Crispy, crunchy, golden, and loaded with a buttery garlicky flavor, these easy air fryer smashed potatoes are the perfect side dish to any meal or bite-sized snack!
As most of you know, I'm potato fiend. I can't get enough of them so I take my potato recipes VERY seriously. This is one of my favorite ways to make potatoes because it's easy, calls for basic and affordable ingredients, and can be served as a snack or as a great side dish to any meal!
It's naturally healthy, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free and if you don't have an air fryer, don't worry, you can still enjoy this recipe using your oven! There is a 2 step cooking process to the potatoes, but trust me, it's easy and worth it!
Why you'll love this recipe
- They make for the perfect bite-sized snack, appetizer, or side dish! These smashed potatoes are truly great on their own or paired with a variety of dipping sauce and main dishes.
- Air fryer & oven baked options: Yes, this is titled air fryer recipe BUT you can make this just as easily in the oven, especially if you're making a large batch for a big family dinner or occasion. Oven baked instructions included below!
- It's totally allergen-friendly! This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan and pretty healthy. It can also be made oil-free, if needed or desired.
- You need only a few simple ingredients to make this easy recipe. You'll likely already have all of the basic ingredients in your kitchen and pantry, aside from the potatoes.
There's only 1 thing you truly need for this recipe and that is (drum roll, please)...an air fryer!* You can use whatever kind of air fryer you have. I personally have this toaster oven/tray style air fryer but the classic basket style air fryers will give you the exact same results.
If you're choosing to parboil, you'll just need a large pot or 5-6 quart dutch oven.
*If you don't have an air fryer, you can make this recipe perfectly in the oven. Oven instructions can be found in the recipe card below!
Potatoes: For this recipe, I prefer Yukon gold potatoes or baby yellow potatoes for their texture and rich flavor! If you can't find these or don't prefer them, you can use red potatoes, tricolor medley potatoes, or fingerling potatoes instead. Try to pick potatoes that are smaller and uniform in size for a delectable, bite-sized snack and optimal crispiness. We will not peel the skin off so try to find clean & blemish-free potatoes.
Butter: Keep this recipe vegan and dairy-free by using either vegan butter or olive oil! This will be the base for our seasoning mixture and will ensure the smashed potatoes crisp up in the air fryer.
Garlic: Be sure to use fresh garlic as opposed to garlic powder, as it will give the best flavor!
Seasoning: We're keeping it simple and using salt, black pepper, and paprika. Optional garnishes such as onion powder, vegan parmesan cheese, chives, parsley, or red pepper flakes are always welcome.
Start off by washing and drying your potatoes then choose one of the five methods below to prep your potatoes for the air fryer!:
You must precook the potatoes before smashing and air frying them. You can do that by using one of the following five methods:
1. Parboiling: Add the washed potatoes (no need to peel!) to a large pot or 5-quart dutch oven and cover with cold salted water. Boil potatoes over medium-high heat for 15-18 minutes, or until fork tender (pictured below). Drain the boiled potatoes and transfer them to a cutting board or parchment lined baking sheet to cool slightly.
2. Microwaving: microwave the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until fork tender.
3. Air frying: air fry the potatoes at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender. Depending on your air fryer, you may have to do this in several batches, so if you're strapped for time I would not recommend this method.
4. Baking: spread potatoes across a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 425 F for 25-30 minutes, or until fork tender.
5. Instant Pot*: pressure cook the potatoes by pouring 1 cup of water into the instant pot steel insert, placing a steamer basket inside and then place potatoes on top. Pressure cook on high-pressure for 10 minutes with the valve in the sealing position. Press cancel and allow to naturally release for 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure by moving the valve to venting.
*You can use any pressure cooker you have, it doesn't need to specifically be an instant pot!
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the marinade by combining melted butter or olive oil, fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika in a small bowl. Set aside until after the potatoes have been smashed.
After you've precooked the potatoes, regardless of the method you chose above, transfer the cooked potatoes to a cutting board or parchment paper lined baking sheet to cool for just a few minutes. This will make them easier to handle!
Using either the bottom of a cup/glass/mug, a fork or a potato masher, gently smash the cooked whole potatoes into thin coins, about ½ an inch thick. Be careful not to press down too hard or make them too thin, otherwise they will break. Brush or drizzle both sides of each smashed potato with the seasoned butter mixture.
Transfer to your air fryer basket or air fryer rack, leaving an inch of space in between each potato. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to roast the potatoes in batches. Air fry for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown or they've reached your desired crispiness, at 400 degrees F. If you left enough space between the potatoes, you should not have to shake the basket half way through air frying!
Remove from the air fryer, transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh parsley, fresh rosemary, or chives and enjoy!
Make Oven Roasted Smashed Potatoes
No air fryer? NO PROBLEM! Follow the same instructions as above but instead of transferring the potatoes into the air fryer, keep them on or put them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until desired crispiness is reached.
These crispy garlic smashed potatoes are perfect by themselves thanks to the marinade! However, who doesn't love a little extra pizzazz?!
Serve these as an appetizer or snack alongside one or a combination of these dipping sauces:
- Garlic Aioli
- Spicy mayo
- Vegan honey mustard
- Vegan sour cream
You could also serve these as a side dish! Trying pairing it with one of these entrees:
- Quinoa Bean Burgers (instead of french fries!)
- Tofu Scramble
- Cauliflower steaks or Portobello steaks
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Holiday mains like vegan roasts
- Soups & stews
Alternative Seasoning Ideas
There are so many seasoning ideas that you could brush onto these smashed potatoes. Try one of these to switch up this recipe:
- Garlic parmesan by adding grated vegan parmesan cheese
- Garlic butter with bac'n bits
- Garlic & Za'atar
- Herb infused olive oil using either fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley, cilantro, dill, whatever herbs you like!) or dried Italian seasoning blend
- After air frying add a dollop of vegan sour cream and vegan cheese to make them into smashed potato skins or loaded smashed potatoes
Variations & Substitutions
Make these spicy smashed potatoes by adding red pepper flakes, chili powder or minced jalapeños to the seasoning.
Use different potatoes! This recipe will work with whatever potatoes you prefer. You can use fingerling potatoes, tricolor potato medley or red potatoes. You could use russet/Idaho potatoes, but they're so big I wouldn't recommend it unless you chop them first.
Make this recipe oil-free by using vegetable broth instead while still obtaining similar results.
- Do NOT overcook your potatoes, otherwise they will fall apart when you smash them.
- Use smaller potatoes (of similar size) for best results! I recommend Yukon gold or red potatoes, as they're smaller and typically uniform in size. They'll not only cook faster and more evenly than larger potatoes but they're easier to handle and will give you the crispiest result.
- If you choose to parboil, be sure to add salt to the water! Since we're leaving the skins on, this will enhance the overall flavor of the potatoes right out the gate.
- If you choose to parboil, put the potatoes in cold water THEN bring to a boil. Usually people wait until the water is boiling before they throw the potatoes in, however bringing the potatoes and water to a boil together ensures a more even cook!
- Be sure to leave a little bit of space between the potatoes in your air fry basket or on your air fryer tray. This will ensure for proper air flow so you won't have to flip them and get equally crispy.
- Don't line your basket or tray with parchment paper or tinfoil! This will prevent optimal air circulation within your air fryer, potentially altering the end result.
- Check roasting times! Every air fryer and everyone's personal preference is different, especially when comparing basket-style air fryers (which usually cook faster) to oven or tray-style air fryers. Be sure to check your smashed potatoes every 5 minutes or so to ensure they don't burn and/or are cooked to your liking.
- Do not peel the potatoes! Not only do potato skins provide flavor and nutrition, they’ll also crisp up to crunchy perfection.
- Let the potatoes cool for a few minutes after parboiling. This will make them easier to handle and smash without breaking them.
Storage & Reheating Tips
In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, here's how to store these crispy smashed potatoes:
Refrigerator: Allow the potatoes to cool completely then store then in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer: I do not recommend freezing cooked smashed potatoes, as they'll lose their crispy texture. However, you can totally prep these in advance and freeze the prepped version of these potatoes (just boiled and smashed). Place smashed potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and flash freeze for 3-4 hours or until frozen through. Transfer the frozen smashed potatoes into an airtight container or freezer-friendly zipper bag and store for up to 1 month. To thaw, simply place in the refrigerator overnight and then drizzle with olive oil & seasonings and air fry as instructed.
Reheat: To reheat the smashed potatoes, you can use either the microwave, the oven, or your air fryer! If you're using your oven or air fryer, just cook them at 375 degrees F for 4-5 minutes, or until heated through.
Yes! To prep them ahead of time, precook the potatoes, smash them and then put them in an airtight container or wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge. Ideally, do this the night before you want to air fry them but they will be okay like this in fridge for up to 3 days. You could also prep the seasoning/marinade in advance as well. Just whisk everything together in a bowl and store in the fridge. If you used butter, you'll have to heat it up in the microwave so the butter melts. This is particularly helpful if you're prepping in advance, especially for a large family dinner or an occasion like Thanksgiving! When you're ready to air fry, following the remaining steps as is.
The main difference between mashed and smashed potatoes is that mashed potatoes are smooth, fluffy, and creamy with little to no chunks and typically have products like butter, sour cream and more whipped into them to provide flavor, while smashed potatoes are chunky, semi-intact, include the skins, and just use a thin layer of seasoning. Mashed potatoes you need to eat with a spoon or fork, while smashed potatoes are more like finger food/a bite-sized snack.