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These might be fighting words, but my least favorite potato is a baked potato. I really don’t like them at all. So I was surprised when I encountered the giant roasted potato fascinating the internet. It puts a different spin on the baked potato, and it actually looks tempting. To me. And now that I’ve made it, I understand why—it’s like eating a giant french fry.

The method involves boiling a skinned potato until it’s cooked through, bash up the outside so it looks dusty and mangled, and toss it with some oil and salt before cooking it at a high temperature. In my case, that meant air frying it. The outside of the potato crisps up in the oven, creating a thick, crunchy, browned outer shell. The inside is steamy and soft like a standard baked potato, but instead of tough potato skin on the outside, you have a jacket of crunchy, salty fried potato. 

This is a technique has been used for roasted potatoes in the past, but the potato is usually cut into chunks instead of left whole. I guess that’s what makes this one “giant.”

Mangling the outside of the potato is the most crucial step. Instead of a smooth surface with a thin layer of exposed starch, you’ll have increased the surface area and exposed more starchy potato, while creating some air pockets. Starch is the key factor for a crunchy crust—part of the reason potato starch is so good for frying karaage chicken is because of the high starch content. Keeping that in mind, I suggest using russet potatoes for this recipe, since they are prized for their starchiness.

How to make a giant roast potato

1. Peel and boil the potato

Creating a dry and fluffy outer crust is easier when the potato is peeled before boiling. You’ll be able to work with it while it’s hot, since you don’t have to touch it if it’s already been peeled, and the outer layer will break apart easier, since it’s absorbing the most water. In a large pot, cover your peeled potato with water and boil it until a knife can be inserted. Drain the water, but leave the potato in the pot

2. Bash it up

Banged-up potatoes in a pot

These have been nearly obliterated by my fervor. Just roll them around gently instead.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Put the lid on the pot and gently roll the potato around. There’s no need to apply much force; I almost shook mine to smithereens on the first try. Be gentle. Shake it around, open the lid, and check it. If it needs more roughing up, close the lid and roll it around again. 

3. Add oil and salt

Two potatoes in a pot.

The added oil and salt mixes in to form a pasty coating.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Once the outside looks kind of fuzzy, add some oil and a heavy pinch of salt. You just need enough to coat the outside of the potato. I used my oil sprayer to do it, but if your doing it the old-fashioned way, about a tablespoon per medium potato will be plenty. Close the lid and roll the potato around again. The potato should look like it’s covered in mashed potatoes. Perfect.

4. Air fry the potato until crisp

The potato is already cooked through, so we’re really just trying to crisp up the outside. Put the machine on the “air fry” setting at 400°F and get started frying up that oily coating to french fry-like crispness. Let it rip in the air fryer for about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the potato halfway through. 

The outside will brown up nicely with some crags and ripples all the way around. When I grabbed one of my potatoes with a pair of tongs I was shocked at how strong the outer coating had become—it was like a thick potato chip jacket with soft, steamy potato inside. You can split the potato in half and load it up with anything you want, just like a regular baked potato. (But better.)

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