Patatas Bravas (Spanish Fried Potatoes)

Nothing Like A Little Spicy Patatas Bravas To Awaken The Taste Buds!

Looking for a spicy dish that’s fun to share? Patatas bravas – or Spanish Fried Potatoes – are the dish for you.

Made from perfectly fried potatoes with a smoky, spicy bravas sauce, this Patatas bravas recipe is usually served as a tapas plate (Spanish sharing plates).

Patatas bravas is the perfect combination of starchy texture with creamy and spicy hot flavor! Toss some sauce on the potatoes but don’t forget about that bravas sauce dipping bowl to go beside.

spanish fried potatoes with red bravas sauce in bowl
Delicious Patatas bravas ready to be shared!

Patatas bravas is also commonly called “papas bravas” and can be served with a creamy aioli dipping sauce in addition or instead of the classic bravas sauce.

This classic Spanish recipe is eaten all over but it originated in Madrid. Lisa lived in Spain so she’s well-versed in Spanish cuisine – and especially going for tapas with friends.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you get started making this Patatas bravas recipe and Patatas bravas sauce, there are a few things you should know or consider for when you cook:

  • We like using an all-purpose potato such as white or Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe. They keep their shape nicely when being boiled and fried.
  • Make sure to use a good quality olive oil for this recipe – it can make a huge difference in flavor.
  • Our bravas sauce doesn’t have tomatoes since it is traditionally made without. However, you can certainly add in some diced tomatoes when you are done frying the onion.
  • Make sure to use sweet smoked paprika instead of normal sweet paprika as it makes a huge difference.
  • When it comes to the hot paprika, you can substitute it for red pepper flakes since hot paprika is not always widely available at the grocery store (at least where we live).
  • You can add more or less spice than we do. Two tablespoons will give it a nice flavor kick without making it impossible to eat. But if you are a huge fan of spice, feel free to add more – or if you don’t like spice, only add a small amount.
  • If you want to cut the spice a little bit, feel free to serve the patatas bravas with aioli (garlic mayo) in addition or instead of the bravas sauce.
plate of patatas bravas with dipping red sauce behind
Always serve Patatas bravas with a little extra bravas sauce!

How to Make Patatas Bravas – Step by Step Instructions

To make this papas bravas recipe, you can check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.

For those wanting to see a visual of the steps, you can find the recipe process photos in this section.

This way, if you have any questions you can follow along with how we made our Patatas bravas and can compare how you are doing!

potatoes in boiling water on stove in metal pot
Boil the potatoes.

First, pre-boil the potatoes with their skin on in a pot of hot water on the stove until almost tender but not quite done.

You should be able to pierce them with a fork but it shouldn’t slide through the potato with ease.

boiled potatoes sitting in white strainer
Let the potatoes cool.

Remove the potatoes from the pot and set them aside to cool.

chopped onions on cutting board beside garlic press
Chop the onion and garlic.

In the meantime, prepare the bravas sauce. First, peel the onion and finely chop it. Also, peel the garlic clove and chop it or press it through a garlic press.

pan of oil on stove with wooden spoon beside
Heat oil in a pan.

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil.

fried onions in oil in frying pan on stove
Sauté the onions.

When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté them on medium-high heat for around 5-6 minutes until translucent.

pan full of frying onions and garlic with wooden spoon beside
Add the garlic.

Add the crushed garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic or else it will become bitter.

red spice on fried onion in frying pan with wooden spoon
Add the paprika.

Turn down the heat to low and add the smoked paprika as well as the hot paprika (or red pepper flakes) and mix well using a wooden spoon.

You can adjust the amount of hot paprika used according to your spice tolerance. Two tablespoons give it a kick, but it’s not intolerable.

xxx

white flour in red bravas sauce in pan with wooden spoon
Add the flour.

After the paprika has been mixed in, add the flour and mix it in well so that there are no flour lumps.

pouring stock into frying pan full of thick bravas sauce on stove
Add the broth.

Let everything sit in the hot pan for a minute (so the flour can lose its “flour taste”).

Then little by little add the broth while constantly stirring with your wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the sauce has a well-combined consistency.

thick red bravas sauce in frying pan on stove top with wooden spoon
Let the sauce thicken.

Turn up the heat again slightly and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

Let the sauce simmer for around 4-5 minutes until it has thickened nicely. Stir regularly.

Once the sauce has a thick, creamy consistency, remove the pan from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

thick smooth bravas sauce in white bowl
Blend the bravas sauce.

Then blend the sauce in a blender so it’s smooth.

cooked potato diced into cubes on white cutting board
Peel and cut the potatoes.

Back to the potatoes. First peel them, then cut them into bite-sized cubes.

frying pan with oil on stove top
Heat oil in a frying pan.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large frying pan.

diced potato pieces frying in oil in frying pan on stove
Add some of the potato cubes.

When it is hot enough (test this by dipping a wooden spoon into the oil – if there are small bubbles forming around it, the oil is hot enough), add approximately half of the potato cubes.

Depending on the size of your pan you might be able to add more or less – just don’t overcrowd the pan.

browning pieces of potatoes frying in frying pan on stove
Fry the potatoes until golden brown.

Fry the potato cubes on medium heat until they are fully cooked and lightly golden brown on the outside.

Flip the potato pieces regularly. Don’t have the temperature too high – you don’t want the outsides to become very dark while the inside is not fully cooked.

pieces of fried potatoes on paper towels on plate
Place the fried potatoes on a plate with paper towels.

Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the pan with a straining spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Then fry the second batch of potatoes the same way.

spanish fried potatoes with red sauce in bowl
Our Patatas bravas with a little chopped parsley and loads of sauce!

Add salt to taste, then serve the patatas bravas in a bowl and garnish with some of the bravas sauce as well as some chopped parsley.

If you want to cut the spice of the sauce a bit, you can also serve aioli (garlic mayo) in addition – or even instead – of the bravas sauce.

Storage Tips

Patatas bravas are best served warm but the potatoes and the sauce can be eaten cold.

To store leftover potatoes, place them in a sealed contained and put them in the fridge. They will lose their crispiness but will still be good to eat the next day.

Store the leftover bravas sauce in a sealed container in the fridge as well. Give it a stir when you go to serve it. There’s no meat or dairy in the sauce so it will easily last in the fridge for a few days.

FAQ

What is Patatas bravas?

Patatas bravas are Spanish fried potatoes – usually eaten as tapas – served with a spicy, smoky red sauce and/or a creamy aioli sauce. Patatas means “potato” in Spanish while bravas is just the name for the sauce. Generally, “Patatas bravas” is translated as one meaning “spicy potatoes”.

What is Patatas bravas made of?

Patatas bravas is made of boiled potatoes which have then been fried in oil. Bravas sauce is made from onion, garlic, and a variety of spices.

What to serve with Patatas bravas?

Patatas braves is served with other tapas plates. Some common ones are meat dishes and grilled vegetables.

How to make Patatas bravas and bravas sauce?

To make Patatas bravas, boil potatoes, cut them, and then fry them in oil until brown. To make bravas sauce, fry onion and garlic, add the spices, and then thicken and blend the sauce until creamy. You can find the complete Patatas bravas recipe at the bottom of this post.

Related Recipes

If you liked these Spanish recipe, here are a bunch more that might spark your taste buds:

spanish fried potatoes with red sauce in bowl

Patatas Bravas (Spanish Fried Potatoes)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Patatas Bravas - or Spanish Fried Potatoes - are the perfect tapas dish if you like spice. These easy-to-make fried potatoes are covered with a hot and smoky bravas sauce that takes dipping to a whole new level!

Ingredients

The Potatoes

  • 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes (e.g. Yukon gold or white potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • chopped parsley to garnish (optional)

The Bravas Sauce

  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons hot paprika or red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes with their skin on in a pot of hot water on the stove until almost tender but not quite done. You should be able to pierce them with a fork but it shouldn't slide through the potato with ease.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the pot and set them aside to cool.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the bravas sauce. First, peel the onion and finely chop it. Also, peel the garlic clove and chop it or press it through a garlic press.
  4. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil. When it is hot, add the onions and sauté them on medium-high heat for around 5-6 minutes until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic or else it will become bitter.
  5. Turn down the heat to low and add the smoked paprika as well as the hot paprika and mix well using a wooden spoon. You can adjust the amount of hot paprika used according to your spice tolerance. Two tablespoons give it a kick, but it's not intolerable.
  6. After the paprika has been mixed in, add the flour and mix it in well so that there are no flour lumps.
  7. Let everything sit in the hot pan for a minute (so the flour can lose its "flour taste") and then little by little add the broth while constantly stirring with your wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the sauce has a well combined consistency.
  8. Turn up the heat again slightly and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add salt to taste. Let the sauce simmer for around 4-5 minutes until it has thickened nicely. Stir regularly.
  9. Once the sauce has a thick, creamy consistency, remove the pan from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then blend the sauce in a blender so it's smooth.
  10. Now back to the potatoes - peel the cooled potatoes, then cut them into bite-sized cubes.
  11. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large frying pan. When it is hot enough (test this by dipping a wooden spoon into the oil - if there are small bubbles forming around it, the oil is hot enough), add approximately half of the potato cubes. Depending on the size of your pan you might be able to add more or less - just don't overcrowd the pan.
  12. Fry the potato cubes on medium heat until they are fully cooked and lightly golden brown on the outside. Flip the potato pieces regularly. Don't have the temperature too high - you don't want the outsides to become very dark while the inside is not fully cooked.
  13. Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the pan with a straining spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Then fry the second batch of potatoes the same way.
  14. Add salt to taste, then serve the patatas bravas in a bowl and garnish with some of the bravas sauce as well as some chopped parsley. If you want to cut the spice of the sauce a bit, you can also serve aioli (garlic mayo) in addition - or even instead - of the bravas sauce.

Notes

  • It's a lot easier to pre-boil the potatoes and then only fry them a little bit. While in theory, it is possible to fry the potatoes from raw - we wouldn't recommend it. It would take forever and it's likely that the outside gets too brown while the inside is not even cooked yet. So just boil them first!
  • If you are not a fan of spice, add more sweet smoked paprika instead and only a little bit of hot paprika.
  • You can store leftovers of the bravas sauce in a sealed container in the fridge and consume it within a few days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 569mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 10gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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