“Po-tay-toes! Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew,” says the lovable Samwise Gamgee in “Lord of the Rings.” He’s not wrong: Potatoes do well in all those cases, as one of the most versatile, hard-stock veggies of them all. Creamy. Fluffy. Wholesome. Hearty.

But crispy — this is the true magic of potatoes. Sam touches on this briefly when mentioning “lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish,” but we could write odes and sonnets praising the potato’s propensity for a crisp bite. It’s not crunch, per se — though that is good, too. No, we want the crispiness of potatoes touched with oil, a lacy, dissolving bite against a steaming, contrasting interior.

We know you could easily pick up a bag of freezer potatoes for some crispy bits, but we want you to have that experience from your own hand. Here are some recipes to get you started on a magical, crispy journey.

Garlic-Roasted Potatoes, above. Sure, you know how to roast a potato. We believe you. Somehow, these easy roasted red potatoes had us reaching for just one more bite. Roasting whole cloves in the pan stops burned garlic crisps from imparting an acrid flavor and gives you the option of smooshing down a clove onto the potato for a mellow, garlicky bite.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Oven-Baked Potato Latkes. Could we really talk about crispy potatoes without bringing up latkes? This lightened-up version of the fried holiday favorite takes them to the oven and leaves the potato skin on. You’ll get all the crispy, crunchy goodness without the effort of frying.


(Renee Comet for The Washington Post)

Sweet Potato Crunch Gratins. Before someone snarks about sweet potatoes being yams — you’re wrong. Now, down to business: Layering up matchsticks of sweet potato and parsnip with lime and black bean is a fun twist on a gratin that takes it from a side to a main meal.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Potato Skin-Bacon Fat Chips. There are plenty of ways to stuff a potato skin, so we’re not going to do that. Instead, we’re going to make long, thick strips of potato skin and get them crunchy in the oven with salty, smoky bacon fat. Use these alongside dips instead of regular potato chips.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Crushed Potatoes With Horseradish Cream. When you’ve got little spuds with not quite enough surface area to get as much crunch as you want, steaming and then smashing them gives you more ridges and bumps to get browned up for a bite. Spicy horseradish cream is optional, but it is so, so good with these — we highly recommend using it.



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post)

Sumac Sweet Potato Fries. Though I personally don’t really like sweet potatoes, I still prefer sweet potato fries to regular ones. These get a textural boost from a coating of dried polenta or cornmeal, and a dusting of fruity, tangy sumac.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Dorie Greenspan’s Potato Rosettes. When Dorie Greenspan says you’ve got to make delicate petal crisps of potato, you do it. And you love it.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

One-Skillet Sausage and Potato Hash. Get your weekend started in just one pan! While potatoes crisp up, slice sausage and add midway during cooking. Complete this warming breakfast with a cup of coffee.


(Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post)

Rosti With Mushrooms. Think latke but the Swiss version: crispy edges and exterior, but with a fluffy interior to soak up savory mushrooms.

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