Smashed Potatoes. Photo: KnowInsiders
Smashed Potatoes. Photo: KnowInsiders

Smashed potatoes are fun for brunch or dinner. They’re also perfect any time you get a hankering for some crispy potatoes, but want something a little more redeeming than French fries. They go great with hearty salads, too, when salad-for-dinner feels too austere.

What's the difference between mashed and smashed potatoes?

Mashed and smashed potatoes both start out by getting boiled until nice and tender. It's what you do after boiling that differentiates the two. Mashed potatoes would get mashed with milk, butter, and usually sour cream into a creamy consistency. Smashed potatoes on the other hand get tossed with some olive oil and herbs then smashed into thin patties and roasted until crispy.

What are the best potatoes for smashed potatoes?

The two main things we want to focus is on here is that we want smaller potatoes and we want spuds that are waxy, not starchy. The starchier potatoes work great for things like fries but will not hold up well in this preparation. Yukon golds are perfect because not only do they crisp up really nice but they also have a buttery tenderness that gives you the ultimate texture contrast.

Smashed Potatoes Ingredients

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are the basic ingredients you will need to make smashed potatoes:

Potatoes: I recommend using small-sized potatoes to make this recipe, but medium- or mini-sized potatoes will work too as long as you smash them down to approximately the same 1/2-inch height. (You will just need to adjust boiling time.) We’re partial to small Yukon gold potatoes in our house, but any type of yellow, red, or purple potatoes will work.

Olive oil + butter: We’ve made smashed potatoes with olive oil or butter over the years, and my husband and I much prefer the extra flavor and crispiness that melted butter brings to the party. That said, butter will smoke much more at high heat, so I recommend brushing the pan with olive oil first (or misting it with cooking spray) and then using butter to brush or drizzle onto the smashed potatoes themselves.

Seasonings: I typically stick with my favorite all-purpose seasoning blend of garlic powder, smoked paprika, sea salt and black pepper. But feel free to add whatever seasonings you love best, either before or after baking.

Toppings: We usually sprinkle our smashed potatoes with whatever fresh herbs we have on hand (chives, parsley, etc) and an extra sprinkle of flaky sea salt. But feel free to also sprinkle yours with Parmesan cheese or any other toppings that sound fun!

How to Make the Best Smashed Potatoes

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

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).

How to Make Smashed Potatoes

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Boil the potatoes. Add the potatoes and 1 tablespoon fine sea salt to a large stockpot. Fill the pot with cold water so that the water line sits about 1 inch above the potatoes. Heat over high heat until the water comes to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high (or whatever temperature is needed to maintain the boil) and continue boiling the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted in the center of the potatoes. (Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, so please rely on the fork test to double-check when yours are done.) Carefully transfer the potatoes to a strainer to drain completely.

Prepare oven and baking sheet. Heat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Brush a large baking sheet evenly with the olive oil.

Smash the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, transfer them to the baking sheet. Then use either the bottom of a glass, a fork or a potato masher to gently “smash” each potato down until it is around 1/2-inch thick. Brush or drizzle the potatoes evenly with the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the garlic powder and smoked paprika.* Then sprinkle evenly with however much fine sea salt and black pepper you prefer. (I recommend a pretty generous amount of salt and pepper.)

Bake. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy and golden around the edges. Remove pan from the oven, sprinkle the potatoes with your desired toppings, serve hot and enjoy!

What to Serve with Smashed Potatoes

Honestly, I’ve been known to make a meal out of these alone! But they’re so great as a side or finger food.

As a side dish, they go great with skillet steak or baked chicken.

If serving them as an appetizer, they’re exceptionally good dunked in my Tzatziki sauce, Ranch dressing, sour cream, slathered in herb butter, or topped with bacon jam!

Because these are gluten free and even vegan, they are welcomed by most! If that is not a concern, you can also sprinkle on some freshly grated Parmesan right as they come out of the oven.

Smashed Potatoes Variations

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Here are a few other ideas for how to customize and have fun with this smashed potatoes recipe:

Make them vegan: Just use vegan butter or olive oil in place of the butter.

Make them crispier: I typically find that using a fork or potato masher makes these potatoes a bit crispier. (The more uneven little bits poking out on top, the crispier/crunchier these potatoes will be!) Feel free to also smash the potatoes 1/4-inch thick, too, if you would like a higher crispy-skin to softer-insides ratio.

Use fresh garlic: I’ve found that minced fresh garlic tends to burn when sprinkled on top of these potatoes. But feel free to infuse your butter with fresh garlic flavor by adding a few cloves to the butter as it melts, then you can discard the cloves before drizzling the butter onto the potatoes.

Add cheese: I love sprinkling these potatoes with Parmesan cheese after baking. But feel free to also sprinkle on any favorite shredded cheeses that you like, which you can do during the last few minutes in the oven if you would like the cheeses to melt.

Add different seasonings: I also love swapping in Cajun seasoning in place of the smoked paprika/garlic blend. Or adding a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning to the potatoes after they have bene baked.

Add brown butter: For an extra-decadent treat, simmer a few extra tablespoons of browned butter to drizzle on the potatoes once they have baked. Heavenly!

Load them up: To make traditionally “loaded” smashed potatoes, top them with bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado (or guacamole), or whatever else sounds good!

Storing Leftovers

These potatoes are best served hot right from the oven, but can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days. To reheat, bake them in the oven at 425 degrees F until warmed through.

How To Make Fake or Artificial Snow On Christmas? How To Make Fake or Artificial Snow On Christmas?

Let it snow with this simple Christmas activity that younger children especially will love! Check out some useful tips to make fake snow for decorations.

How To Make Traditional Tres Leches: Tips to Have Fluffy Cake How To Make Traditional Tres Leches: Tips to Have Fluffy Cake

A fluffy white sheet cake, poked with holes and soaked in a mixture of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. The Traditional Tres ...

How to Make Soft Sugar Biscuits US Sailors Ate In 1945: Original Recipe How to Make Soft Sugar Biscuits US Sailors Ate In 1945: Original Recipe

Sugar cookies were one of the easiest desserts to make. The Naval History and Heritage Command posted a naval ...