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Patatas Bravas Spanish Potatoes + Spicy Tomato Aïoli

Super fluffy on the inside, and crispy and golden on the outside, these patatas bravas, or Spanish potatoes, are such a treat that are so good smothered in a spicy tomato aïoli. No fancy ingredients needed! 

 

Fried potato cubes and tomato aïoli in a white dish.

 

These potatoes are covered in paprika and chipotle for that lovely hint of smoky flavors, and the tomato aïoli is of course garlicky and lemony too! 

 

Each time I have tapas, it is because I crave patatas bravas. They ALWAYS have to be on table whenever we have tapas. And it is the first thing I order if I go to a tapas restaurant. It’s something about crispy potatoes and spicy sauces. The sauce can be made as spicy or as mild as you want it, so you don’t have to worry about the heat level! 

 

What are patatas bravas? What does it mean?

 

Patatas bravas are deep-fried potatoes originating from Spain, hence they are often known as Spanish potatoes in English speaking countries. The main difference between patatas bravas and French fries, is the shape of the potato. Patatas bravas are cut into bite sized cubes, while French fries are cut into sticks (which I’m assuming you already know!). 

 

Patatas bravas translate to brave potatoes and they are always served with a tomato based sauce (salsa brava). And sometimes also served with garlic aïloi. I’m talking a little more about the sauce under the paragraph titled The spicy tomato aïoli.  

 

Patatas bravas in a white dish, covered with tomato aïoli.

 

What to serve with patatas bravas?

 

As I mentioned earlier, these patatas bravas are always served at our tapas night in, and is also the one dish that I absolutely have to order when I go out for tapas. That does not mean that tapas is the only way you can enjoy them!

 

I like to serve them with Spanish meatballs, or albondigas, and unfortunately I don’t have a recipe for that yet (working on it and will update once I have it), but what you can do, is serve them with these Lebanese meatballs that are actually quite similar!

 

More recipes that would work really well with patatas bravas:

 

The best potatoes for patatas bravas (or any fried potatoes)

 

There are two main categories of potatoes, waxy and starchy potatoes. 

 

  • Waxy potatoes are good for boiling, baking and roasting. You can use them for frying too, but starchy potatoes will work better. Waxy potatoes will keep their shape well and have a creamier flesh. This includes most red-skinned potatoes, and small and round potatoes. Examples: New potatoes, Red Bliss, and Folva.

 

  • Starchy potatoes have less moisture and they are highly absorbent so they will not keep their shape well, but that just makes them more suitable for deep-frying. The russet potato is the most common variety here, or Maris Piper in the UK. And is the classic French fry potato! In Norway you can look for fingerling potatoes (mandelpotet), Kerrs Pink and Pimpernell. 

 

  • Bonus: all-purpose potatoes are kind of the best of both worlds. The Yukon Gold potatoes fall into this category, and will be great to use for both boiling and frying. To translate this for Norwegian readers, I would classify both Asterix and Beate as all-purpose potatoes.

 

All in all, choose either Russet, Yukon Gold, fingerling or Asterix potatoes for the best result. However, any potatoes would most likely be delicious.

 

Steps to bar boil potatoes.

 

The spicy tomato aïoli

 

Most serve patatas bravas in a tomato sauce or a tomato sauce + aïoli. The tomato sauce is called a salsa brava, translated to brave sauce. This is because of the bright, red color and that it is slightly spicy.

 

However, I really love aïoli (aka garlic mayonnaise) and it is therefore crucial for me to have that on my Spanish potatoes! I therefore mix the tomato sauce and the aïoli into one delicious sauce and I’m never looking back.

 

This tomato aïoli is spicy, a little smokey, and very creamylicious. Easy to make with just a few staple ingredients. You can of course make mayonnaise from scratch, but store bought is also fine. Simply mix all the ingredients together, and taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

 

Steps to make tomato aïoli.

 

How to store and re-heat

 

Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. The tomato aïoli should be stored in a separate, sealed container. Remember that cooked potatoes can’t stay long in room temperature. After about 2 hours, they have to go in the refrigerator or else bacteria can grow and make them unsafe to eat. 

 

You can actually re-heat patatas bravas or fried potatoes to be crispy again (although not as crispy as the first time). Add a few tbsp neutral oil to a skillet and set the temperature to medium-high. 

 

Once the oil is hot, add a few potato pieces and fry. How long it takes will depend on how much moisture the potatoes have absorbed, it could take about 5-10 minutes. Once golden, remove excess oil with paper towels and serve immediately.

 

Large white bowl with cubed patatas bravas.

 

To make healthier patatas bravas  – bake them

 

If you want to make these a little healthier, there’s no problem in baking them in the oven. You can par boil as mentioned in the recipe card, and dry as normal. Once dry, put on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tbsp olive oil and the spices as mentioned. Give it a good mix and arrange the potatoes in one layer. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 500F (250C) for 30-40 minutes – stir the potatoes once.  

 

If you don’t mind frying them, that is of course the real way of doing it, and the texture and flavor is hard to beat. 

 

Why using baking soda makes the best crispy potatoes

 

One trick to make your potatoes extra crispy, is to parboil the potatoes in salted water with baking soda (aka alkaline water) in it. The baking soda breaks down the pectin and draws the starch to the surface. Once you drain the potatoes, add them back into the pan with some oil and shake.

 

That makes the outside of the potato kind of coated in a mash slurry, and this in turn leads to more browning and more crispiness. Serious Eats has more explanation of this technique, if you’re so inclined.

 

Large white bowl with fried cubed potatoes covered in chili spices. Blue linen in the background.

 

How to make patatas bravas

 

Peel the potatoes (leave on if desired or if using waxy potatoes) and cut into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Place in cold water, for up to 24 hours but an hour is also fine. If you plan on letting them sit in water for longer than that, add a splash of vinegar to the water to avoid the potatoes getting brown. Once done, drain.

 

Boil new water and add 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp baking soda. Once it’s boiling, add the potatoes. Boil the potatoes, under lid, for about 2 minutes. Drain again and put back into the pot with a little oil to shake them up. Now pour on to a cooling rack (preferably one where the potatoes don’t fall through, but hey that was what I got!). Let them completely dry and completely cool before the next step. 

 

If you want to bake them, see paragraph under ‘To make healthier patatas bravas’, otherwise we are frying these goodies! In a shallow pan, pour in oil that can take high temperature, e.g. canola, corn or sunflower oil. 

 

The oil is hot enough when you take a wooden spoon into the oil and it sizzles around the spoon, or you can try with one piece of potato to see if it sizzles. Fry for about 5-6 minutes or until golden and crispy. 

 

Drain on paper towel and mix with the spices (chipotle chili powder, smoked paprika, regular chili powder, salt and pepper). If you want you can also sprinkle with fresh herbs like parsley. Serve with the spicy tomato aïoli and more tapas dishes, if desired. Enjoy!

 

One large dish with cubed fried potatoes and one small with tomato aïoli.

 

Did you like this patatas bravas recipe? Here’s more comfort food I think you will like:

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year. 

 

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Fried potato cubes and tomato aïoli in a white dish.

Patatas Bravas Spanish Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Aïoli

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Super fluffy on the inside, and crispy and golden on the outside, these patatas bravas, or Spanish potatoes, are such a treat that are so good smothered in a spicy tomato aïoli.

Ingredients

Patatas Bravas (Spanish Potatoes)

  • 1 lb. Yukon/Asterix/fingerling potatoes (450g)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda*
  • Oil (for frying, e.g. canola, sunflower, corn)
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt, freshly cracked pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle powder.

Salsa Brava (Tomato Aïoli)

  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (omit for milder)
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste (or to taste)
  • About 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Prepare potatoes: Peel (if desired) and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes and cover with cold water for an hour or up to 24 hours. If you're leaving it longer, add a splash of vinegar to prevent them from turning brown. Drain.
  2. Parboil potatoes: Add 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp baking soda to a pot of water. Once it's boiling, add in the cubed potatoes. Let them boil for 2 minutes before draining. After draining, pour them back into the pan, along with 1 tbsp olive oil and shake the pan. Now pour them onto a cooling rack to completely dry and cool.
  3. Prepare the oil: In a large skillet or deep-fryer, pour in high-temperature oil. The oil is hot enough when it sizzles around the back of a wooden spoon or testing one potato cube (If you want to roast them in the oven, see instructions in blog post).
  4. Fry the potatoes: Once hot enough, add potatoes but do not over crowd. Work in batches if needed. Fry for about 5-7 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with the spices. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired.
  5. Tomato aïoli: Mix all the ingredients together, tast and adjust seasoning as needed.

Notes

* Baking soda helps to make the potatoes more crispy because it draws the starch to the surface of the potatoes.

Leftovers can be stored separately (and covered) in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To re-heat use a skillet with a little oil, for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 2378mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, estimate for informational purposes only.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!

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Julie

Sunday 31st of January 2021

What a wonderful potato recipe! I love how flavorful it is and the sauce on top is totally delish. My family loved this!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Monday 1st of February 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it!

Kari Heron

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Stine, this is such a delicious recipe and that sauce was to die for. I find that great potato recipes are hard to find. This is a winner!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Sunday 31st of January 2021

I am so glad you like this. Thank you so much!

Ali Hanson

Saturday 30th of January 2021

That tomato aioli is everything, I can't wait o make it. Love all the tips you have about potatoes as well. Thanks!

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Thank you so much, it's my pleasure!

Amy Liu Dong

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Wow, this dish looks really good and tasty. I am going to make this for our dinner, tonight.

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Thank you so much. Enjoy!

Jere Cassidy

Saturday 30th of January 2021

My favorite neighborhood restaurant makes these potatoes however, they are shut down because of you know what (I live in California, where everything is closed,) so now I can make this at home. That sauce looks amazing.

Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Saturday 30th of January 2021

So sad that everything is closed now, but we can still make them at home fortunately. Thank you so much.

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