes more on the second side, usually," Malcoun says.