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How to Cook Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

These spuds come in assorted shapes and sizes. How do you cook them evenly?
By Published Oct. 1, 2019

My Goals & Discoveries

Creamy, tender interiors

Cooking the potatoes covered with foil first steams them so they don't dry out in the hot oven.

Browned exteriors

Removing the foil and leaving them uncovered for the rest of cooking allows the potatoes to get deep, flavorful browning. Shaking the pan helps the potatoes brown evenly.

Flavorful, vibrant toppings

Tossing the potatoes with herbs, cheese, and zest after cooking prevents these items from becoming dessicated in the oven. The toppings cling to the skins of the hot potatoes, where they become fragrant on contact.

Fingerling potatoes are often confused with new potatoes due to their small size and thin, tender skin. However, fingerlings are fully mature potatoes with an earthy nuttiness. Roasting is a great way to enhance their flavor with browning, and their diminutive size means they can be cooked whole. The only problem is that they can vary widely in shape (from crescent‑like to knobby) and length (from 1 inch to nearly 5 inches). I wanted to see if I could get assorted sizes to cook at the same rate.

I started by tossing 2 pounds of fingerlings with salt and a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet, and placing the sheet in a 450-degree oven. Thirty minutes later, the potatoes had deep patches of browning and the smaller ones were cooked through, but in general the skins were tough, and some of the larger spuds were still firm in the center. At such high heat, the exteriors were drying out before the larger potatoes had a chance to cook through. In addition, the potatoes weren’t covering the entire baking sheet, allowing the residual oil on the sheet’s exposed surface to polymerize in the hot oven—and polymerized oil is very difficult to clean. Instead, I moved the fingerlings to a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan, where they fit snugly in a single layer.

Associate editor Annie Petito slices through different batches of roasted fingerling potatoes to assess how each cooked on the inside.

I knew that crowding the potatoes would cause them to steam a bit, but that would be a good thing, helping them cook through without turning leathery. In fact, I covered the pan with aluminum foil to trap the steam. After 15 minutes, the tip of a knife easily pierced the largest potato, so I removed the foil and continued to roast the fingerlings so the skins could take on some color, shaking the pan a few times to ensure that they browned evenly.

Batches of roasted fingerling potatoes cool before a tasting, where editors will decide if they have the perfect tender and creamy texture.

About 20 minutes later, I could see that this approach worked: Both the large and small spuds were tender and creamy. Most varieties of fingerlings are waxy, and waxy potatoes hold their moisture better than, say, floury russets, so it’s hard to dry them out. The extra steam from the larger potatoes also helped the smaller ones cook through.

Even Season

Instead of seasoning the fingerlings with salt prior to roasting, we combine the salt with herbs and chop them to create an herb-salt blend. Combining the herbs and salt creates an increased volume that makes it easier to evenly distribute the ingredients after roasting.

To dress up my perfectly roasted fingerlings, I coated them with seasonings that would stick to their skin. For a simple yet classic combination, I tossed chopped thyme and sage leaves with the roasted potatoes in a bowl, where their heady fragrances wafted up as they hit the hot spuds.

But it was tricky to evenly disperse the small amount of herbs. For the next batch, I held off on adding salt prior to roasting the potatoes and instead added it to the herbs before I minced them. The increased volume made the ingredients easier to distribute evenly.

Two more potent toppings for my sophisticated, slender spuds included a zippy mix of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley and a salty-sharp take on cacio e pepe with Pecorino Romano and black pepper.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.