There's an art to getting perfect roasted potatoes, but I didn't learn that until recently. Now, I've roasted a whole lot of potatoes during the years, but all recipes are, most definitely, not created equal.
When I started doubling up on the seasonings I used with my potatoes in addition to increasing the cooking heat just a bit, I was consistently getting much tastier roasted potatoes. Then, I was able to play around with toppings, which is how I came up with this recipe and these parmesan and pesto roasted potatoes are the bomb!
Let's chat first about how to consistently get super incredible roasted potatoes.
Bigger isn't always better
You might be used to grabbing a bag of Idaho potatoes and cutting them into cubes before roasting. Stop doing that--ha! Idaho potatoes are great for baking and mashing, but they make some mushy roasted potatoes. Here are some of my favorite roasting potatoes to use for different recipes:
New Potatoes - These are my absolute favorite to use for roasted potatoes! They're small and some are already bite-sized without having to half them. More often than not, if I am making roasted potatoes, I'll grab a couple sacks of new potatoes, leave some whole, cut a few into halves, and then I'm ready to go.
Yukon Gold or Smaller Russets - These two are the best for roasted potato wedges. They're larger than new potatoes or baby reds, but they're not as big as baking potatoes so they're perfectly in the middle, which is what I like for making potato wedges.
Baby Reds - These are another great option for smaller roasted potatoes. They hold their shape well, and there isn't much reason to peel them unless you're using them for creamed potatoes. They're also pretty, so sometimes I'll use baby red potatoes for recipes when I want a lot of color. Baby Idaho potatoes are good to use, too! As long as they're smaller, they'll roast beautifully like in this recipe I made a few months ago.
Smaller Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are in a league of their own, and while there's not much variety, you can still opt for smaller-sized sweet potatoes instead of purchasing the big ones, which will make all the difference with your recipes. Check out these Rosemary & Thyme Sweet Potato Stacks I made for an example of a great roasted sweet potato recipe!
Yukon Gold potatoes are about as large as I want if I'm going for a good roasted potato recipe, and I only use those for potato wedges. If I'm craving roasted whole potatoes or some that I've diced or cubed, New Potatoes & Baby Reds are my go-to choices. Just remember, think smaller when you're adding roasted potatoes to the menu.
Less isn't always more
I found this out by mistake. I was working on another potato recipe in which I was using parmesan cheese, and I accidentally dumped too much into the mixing bowl. The extra cheese, however, made the potatoes so nice and crispy, so now anytime I make roasted potatoes, I load them up with some herbs and spices, and the results are consistently soo, soo good!
Here are some different varieties of herbs & spices that work very well with roasted potato recipes:
Taco Spiced: 2 tablespoons chili powder (no added salt); 1 teaspoon each of cumin, onion powder, garlic powder & dried oregano; 1/2 teaspoon each of smoked paprika & kosher salt (2 pounds of potatoes). Dip in cheese sauce for extra flavor!
Ranch Spiced: 1-ounce packet of ranch seasoning, 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup olive oil (2 pounds of potatoes).
Greek Garlic & Lemon Roasted Poatoes: 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil (2.5 pounds of potatoes).
With all of these recipes, the same principle applies. Use lots of spices. This will serve two purposes: coating the potatoes will a whole bunch of flavor AND giving the potatoes enough of a coating to crisp up very nicely as they bake.
Turn up the heat
Using high heat for baking or roasting potatoes yields better results every time. Low and slow makes soft baked potatoes with soft, soggy skin. High and fast makes soft baked potatoes with crispy skin. The same is true for roasting potatoes, so don't be afraid to turn up the heat and let the potatoes get a little brown. They'll be delicious--promise!!
Parmesan & Pesto Potatoes
This is one of my favorite flavor combinations on the planet! For pasta, chicken, beef, and now, for potatoes, too!
If you like strong flavors that seem to burst in every bite, you'll enjoy these, too! The basil pesto is incredibly delicious, and I have always been a fan of fresh herbs. The pesto paired with parmesan cheese and garlic would be an awesome combination on their own, but the lemon juice adds another layer of flavor and makes this one of the best roasted potato recipes on the internet--in my most humble opinion...ha!