Duck Fat Potatoes are the undisputed king of all roast potatoes! Roasting in duck fat creates an incredibly thick, golden brown crust that’s unbelievably crunchy in a way that you will never be able to replicate using oil.
Duck Fat Potatoes
You’ve heard of them, you might’ve even seen them on the menu of fine dining restaurants.
So – what’s the big deal with Duck Fat Potatoes? Here’s why they’re held as the best roast potatoes in the world!
Crispiest crust that’s thick and craggy, with a deep golden brown colour;
Stays crispy rather than going soggy within seconds of coming out of the oven like “normal” roast potatoes; and
The best flavour, a pure, clean flavour that doesn’t taste of duck but has a distinctly richer flavour than oil. It’s unique because other animal fats typically have an intense flavour of the animal – like pork fat, which tastes intensely porky.
Plus, it just sounds fancy to say that you’ve made potatoes roasted in duck fat, rather than everyday oil. Right? 🙂
Roasting potatoes in duck fat makes the thickest, craggiest, CRUNCHIEST roast potatoes, in a way that no oil can compare!
In actual fat, cooking with duck fat has been a staple in French cooking since the beginning of time. The French understand that duck fat is like bacon – it just makes everything taste better!
Here’s what Duck Fat looks like. A decade ago, it was something that was only available in gourmet stores and was fairly pricey (>$10 from memory).
Nowadays, it’s sold in large grocery stores in Australia (Woolies, Coles, Harris Farms) for around $6 a jar full price – you need 1 x 200g/6.5oz jar for this recipe. Duck fat can be reused – just strain out potato bits, then store in the fridge. It keeps for months and months!
I tend to stock up when they’re on sale – they keep in the pantry and have a long shelf life (months, years!). Use it for Duck Confit!
What you need to roast potatoes in Duck Fat
Here’s what you need for Duck Fat Potatoes:
Duck Fat – see and read above;
Potatoes – starchy or all rounder potatoes.
Australia – Sebago (dirt brushed potatoes, pictured) and Dutch creams are ideal. Also Desiree, Golden Delight, Kennebec, King Edwards, Pontiac.
US – Russets are best, Yukon Gold also ideal.
UK – Maris Piper potatoes
Semolina – a little secret ingredient for subtle extra crunch, learnt from Nigella! Semolina is a coarse ground yellow wheat that’s used for making (amongst other things) pasta. It’s the perfect size to “meld” into the coating of the potatoes so you can’t taste it separately but you get the benefit of the extra crunch. If you can’t find it, leave it out. There’s really no substitute – even fine ground cornmeal is too coarse (I’ve tried). Don’t worry, it’s like that extra little finishing touch – but I’ve made duck potatoes plenty of times without (and 99% sure most restaurants do too!
More salt than you expect. Potatoes take a lot of salt!
No duck fat?
Use this recipe for super crunchy roasted potatoes using oil!
How to roast potatoes in duck fat
There’s a few specific steps to making the crispiest roast potatoes using duck fat. Not difficult, just different to the standard roast potatoes:
Heat duck fat until smoking hot – melt and preheat the duck fat in the oven until it’s very hot, so when the potatoes are placed in the hot oil, it sizzles as though it’s frying. This is a key step for crunchy potatoes! Duck fat has a pretty high smoke point of 190°C/375°F which is the temperature to which it can be heated before it starts smoking and all hell breaks loose with your smoke alarms!
Large pieces – cut the potatoes into large pieces so they can hold up to the par boiling + roasting time required. Small pieces tend to disintegrate before the crust forms;
Par boil – an essential step! This allows us to rough the potatoes up (step 6) and activates the starch on the surface which = crunchier potatoes. Also, par boiling is necessary to ensure the potatoes cook through in the 45 minutes roasting time required for a crunchy surface;
Steam off excess water – water is not a friend of crunchy potatoes! So after draining the potatoes well, return to the empty pot on the turned off stove and allow to “steam dry” for a few minutes;
Semolina for extra crunch! Terrific secret tip picked up from Nigella – try it once, and you’ll never look back!
Rough it up! Shake the pot with the lid on to rough up the surface of the potatoes. Roughed up surface = more surface area = more CRUNCH!
Place in HOT oil! The oil should be shimmering and the potatoes should sizzle when they hit the pan;
Roast 45 – 50 minutes until deep golden and SUPER crunchy!
Here’s a nice close look at Duck Fat Potatoes. That crazy crunchy crust!!!
And as for the insides?? Super soft and fluffy!
Stays crispy….and not greasy!
Two more unique characteristics of Duck Fat Potatoes are that:
They actually stay crispy – Ever notice how other promises of crispy roast potatoes might have crispy edges fresh from the oven, but they go soggy within minutes?? Not these! Potatoes roasted in duck fat stay crispy for far longer – 20 minutes or so; and
Not greasy – despite being roasted in a (thinnish!) layer of duck fat, they don’t come out greasy at all – which I think is captured quite well in the close up photos of the potatoes. They’re actually less greasy that potatoes roasted in far less oil the traditional way!
What to serve with Duck Fat Potatoes
The traditional way to serve Duck Fat Potatoes is on the side of roasts. The only thing you need to be mindful of is that you want to serve these potatoes fresh out of the oven to maximise the time they stay crunchy and crispy.
So assuming you’ve only got one oven like me, you need to choose roasts that hold up to resting for the 45 – 50 minutes the potatoes take to roast. My favourites include:
I avoid the following:
Pork Roast with Crispy Crackling – because the crackling will soften if covered for that length of time;
Roast Chicken – it’s smaller so optimum maximum rest time is around 20 minutes.
From a practical perspective, Duck Fat Potatoes are ideal to serve on the side of slow cooker roasts because then you don’t need to deal with the oven battle. Here are my favourites:
Hope you enjoy!
– Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Duck Fat Potatoes – the world’s crispiest, BEST Roast Potatoes!
- 1.75-2kg/ 3.5-4lb potatoes , medium to large, Sebago or Dutch Creams (Aus), Yukon Gold or Russet (US), Maris Piper (UK) (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp semolina (Note 2)
- 1.5 tsp salt , kosher salt
- 200g/ 7oz Duck Fat (or Goose Fat, Note 3)
- 2 tsp rosemary , roughly chopped
- Sea salt flakes
- Peel the potatoes, then cut into 7.5cm / 3" pieces (Note 4).
- Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F (230°C fan).
Par Boiling & Roughing up:
- Add 1 tbsp salt then potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Boil 10 minutes.
- Drain potatoes well.
- Shake excess water out of pot, return turned off stove. Tip potatoes in then stand for 5 minutes to steam out excess water.
- Add 1.5 tsp salt and the semolina. Place lid on then shake the pot up and down vigorously 5 to 7 times to rough up the surface.
- Pour duck fat into heavy based metal roasting pan (not glass or ceramic, Note 5).
- Heat in oven for 5 to 7 minutes until it's shimmering and very hot with little wisps of smoke (Note 6)
- Working quickly and carefully, remove pan from oven.
- Transfer potato in (be CAREFUL!), turn to coat in fat then arrange cut face down.
- Roast for 25 minutes. Turn potatoes, roast 15 minutes. Turn again, then roast 10 to 15 minutes until deep golden and super crunchy.
- Transfer to warm serving bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and rosemary, serve immediately!
- Roasting in duck fat creates a far thicker, superior crunchy crust that stays crunchy
- Par boiling then roughing up the surface creates more surface area which means a thicker, better crunchy crust
- Semolina is coarse enough to add a subtle extra crunch yet fine enough to “meld” into the crust of the potatoes so you can’t separately identify them
- Preheating the oil essential provides an effect like deep frying – instant contact of potatoes with hot oil = better crust!
Best-ever potato recipes
Life of Dozer
Duck Fat Potatoes are too precious for Dozer. How about some potato peel instead?? 😈