thinking about the world differently . . .
January 15th, 2011

Roasted Potatoes with Cinnamon

Huh? CINNAMON? Yes, try it.

I added an update to this recipe at the end!

For years I have longed to find a way to make fried potatoes like my friend Bela and his wife Susan make: nice and soft inside, crispy on the outside. He used to call it the “Hungarian way”, but I haven’t found much evidence in the recipe sources on the web to support that particular species.

Every way I tried to duplicate it, the potatoes always stuck to the skillet, I’d lose the crusty outside and it was a general unappetizing mess.

Last November 2010 I saw an article in the New York Times, a pretty decent source for good cooking advice and ideas. The title was Potatoes with Crunch, without the Cabin. and there, finally, there was the recipe I longed for!

Photo Andrew Sorivani, New York Times 19 November 2010

The article, by Melissa Clark, told the story of chancing upon the right formula to make perfect roasted potatoes.

So I tried the recipe Melissa Clark suggested. The first time or two or three I cook a recipe, I follow it pretty strictly. It helps understand the intent and expected results. After that, I use full cook’s license to modify, change, substitute and cook the recipe in my own way.

Technically, my friends in Los Angeles made it in a skillet on the stovetop, not in the oven, so their potatoes were fried, not roasted, but the distinction was thoroughly drowned by waves of enjoyment from these perfect potatoes!

Here is my recipe as measured for 2 servings:


  • 2 medium potatoes, well scrubbed, cubed to roughly 1/2 – 3/4 inch chunks
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch
  • a healthy pinch or turmeric powder (I like that spice!)
  • 1 small stick cinnamon, broken into 4 pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder – be cautious: My cinnamon may be a little old and so it may not be strong, requiring a bit more, so experiement!
  • 1.5 tablespoon olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400-425°F.
  • Place the potatoes and garlic in a skillet.
  • Drizzle the oil, make sure it coats the potatoes and garlic well.
  • Sprinkle the spices and make sure they are mixed well.
  • Bake in the oven 25 minutes.
  • Turn the potatoes over and mix them up in the skillet.
  • Test the potatoes with a fork, they should be soft, and a crust begins to form on the outside.
  • Raise the temp to 475°F and bake another 15-25 minutes, depending on how soft they are and how crispy you like the outside.

Serves 2 – my portions are modest, but more than sufficient for humans.

Right before writing this blog I began making these potatoes for breakfast. While I was writing, the smells of garlic roasting in olive oil reached me first, then the cinnamon began to manifest its presence. The whole house filled with the warm aromas of this dish. This is what I cooked up:

Photo A. Meshar

You can see the golden crust on the potatoes. At the bottom part of the photo, note on the left an arrowhead shape, all golden, it is a slice of garlic. On the right, just past the center of the image you can see a brown tube-like shape or two. These are the cinnamon sticks.

May 22, 2011 Update:

A tasty version calls for the addition of eggs. Cut the time for the second round of baking by about 5 minutes. Take the skillet out of the oven (CAREFULLY!!!) and place on the stove. Turn the stove to quite low and group the potatoes on the skillet into two shallow but distinct groups. Crack an egg on each shallow pile. Cover and let the eggs cook for 3 minutes. When the eggs begin to turn opaque and somewhat white, sprinkle 1/4-1/2 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese on the eggs and potatoes (Mozzarella will do well too!), let the eggs cook another minute or more until they turn completely opaque and slightly “pink”.

Serve. Eat. Moan with delight :razz:…



  1. […] cinnamon. The house is filled with the smell of roasted garlic and pungent cinnamon. I will post a link for the recipe. You can see what they actually look like at the moment here: Photo A. […]

  2. The potatoes look great. The “Hungarian Way” refers to (tongue-in-cheek) the way my mother made them.
    BTW – great blog

    Comment by Bela — February 5, 2011 @ 9:37 AM
  3. Thank you Bela’s Mom for teaching him well enough so I got “infected” sufficiently to pursue this and eventually find a way to do these potatoes. In fact had some last night. On the plate also put some julienned carrots, red-heart radishes and a julienned parsnip! On the bed of vegetables, we put 1/2 sliced chicken breast. Lovely, fresh and tasty. Bela, omitting the meat would have worked well too, and I know that style would have resonated especially fondly with you!


    Comment by avi — February 5, 2011 @ 11:26 AM

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