It’s Honestly Hard for Me to Put into Words How Much I Love These Hasselback Waffle Potatoes
My favorite thing about the humble, mighty potato is that just when you think you’ve tried all the ways to prepare it, you learn about another. The latest potato cookery method that has been making its rounds on TikTok is one I’ve never seen until now, and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to try it.
This new potato recipe from the ‘Tok is a twist on the classic Hasselback potato, in which you cut thin, vertical slices three quarters of the way down a whole potato, creating a grooved texture on the top. In the TikTok preparation, the potatoes are first trimmed down to tiny squares and then Hasselbacked both lengthwise and crosswise. There’s also another variation making the rounds where you create more of an accordion-like structure.
Listen, I’m not one to play with my food, but I couldn’t help but wonder about these cuts. Do they actually work? Are they super difficult? Will they make the potato taste any better, or is this just a fun styling trick for Instagram? With so many hard hitting questions, I sprinted to the store, threw some Russets in my cart, and got to work immediately.
How to Make Hasselback Waffle Potatoes, 2 Ways
Like I mentioned, there are two different preparations I’ll be exploring in my very diligent and thorough spud research. Here’s my breakdown for each. The first we’ll call the Hasselback squares and the second we’ll refer to as the accordion. You with me?
First method, Hasselback squares (see video here): For the squares, you need to peel a large Russet potato and trim off the top and bottom. Trim off the rounded edges and form it into a block-like rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch squares that should look the size of a box of matches.
This is where the knife work gets fun. Take two chopsticks and line them up on the top and bottom of the square. Then, make thin, vertical knife cuts down your little square potato, using the chopsticks to ensure that the knife doesn’t cut all the way through. Once you go across one way, rotate the potato and do the same cut perpendicular to your first round of cuts, creating a waffle-like design, but leaving the bottom of the potato square intact.
Once your potatoes are cut into these cute little waffle bites, you’ll toss them in a garlic Parmesan butter and roast them for about 40 minutes, flipping and re-brushing with butter about halfway through.
Second method, the accordion (see video here): The accordion potatoes are very similar to the Hasselback squares, except for a minor difference in how they’re cut. For starters, the accordion potatoes are not peeled, and instead of cutting them into small squares width-wise, they’re cut into long planks lengthwise. The same chopstick method is used to make the first set of vertical cuts down one side. Then after that, you flip the potato plank so that the uncut side is facing up, and then you repeat your Hasselback cuts, except doing them on a diagonal. My brain cannot comprehend how this series of cuts somehow reveals an accordion shape, but it sure is mesmerizing. This potato accordion is then threaded onto a skewer, brushed with a similar herby garlic butter, and roasted.
My Honest Review of the Viral Hasselback Waffle Potatoes
I love making classic Hasselback potatoes. Some people might think the only purpose of the cuts is for aesthetic purposes, but I disagree. A Hasselback potato is a beautiful thing because you get a crispy, almost chip-like texture on the top and then a baked potato vibe on the bottom. Hannah Montana doesn’t need to tell you that that’s the best of both worlds.
Hasselback squares, reviewed: I mean this in the most respectful way, but these tasted like the fanciest and most delicious tater tots I’ve ever had.
The Hasselback cuts provided a textural experience unlike any other, and even though they were oven-baked, they were super crispy and tasted like they could have been fried. The cuts were slightly labor-intensive but not so annoying that I wouldn’t be up to do it again. The garlic butter with herbs and Parm was the perfect way to flavor these guys. I do have a few changes I’d make, but I’ll get to that in a minute. 9/10.
The accordion method, reviewed: I’m less excited about this one. Even though the video is so cool, this is one of those situations where when you try it at home, it just doesn’t look like the video. This type of cut requires much more precision than the Hasselback squares and there was much less room for error. If the cuts aren’t perfectly spaced or if you accidentally cut all the way through the plank, you’re back at square one.
I had about 10 planks to try this with, and I successfully made two accordions (which, if I’m being honest with myself, don’t even look that good compared to how they look in the video). Trying to cut these was extremely stressful (remember playing Operation? Trying not to exhale? That’s how it felt). Even though I’m pretty confident with my knife skills, I struggled with this one — and so did my ego. And for all that work, they didn’t roast up nicely at all. Well, now I can say that I’ve tried it once and will not be returning.
One smart change: Let’s go back to the Hasselback squares for a minute. My chef instructor from culinary school is in my ear right now reminding me that you should never roast at high temperatures with butter (the smoke point isn’t high enough), and frankly, he’s right. Even though I loved the preparation of these potatoes, there are some changes I’d make to the garlic butter situation. There’s no reason to roast a butter sauce with fresh herbs, minced garlic, and grated Parm for upwards of 40 minutes in a 400°F oven. All of these ingredients cannot withstand high heat for this long. I had some charred bits from this sauce on the sheet pan and on the taters.
So, because I wake up every morning and strive for nothing short of spud perfection (plus, these Hasselback squares might be my entire, brand-new personality), I decided to make them again with some changes. Instead of roasting the squares in the butter, I instead tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper and let them get nice and crispy for about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. When they were golden brown and just about done roasting, I brushed them with the garlic butter sauce and popped ’em back in the oven for just 5 minutes. This way, those fragile ingredients were in the oven for just a few minutes, which is just enough time to soften the garlic and impart a rich, herby, buttery flavor.
4 Things You Should Know About Making These Potatoes
- Try the squares, skip the accordions. Hopefully I’ve already made this point pretty clear, but my overall suggestion is to make the Hasselback squares and skip the accordions (I mean sure, go ahead and try it, but don’t call me when you want to rip your entire head of hair out).
- Save the garlic butter sauce for the end and instead roast your potatoes in oil, salt, and pepper. This lets them get nice and crispy first, and you’ll still be finishing ‘em off with the flavorful butter sauce. This will also save you the heartache of scraping burnt bits of garlic and herbs off your potatoes.
- Increase your oven temperature. In the video, the recommended temperature is 400°F, but I think you need it to be at at least 425°F to get a nice golden brown exterior. Every oven is different, so make sure to rotate your pans to promote even cooking and continually check on your potatoes.
- ROAST YOUR SCRAPS. If there’s one tip in here that you listen to, I hope it’s this one. There is a lot of trimming going on with these cuts which means that there’s going to be ‘tater scraps. There is no reason why you shouldn’t throw these scraps on a sheet tray, toss them in oil, salt, and pepper and roast ‘em up. In this house, we do not throw away perfectly fine potatoes, and you shouldn’t either. *Sung to the tune of Lee Ann Womack’s hit single “I Hope You Dance,”* I hope you roast your scraps!