This Patatas Bravas recipe roasts potatoes, instead of frying them, which makes them both easier and healthier! You’ll love the patatas bravas sauce — the leftovers taste great on just about everything!
Holy Tapas, Batman! This week I’m sharing recipes for my three favorite Spanish tapas – today, Patatas Bravas. Wednesday, it’s all about an easy Spanish Tortilla. Friday, I’m keeping it simple with Pan con Tomate.
What are Patatas Bravas?
What are Patatas Bravas? This tapas dish is a favorite in Spain, hence the name, where patatas means potatoes and bravas is translated as fierce which is a reference to the spicy bravas sauce, also known as salsa brava. You can find this dish in almost any tapas bar in Spain.
How badly do you just wanna stick a fork into those sauce-slathered potatoes and gobble them up? Okay, now imagine how many of these potatoes you could consume after a few rounds of drinks.
Ahhhh yeah, this is party food my friends. Tapas are the perfect thing to serve at a party – they’re shareable, easy to eat, and super informal.
Alright, let’s see how to make patatas bravas.
How to Make Patatas Bravas
First, assemble the patatas bravas ingredients. The amounts for each can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Place the potatoes and white vinegar in a large pot along with two quarts of water. Bring the pot to a boil; cook the potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes, until the potatoes are just barely tender. Drain and allow to cool.
While the potatoes are cooling, prepare the patatas bravas garlic aioli. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and both pressed garlic cloves until well-combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cooled potatoes with the canola oil, salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of the hot paprika.
Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the potatoes once or twice to promote even cooking.
Meanwhile, prepare the easy patatas bravas sauce: Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Place the canned tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, remaining teaspoon of hot paprika, and sugar in the bowl of a large food processor or blender. Pulse until pureed.
Carefully transfer the mixture to the saucepan (it may splatter a bit); cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has darkened in color and has lost its raw onion taste, about 5 to 6 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Place the roasted potatoes in a serving dish and top with generous portions of the garlic aioli and patatas bravas sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot.
Best Potatoes for Patatas Bravas
Let’s talk potatoes. I decided to use itty bitty baby potatoes for my Spanish patatas bravas, mostly because they are adorable but also because it meant I didn’t have to do any slicing and dicing. Yay!
I found a little package at the store that had red, yellow, and purple potatoes all together. I saved one of each color and am storing them with my onions in hopes they might sprout some eyes and I can bury them in the garden with my other potato plants.
If you want to use larger boiler potatoes (like yukon golds), just cut them into 1″ cubes. I haven’t tried this recipe with russet potatoes, but if you decide to give that a try, I’d suggest peeling them before cubing them. Also, the cook times might be different because russets just cook differently. Keep a close eye on them if you want to go that route 🙂
Alright, onto the SAUCES. Guys, I’m such a sauce junkie. It’s kind of a problem in my life. Well, more like it’s a problem for my refrigerator.
I know lots of people love straight up mayo served with their patatas bravas, however I really like a nice aioli (which in my world is a homemade garlic mayonnaise made with olive oil). I adore homemade mayonnaise, and if you have the time, I highly recommend making some.
However, if you are in a hurry, or you’re busy making other tapas, or you’re just feeling a bit lazy (right there with you), you can use my recipe for easy “aioli.” It’s just mayo, olive oil, and pressed garlic whisked together in a bowl. DONE. And so tasty. It’s like fancy-ing up prepared mayonnaise. Vegans, use vegannaise.
The second and, in my opinion, more important sauce is the patatas bravas sauce.
Friends. FRIENDS! This sauce. It demands to be put on allofthethings.
Since I’m not a regular person and everything I do in the kitchen revolves around how it will look in photos, I made this sauce and then put it into a diner-ketchup-style-squeeze-bottle so I could “artistically” drizzle it all over the potatoes. I didn’t use all of it on the potatoes (although I easily could have), so I had some leftovers.
That bottle of patatas bravas sauce quickly found a new home in the door of the refrigerator <– you know, for easy access. It is so delicious on these foods (based on personal experience): scrambled eggs, pizza, avocado toast, leftover pasta, even plain white rice.
It’s a total cinch to make the patatas bravas sauce recipe: just throw some stuff in a blender, then…uh.. blend it, then cook it for a few minutes in some hot oil. Done.
The only ingredient you might not have lying around is Spanish Hot Paprika.
I love this stuff and use it all the time, but if you are desperate to make this and don’t have any in your cupboard, try using regular paprika with a pinch of ground cayenne pepper added. Or, get super crazy and use smoked paprika. YUM.
Here are some expert tips to elevate your Patatas Bravas:
Potato Choice: Opt for waxy varieties like baby or fingerling potatoes as the recipe suggests, or Yukon Golds. These hold their shape well when cooked, providing a great texture for this dish.
Flavor Infusion: After boiling the potatoes in vinegar water, you could toss them in some of the garlic aioli before roasting for added flavor.
Crispier Potatoes: For crispier results, after boiling, drain and shake the potatoes in the colander to rough up their surfaces. This creates more edges that can brown and crisp in the oven.
Fresh Ingredients: Using fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones for the bravas sauce will give it a brighter, fresher flavor, though it might require additional cooking time to reduce and concentrate.
Adjust the Heat: Feel free to adjust the heat level in your bravas sauce by adding more or less paprika according to your preference. Remember that hot Spanish paprika has a kick!
Garnish: Don’t skip the parsley garnish! It adds a fresh counterpoint to the dish. You could also consider other garnishes like chopped chives or green onions for a variation.
Resting Time: Allow the potatoes to rest and slightly dry after boiling and before roasting. This will help them achieve a better crust in the oven.
Serving: This dish is best served immediately while the potatoes are still crispy. If you’re preparing for a party, you might want to time it so the potatoes come out of the oven just as guests are ready to eat.
There are many variations you can try with the Patatas Bravas recipe. Here are a few options:
Sweet Patatas Bravas: Substitute the traditional potatoes with sweet potatoes. This would give a delightful contrast between the sweet, earthy flavor of the sweet potatoes and the spicy bravas sauce.
Smoky Patatas Bravas: Use smoked paprika in place of hot Spanish paprika for a deeper, smokier flavor in the bravas sauce.
Herb-infused Patatas Bravas: Toss the boiled potatoes in a mixture of fresh chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano before roasting them. This will add a fragrant and flavorful twist to your patatas bravas.
Cheesy Patatas Bravas: After roasting the potatoes, sprinkle them with a generous amount of grated manchego or other Spanish cheese, then return them to the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
Bravas with a twist: Try experimenting with different types of aioli. For example, a saffron-infused aioli or a lemon-garlic aioli could add a new dimension to the dish.
Vegetable Bravas: For a more vegetable-forward dish, consider adding other roasted vegetables to the mix, such as bell peppers or zucchini.
Remember, recipes are just a guide, and cooking is about creativity and personal preference, so feel free to adjust this dish to your liking!
Frequently Asked Questions
Replace the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise.
The patatas bravas sauce is made from olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot paprika, sugar, salt and pepper.
Since this is a tapas, you should serve this with other shareable dishes. Here are a few of our favorites:
Deep Fried Olives
Lemony Olive Tapenade with Feta
Pan con Tomate
Potato Chip Spanish Tortilla
Greek Chicken Skewers
Yes, you can partially prepare Patatas Bravas in advance by boiling and seasoning the potatoes. You can also prepare the sauces ahead of time. However, for the best results, roast the potatoes and combine everything just before serving to maintain the crispy texture of the potatoes.
Yes, you can use other potatoes if you can’t find baby potatoes. Yukon golds or red potatoes would also work well in this recipe. Just remember to cut them into 1-inch pieces for similar cooking times.
Yes, you can adjust the heat level by reducing the amount of hot Spanish paprika used in the recipe. You could also substitute it with sweet paprika, which isn’t spicy but will still provide a nice flavor.
Yes, you can use a different oil. Just make sure it’s one that can withstand high heat. Avocado oil, peanut oil, or even vegetable oil could be used instead of canola oil.
Fresh parsley is typically used for its vibrant color and flavor, especially as a garnish. If you only have dried parsley, it can be used, but keep in mind that the flavor and appearance will not be quite the same.
Refrigerating: Store leftover Patatas Bravas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The aioli and bravas sauce can also be stored separately in airtight containers for up to a week.
Freezing: While the aioli and bravas sauce can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, the potatoes themselves might not freeze well due to texture changes. However, if you choose to freeze the potatoes, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container.
Oven (Recommended): Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and warm them for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. You can also place the bravas sauce in an oven-safe dish and heat it for about the same amount of time, or until it’s hot. The aioli should be thawed in the refrigerator and served cold.
Stovetop: Warm the potatoes in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until heated through. Be sure to stir them occasionally to prevent burning. The bravas sauce can also be warmed in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot.
Microwave: While not the recommended method, as the potatoes may become a bit soft, you can reheat the potatoes and bravas sauce in the microwave. Place them in a microwave-safe dish, cover, and heat for about 2-3 minutes or until hot, stirring halfway through.
Thawing Frozen Leftovers
Move the frozen potatoes and sauce to the refrigerator 24 hours before you plan to reheat them. Once they are thawed, you can follow the above instructions for reheating.
Remember that the aioli sauce should not be heated; rather, it should be served cold or at room temperature. If it was frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Patatas Bravas Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds baby / fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - divided
- 2 cloves garlic - pressed
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot Spanish paprika - divided
- 1 14.5 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juices
- Half of one yellow onion - peeled
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- Place the potatoes and white vinegar in a large pot along with two quarts of water. Bring the pot to a boil; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the potatoes are just barely tender. Drain and allow to cool.
- While the potatoes are cooling, prepare the garlic aioli: in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and both pressed garlic cloves until well-combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cooled potatoes with the canola oil, salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of the hot paprika. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the potatoes once or twice to promote even cooking.
- Meanwhile, prepare the easy patatas bravas sauce: Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Place the canned tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, remaining teaspoon of hot paprika, and sugar in the bowl of a large food processor or blender. Pulse until pureed. Carefully transfer the mixture to the saucepan (it may splatter a bit); cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has darkened in color and has lost its raw onion taste, about 5 to 6 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve the roasted potatoes topped with generous portions of the "aioli" and patatas bravas sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot.
Please note that there are many names for this recipe: Patatas Bravas, Patas Bravas, Patats Bravas, Papa Bravas, Potatos Bravas, Papas Bravas, Patata Bravas, Potato Bravas, Potatoes Bravas, Bravas Potatoes, but no matter what name you use, they are delicious!