For The Crispiest Potato Skin, Boil Them With Baking Soda

Consider the perfect potato. You're probably thinking about a rich, fluffy inside wrapped in the perfect crispy skin and browned to perfection. Few things in life are as good or as nourishing as a potato that has realized its full potential. They pair well with everything, like bacon and eggs at breakfast or burgers at night. And if we're being honest, they're pretty tasty on their own. The contrast between the crunchy seasoned skin and soft, buttery inside makes our taste buds happy because of the balance of flavor and texture.

Making the perfect potatoes with crispy skin can seem like a challenge. There is no shortage of experts willing to weigh in on the subject and make recommendations, but some of those tips are better than others. The simple (and delicious) reality is that it's really easy to get golden crisp potato skins, and you already have all you need to do it.

The secret to crispy potatoes is baking soda

It's very easy to make the perfect potato with crispy skins every time. You already have the key ingredient in your cabinet right now: baking soda. Like many things, crispy skins on your roasted potatoes come down to a little bit of kitchen science. Specifically, it all comes down to pH. But don't worry — you don't need to be signing up for remedial science. You just need a pot of boiling water and that baking soda.

The magic happens when the potatoes are parboiling (partial boiling). If you haven't been parboiling your potatoes before you roast them, now's the time to start. Not only does it cut down on cooking time, but it's integral to crispy skins. Now, add baking soda to your water to alkalize it — 1 tablespoon should suffice. One of the things that alkalized water does is break down pectin in the potato skin. As the pectin breaks down, it allows for starch to leach out of the potato's interior.

That starch combines with the pectin to result in a thick, starchy mixture that lingers on the outside of your potatoes. That layer of starch and pectin on the potatoes is where the crispiness comes from. Once the spuds are in the oven, that coating will dehydrate and crisp up, leaving you with crunchy, crisp skins.

The chefs agree

If you're looking for a quick improvement to your potato skills, baking soda in your water is really all you need. You don't have to take our word for it, though — it's a tip that culinary masters swear by too. Chef Byron Halliburton of SoBou shared this trick with Insider, saying, "What do you get? Wonderful browning and a crispiness you wouldn't otherwise achieve." That crispiness will have you wishing you could eat potatoes every day — and who says you can't?

Since this tip relies on the starch in your potato, the other thing to consider is the type of potato you choose to use. Different potatoes have different starch contents. While red potatoes have a lot of water and are good for mashing, when it comes to maximizing your crispiness when roasting, you'll want to pick a high-starch potato like the russet. The extra starch means a lot of opportunity for crunch when your potatoes come out of the oven.