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For a Mediterranean twist on roasted potatoes side dish, try this Lebanese Spicy Potatoes recipe, which is called batata harra in Arabic. That literally translates to spicy potatoes, as these potatoes pack in some heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. They are widely popular in the Middle East, and don’t require any special ingredients to make them!
What is batata harra?
It’s an Arabic phrase that literally translates to spicy potatoes. These Lebanese spicy potatoes are traditionally known as “batata harra.” They are fried or roasted until crispy and then tossed in a flavorful sauce made with cilantro, garlic and crushed red pepper. I love to finish them off with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.
If you haven’t tried batata harra yet, now is your time! This is a classic Lebanese side dish that’s now really popular in restaurants. It’s perfect to serve as part of a mezze, alongside some hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves and muhammara. It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free and compliments many different main dishes.
3 preparation methods
There are three ways to prepare Lebanese Spicy Potatoes
- Double Fry: Most people will prepare this dish by double frying the potatoes. Basically, you’ll deep fry the potatoes first alone without any seasoning or sauce. And then shallow fry with olive oil, pepper, garlic and cilantro. In Lebanon, this is the traditionally how batata harra is prepared.
- Boil, then Fry: A second popular method is to boil the potatoes for 10 minutes to lightly parboil them and then shallow fry the potatoes with the fragrant sauce. This reduces some of the fat and calories from deep frying them.
- Roast, then Toss: Using a high oven temperature, you can also roast the potatoes with only olive oil and salt. When they are golden and crispy, you can then toss them with the olive oil, garlic and herbs mixture. This is the method I prefer for making my batata harra.
How to make batata harra
Start by washing, peeling and cubing the potatoes. I recommend using golden potatoes or Yukon potatoes for best flavor and texture. Then spread them out on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast in the oven.
While the potatoes are roasting, you can start to make the sauce. This is where all the flavor for the dish comes from. It’s a mixture of fresh cilantro, garlic, crushed red pepper and olive oil. I like to reserve half the pepper and half the cilantro for adding fresh on top of the finished dish.
Make sure to give the potatoes a toss halfway through cooking for even browning as much as possible. You’ll know the potatoes are roasted when they are crisped on the edges and fork tender.
When they’re fully roasted, toss them in the garlic and herb mixture and then transfer them to a serving dish. This is when you add the remaining fresh cilantro and crushed red pepper for best presentation. Preparing them in the oven is such a great way to cook them without the trouble of deep frying. They come out golden and perfectly crisp!
Top tips to make batata harra
- Rinse the potatoes in cold water to remove starch before roasting them. The starch that’s naturally on potatoes can cause them to stick together during the roasting or frying process.
- Heat the pan before adding the potatoes on it. You can do it with our without the parchment paper. To make it easy, just place the pan in the oven while the oven is preheating. This way the potatoes hit a hot pan, which helps get a crispy texture.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. You want to try to keep them in a single layer to allow these spicy potatoes to roast evenly and perfectly.
- Only flip the potatoes once at the half way point. Moving the potatoes around can interrupt their crisping factor, so leave them untouched until they’re golden brown on one side before flipping them.
Frequently asked questions
Can you make batata harra ahead of time?
I would not recommend making this potato recipe ahead of time, especially if you’re roasting them because they will lose their crispness as they cool. However, you can make the fragrant sauce ahead of time.
What do you serve with these spicy potatoes?
Batata harra is perfect to serve with as part of a mezze platter alongside falafel, Baba Ganoush, Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab) and your other dishes. It’s also great to serve up as a side dish with grilled chicken kabobs or beef kafta.
How spicy is batata harra?
These potatoes are spicy, but they aren’t overly spicy. In some Middle Eastern countries, the potatoes are extremely spicy and are made with harissa, in other places, milder and warmer spices like paprika are used. This version carries some heat, but in moderation. If you are particularly sensitive to spicy foods, you can reduce the amount of crushed red pepper used.
More potato recipes
- Air Fryer Potatoes
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Oven Baked French Fries
- Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
These spicy potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes to serve to friends and family. It’s a great way to share some of my Lebanese culture with them without any unusual ingredients. The flavors are so fresh and fragrant, and it makes a great change from your basic potato side dish recipes!
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Lebanese Spicy Potatoes / Batata Harra recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Lebanese Spicy Potatoes (Batata Harra)
- 8 medium gold potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes divided
- 1 cup chopped cilantro divided
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Place the potatoes on the baking sheet in one layer, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on top and season with salt. Roast until the potatoes reach a golden brown color and crisp, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper and half the cilantro. Sauté until the garlic is golden in color, about 2 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are roasted, transfer the garlic mixture on top of the potatoes and toss with the remaining cilantro and the red pepper flakes.
- Serve hot or warm with a squeeze of lemon juice on top, if desired