Perfect Patatas Bravas

published Aug 31, 2021
Patatas Bravas Recipe

This crispy patatas bravas recipe comes to life with two irresistable sauces.


Prep15 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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Patatas Bravas (chunks of fried potato) with red and white sauce, on a black plate
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

Patatas bravas is a popular Spanish tapa that consists of crunchy, bite-sized potatoes often served with not one, but two sauces that ensure you’ll keep coming back for more. Traditional bravas sauce is hot and smoky, while alioli (Spanish aioli) is a cooling, creamy sauce common in Barcelona (but rarely seen with the fried potatoes in Madrid).

The easiest way to make alioli is to simply spike your favorite mayonnaise with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, which is just what we’ve done here. As for the bravas sauce, we added tomato purée for some depth and tang. 

How to Make Crispy Patatas Bravas

To get proper browning and crispness, use potatoes high in starch, such as russets. For fluffy-creamy interiors and ultra-crisp exteriors, parboil the potato chunks before frying them.

What Is Bravas Sauce?

A traditional bravas sauce is simply made of olive oil, spicy pimentón (smoked paprika), stock, and a little flour as a thickener. Modern recipes add tomatoes instead of stock and flour for more depth and a little tang.

Credit: Perry Santanachote

What Should I Serve with Patatas Bravas?

Patatas bravas is a tapa, so you should serve it with other complementary shareable bites. Go for non-starchy options such as the following:

Patatas Bravas Recipe

This crispy patatas bravas recipe comes to life with two irresistable sauces.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


For the bravas sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    tomato purée

  • 1 tablespoon

    sherry vinegar

For the alioli:

  • 4 cloves


  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 cup


  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

For the potatoes:

  • 2 pounds

    russet potatoes (about 4 medium)

  • 1 quart

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

  • 1 tablespoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


Make the bravas sauce:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Carefully pour in 1 (15-ounce) can tomato purée and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, then simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. (This is a good time to make the alioli and cook the potatoes.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar.

Make the alioli:

  1. Finely grate 4 garlic cloves into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon freshly suqeezed lemon juice and stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and stir to combine.

Cook the potatoes:

  1. Peel and cut 2 pounds russet potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. (Do not overcook or they will fall apart.) Drain, then transfer to a kitchen towel and arrange the potatoes into a single layer to dry thoroughly.

  2. Heat 1 quart vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until 350°F. Working in batches so as to not overcrowd the pot (there should be some space between each potato), use a spider or slotted spoon to add the potatoes to the oil. Fry, stirring occassionally, until the potatoes are golden-brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain briefly, then transfer to a serving dish.

  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt over the potatoes and toss to coat. Serve with the alioli and bravas sauce for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: You can make the sauces and boil and dry the potatoes and sauces up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in separate airtight containers. Let the sauces come to room temperature before serving.

Storage: Refrigerate the fried potatoes and sauces in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. Reheat the potatoes in a skillet over medium-high heat with a little bit of oil. Start with the lid on until the potatoes are heated through, then uncover and let them crisp up.