I’m not ashamed to admit that potatoes are my favorite food. Mashed, fried, roasted — you name it, I love it. They’re my go-to side dish, since they’re so versatile and go well with anything. I especially love pan fried potatoes, and often look for new and delicious ways to make them. So when I came across this make-ahead hack from an Irish chef, I knew I had to try it out.
First, a word of warning: This recipe requires two days of cooking. But I promise, it’s worth it! Celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge, who masterminded this method, knows what he’s doing. Basically, you’re going to make your potatoes extra crispy by boiling them ahead of time, then letting them cool overnight before frying. The reason this works is kind of genius — read on for the step-by-step instructions!
How to Make Crispy Pan Fried Potatoes
To start, you can either peel your potatoes or leave the skin on. It totally depends on your preference! I chose to peel mine, just to see if the flesh of the potato would actually get as crispy as promised. Once I did that, I cut the potatoes into large wedges, almost like a thick-cut french fry. Then I dropped them into a pot of cold water (you want enough to cover them fully) and added salt — about one tablespoon per pound of potatoes.
Here’s the most important part: you want the potatoes to boil enough that they start breaking up. That means the surface of the potatoes starts to get bumpy, and you can see the starch resting on it. Once that happens, you can drain your potatoes and set them aside to cool in a separate bowl. Overnight is preferred, but you can also just let them chill throughout the day if you’re making them for dinner that night. Just make sure to pop them into the fridge so they get nice and cold.
Once the potatoes are completely cool, Fassnidge says the magic happens in the pan. “When you fry them in the hot oil, the starch explodes into just pure, crispy joy,” he said on the Australian cooking show The Cook Up. Toss your potatoes in a pan with hot oil and add a bit more salt for flavor. Once they’ve been cooking a bit, add some butter to the pan. The butter will make the potatoes even crispier and more golden. Fassnidge also adds some crushed up garlic, rosemary, and thyme, but feel free to add your own favorite herbs and spices. (I stuck to Colin’s combination, since I love those flavors.) Cook until they’re golden brown, or to your desired level of crispiness.
The result was truly stunning. According to Fassnidge, that’s because the surface of the potato cooks better when the starch firms up, which happens when it cools. If this sounds familiar, it might be because it’s similar to Emily Blunt’s go-to method of making crispy roasted potatoes! But instead of waiting overnight, Blunt drains her potatoes after boiling and then returns them to the pot, where she gives them a good shake. This helps the potatoes break up in the same way Fassnidge’s hack does.
Blunt’s recipe has you cook the potatoes in the oven, while Fassnidge’s has you them fry in a pan, and I have to say I prefer the pan frying method. For me, nothing beats a potato fried in butter! Either way, it shows that letting the surface of the potato break up before cooking is definitely the way to go if you like your spuds as crispy as possible.
If you’re looking for a new way to spruce up your pan fried potatoes, I definitely recommend this one!