How to Keep Potatoes from Sticking

In this brief article, we will discuss how to keep potatoes from sticking. If you’ve ever roasted vegetables, especially potatoes, you’ll know that they often stick to the surface of the pan. And when you pry them off, they lose their crispy outer skins. 

How to Keep Potatoes from Sticking?

These are the super easy tips to keep potatoes from sticking when you cook them. Simple methods to avoid sticking are rinsing potato slices or sticks with water or blanching them in 5 L of hot water at 85° C for 3.5 min. Then, wipe with a paper towel to eliminate excess water and loose material adhering to the surface prior to frying (1). 

Cooking Potatoes in an Oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While some recipes state less cooking time and a hotter oven, you can still prepare crispy roasted potatoes at a lower temperature and finish them off in a broiler.
  2. Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a roasting pan. Parchment paper acts as a disposable non-stick surface and eliminates the need to use heavy cooking sprays or to douse the pan with oil.
  4. Wash and cut the potatoes into small pieces. Removing the skin is a matter of preference, but if you don’t mind the texture, skin adds color and flavor to the potatoes.
  5. Add the cut potatoes to the pot of boiling water for four to five minutes.
  6. Strain the potatoes and gently pat dry to eliminate as much moisture as you can.
  7. Toss the potatoes in a bowl drizzled with olive oil so that every piece is slightly coated. Sprinkle your preferred seasoning onto the potatoes and toss in olive oil again.
  8. Keeping them uncovered, bake the potatoes for an hour on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Carefully turn the sides of the potatoes with a heat-resistant spoon after every 15 to 20 minutes so that they are evenly cooked.
  9. After they’re cooked, crisp the potatoes underneath the broiler for about two minutes. Watch them closely, since they will take only seconds to go from crispy to burned under the intense heat.

Cooking Potatoes in a Pan

  1. Thoroughly clean the pan before cooking to avoid hot spots. Remove any debris from the cooking surface; rinse thoroughly and dry.
  2. First, heat up the empty pan on a high flame and then add the oil.
  3. Roll the oil carefully inside the pan so that all the sides of the pan are coated.
  4. Once you add the potatoes, gently sway the pan back and forth so that all the potatoes are coated in oil.
  5. Reduce  the heat to a simmer and periodically turn the potatoes with a spatula so that they are evenly cooked with a golden-brown appearance.
  6. Remove the potatoes and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil; add seasoning.

Additional Tips to Keep Potatoes from Sticking 

Buy waxy, low-starch potatoes; starchy varieties are more prone to sticking.Fingerlings, red, and new potatoes are perfect for roasting. The carbohydrate (starch and sugar) composition of potatoes plays an important role in determining variety usage. Starch content is directly related to specific gravity or dry matter in tubers. Typically, 60-80% of the dry matter is present as starch. Therefore, high-gravity or high-solids tubers contain high levels of starch (3).

You may use corn, olive, or canola oil to coat and cook the potatoes, or you can use a spray-on oil. But for best results, use clarified butter to enhance flavor and richness.

Also remember to use heat-resistant utensils such as wood or metal spoons. Steer clear of rubber or plastic since they tend to melt at such high temperatures.

And to make things even easier, cook the potatoes in a non-stick pan or cast iron.

 

How Does Starch in Potatoes Make Them Stick?

Starch in potatoes is made from sugars which begin to caramelize when cooked in a hot pan. Usually, the starch starts to burn even before the potatoes have had time to cook through, resulting in an undercooked burnt dish. Potatoes, like other food containing carbohydrates and proteins, are susceptible to Maillard reaction, or nonenzymatic browning that occurs in foods during heating. The Maillard reaction products can be sticky and increase stickiness of the food being prepared. In addition, potato starch has a high water binding capacity, and reduces available water from the surface, what leads to sticking (2).

 

How Can You Keep Starchy Potatoes from Sticking?

If you cannot purchase the low-starch variety, here are two things you can do to keep starchy potatoes from sticking when you cook them:

  1. Rinse or soak the potatoes for about an hour, or preferably overnight if you have time) to remove some of the starch from their surface.
  2. Par-cook the potatoes – cut the potatoes into small pieces and boil them in a large pot of salted water for at least 5 minutes or till they start to soften and look somewhat translucent. Completely air-dry the potatoes on paper towels. Pan-fry the dried potatoes on medium heat with a few tablespoons of oil.

Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.

How long do boiled potatoes last in the fridge?

What happens if you eat expired instant mashed potatoes?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we discussed how to keep potatoes from sticking. With just a few modifications to your current method, you can easily roast or fry potatoes without them sticking to the surface.

If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.

References

  1. Pedreschi, Franco, and Pedro Moyano. Oil uptake and texture development in fried potato slices. J Food Eng, 2005, 70, 557-563.
  2. Huber, Regina, and Regine Schoenlechner. Waffle production: influence of batter ingredients on sticking of fresh egg waffles at baking plates—Part I: effect of starch and sugar components. Food Sci Nutr, 2017, 5, 504-512.
  3. Potato Variety Selection. Oregon State University.