jamie oliver’s perfect roast potatoes

Regular readers may know that I pride myself on bloody good roast potatoes, somewhat boastful but I’ve put the hours in. But I’m never complacent, always on the lookout for tips and pointers to gild the already-golden lily. Nigella gave me the idea to use polenta, Heston put forth the idea of using potato peelings in the boiling liquor, now Jamie comes forward with more ideas.

His recent mini-series, Jamie’s Family Christmas has dealt with all manner of festive food, and it didn’t take long for him to try working up the humble roasties. He offered a formula: half way through roasting add a combo of garlic, vinegar and herb to the mix. At this point also give the half-roast pots a slight squidge with a potato masher – not mashing them you understand, but squeezing them to open them up. More exposed surface area equals more places for the potato to soak up fat. He also trialled using three different fats: olive oil, butter and goose fat. Predictably, they increased in flavour and crispiness as they decrease in healthiness. But it’s the addition of an acid that intrigues me. I went all into the method, eschewing all my usual steps I followed the Jamie technique. I used some pork fat, orange peel, red wine vinegar and rosemary.

This is the first time in a long time I haven’t used polenta; I’d almost forgotten what roasties were like without. There was certainly plenty of crunch to go around, and the pleasing licks of other flavours drifted in. The rosemary was predictably perfumed and slightly crisp, garlic was welcome, and the occasional spud that cosied up to orange peel had an interesting twist. The red wine vinegar had permeated little but I’d like to try a splash more next time. There’s lots to enjoy here.

So have I reached the perfect roast potato yet? Never. But the thrill is in the chase.

Jamie Oliver’s perfect roast potatoes:

500g maris piper, peeled and chunked

4 tablespoons fat

Peel of 1 orange

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes, until they are very well done. After 5 minutes put the fat in the pan and whack in the oven.
  3. Drain the potatoes and shake about to chuff up the edges. Add to the pan.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, then using a potato masher, lightly press each spud to encourage them to split.
  5. Meanwhile toss the garlic, rosemary and orange together in the vinegar with a splash of olive oil.
  6. Add this to the pan and put back in the oven. Continue to roast for another 20 – 30 minutes, until done to your desired crispiness.
  7. Season liberally with sea salt and a dash of white pepper. Eat like gods.

Jamie’s recipe in his own words can be seen here at his website.


16 thoughts on “jamie oliver’s perfect roast potatoes

  1. Essex Eating

    Fantastic that your trying to find the best roast potato going. Best results Ive ever had were using the recipe in ‘Roast Chicken and other stories’.

    Incredible that such similiar methods can produce different results.

    1. roastpotato Post author

      The never-ending quest for perfect pots continues to intrigue me. I’ll be making two more batches over the Christmas week so a couple more iterations in the pan…

      I’m not familiar with that book. Got a blog about those famous roast potatoes?

  2. Daily Spud

    The vinegar is definitely an interesting addition, I will have to give that a whirl. The slight mashing of the spuds reminds me of crash hot potatoes (potatoes boiled in their jackets, then pressed lightly with a masher and roasted with lots of olive oil, excellent stuff). Have you tried roasting with groundnut/peanut oil – apparently it’s one that Hugh Fearnsley-Whatever-He’s-Called recommends, though I’ve yet to try. The quest for the perfect roastie continues :)

    1. roastpotato Post author

      I haven’t tried nut oil, it’s not an oil I’ve ever worked with. However I could see that a nutty coating would amp up the earthy notes of a really good spud. But then where would the glory of animal fats go?!

      The quest for the perfect roastie continues :)

      May it never end.

  3. Patrick Zahara

    I have the recipe for the best roast potato. No kidding. Through trial and error I worked out how to do it. First simmer maris piper potatoes (start from cold water) in their skins until they are soft throughout (about 40 minutes).Failing that use any other floury spud. Peel while still warm and chop up very carefully into chunks. You could just break them open in your hands to produce more surface area and therefore more crispiness. Place onto roasting tray and spoon over a good amount of light olive oil, duck fat, butter etc whatever takes your fancy (no need to preheat oil). Season with salt. Put into preheated oven top shelf at 200 degrees c. Turn the spuds gingerly after about half an hour and within about an hour you should have the best fluffiest, crispy roast potatoes that work every time, keep turning to attain crispness all over. You can even cook the spuds the day before and just put into a preheated oven the next day, they still go wonderfully crispy and fluffy. I implore to please try this recipe!

    1. roastpotato Post author

      Hi Patrick

      Thanks for the suggested method. Parts of it don’t seem to logically work in my head the way you’ve described it: chop after boiling? This won’t give you as many rough edges and corners to hang oil off of – you’re creating a smooth surface after roughing them up outside. And not pre-heating the oil? The first thing that will happen is that the potatoes will simply sit in cold oil, hardening while the fat warms up.

      This ideas fly in the face of all the roast potato knowledge I’ve accrued, but you’re writing with such passion how can I ignore it? I will definitely try your method next time, and let you know hot they turn out.


  4. roastpotato Post author

    Two asides here I have overheard from Michel Roux Jr. on the subject:

    “Definitely parboil – always. You need to precook the potatoes but it’s crucial not to overdo it – you want there still to be a bit of bite. How long you parboil them depends how big you’ve cut them. Next you want to shake them about to break up the exterior, which then crisps up beautifully. But the most important thing is to choose the right potato in the first place. I always use roosters, which are an up-and-coming variety and a great all-rounder. You won’t find them in every supermarket but they’re readily available – and have bags of flavour. You can’t go wrong.”


    “Don’t boil the potatoes too harshly – just simmer gently to stop them breaking and the water getting in.”

    Both taken from this article:


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