To put an end to an age-old argument, we spent the day in our Test Kitchen using different oils and fats to roast batches of potatoes. All had great colour, a fluffy centre and excellent crunch. Coconut gave the deepest crust, and the butter mix the most colour – but how did they taste?
How we tested
We boiled clementine-sized chunks of Maris Pipers for 15 mins, drained them, then steam-dried them until cold. A 0.5cm layer of oil or fat was heated in the oven in the roasting tin at 190C/170C fan/gas 5, then the potatoes were basted in the hot fat and roasted for 40 mins. The potatoes were turned, re-basted and roasted for 15 mins more at 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
The outsides were nice and dry, and the tasters thought the roasties tasted light with no overbearing flavours of oil or fat.
Butter with rapeseed oil
Smelt buttery but didn’t taste fatty. A good tip is to melt the butter and leave the impurities in the pan before adding the melted butter to the rapeseed oil. This avoids little brown marks over the cooked roasties.
Coconut oil – Best crunch
The potatoes seemed to brown more quickly. There was a smell of coconut at the beginning of cooking, but not an obvious coconut flavour for some tasters – and those that did taste it didn’t find it unpleasant. The drawback was that the oil was smoky when you opened the oven.
Another fat that created some smoke, and the tasters were poles apart with their opinions – the roasties were declared ‘worst’ and ‘best’ by different people! Dripping will give potatoes a slightly meaty aroma, as though they’ve been cooked with roast beef.
Goose fat – Best flavour
These had a good crunch and golden colour, but some thought they had a slightly more oily texture. Overall, they were considered the most flavoursome from the savoury taste of the goose fat, which didn’t overpower.
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Do you agree with our findings? Let us know in the comments below…