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Cooking potatoes twice—once in water, and a second time in hot oil—is hands-down the best way to achieve extra-crispy potatoes at home. And while there's nothing wrong with a plate of crunchy, well-seasoned spuds, smothering them in all of the best parts of a baked potato—helloooooo, bacon and sour cream!—takes the whole situation to the next level. Serve these alongside a big ol' steak for a real at-home chophouse experience, or just eat them all by yourself on the couch.
Place 2 lb. potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 2". Add 3 large fistfuls of salt and heat over medium-high. Taste the water! It should be real salty, almost like seawater. If not, add more. Bring to a simmer. While you're waiting for the water to simmer, go ahead and get some prep work out of the way.
Finely grate 2 oz. Parmesan with a Microplane into a medium bowl.
Thinly slice 1 large bunch chives and transfer to a small bowl.
Combine ½ cup sour cream and 2 Tbsp. hot sauce in another small bowl. Add a teaspoon or two of water to thin it out to drizzlable consistency.
Line a plate with paper towels. Place 5 oz. bacon in a large 12" cast-iron skillet in as even a layer as possible and heat over medium. (We like starting bacon in a cold pan and gradually heating it—less sputtering, more crispy.) Cook until crispy on one side, 3–4 minutes. Turn with a fork and continue to cook until very crisp, 3–4 minutes more. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon-y skillet—and all of that fat!—for cooking the potatoes later on.
It’s time to check on those potatoes. Once the potatoes come to a simmer, they need to cook until a fork or paring knife easily slides into one without much resistance, 6–10 minutes. This will really vary depending on what size and type of potato you're cooking, so keep checking them periodically for doneness. (When in doubt, cut one open and give it a taste!) Be sure not to cook them too long or they will get logged with water and fall apart. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet or a cutting board. Let cool slightly, about 3 minutes.
Using the bottom of a measuring cup or flat bottomed mug, smash each one gently by pressing down evenly—you want them to have flat surfaces so they'll crisp nicely, but you want them to remain mostly intact. (Some will break into more than one piece; don't worry about it!)
Heat reserved bacon skillet over medium. If the pan isn't fully coated with bacon fat, add a good drizzle of oil—you want to make sure that there's enough fat in the pan at all times so that each potato gets a piece of the action. Arrange half of potatoes in a single layer in skillet. Season with salt and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crisp underneath, 6–7 minutes. Flip with a metal spatula, add 2 Tbsp. oil, and continue to cook on opposite side until golden brown and edges are crisp, 5–6 minutes more. Transfer to a platter. Heat remaining potatoes and 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet over medium. Season with salt and repeat browning and flipping process, adding more oil if the pan gets dry.
While second batch cooks, you can begin loading your potatoes. Crumble bacon with your fingers and scatter half over potatoes. Sprinkle half of Parmesan over. Drizzle sour cream sauce over. Sprinkle half of chives evenly over.
When second batch of potatoes is finished cooking, transfer to platter and repeat loading process with remaining bacon, Parmesan, sour cream, and chives. Season with pepper and serve.
Loaded Smashed Potatoes
Some things should really not be changed, but every now and then, I like to think of different ways to keep those flavour combinations intact while giving an update to one of the mainstays or, in this case: the potato. A loaded baked potato paired with a steak dinner is about as modern classic as it gets. Warm and buttery baked potato topped with sharp aged cheddar, sour cream, bacon bits and scallions. This recipe combines all of those beloved baked potato toppings with the crispy yet fluffy new-potato-kid-on-the-block smashed potatoes. Yes, “technically” a side, but really make whenever you’re looking for a rad standalone snack as well.
How to Make the Best Smashed Potatoes
Choose small potatoes, rather than large. You can use this technique on potatoes of any size (even Russet potatoes!) but for crispy potatoes, choose potatoes around the size of a golf ball or two.
Smaller potatoes are usually available in red or yellow varieties. Both are delicious, but the red potato skins have more flavor, so the reds were my favorite.
Use a large baking sheet. In my dream world, everyone owns a half-sheet pan (affiliate link), because that’s what us recipe testers are always baking on. You need a large baking surface to accommodate all the potatoes, while leaving a little breathing room around each one. If necessary, use two pans instead.
Brush the baking sheet with olive oil. I generally use parchment paper for its non-stick surface and easy clean-up factor, but baking the potatoes against an oiled baking sheet makes them even more crispy. It’s worth the clean-up, if you ask me.
Add a little garlic and onion powder. These are my secret ingredients when I’m working with potatoes. They add a subtle savory note that sends potatoes over the top! They’re especially great when you’re baking potatoes, since you run the risk of burning your garlic in the oven (burnt garlic is the worst flavor).
Watch How to Make Smashed Potatoes
- 3 ½ pounds medium yellow potatoes, washed
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, or to taste
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or to taste
Place potatoes into a 5-quart stockpot and cover with 3 quarts of cold water. Add kosher salt and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Let potatoes cool just until they're safe to handle.
Transfer potatoes onto a sheet pan and continue cooling to room temperature. Make 4 or 5 shallow cuts down the sides of each potato, about every inch or so, to ensure the skin splits evenly when smashed. Refrigerate until completely chilled and ready to smash 8 hours to overnight is best.
Combine butter, sliced garlic, rosemary, and thyme in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts and begins to bubble, and garlic softens and starts to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Line 2 metal baking sheets with silicone baking mats (such as Silpat®) and generously brush on some of the infused melted butter.
Remove potatoes from the fridge and gently smash each between two pieces of plastic using a flat, heavy object until 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Season generously with salt, pepper, and cayenne on both sides, being careful not to break potatoes up into small pieces. Transfer onto a sheet pan, being careful not to overlap potatoes. Very generously drizzle and brush most of the melted butter on top.
Bake potatoes in the preheated oven until well browned and crunchy around the edges, 35 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the pan with the remaining garlic and herb butter back over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until garlic starts to turn a very light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
Carefully transfer potatoes onto a serving platter and scatter over the golden brown slices of garlic. Crumble the toasted herbs on top if desired. Serve immediately.
Make them "loaded smashed potatoes" with bacon and cheese.
I used my 7:2:1 seasoning for that garlic taste.
By choosing the amount of smashing and the potatoes' size, you can adjust the final results to your desires. The thinner smashed potatoes will be crisper thicker will be fluffier on the inside. The rougher the surface, the more crunchiness of the final results.
Add a little melted butter to the oil you are brushing the potatoes with for more flavor, but all butter will not be good due to the high oven temperature.
Recommendations for Making Roasted Smashed Potatoes
When I said that this recipe is versatile, I wasn’t kidding. These make an elegant appetizer with Caviar and Crème Fraiche. You can also try topping them with smoked salmon and sour cream.
To serve them to my family I love to add a little cheese in the final minutes of roasting. You can add some fresh chopped garlic and a little parmesan cheese or make a loaded baked potato version and use cheddar, bacon and sour cream.
Really the only limit is your imagination.
This recipe is easy to make if you know the right tips and tricks! Here are my tips for ensuring your Baby Smashed Potatoes come out perfectly.
I’m sure you’ve seen them at the grocery store, but what are baby potatoes? They’re basically just little potatoes that are harvested early. Not only do they pack more flavor than regular potatoes, but they also have a lot less starch and sugar content.
Baby or petite potatoes come in a variety of colors, and they all work for this recipe. The most popular are the yellow variety, but red, and even the purple kinds are good! Just make sure they are a “baby” variety.
We stuck to the typical sour cream, bacon, butter, and green onions. However, you can most certainly mix things up. Plain non-fat Greek yogurt could take the place of the sour cream with very little impact on flavor. Salsa, different shredded cheese, guacamole, finely minced onion, fried onion straws, and chili are also tasty options to add in.
How to Top Smashed Potatoes
You really can mix up how you top these. I am going very simple with these, just a little salt, pepper, butter and garlic. But you can use your favorite herbs and even cheese. There are so many different ways you can mix it up. Herbs de Provence is one of my favorite seasonings for potatoes, and that would be great to mix with the butter to pour over the potatoes. Adding a little bit of cheese to melt at the very end of baking makes that over the top tasty as well.
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Here is how to make these super easy loaded smashed potatoes recipe:
You Will Need:
- About a dozen red potatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 slices bacon (crumbled)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: Green onion and sour cream to top.
Instructions for making my Super Easy Loaded Smashed Potatoes Recipe:
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F
Step 2: In a large boiling pot add your potatoes and a little salt. Boil your potatoes until fork tender. Usually takes about 15 minutes depending on how big your potatoes are. Drain them when done.
Step 3: Grab a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and place your potatoes on your baking sheet.
Step 4: While the potatoes are still warm, use the bottom of a glass (or anything with a flat bottom that you have will work!) and smash those potatoes down! At this time you can add any additional spices you want to your potatoes.
Step 5: Brush the tops of your now smashed potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle on your salt and pepper.
Step 6: Pop your potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are browned and crispy.
Step 7: Top your now perfectly crispy smashed potatoes with your bacon and shredded cheese.
Step 8: Turn your stove to broil and stick your potatoes under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. Pull out and top with green onions (and any other toppings that you personally enjoy on your potatoes!
And there you have it! In no time at all you have a delicious bath of super easy loaded smashed potatoes! They are seriously a crowd pleaser. You could serve them as a side for cook outs, as an appetizer on game day, or even as a whole meal on a busy weeknight. They are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and full of yummy flavor.
What would you top your loaded smashed potatoes with? Let me know in the comments below! Before you go check out my other potato recipes I have up on the blog! Mexican stuffed baked potatoes, instant pot potatoes, cabbage and sausage, easy sausage and potato bake, and easy crockpot potato soup. Then follow us on twitter, facebook, pinterest or by email (link way at the very top!).