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Thread: Roast potatoes: What am I doing wrong?

  1. #1
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    Roast potatoes: What am I doing wrong?

    I've tried this recipe twice now: Quarter 2 pounds red potatoes, toss them with a quarter cup of olive oil, and add seasonings. Both times, they've stuck to the baking sheet, which is not greased (as directed in the recipe). The result tastes great but doesn't look so hot. How do I prevent this?

  2. #2
    DmOrtega Guest
    You really should not have to grease a baking sheet for cooking potatoes covered in oil. A couple of ideas; be sure to toss a few times during the cooking or try parchment paper but still toss at least once during the cooking.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DmOrtega View Post
    You really should not have to grease a baking sheet for cooking potatoes covered in oil. A couple of ideas; be sure to toss a few times during the cooking or try parchment paper but still toss at least once during the cooking.
    Thanks. I do toss them, but still they stick. I'm thinking that my mother used to boil hers before putting them alongside a roast, and the result was wonderful. Plus there was no oil involved.

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    Try duck fat.
    OK, that was not helpful

    Do you have a heavy gauge sheet pan? That's what I use and I leave it in the oven while heating (I roast at about 400˚). Toss the potatoes onto the HOT pan and, as Dolores, suggested, be sure to toss them - really getting all the way under them - a few times during roasting.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  5. #5
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    I agree that you either toss them often, or add moisture. Sometimes I put a touch of water and then cover them with foil for part of the baking time.
    Margaret

  6. #6
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    Parchment is the easiest solution, but I assume you then don't get that golden crust - is that correct?
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  7. #7
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    they still get a crust with parchment

    I think it is most important to toss them at least once during cooking, and if any potatoes are sticking during that first toss, you need to really scrape them up with a wire spatula and move them around if they are starting to stick (this often results in thin little bits that get extra crispy in the oven and are my favorite part) also i usually roast potatoes at more like 425.
    - Josie


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer8 View Post
    I've tried this recipe twice now: Quarter 2 pounds red potatoes, toss them with a quarter cup of olive oil, and add seasonings. Both times, they've stuck to the baking sheet, which is not greased (as directed in the recipe). The result tastes great but doesn't look so hot. How do I prevent this?
    Successful roasted potatoes start with boiled potatoes. Preheat the oven and the roasting pan (with oil and butter) add the boiled potatoes and roast until crispy on one side then toss and roast for another 5 minutes.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  9. #9
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    I roast potatoes all the time and have not had a big problem with them sticking to the pan. I do use smaller potato "chunks" and cut them smaller than quarters. Toss them with olive oil & seasons. I roast them covered with foil for about 20 minutes at 410 - 425 degrees, then take off the foil (I usually take a spatula and turn them at this point) and roast them uncovered for at least another 20 minutes (or a little longer depending on how crisp you want them). This is our go-to potatoes now. DH loves roasted potatoes, and I do, too.

  10. #10
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    I would NEVER take the time to parboil my potatoes before roasting. I make roasted potatoes at least 2-3 times/week... so I really feel comfortable strongly disagreeing with sneezles on this one

    You really don't need to pre-cook them or I wouldn't make tasty potatoes...well..ever
    - Josie


  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    You really don't need to pre-cook them or I wouldn't make tasty potatoes...well..ever
    Same here. I don't pre-cook. I don't even toss them during baking though tossing them would probably make them even better. I just roast them on parchment paper and roast them a good long time until nice and crispy on the outside and soft inside. Yum.

  12. #12
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    Alysha, do you ever use the rosemary salt on them? Nice shortcut.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    I would NEVER take the time to parboil my potatoes before roasting. I make roasted potatoes at least 2-3 times/week... so I really feel comfortable strongly disagreeing with sneezles on this one

    You really don't need to pre-cook them or I wouldn't make tasty potatoes...well..ever

    I like to be sure the potatoes are done when I do roasted so starting with par-boiled makes my experience much easier.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  14. #14
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    Yeah, I understand - I hate undercooked potatoes. But I also roast mine for a solid 45 minutes probably to prevent that possibility 6, 1/2 dozen, eh?
    - Josie


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    I usually use red-skinned potatoes and quarter them without peeling them, as you do. Then after tossing them with the olive oil and seasonings, I arrange them on the baking sheet so that the rounded edges (the part with the peel attached) are touching the sheet and the cut side is up. This minimizes the surface area of the potato that is actually touching the sheet, makes for better browning, and virtually no sticking (I don't grease the pan or use parchment). It's a little more work up front turning the potatoes so that the cut side is up, but it is well worth it.
    Alicia

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by gobluem82 View Post
    Then after tossing them with the olive oil and seasonings, I arrange them on the baking sheet so that the rounded edges (the part with the peel attached) are touching the sheet and the cut side is up. This minimizes the surface area of the potato that is actually touching the sheet, makes for better browning....
    I always cut the potatoes in half (unless they are too big, then I cut in quarters) and put the cut side down. For me, the potatoes have never stuck and they get nicely crisp and browned, especially the cut side.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    they still get a crust with parchment.
    That's good to know. For some reason I assumed the crust had something to do with the contact with the pan. Too bad I suck at science; wouldn't it be cool to be Harold McGee?
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    Yeah, I understand - I hate undercooked potatoes. But I also roast mine for a solid 45 minutes probably to prevent that possibility 6, 1/2 dozen, eh?
    Well, I was taught by a very good British cook to par-boil first so that's my experience.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

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    Heh, I was thinking that I've read that method a lot from English friends - the same folks who had me guiltily buying goose fat! Don't they also bang 'em around before roasting, or is that a different dish?
    Susan, can I assume you're familiar with Darina Allen?
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by zwieback View Post
    I always cut the potatoes in half (unless they are too big, then I cut in quarters) and put the cut side down. For me, the potatoes have never stuck and they get nicely crisp and browned, especially the cut side.
    Yes! Crisp and browned on the outside and they get puffy soft in the middle! Yummy! It also cuts the baking time almost in half. I oil the pan, or baking dish, with about 1 teaspoon oil and slide the cut side of the potatoes across the oil in the dish, they never seem to stick.
    The cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out!

  21. #21
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    Interesting. I'm using ample oil, so that's not the problem. I'm starting to wonder if it's the temperature (400 degrees). Could it be too low and therefore generating steam? I've noticed that when I toss the potatoes, it's almost as though they're swimming in water.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer8 View Post
    Interesting. I'm using ample oil, so that's not the problem. I'm starting to wonder if it's the temperature (400 degrees). Could it be too low and therefore generating steam? I've noticed that when I toss the potatoes, it's almost as though they're swimming in water.
    I usually roast mine (not red potates) 375 degrees and never turn the halved potatoes. Do you think it might be the type of potatoes you are using? Different kinds of potatoes have different characteristics.
    The cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer8 View Post
    Interesting. I'm using ample oil, so that's not the problem. I'm starting to wonder if it's the temperature (400 degrees). Could it be too low and therefore generating steam? I've noticed that when I toss the potatoes, it's almost as though they're swimming in water.
    Now that's curious. I've messed around with various roasting techniques and have never found any moisture whatsoever. And the oven's super-hot before you put the potatoes in?
    But thinking of steam: is the pan big enough that none of the potatoes are touching, or overcrowded? You want plenty of hot air circulating.
    I've roasted at everywhere between 350 and 450, so I kind of doubt that 400 is the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by ADM View Post
    I usually roast mine (not red potates) 375 degrees and never turn the halved potatoes. Do you think it might be the type of potatoes you are using? Different kinds of potatoes have different characteristics.
    That's a good point, but I use only Yukon Golds for roasting and I think they are pretty similar to regular reds in their low starch content.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  24. #24
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    Hmm. I've never had moisture from my potatoes when I roast them either.

    So here is my silly questions, are you by any chance washing them right before and not having them dry when they go in the oven? That is the only way I can think of for their to be water in the pan.
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

  25. #25
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    I agree with Canice - maybe it is overcrowding? There is PLENTY of excess space on my baking sheet when I put them in the oven. Like over an inch between potatoes (granted, I am cooking for one - so when I roast potatoes, I might cube up 2 or 3 if I want leftovers so I've got plenty of extra room on my sheet).

    The basic idea behind creating a crust is that you need the vegetables spaced far enough apart that they do not steam whether you're doing it on your stove top or in the oven.

    Also make sure your oven is hot enough like Canice said (although I regularly start my potatoes in a cold oven if I am not operating on a time line).
    - Josie


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by armel View Post
    Hmm. I've never had moisture from my potatoes when I roast them either.

    So here is my silly questions, are you by any chance washing them right before and not having them dry when they go in the oven? That is the only way I can think of for there to be water in the pan.
    this is what i was going to ask-- since the pan-crowding thing has been taken care of, i'll remind you to piut the cut potatoes on a clean tea towel to absorb their moisture for a minute or two first. and don't salt them till after they're cooked-- salt brings out the moisture.

    i also like to use my big round pizza pan or an iron skillet-- as long as it's big enough to leave room between and around the taters. i use two pans if i'm making alot. that's what it takes to get 'em crispy.

  27. #27
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    Okay, lots of good advice here. My only other thought is that if I try to turn them before they are nice and crusty, they will stick. If I wait until that good crust forms, I don't have a problem. And it doesn't really seem to matter for me how crowded the pan is, or the amount of salt I use - and I usually roast potatoes at 425. When you say you have water, it makes me think you're not using a flat sheet pan? If you use something with sides (like a baking pan), it will trap the steam in the pan initially. Eventually it does dry out - but then I've had things stick. (Bad cooking experience in a vacation rental with no sheet pans)

  28. #28
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    I don't usually use a recipe and I change it up quite often but here is a "recipe" that has always worked.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Roasted Red Potatoes

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories :

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    24 small red potatoes
    1/2 c. olive oil
    1 c. Italian parsley
    salt and black pepper to taste

    Wash potatoes well in lots of cold water.
    Cut in half or, if potatoes are larger than egg size, in quarters.
    Let potatoes soak in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes.
    Drain potatoes and put them in glass baking dish.
    Distribute parsley over potatoes.
    Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
    Scrape potatoes from bottom of dish and turn about every 20 minutes.
    Season with salt and pepper.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 2398 Calories; 110g Fat (40.4% calories from fat); 39g Protein; 327g Carbohydrate; 31g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 142mg Sodium. Exchanges: 19 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 21 1/2 Fat.

    Danita

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by KellyD View Post
    When you say you have water, it makes me think you're not using a flat sheet pan? If you use something with sides (like a baking pan), it will trap the steam in the pan initially. Eventually it does dry out - but then I've had things stick. (Bad cooking experience in a vacation rental with no sheet pans)
    I never use sheet pans to make my potatoes. I always use a baking pan (the kind I'd use to make brownies or a cake). Never had the potatoes stick. I just make sure I move the potatoes around the oil a bit so that I know there is oil both on the pan and the potato. And, I never turn them.

  30. #30
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    Interesting suggestions, all. I look forward to trying them. Thank you.

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