The Crispy Spanish Potato Dish You'll Want To Make In Your Air Fryer, According To Chefs

When you think about Spanish food, chances are you envision tapas — the classic small plates of food that are served in cozy bars and patios all across Spain. There are many varieties of tapas from traditional Barcelona fare to pintxos served in the northern Basque region. Tapas are quintessential to Spain and so is the lore that they originated from the need for a small plate that one could balance on the top of their wine glass — perhaps to keep flies out or at the behest of King Alfonso XII centuries ago.

These days, the small plates are the perfect size for the often crowded establishments lining the streets in the gothic quarter. One classic spot, Bar La Plata, only seats a handful of people, with patrons spilling into the street and leaning against the wall. 

Of all the famous tapas served at these eateries, perhaps the most iconic is patatas bravas — the simple dish of fried potatoes served with a spicy sauce — a staple on every menu. The best part is you don't have to visit Spain for them.

Patatas Bravas are the perfect Spanish tapa

Patatas bravas, in some ways, is aking to the American French fry or French pomme frite. And while any fried potato is a good one, patatas bravas are really something special. Served in a heaping pile of absolutely crisp cubes and topped with a traditional tomato-based sauce that is reminiscent of spicy ketchup or chipotle sauce, they're a balance of flavor and texture.

The key to the perfect plate of patatas bravas is making sure they are golden brown on all sides with a nice crunch. The crispy outside lets the potatoes hold up to the sauce without getting soggy. Nobody likes a soggy potato and these are no exceptions to that rule.

Traditionally this is a dish that is made by frying the potatoes on the stovetop, and some folks even recommend baking them in the oven. But, the secret to perfecting your tapas game is as simple as using the air fryer. You don't have to take our word for it –- even chefs agree.

Your air fryer is the answer to crispy patatas

Chef Sean Andrade told Insider that patatas bravas are great for the air fryer because it ensures the patatas bravas have "that soft, creamy inside with great crunch on the outside." It makes sense when you consider how the air fryer works as a mini convection oven.

It's able to bring more crispiness to your food, including patatas, because it relies on moving hot air around the whole food. This means there's no sad, soggy side to your taters as every part of them has gotten the same attention. Chef Yankel Polak of ButcherBox agrees with Andrade, citing the "crispy outside and tender inside" texture to HuffPost and pointing out it's the potato's high starch content that "works really well with this appliance."

Another benefit to enlisting the air fryer is that it's less messy than frying the potatoes on the stovetop. Simply toss your potatoes in some oil and throw them in the air fryer until they're crispy on all sides. Serve them up with some spicy bravas sauce and a glass of Cava and enjoy the best Spain has to offer from the comfort of your own table.