Crispy on the outside and buttery smooth on the inside, these smashed baby potatoes with pesto sauce make a delicious appetizer or veggie side dish.
Smashed potatoes are potatoes that you boil, smash until nearly flat, and then roast in the oven until golden brown and crispy.
There are a multitude of ways to prepare potatoes, but smashed might just be my favorite. It's the crispy, brown edges for me.
Starchy smashed potatoes are an ideal vehicle for your favorite sauce. One that pairs especially well is basil pesto sauce, which I drizzle on top of the finished potatoes for this recipe.
It's just such a good combination.
- Baby gold potatoes (also called petite gold potatoes)
- Grapeseed oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- Salt and pepper
- Pesto sauce (homemade or store-bought)
First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet for roasting the potatoes.
The next step is boiling the potatoes. Clean the potatoes (leave the skins on) and add them to a large pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
You want the potatoes to be nice and tender so they are easier to smash. Don't be afraid to boil the potatoes longer if they don't feel soft enough after 30 minutes.
Once the potatoes are boiled, drain the water, and spread the cooked potatoes on a baking sheet.
Then, use the bottom of a jar to smash the potatoes until they’re about a half-inch thick. (If you don't have a jar, you can also use a heavy glass, a potato masher, or the back of a fork to smash the potatoes.)
Next, drizzle oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Then, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy on the edges.
The cooking time may vary a little depending on the size of your potatoes. Go by how the potatoes look versus the exact time in the recipe.
Once the smashed potatoes are brown and crispy, remove them from the oven and spoon the pesto sauce on top.
Transfer the finished potatoes to a serving dish, or just let everyone serve themselves right off the baking sheet. No need to get fancy here!
How to Make Pesto Sauce
You can find pre-made pesto sauce in most grocery stores. Look near the jarred pasta sauces for shelf-stable pesto, or in the refrigerated pasta section for fresh.
It's also really easy to make your own pesto at home. You'll just need a blender or food processor.
All great pesto sauces start with green herbs. I like to use a mix of fresh basil and parsley, along with a handful of spinach. Most pesto sauces also include lemon, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts or walnuts.
A lot of parmesan is also made with animal-derived rennet, so be sure to look for a vegetarian parmesan cheese if this is important to you.
You can make pesto sauce vegan and dairy-free by subbing nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese.
If you're looking for a recipe, try my 5-Minute Walnut Pesto.
I serve these smashed baby potatoes with pesto in this recipe, but there are lots of sauce options if you're in the mood for something different.
Here are some potential sauces to serve with smashed potatoes:
- Hot sauce
- Tahini sauce
- Yogurt dressing
Making Ahead and Storage
I like to roast smashed potatoes right before serving, but if you're planning ahead, you can take care of the boiling step up to three days in advance.
Drain the boiled potatoes and allow them to cool completely. (But don't leave them out for more than two hours.)
Transfer the boiled potatoes to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to three days.
On the day of, preheat the oven to 450º F, spread the boiled potatoes on a baking sheet and follow the rest of the recipe instructions as written.
If you have leftovers, let those cool completely before putting them in the refrigerator, too. (Again, don't leave them out for more than two hours.)
Store leftover smashed potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat them in the oven for the best texture.
- Baby gold potatoes are my favorite, but you can substitute other types of potatoes for this recipe. Try baby red potatoes for similar results. Note that the cooking times will vary depending on the size of the potatoes you use.
- Use any cooking oil you'd like. I prefer grapeseed oil because it has a neutral flavor and holds up to high heat.
Recipes to Serve with Smashed Baby Potatoes
- 5-Minute Walnut Pesto
- Strawberry Salad with Chickpeas and Mozzarella
- Crispy Eggplant BLT with Harissa Mayo
- Tomato Barley Soup with Roasted Chickpeas
- Vegan Corn Chowder
Frequently Asked Questions About Smashed Potatoes
Baby gold potatoes work great for smashed potatoes because they get crispy on the outside and have a creamy, buttery texture on the inside.
The basic recipe for smashed potatoes is gluten-free. Make sure you serve them with a gluten-free sauce if needed.
You can boil the potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool completely. (But don't leave them out for more than two hours.) Store the boiled potatoes in an airtight container and refrigerate until you're ready to roast and serve.
Allow leftovers to cool completely (but don't leave them out for more than two hours) and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat smashed potatoes in the oven for the best texture.
Smashed Baby Potatoes with Pesto Sauce
- large pot with a lid
- Sheet pan
- Glass jar
- 1 ½ pounds baby gold potatoes, cleaned (12 small)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or oil of choice
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- ½ cup pesto sauce, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet.
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes and spread on the baking sheet.
- Use the bottom of a jar to smash the potatoes until they’re about a half-inch thick.
- Drizzle oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and spoon pesto sauce over the potatoes.
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