Portuguese Smashed Potatoes ~ Batatas à Murro

Portuguese smashed potatoes are a terrific way to upgrade your side dishes. Or, even your main course. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, we think these garlicky and salty beauties are actually worthy of being the center of attention. Double the recipe and have at it, we say.

Portuguese smashed potatoes covered with minced garlic, olive oil, and salt, on a blue pottery plate.

Adapted from Ana Patuleia | Portuguese Home Cooking | Interlink Books, 2021

This traditional Portuguese smashed potato dish, batatas à murro, is simply roasted potatoes that are given a bit of a smash at the end of the cooking time. This helps to cover them with lots of craggy edges that get extra crisp and tasty. Drizzled with fresh garlic, salt, and white wine vinegar, they become an utterly elegant and enchanting side dish. Although, they’re so superb that we think they’re easily an entrée, too.–Jenny Latreille

Portuguese Smashed Potato FAQs

What sized potatoes are best for smashed potatoes?

If crispy, craggy potatoes are what you’re looking for, then you’ll want to use a potato that’s no bigger than a golf ball. While large potatoes are great for some things, you’ll find that smaller-sized spuds will crisp up better, and they’ll cook faster too.

What size dish should I use for Portuguese smashed potatoes?

While you’re prepping this recipe, be sure to use a baking dish with enough room to spread out all your potatoes. If placed too close together, they’ll just steam and you won’t get the prized crispy outside. Use 2 half-baking sheets instead, if you need to.

What can I do if I don’t want to use raw garlic in my Portuguese smashed potatoes?

If you’re sensitive to raw garlic, in a small skillet, lightly cook the garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter and use this to drizzle before serving, or add 1/2 teaspoon butter to the potato opening with the garlic and return to the oven for 5 minutes before drizzling with vinegar.

Portuguese Smashed Potatoes ~ Batatas à Murro

Portuguese smashed potatoes covered with minced garlic, olive oil, and salt, on a blue pottery plate.
This popular but simple potato dish can be made on short notice. Waxy potatoes like Red Bliss, Idaho bakers, or new potatoes all work well in this recipe. If raw garlic is too much for you, give it a quick sizzle in a skillet to tame it.
Ana Patuleia

Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 15 mins
Sides
Portuguese
4 servings
156 kcal
No ratings yet
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Ingredients 

  • 8 small or 4 medium (16 to 21 oz) waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold, Baby Dutch Yellow, baby red, or fingerling, skins intact, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt or to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Wine vinegar to drizzle (optional)

Directions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • Place potatoes in a medium bowl and pierce them all over with a fork. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, add the salt and gently toss until potatoes are well coated.
  • In a shallow baking dish, arrange the potatoes in a single layer without crowding them, and bake until tender, about 1 hour.
  • Using a pestle or the bottom of a glass tumbler, punch down each potato hard enough to break it open. Scatter the chopped garlic in the opening of each potato. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, if desired. Serve immediately.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 156kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 21g (7%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 1768mg (77%)Potassium: 593mg (17%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 9IUVitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 19mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These Portuguese smashed potatoes were one of the easiest potato sides. They’re packed full of flavor and have endless possibilities for flavor combinations. I followed the recipe and only added about 3/4 tablespoon salt and it turned out well. To limit the salt, I swirled my oiled potatoes in a bowl as I sprinkled enough salt to coat them lightly. 

The potatoes were steaming hot out of the oven, and I was hesitant about the punch down step. I used a piece of foil covered by an oven mitt to punch down each potato, then dropped the minced garlic across each potato width. I was thinking that much fresh garlic would be a downer, but it turned out to be a nice balance between the salt, oil, garlic, and potato starch.

I quickly doubled this recipe with no alterations in cook time and served two potatoes as a side with my take on chilaquiles. It was a great meal, and easy to put together!

This dish is not only easy and quick to put together, it’s extremely delicious and appetizing. It works well with most varieties of potatoes and only requires a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

This method is simple, flexible to work with different potatoes, and even fun.  I am familiar with other smashed potato recipes but was intrigued with this one since I have become so fond of the method of cooking potatoes on a rack, with oil and a light coating of salt (a winner for any baked potato). 

I made it with medium-sized, waxy red potatoes, and then again, a side-by-side comparison with medium Yukon Gold, still delicious (though I will say we gave the Yukon Gold a higher mark for fluffy tenderness and flavour). 

I served with sauteed cabbage and oven-roasted kielbasa sausage and shallots.

My family and I were really excited to try these Portuguese smashed potatoes because we’ve only ever had baked potatoes at local buffet restaurants and it’s been several years since our last visit. While the potatoes baked, we couldn’t help but occasionally stop to look through the oven door as we waited for them to become tender enough to eat. Without a doubt, this made us hungrier but it was difficult to resist the temptation of watching the sizzling action that was happening in the baking dish as the timer counted down.

The recipe tasted just as suggested–salty and garlicky–and although the end product was well worth the amount of work required, left tasters expecting a bit more. These punched potatoes would have been even more stellar with the addition of melted butter drizzled on top or accompanied by a creamy dip to balance the slightly overwhelming flavor of garlic and the starchiness of the potatoes. I’d definitely make this recipe again with minor adjustments to further improve seasoning and flavor.

Originally published on November 2, 2021

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Comments

  1. Hi, we Brits have been baking potatoes like this for centuries. Nowadays often with toppings of chilli mince, cheeses etc. As a boy we threw our spuds into the dying hot embers of garden fires, Nov. 5th bonfires and campfires followed by a slathering of butter. They also helped to warm up our freezing hands after snowballing. Happy munching.

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