Caramelized potatoes: a simple and surprising Icelandic recipe, a perfect side dish for roast lamb or other roasted pieces of meat.
These Icelandic caramelized potatoes are something I did not even imagine before seeing a recipe for the first time. I mean: potatoes and caramel? As a side dish? For roast lamb? But it definitely works! It really works!
The caramel potatoes are a traditional Icelandic side dish served for Christmas, something I knew I had to try the moment I saw the recipe. I love anything with potatoes and the idea of having them caramelized was so intriguing, I think I cooked the dish one or two days after I first found a recipe.
What do you need?
- You will need to first boil and then caramelize them in a pan. That is why it is best to choose a waxy sort, they will hold their shape better. For instance, red ones or fingerlings.
- I once made the dish using an all-purpose sort, but it didn’t come out as nice as when cooked with waxy potatoes, so I really think it’s worth it using the right sort for this recipe.
Otherwise, you will only need sugar and butter.
How to caramelize potatoes?
- Peel the potatoes. If they are large, cut them into chunks. If they are small, halve them or leave them whole.
- Boil in salted water until tender. Drain very well and leave in the colander for about 10 minutes so that they can dry even more.
- Place the sugar in a large nonstick pan (Amazon affiliate link).
- When the sugar starts to get a nice and rich golden color, add the butter, stir well and let it melt.
- Add the potatoes and stir very well to coat all over. Stir carefully to avoid breaking the potatoes.
How to serve?
Some sources recommend eating the Icelandic potatoes warm, some say they are best served cold, so you have the choice, I suppose. We had them warm and we liked them like that.
We recently had them with roasted chicken legs and a simple, slightly sour and refreshing white cabbage salad. I thought the vinegar in the salad was a great contrast to the sweet sugar potatoes. A beautiful meal, we all loved it.
More potato side dishes:
Caramelized Potatoes – Icelandic Side Dishes
- 2.2 lbs waxy potatoes 1 kg, Note
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Cut potatoes: Clean and peel the potatoes. Cut them into large chunks or leave them whole if using small potatoes.
- Boil potatoes: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 15-20 minutes, the potatoes should be tender, but not become mushy. Drain the potatoes very well and let stand in a colander for about 10 minutes, to make sure that they are dry.
- Caramelize sugar: Place the sugar into a nonstick pan and let melt slowly, it should start to get slightly brown. At this point, add the butter and let melt slowly as well. Stir thoroughly.
- Caramelize potatoes: Add the potatoes and stir carefully, taking care not to break the potatoes. Lower the heat to a minimum and continue turning the potatoes into the caramel until they are coated all over and golden. Do not let the caramel turn too dark, if you think it might happen, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
- Serve immediately as suggested above.