Why Do My Potatoes Stick to the Pan When Roasting?

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Roasted potatoes are a fantastic side dish to many meals, but they can be tricky to cook if they keep sticking to the pan. Scraping off bits of potato from your roasting tin every time you cook is no fun at all, so why does this happen and how can it be prevented? 

Potatoes stick to the pan when roasting because there was too much starch. It is also possible that oil or fat was not added to the pan or the pan was not hot enough before the potatoes were placed. They will also stick if you try to flip them too early. 

If you’ve been stressed over your potatoes sticking, you’ll be comforted to know that it’s a universal experience. Keep reading this article, and I’ll share the reasons they stick to the pan and how to stop this from happening. 

Why Your Potatoes Stick to the Pan While Roasting

If you’re fond of hanging out in cooking forums, you may have noticed that roasting potatoes is a challenge for many because of the sticky mess they often leave behind. To prevent that from happening, you need to understand first the reasons for it to occur. 

Excess Starch Causes Potatoes to Stick to the Pan

Potatoes are starchy vegetables, with some types having higher starch content than others. While starch is good and makes potatoes the delicious, fluffy vegetable that it is, too much of it makes roasting them difficult. Excess starch can cause your potatoes to stick to the pan. 

But why so? Starch is sugar. Sugar caramelizes. Caramelized sugar is sticky and can harden to the pan. Thus, if you’re roasting potatoes, you’d want a type that’s generally not too starchy, or you can opt to wash off some of the excess starch before cooking. 

You Forgot to Add Oil or Fat to the Pan

Oil and fat help form a barrier between food and the pan, keeping it from sticking. That’s why when you roast potatoes, especially on a not non-stick pan, you’d need to coat the pan with oil or fat. You may have forgotten to do that part, and that’s why your potatoes got stuck.

The Pan Was Not Hot Enough

It is crucial to add the potatoes only when the pan is hot enough. Otherwise, it would end up sticking. Additionally, crowding the pan won’t allow the potatoes to heat through evenly, so you should avoid that. 

Moreover, a cold pan can even lead to overcooking. Thus, make sure to preheat yours before throwing in your potatoes. 

Potatoes Were Flipped Too Early

Although it’s tempting to poke and move your potatoes to check whether they are ready or not, doing so prematurely can lead to them sticking to the pan. Thus, let your potatoes be and only turn them when needed. That is around every 20 to 25 minutes. However, some would recommend letting them be for 40 minutes

4 Tips to Prevent Potatoes from Sticking to the Pan While Roasting

Many tips and tricks are being shared on the internet to make roasting potatoes an easier task. I’ve compiled some of the most recommended ones for you to do in your next roasting session.

1. Use Oil or Parchment Paper While Cooking

To keep potatoes from adhering to the pan, you can use a barrier such as baking parchment. You can also use oil or fat to do that. The type you’d use would be one that gets the pan hot enough while also giving the potatoes a good flavor. You can also coat your potatoes with oil before putting them in the roasting tin. 

Aside from oil or butter (or another fat such as duck or goose fat), you can also use cooking spray. However, if you don’t want any form of grease, parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet is your best bet.  

2. Use Waxy Potatoes

Using the right type of potato is essential. There are different types of potatoes

  • Multi-purpose
  • Baking
  • Boiling
  • Waxy
  • Starchy

It’s best to use boiling or multi-purpose potatoes for roasting, since baking potatoes have a high starch content. 

Yukon gold potatoes are examples of multi-purpose potatoes that would be great for roasting. Russets, Yellow Finn, California white or long whites, and Red Bliss are widely suggested. 

3. Soak Potatoes in Water before Cooking

Rinsing, or even better, soaking potatoes in water before you cook them helps ensure there won’t be too much starch when you roast them. This trick is also recommended for making french fries

The excess starch leaches out into the water and gets washed off. Thus, there won’t be too much starch to burn before the inside gets cooked. 

4. Par-Boil the Potatoes

Par-boil (or partly boiling) the potatoes before cooking also helps keep them from sticking while retaining a fluffy, tasty inside. You only need to cook your potatoes in salted water for a short period (~5 minutes). Once they are translucent and slightly soft, you can remove them and dry them with paper towels before roasting.