For a very, very long time I’ve been trying to figure out how to make perfectly crisp skillet potatoes. The kind of potatoes that give you that supremely satisfying CRUNCH as you bite into them but are gloriously silky and creamy in the middle. I’ve been looking for a fool-proof method that would work every time…and I found it! This is it. And they are indeed crispy…crispy with a capital C-R-I-S-P-Y. And to top off these wondrous carbs, I made a buttermilk ranch sauce — because everybody secretly knows ranch is the BEST.
I discovered this method for crispy potatoes in How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I’ve had that book for many years and it’s an incredible resource. The recipes are reliable and most are pretty simple. There are two key things to getting perfectly crisp potatoes: 1.) parboil the potatoes — boil cubed potatoes until just tender, but not cooked all the way through — and 2.) don’t crowd the pan. Parboiling the potatoes jump starts the cooking process so that you can cook them at a high heat in the skillet using vegetable or canola oil for it’s higher smoke point. The potatoes won’t need as long to cook in the skillet which allows their exterior to get crispy while the interior stays soft. Not overcrowding the pan gives the potatoes room for the heat to surround each piece and for each piece to come in direct contact with the cooking surface (the pan). Overcrowding leads to the potatoes steaming rather than developing that crispy outer crust. It’s really quite simple, and the results are delicious!
Boil the potatoes until they’re just tender, then drain them and lay them out on a towel to dry.
If you have a smallish skillet (I used a 9-inch cast iron), cook the potatoes in two batches. If you have a larger 12-inch skillet you should be able to do it in one batch; the key is NOT to crowd the pan, the potatoes needs room to get all crispy and shtuff. It’s how they do.
After the first batch is cooked, transfer them to a plate and repeat with the second batch. Once those bad boys are cooked and crispy, add the first batch back in and cook for another minute or two to reheat them. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Toss on some chopped fresh parsley. That bit of fresh herbs goes beautifully with the crunch of the salty / peppery potatoes.
They are absolutely divine as is. But what say you we make a killer homemade buttermilk ranch sauce to pour on these babies? That cooling, tangy and herby sauce is what dreams are made of…crispy, crunchy potato dreams.
*Note: the potatoes are vegan, the ranch sauce is vegetarian.
Crispy Skillet Potatoes with Buttermilk Ranch Sauce
1 Tablespoon course salt, plus more to taste
4 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
For the Buttermilk Ranch Sauce (omit if vegan)
(makes 1 cup)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream (try homemade!)
1/3 cup buttermilk, plus more to thin if needed
juice from half of a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 Tablespoon dried dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
pinch of sugar (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Add the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 7 – 10 minutes. Drain well and lay them out on a towel to dry while you make the ranch sauce.
In a bowl or jar, add all the ingredients for the buttermilk ranch sauce and whisk until well combined. Set aside while you finish the potatoes.
Depending on the size of skillet you have, you can either cook the potatoes in one batch or two; you don’t want to crowd the pan. I did it in two batches with my 9-inch cast iron skillet: Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Add half of the potatoes and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 – 3 minutes. Remove them to a plate and repeat with the second batch. Once the second batch is cooked and crispy, add the first batch to the skillet and cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with the buttermilk ranch sauce. Enjoy!
Potato recipe slightly adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman