Perfect potatoes can be tricky when you’re cooking without oils, but you can make all types of potatoes brown and crispy and yummy.
These tips work great with regular and sweet potatoes, but every potato will yield different results, so be adventurous and try them all!
Wedge Cut/Steak Fries
Big, delicious potato wedges can be moist on the inside and crispy on the outside — without oil!
There are two basic methods to pre-prepare pan- or oven-perfect potatoes every time:
- Precooking: Bake the potatoes (or sweet potatoes) early in the day or even the day before. Once they’re completely cool, slice them into wedges.
- Soaking: Cut raw potatoes into wedges, place them in a bowl and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt (optional). Soak for 5-10 minutes, drain and rinse to remove the starches. Lay them out on a clean towel to dry.
Once your potatoes are prepared for cooking, toss with seasonings and a little lemon juice, if you like. Now you’re ready to pop them under the broiler, bake on a cookie sheet or pan fry the wedges.
- Broiling: broil for 10 minutes or until brown, turn and broil for another 10 minutes. The potatoes will be crispy on the outside and soft and yummy on the inside.
- Baking: Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat (don’t use foil – it will stick!) and bake at approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for 10-15 minutes. Flip potatoes and cook for another 10-15 minutes. You might have to experiment with the perfect time and temperature combination for your oven and taste preferences.
- Pan Frying: You can also use a high quality non-stick pan to fry wedges on the stovetop. Simply brown for about 8-10 minutes, turn brown 8-10 minutes more and enjoy!
And since your steak fries will obviously not be accompanied by a real steak, why not serve them up instead with some grilled Portobello mushroom “steaks” for your plant-based summer cookouts?
While at first blush it might seem impossible to cook potato chips without oil, there are actually a lot of benefits for cooking without oil. For starters, oil can make homemade chips soggy instead of crispy. Secondly, cooking with oil often causes the edges of potato slices to burn; when you cook without oil, you will get a much more uniform chip.
So here’s how to create a mean chip depending on what kind of potato you are using:
Russets, Whites and Golds:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (F).
- Cut potatoes into ¼-inch or thinner slices.
- Season to taste.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat and lay chips out in a single layer. Be careful not to crowd the slices.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness, flip and bake until crispy and brown. If your chips are thick, you might need 5-10 minutes more per side. You know they’re done when you hear that satisfying snap!
Sweet potatoes are a little trickier, but lots faster to cook. Because of this, make sure that you don’t slice the sweet potatoes too thin and don’t leave them unattended. Other than that, the instructions are similar to what we outlined above:
- Once you have your slices all sliced and seasoned to taste and laid out in a single layer on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet, pop them in a 400-degree (F) oven for ten minutes.
- Flip and bake 3-5 minutes more. Be super-careful and attentive – sweet potatoes can burn very quickly! You’ll probably see a few darker spots here and there, but don’t let the spots turn black. Cool completely before you serve them because they’ll get crispier during cooling.
A tip for perfect chips: ¼-inch or thinner slices work best and a mandoline is the tool to get uniform slices at the thickness you want. Thickness influences cooking time and the amount of “snap” you’ll get from your oil-free chips.
You can oven-bake or pan fry hash browns, too. Like potato chips, the trick is in the cut. Use a slicer or a cheese grater (the big holes) to shred peeled or unpeeled potatoes.
- Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat. (No need to add any liquids to the pan.) When the pan is hot, spread the potatoes in an even layer across the bottom of the skillet.
- Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, making sure to monitor and adjust the temperature as necessary so they don’t brown too quickly.
- When potatoes are brown, flip and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove the pan lid and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until crispy and brown.
Baked hash browns are crispier than pan-fried. Here’s how to prepare them:
- Like chips and wedges, you’ll want a good baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat.
- Spread the potatoes in a layer and bake in a 400-degree (F) oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Flip and bake 15-20 minutes more, being careful not to let them burn.
All of these crispy, brown, delicious potatoes can be spiced up with anything from fresh or granulated garlic and onion, parsley, oregano, pepper, turmeric…the only limit is your imagination.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear any of your ninja ‘perfect potato’ tricks in the comments below. And if you try any of my suggestions, be sure to let me know how your crispy potatoes turn out!