Roast potatoes with rosemary

Whenever my family has a roast leg of lamb for dinner, it almost seems natural to have roast potatoes to accompany it. Roast potatoes are one of those side dishes that are the perfect accompaniment for any roast.  However, roast potatoes can either be really good or just mediocre. The key to perfect roast potatoes is to have the inside of the potato be fluffy while having the exterior of the potato be crisp.

I learned how to make these perfect roast potatoes in South Africa from a family friend who also taught me how to make Indian roti and curry. We had these roast potatoes, cooked this way, every Saturday without fail.

Tips for making perfect roast potatoes.

Types of potatoes.

For these particular roast potatoes, I prefer to use Yukon Gold or other non-baking potatoes.  I feel that the russet or baking potatoes do not hold up during the cooking and roasting process and is therefore more difficult to handle.

Yukon gold potatoes for roasting.

Yukon gold potatoes for roasting.

Parboiling the potatoes.

This is key to getting the crispy exterior. Par boiling is literally partial boiling.  The potatoes are only partially cooked.  By partially cooking the potatoes, the cooking process breaks down the starches of the potato, allowing it to caramelize easier as well as take a lot less time to cook.  Add the potatoes to the cold, salted water to ensure even cooking throughout the potato.

Cut, raw potatoes.

Cut, raw potatoes to the size of a golfball.

Par boil cut potatoes.

Par boil cut potatoes.


Adding a generous amount of salt during the boiling process and a little during roasting is key to adding flavor.

Cool potatoes.

Cooling the cooked potatoes after parboiling allows the potatoes to firm up so they are easier to handle when preparing them for roasting.

Cooked and cooled potatoes before roasting.Cooked and cooled potatoes before roasting. Oil, salt and flavor your potatoes. These potatoes are sprinkled with coarse sea salt!


I usually roast my cooked potatoes on a piece of foil on a baking tray with a generous amount of olive oil.  The olive oil prevents the potatoes from sticking.  Shake your potatoes on the tray to ensure that the bottoms of the potatoes are oiled.

Potatoes individually turned to ensure even browning.

Potatoes individually turned to ensure even browning.

Turning the potatoes.

During roasting, the potatoes will have to be turned.  Turning each one individually with a pair of tongs does result in uniformly roasted potatoes.

Roast potatoes with rosemary

Turn roast potatoes every 20 minutes until uniformly browned.

Golden brown roast potatoes

Golden brown roast potatoes

Gas ovens.

If you have a gas oven and the roasting process is taking too long, place the pan on the base of the oven so it has direct contact with the oven floor.  However, make sure you check your potatoes frequently as the potatoes will brown quickly.

Perfectly roasted rosemary potatoes

Perfectly roasted rosemary potatoes


For the longest time, we used to encourage everyone to "finish the potatoes" because it never tasted good as leftovers.  Recently, I found a wonderful way to repurpose leftover roast potatoes.  They were so good that I was requested to make roast potatoes again just to have these smashed potatoes!  

Perfectly roasted rosemary potatoes


Michelle Sam
These easy and perfect roast potatoes are crisp on the exterior with a fluffy and delicious interior. Tips for making perfect roast potatoes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, British, Mediterranean, South African
Servings 4 people
Calories 257 kcal


  • 5 yukon gold potatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary optional
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil


Prepping potatoes

  • Peel potatoes and immediately immerse in water to prevent browning
  • Cut potatoes to the size of golf balls.
  • Prepare roasting tray by layering a piece of foil on baking tray. This helps with cleanup.

Boiling potatoes

  • In a saucepan add water, making sure that the water will cover all the potatoes.
  • Add salt to water.
  • Add potatoes.
  • Bring water and potatoes to a boil.
  • Reduce temperature to a rolling boil and parboil potatoes for 8 minutes.
  • Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking tray.
  • Refrigerate for at one hour (or overnight) to cool potatoes to firm up and allow moisture to evaporate.

Roasting potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 400° fahrenheit (204° celcius)
  • Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and gently shake pan to ensure that the potatoes slide on oil and do not stick to the bottom of the pan. This makes it easier to turn the potatoes over during roasting.
  • Add rosemary and additional coarse salt depending on your taste (optional)
  • Roast for 20 minutes and turn each potato individually to ensure even browning.
  • Continue roasting and turning until potatoes are golden brown and crisp.


Serving: 4servingsCalories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 594mgPotassium: 898mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 19IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 2mg
Keyword roast potatoes in oven, roast potatoes recipe, roasted potatoes, roasted potatoes recipe, rosemary potatoes
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