Hands down, these smoky roasted fingerling potatoes are one of my favorite potato recipes. Smoky, creamy, and perfectly golden brown potatoes served with a ridiculously tasty potato salad inspired dipping sauce.
Watch the Video
Related: We also love these crispy roasted potatoes.
A Little About Fingerling Potatoes
The first time I was introduced to fingerling potatoes was while watching Ina Garten’s Food Network show. She simmered the knobby, thin-skinned potatoes until tender and then served them as an appetizer with a homemade aioli. I’d never really seen the long, fingerlike potatoes before. Since that show aired, fingerlings have become more and more popular and now, it’s quite common to find them at farmer’s markets and when we’re lucky, in the grocery store.
So what makes fingerling potatoes so special?
- Fingerlings have thin skin, so they don’t need to be peeled.
- Their flesh tastes rich, nutty, and buttery. It’s quite delicious.
- The flesh of fingerling potatoes is also firmer than more starchier varieties (like russet potatoes), meaning that they hold up very well during cooking.
- They are versatile and can be cooked a variety of ways. Use fingerling potatoes when roasting, sautéing, boiling or use them in soups.
- There are a number of varieties of fingerling potatoes including Russian Banana, French, LaRatte, and Purple Peruvian. Colors can range from yellow to intense purple/blue.
What can I substitute for Fingerling Potatoes?
There are lots of potato varieties, so I like to think of potatoes falling into three categories: starchy, waxy, and “somewhere in the middle.”
Starchy potatoes are, as the name suggests, high in starch and low in moisture. Examples include Russet, Idaho, and many varieties of sweet potatoes. If you’ve cooked with any of these, you know that when cooked, these potatoes tend to fall apart. A reason why many cooks love using them to make fluffy mashed potatoes.
Waxy potatoes are the opposite. These varieties are low in starch, high in moisture, and hold their shape well after cooking. Examples include fingerling potatoes, Red Bliss, and baby potatoes (sometimes called creamers or New Potatoes).
“Somewhere in the middle” potatoes walk the line between starchy and waxy. Yukon Gold potatoes are the best example of this. Think of these as all-purpose potatoes that can be used for roasting, boiling, mashing, and in soups.
When a recipe calls for fingerling potatoes, and you don’t have them on hand, substitute them with small waxy potatoes like baby potatoes (creamers/New Potatoes), Red Bliss potatoes or use potatoes that are more of an all-purpose potato like Yukon Gold.
My Favorite Way To Cook and Serve Fingerling Potatoes
I love roasted potatoes. Maybe it’s the English in me? (My Mom and Dad are both from England). When I roast potatoes at home, I like to get them as browned and crisp as I can. So when I’m roasting smaller, unpeeled potatoes (like these fingerlings), I slice them in half to create one flat side. It’s this flat side that (when roasted correctly) gets crisp and browned in the oven.
To make sure the flat side roasts nicely, I take extra care to make sure the flat side of the potato faces down onto the roasting pan or skillet. In fact, I leave that side down the majority of the bake time. (I do this with a lot of veggies including Brussels sprouts and broccoli.)
When the potatoes are tender in the middle and browned on the bottom, we take a tip from Alton Brown and scatter a little vinegar over them. Since the potatoes are hot, they quickly absorb the vinegar, which makes them taste incredible! For this recipe, we sprinkle a little smoked paprika over the potatoes, too. You don’t need lots, but just a half teaspoon or so adds a savory smoky element to the potatoes. It takes normal roasted potatoes from great to crave-able. You’ll be going back for more, promise.
How to Roast Fingerling Potatoes, Step by Step
Cut the potatoes into halves or, if they are larger than normal, into quarters. You can roast fingerlings whole, but I love the opportunity to get the cut side of the potatoes crisp and golden brown.
Toss the potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. We keep the seasoning simple for roasting and then add more spice once they are roasted. For the oil, we use a neutral, high-heat cooking oil like grape seed, avocado oil or vegetable oil.
Place the potatoes, cut-side-down, onto a baking sheet or into a wide oven-safe skillet. In our photos, we’ve used our 12-inch cast iron pan for roasting the potatoes. Our cast-iron pan is a work horse in our kitchen, but you can always use a baking sheet for these potatoes if that’s all you have.
Roast the potatoes until tender and golden brown. I hold back on tossing the potatoes during roasting since I love getting that golden brown crust on the cut side of each potato. In a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, the potatoes take 25 to 40 minutes to roast (it just depends on the size of your potatoes and how golden brown you want them to get).
Toss the roasted potatoes with vinegar and smoked paprika. When the potatoes are still hot from the oven they absorb flavor like crazy. The vinegar and paprika transforms pretty good potatoes into potatoes that are almost addictive. We use apple cider vinegar, but red wine or champagne vinegar are excellent alternatives.
The potatoes are delicious served as-is, but when we’re feeling feisty, we make our ridiculously delicious potato salad dipping sauce (explained below). I know the name is silly, but trust me when I say that this sauce is incredibly good. In fact, I’m pretty sure this roasted fingerling and dipping sauce combo will turn into my go-to recipe for when friends come over. It’s perfect served as an appetizer or on the side for a meal.
Our Ridiculously Delicious Potato Salad Inspired Dipping Sauce
We’ve had our potato salad recipe posted on Inspired Taste for a long time and never have we thought to use the dressing as a dipping sauce. That was until we were out in Seattle for Happy Hour and ordered an appetizer of fingerling potatoes.
When they came out, they were set next to a creamy dipping sauce resembling the sauce we use to make potato salad. It was mayo based with herbs, pickles, and eggs. I know it sounds simple, but holy moly was it genius (and delicious). Adam and I keep a note on our phones with random ideas for recipes. The moment we finished our plate of potatoes and potato salad dipping sauce, we made a note to try it in our kitchen. So here it is. Our ridiculously delicious potato salad dip, which I have to say is PERFECT served next to these smoky roasted fingerling potatoes.
To make the sauce, we took inspiration from our potato salad recipe and use equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream (the sour cream lightens up the sauce a little — not in fat, but in texture and taste). To the creamy base, we add apple cider vinegar, fresh dill, chopped dill pickles (or gherkins), and chopped hard boiled egg. At first, we thought about leaving the egg out, but it truly adds something special. If you don’t like eggs in potato salad, leave it out, but if you do, try it!
More Recipes That Use Fingerling Potatoes
We’ve used fingerlings in a variety of ways. Here are a few favorites from the blog. Remember, whenever you see a recipe calling for small or waxy potatoes, you can almost always substitute fingerling potatoes.
- Easy Homemade Potato Soup — We recommend Yukon Gold potatoes to make this soup, but if you have extra fingerling potatoes, they would be excellent as a substitute.
- Our Favorite Potato Salad — We recommend small, waxy potatoes in the recipe so fingerling potatoes are a great option.
- Green Bean and Potato Salad — Instead of a creamy dressing, we toss green beans and sliced potatoes with a vinaigrette made with feta cheese.
- Cheesy Potato Frittata with Chipotle — In this easy frittata, we add sliced potatoes (fingerlings are perfect), cheese, bell pepper, and chipotles for a smoky kick.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Craveable Sauce
These roasted fingerling potatoes taste smoky, creamy, and are perfectly golden brown. We love serving them with our ridiculously tasty potato salad inspired dipping sauce (shared below). Think of these fingerlings as the perfect appetizer for serving friends or as a flavorful side dish to meats, fish or other vegetables.
For roasting the potatoes, use the largest oven-safe skillet you have (a straight-sided 12-inch cast iron pan is ideal) or use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
Makes 4 servings as an appetizer
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
For the potatoes
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, see notes
2 to 3 small unpeeled garlic cloves, optional, see notes
2 tablespoons neutral flavored high heat oil like grape seed, avocado or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, or more to taste, see notes
Flaky sea salt
Potato Salad Dipping Sauce
4 tablespoons mayonnaise, see our homemade mayo recipe
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 medium dill pickle or 4 to 5 small gherkins, chopped small
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 large hard-boiled egg, chopped small, optional, see tips for cooking in notes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Roast The Potatoes
1Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a cast iron pan, place it into the oven so that it warms while you prepare the potatoes. If using a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil and slide into the oven to warm up.
2In a large bowl, toss the halved potatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves (optional) with the oil, salt, and pepper.
3When the oven is hot and the potatoes well tossed, carefully add the potatoes to the cast iron pan then use kitchen tongs to arrange them into one layer with all cut sides facing down. If you run out of space, it’s okay if a few potatoes pile up the sides or on top of each other.
4Roast the potatoes for 15 minutes, and then check for browning. If the potatoes have not yet turned a golden brown on the bottom, place them back into the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the potatoes are mostly golden brown on the cut side, stir them around the pan, moving any potatoes that have no color on them into the middle of the pan (where it is hottest), and then continue to roast until the potatoes are fork tender and golden brown (watch our video in the article for reference). While the potatoes roast, make the dipping sauce (below).
5To finish the potatoes, when roasted and while still hot from the oven, toss them with the vinegar and smoked paprika. Taste, then adjust with additional vinegar and paprika. Finish with a little flaky salt sprinkled on top.
- Potato Salad Dipping Sauce
1In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, minced pickles, dill, egg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Taste then adjust with more vinegar, salt, and or pepper. For an extra smoky kick, stir in a pinch of smoked paprika.
2If you roasted garlic cloves alongside the potatoes, when the potatoes are done and the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft roasted garlic out of the peel and mince with a knife. Stir the minced roasted garlic into the sauce.
3Make ahead: The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance when covered tightly and kept in the refrigerator.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Small waxy potatoes like New Potatoes, baby potatoes, Red Bliss or Yukon Gold potatoes are all excellent substitutes for fingerling potatoes.
- If your potatoes are unusually large/thick, instead of halving them, cut them into quarters so that all the potatoes are cut in to a similar size.
- Garlic: For an extra flavorful dipping sauce, add a 2 to 3 unpeeled garlic cloves to the potatoes while they roast. When the potatoes are roasted the garlic will be soft and sweet in the middle. The flesh can then be minced and stirred into the dipping sauce.
- Smoked Paprika is made from dried and smoked pimiento peppers. It adds a deep smoky aroma and flavor. Unless noted on the packaging, it isn’t typically hot (spicy) and instead is mild and a bit sweet.
- The egg is optional, but it does add a lovely richness and texture to the sauce. Here’s our tutorial for how to cook hard boiled eggs on the stove as well as how we cook eggs in a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot).
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
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Nutrition Per Serving
1/4 of the recipe