Patatas Bravas

This recipe will hold me over until I can get back to Spain again, and if you’ve never been, or are missing this dish like I am, I know this recipe will hit the spot for you, too!

Anyone who followed me while I was in Spain knows I developed a deep obsession with Patatas Bravas during that trip. It’s one of Spain’s classic dishes, and is a comfort food common as a side dish or, of course, tapas. It is truly a heavenly fried potato dish! I love a fried potato in any form, and would argue that there’s simply nothing more delicious.

Patatas Bravas are even better than your average fried potato for a few important reasons. First, they’re fried in olive oil, which gives them extra crunch thanks to olive oil’s lower smoke point, but also more flavor thanks to the olive’s fruity, briney notes. Next, they’re topped with not one, but two sauces! The bravas sauce has many variations across Spain, but most have a few key ingredients in common. It’s a heavily spiced sauce, packed with paprika and thickened with cornstarch. Spain is known for its ​​pimentón, their famous paprika, and if you want your bravas sauce to be truly authentic, this ingredient is a must. The sauce comes together quickly, but the blend of sweet and hot paprikas along with the cayenne ensure it’s packed with flavor. This sauce is balanced perfectly with an extra garlicky aioli, and when both are drizzled over, hot, freshly fried potatoes, it’s sublime. This recipe will hold me over until I can get back to Spain again, and if you’ve never been, or are missing this dish like I am, I know this recipe will hit the spot for you, too!

1. Pimentón

A spice that is very prevalent in Spanish cuisine, and is an essential ingredient in patatas bravas. There are a few varieties of pimentón, including dulce (sweet), agridulce (moderately hot paprika) and picante (hot paprika). I used two kinds in this recipe–pimentón dulce and pimentón picante, to give it the ultimate balance.

2. Make Ahead

Every single element of this dish can be made hours or even a day ahead except for the frying! Still, you can have everything done, fry off the potatoes when you’re ready to serve them, and have patatas bravas in your belly in less than 30 minutes.

3. Olive Oil Frying

You’ll see that I’ve noted to use medium heat when frying with olive oil, and to not exceed an oil temperature of 350°F. That’s because olive oil has a lower smoke point than oils that are typically used for frying, meaning that it will smoke and burn your food more quickly and easily. Be sure to use moderate heat and monitor your oil temperature carefully!

Patatas Bravas

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 as a side
Calories 1535.16 kcal


For the Patatas

  • 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes about 7 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Kosher salt for seasoning water
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil

For the Bravas Sauce

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Garlic Aioli

  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil


For the Patatas

  • In a large pot, add potatoes and rinse with cold water 2-3 times to remove excess starch, or until water runs clear. Then, add enough cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch. Add enough salt to the water until it is salty like the sea. Bring to a boil, reduce to a hard simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, until fork tender.
  • Drain potatoes, then place on a racked baking sheet and transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until cooled. While the potatoes are cooling, make the sauces.

For the Bravas Sauce

  • To a small sauce pot over medium heat, add olive oil, both paprikas and cayenne. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. In a spouted measuring cup, whisk together stock and cornstarch, and slowly stream into spice mixture while whisking constantly. Add salt and sherry vinegar and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced by half. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a plastic bag for piping.

For the Garlic Aioli

  • Add garlic, egg yolk, vinegar and Dijon to a small mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Add oils together in a spouted measuring cup, then slowly drizzle into yolk mixture and whisk vigorously until a thick, mayonnaise consistency is achieved. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plastic bag for piping and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Cooking Potatoes

  • Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Add potatoes in 3-4 batches then fry for 5-6 minutes, or until outside is a light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet. Season with salt and repeat until all potatoes have been cooked.

For Assembly

  • Divide potatoes evenly onto four plates, then top with a generous drizzle of each sauce. Serve immediately.
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