Making Gourmet’s Panfried Smashed Potatoes, Step by Step

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Ever since this month’s Gourmet magazine showed up at The Mouse House, I kept going back to this recipe. When I found a bag of the sweetest little red bliss potatoes, I took it as a sign.

The skins are crisp, the potatoes are soft and fluffy, and it’s ridiculously fun to fry a whole smashed potato. It feels kind of wrong in that oh-so-right way. (Like that time I deep-fried a whole egg.)

Panfried Smashed Potatoes: The basic technique

These potatoes are cooked twice. First, they’re boiled until just barely cooked. Then they’re smashed and fried in olive oil ’til they’re a heavenly golden brown and have a nice crunchy skin.

If you’re not crazy about frying them (or if you overcook the potatoes and they fall apart), you can also bake them, a la The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

An important note on boiling

The original recipe notes to boil the potatoes ’til they’re almost tender. This is important.

You want them to be soft enough to smash, but not so soft that they completely fall apart. Trust me on this one. I had to do it twice. Don’t fret about undercooking them a wee bit. They’ll finish cooking when you fry them.

Here’s my step-by-step take on how to make these lovely little things�with a few tweaks

The original recipe is by Paul Grimes, and appeared in the March 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine. (Thank you, Mr. Grimes. You’re a potato genius!) I used a little more olive oil, so I pretty much shallow fried them.

I’m pretty sure I fried my potatoes in hotter oil, as mine look crunchier than the ones in the magazine and cooked in far less time (10 minutes, as opposed to 20). No matter, though. They were deeeelicious!

Dress up your potatoes any way you like

Use this as a basic recipe for technique. Here are a few ideas for other toppings:

+Sour cream + crispy bacon + shredded cheddar (for loaded potato fun)
+Craime frache + a giant poached shrimp + cracked black pepper (for a fancier appetizer)
+Hollandaise + a piece of pan-fried haddock + minced chives (for a take on fish and chips)
+Thinly sliced sirloin + grilled asparagus + balsamic reduction (for a tapas-style entree)

Or, you know, you can eat them as is.

Panfried Smashed Potatoes

8 small- to medium-sized red potatoes
kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
fresh parsley, minced
freshly cracked black pepper

Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Prep your ‘taters

Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove over high heat. Grab 2 sheet pans. Leave one plain (for the potatoes when they come out of the boiling water). Line the other with paper towels (for when they come out of the oil).

Then grab your potatoes.

See those pesky eyes?


Nip them right out with a sharp little knife.


Cut as little of the potato out as you can, but be sure to get rid of any dark or discolored spots.


Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Boil the potatoes

When your water is boiling, add a little kosher salt to the water. Then drop your prepped potatoes in.

Boil the potatoes until they’re *just* tender. This will likely take about 10 minutes, but will ultimately depend on how big your potatoes are.

Test a potato by poking it with the tip of a knife. If the knife slides in fairly easily (but there’s still some resistance because it’s not totally cooked), they should be ready.


Fish the potatoes out of the water with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Set them on a sheet pan.

Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Smoosh the potatoes

With a potato masher, gently press down on each potato. Smoosh it so that it’s maybe 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch thick.


Go slowly. If you press it too flat, the potato will likely fall apart to pieces. If the masher is hard to remove from your potato, slip a paring knife right under it to loosen it.

Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Fry the potatoes

Add the olive oil to a nonstick pan. Set it on the stove over medium-high heat. Heat for a minute or two, then test your oil. If the oil starts to bubble the minute you dip a corner of potato in, it’s hot enough to fry.

When your oil is hot enough, add the potatoes to the pan. I fried mine in 2 batches of 4 each, so as not to crowd the pan (which drops the temperature of your oil, which makes the potatoes absorb more grease…).


Fry them for a few minutes like this, until they’ve developed a beautiful golden brown crust on the bottom.


After maybe 5 minutes, take a peek underneath. When they’re golden brown, flip them over.

Fry like this until the other side has a matching crust. Remove them from the pan and set them on your paper-towel-lined pan. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Serve & enjoy!

When your potatoes are done, they should look about like this:

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, freshly cracked black pepper, and minced parsley. Serve hot.



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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. I can't say much beyond "mmmmmmm" to these. My mum found a recipe for smashed potatoes last summer and we've had them many, many times since. Who even needs a main -- these are good enough on their own. My mum doesn't fry them though -- she bakes them. I can only imagine that frying would make them about a zillion times yummier.
    • Thanks so much! I couldn't agree more. These would be just fine on their own. (Potatoes for dinner, please!) The link I included to the Pioneer Woman's recipe...she bakes them and they look just divine. +Jessie
  2. Oh yum! those look so good. Isn't this the same cooking style as hashbrowns? I remember I tried to make hashbrowns (the chopped, not shredded kind) by pan frying a long time ago and they turned gray. My husband said you have to boil them first. Hmm, it has been a while, I may have to try that!
    • Heya! Hmmm. I feel like folks make hash browns in all sorts of ways. How you cook 'em probably has to do with how big you cut the potatoes. If I were doing big hash browns, I might chop them, boil them first, then pan fry them (though in much less oil). I usually make my hash browns teeny weeny, so I don't boil them first. Here's the link (I usually use duck fat or olive oil to fry them): Cheers! +Jessie
  3. You're my hero! I love potatoes more than chocolate! I can cook 'em up a million different ways, but i've never tried smashed. I usually give them a large dice with skin on and pan fry, but these look better. These would be perfect with a good steak. BTW, i'd love to hear your story on that fried egg, that's a new one to me...
  4. Oh, and I checked out "The Pioneer Woman Cooks," and she's hilarious! Wit and sarcasm--two of my favorite traits. (Your potatoes look better, just don't tell her!)
  5. I often get smashed potatoes like these at Vella Cafe, a charming, airy restaurant tucked under the el tracks here in Chicago. I've often wanted to try to duplicate their version [no cheese and maybe some paprika]; this recipe will give me a good starting point. Thanks!
  6. I would love to make these as a side dish for a summer BBQ party. Do you think I could fry them in advance and then re-heat in the oven before serving? Or perhaps just bake them and keep them warm? They look amazing and would make a fabulous side to a big hunk of BBQ beef tenderloin!
  7. ...making these right NOW! can't wait to have them with our grilled bacon cheeseburgers!! yummm and thank you!!! :D