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The Best Roast Potatoes with Garlic, Sage, and Lemon Butter

You’ve tried the rest, now try the BEST air fryer roast potatoes ever! Join me on a journey through the art of crafting the best roast potatoes, a symphony of flavours that will have your taste buds singing with joy.

Best roast potatoes

Picture this: a comforting Sunday roast with a sizzling pan of perfectly golden and crispy roast potatoes, infused with the aromatic dance of garlic, sage, and lemon butter. It’s not just a side dish; it’s a culinary triumph that elevates your entire meal.

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The Foundation: Choosing the Right Potatoes and Prepping for Greatness

To embark on the quest for the best roast potatoes, start with choosing the right potatoes. Try starchy varieties like Russet or Maris Piper. Their high starch content ensures a fluffy interior encased in a crispy golden shell, the hallmark of a perfect roast potato.

The secret to achieving the desired contrast of textures lies in the art of parboiling. Gently simmer your potato chunks until they’re just fork-tender, then give them a good shake. This seemingly simple step creates a slightly rough surface on the potatoes, ensuring the golden, crispy exterior we all crave. Steam dry the potatoes for a few minutes, then cool them completely in the fridge.

The Potato Roasting Ritual: Achieving Golden Perfection

If you’re short on time on just enjoy the convenience, you can roast your tatters up in the air fryer. I love the Instant Digital Large Air Fryer Oven. They’re just as wonderful cooked in the oven and ideal for when you’re anticipating a few late stragglers to lunch.

Preheat your air fryer or oven to create a welcoming chamber for these culinary wonders. Heat up the fat until sizzling to ensure the potatoes won’t absorb too much oil and become greasy. Then, spread the parboiled and fluffed potatoes onto a baking tray, and carefully and generously coat them with the hot fat. Don’t forget to turn the potatoes halfway through to ensure an even, golden crisp.

Infusing Flavour: Garlic, Sage, and Lemon Butter Magic

Now, let’s talk about the flavour trio that takes these roast potatoes from good to unforgettable: garlic, sage, and lemon butter. The sweetness of the soft, roasted garlic cloves beautifully balances the zest of the lemon and the peppery sage. 

To finish up the perfect roast potatoes, carefully drain the fat, pour melted the sage, garlic, and lemon butter over the potatoes and gently toss them to thoroughly coat them. Add some extra sage on top of the potatoes for the last few minutes of crisping and flavour infusion.

Best roast potatoes

Serving Suggestions: A Feast for the Senses

As you pull the potatoes from the air fryer or oven, the air is filled with the irresistible scent of roasted garlic and sage. Plate these golden nuggets of joy alongside your favorite roast. We’ve got a lot of options for you to choose from, from succulent chicken to a festive turkey, and several air fryer recipes. The crispy exterior gives way to a fluffy interior, creating a symphony of textures that complements any main course.

With each bite, experience the satisfying crunch, the burst of savoury garlic, the herbaceous dance of sage, and the citrusy richness of lemon butter. These perfect roast potatoes are not just a side; they are a culinary masterpiece that turns a meal into a symphony of flavours. These roast potatoes will steal the spotlight every time.

Have the Best Roast Potatoes with Garlic, Sage, and Lemon Butter had you and your guests swooning?

If you tried and enjoyed these Best Roast Potatoes with Garlic, Sage, and Lemon Butter, please let me know! Leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating below, and remember to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this gluten-free?

This recipe is naturally gluten-free!

Can I make this vegan?

Yes! Simply use vegetable oil instead of duck or goose fat, and use a vegan butter alternative.

Why cool the potatoes before roasting?

Cooling potatoes before roasting ensures the best texture and flavour of your crispy, golden roast potatoes.

Cooling allows any residual moisture on the parboiled potatoes to evaporate, ensuring better crisping and browning. The potatoes also develop a thin layer of startch during cooling. This startch undergoes a Maillard reaction with the hot vat for that perfect crunch on the outside. The cooled potatoes also absorbe more gat for better overall flavour and consistent coating, further contributing to their delicious taste and texture.

What is the Maillard reaction?

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars in the presence of heat. It is responsible for the browning and development of complex flavours in various foods, including roast potatoes. It plays a crucial role in transforming the outer layer of the potatoes during the cooking process. 

The Maillard reaction results in the browning of the outer layer of the potatoes, creating the crispy and golden-brown crust that is characteristic of well-roasted potatoes. Along with browning, it also leads to the development of a wide range of flavourful compounds. And it not only affects the colour and flavour but also plays a role in enhancing the texture of the roasted potatoes.

Why crisp sage leaves?

Crispy sage leaves can be a delightful addition to dishes like roasted potatoes. When sage leaves are crisped up, they undergo a transformation that intensifies their flavour. The process of crisping sage leaves in hot oil enhances their natural aromatic qualities, adding a savoury and earthy note to the dish. The crispy texture also provides a pleasing contrast to the softness of roasted potatoes.

Roasted potatoes often have a soft and fluffy interior with a crisp exterior. Adding crispy sage leaves contributes another layer of texture to the dish. The delicate, crunchy texture of the sage leaves complements the potatoes, creating a more dynamic and enjoyable eating experience.

Crispy sage leaves add a visually appealing element to the dish. The vibrant green colour of the sage contrasts beautifully with the golden roasted potatoes, making the overall presentation more enticing. The crispy leaves can be used as a garnish, elevating the aesthetic appeal of the dish.

Sage is known for its aromatic qualities, and crisping the leaves releases those fragrant oils. As the sage leaves crisp up in the heat, they infuse the surrounding air and, consequently, the dish with a rich and savoury aroma. This aromatic infusion enhances the overall sensory experience of enjoying the roasted potatoes.

Sage has a flavour profile that pairs well with potatoes. The earthy, slightly peppery taste of sage complements the starchy and mild sweetness of roasted potatoes. Crisping the sage leaves ensures that their flavour is concentrated, contributing to a harmonious blend of tastes in each bite.

The simple addition of crispy sage can take your roasted potato dish to the next level, offering a burst of flavour, texture, and visual appeal. 

Best roast potatoes
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Best roast potatoes

The Best Roast Potatoes with Garlic, Sage, and Lemon Butter

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 as a side


Discover the art of crafting the best roast potatoes, a symphony of flavours that will have your taste buds singing with joy.


  • 1.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tbsp duck or goose fat, or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 head garlic
  • more salt and pepper as needed

To finish:

  • 30g butter
  • 10g fresh picked sage leaves, and more for garnish
  • 1 lemon


Prepare the potatoes

  1. Peel 1.5kg potatoes and cut them into large chunks.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pan of cold water.

Parboil the potatoes

  1. Parboil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes on a low simmer until you can insert the tip of a sharp knife into them and they are just starting to fall apart.

Drain and steam dry

  1. Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander.
  2. Toss the potatoes in the colander to rough up the edges.
  3. Allow the potatoes to steam dry for a few minutes.
  4. For optimal results, cool the potatoes completely by placing them in the fridge.
  5. Cooling the potatoes before roasting is crucial as it allows the surface moisture to evaporate, promoting crispiness during the roasting process. This step also helps the potatoes form a thin layer of starch on the surface, contributing to a golden, crispy exterior. Additionally, cooled potatoes absorb the hot fat more effectively, ensuring a perfectly crispy and flavorful result.

Preheat the oven or air fryer

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 180°C or your oven to 190°C.

In the air fryer:

  1. Place a roasting dish in the air fryer and add 4 tbsp duck or goose fat. Heat the fat until sizzling. The hot fat will quickly evaporate surface moisture, allowing the potatoes to form a dry and starch-coated exterior during roasting.  It will also stop the potatoes absorbing too much oil, and become greasy
  2. Carefully add the cooled potatoes to the hot fat in the air fryer basket. Ensure they are well-coated.
  3. Cook the potatoes for 25 minutes at 180°C in the air fryer, turning them halfway through.

In the oven:

  1. Place a roasting dish in the oven and add 4 tbsp duck or goose fat. Heat the fat until sizzling. The hot fat will quickly evaporate surface moisture, allowing the potatoes to form a dry and starch-coated exterior during roasting. It will also stop the potatoes absorbing too much oil, and become greasy
  2. Carefully add the cooled potatoes to the hot fat in the roasting dish. Ensure they are well-coated.
  3. Cook the potatoes for 40-50 minutes at 190°C in the oven, turning them halfway through.

Prepare the Butter, Sage, Garlic, and Lemon Paste

  1. In a small saucepan, melt 30g of butter over low heat.
  2. Add the fresh-picked sage leaves to the melted butter and let them crisp for a minute or 2 until the butter browns.
  3. Grate in the zest of the lemon, and add the juice to halt the browning process so the butter doesn’t burn.
  4. Squeeze the soft, roasted garlic cloves from the head of garlic into the butter and sage mixture.
  5. Stir to make a paste, mashing the cloves into the butter.

Final crisping and serving

  1. Drain excess goose fat or vegetable oil from the potatoes.
  2. Pour the sage, garlic, and lemon butter sauce over the potatoes and toss to coat in the mixture.
  3. Add a few more sage leaves on top of the potatoes.
  4. Return the potatoes to the oven for 3-5 minutes to crisp the sage and allow the flavours to mingle.
  5. Plate and serve your perfectly roasted potatoes as a delightful side dish with a zesty and aromatic twist.
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 30 - 55 min
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Air fryer
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