Patatas Bravas

Potatoes bravas in a pan with a fried egg
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Crispy, fried potatoes tossed in spicy salsa brava (tomato-y, spicy bravas sauce) and served with creamy garlic aioli, our take on classic Spanish patatas bravas is topped with a fried egg because sometimes you just have to go big. 

Potatoes, Patatas—Let’s Eat Some Tapas. 

Not every dinner has to be a whole thing. Tonight we’re taking a cue from our Spanish friends and indulging in tapas—essentially, really really good snacks—for dinner. Specifically, the king of all tapas, crispy-fried patatas bravas topped with garlicky aioli and (because we’re going all out) a fried egg. Just add a hefty pour of Rioja, or a kalimotxo, and you’ve got yourself the makings of an A+ date night in.

First Things First: What Are Patatas Bravas? 

Patatas bravas (or, potatoes in bravas sauce) are a classic Spanish tapas dish. “Tapas” are basically (the best ever) bar snacks. The word tapas means “top” or “cover” in Spanish, likely referring to the practice of setting your small plate of food atop your drink between sips. Tapas bars keep things simple—plates are small, dishes are straightforward with bold flavors that stand up to Spanish wines and cocktails. Just about every tapas bar in Spain serves some version of patatas bravas—crispy, fried potatoes tossed in spicy salsa brava (tomato-y, spicy bravas sauce) and served with creamy garlic aioli—and they are basically the best of all drinking snacks.      

Ingredients laid out for potatoes bravas

How to Make the Best Patatas Bravas, Ever. 

Here’s the part where we convince you to whip out your deep-frying thermometer and shoo the kids from the kitchen, because you’re going to do some major potato frying. In fact, our patatas bravas recipe involves frying the potatoes not once, but twice. Here’s how it’s done: 

  1. Fry #1! Fry your cubed russet potatoes in oil that’s been heated to 300° for about five minutes. During this fry, the goal is simply to cook the potatoes. They shouldn’t really brown, they’ll just be cooked. Let them cool completely before you begin fry #2—this is a great chance to make your salsa bravas and garlic aioli. 
  2. Fry #2! This fry happens at a higher temperature—370°—and is all about getting the patatas nice and crispy! You can help your oil maintain its temperature by frying the potatoes in small batches rather than all at once. 
potatoes tossed with bravas sauce in a bowl

All About Salsa Brava (Bravas Sauce) 

There are a lot of ways to serve patatas bravas—some restaurants serve them with just a drizzle of bravas sauce, some serve it on the side, some skip it entirely in favor of a dusting of salt and paprika. Our patatas bravas recipe is inspired by one of our favorite local restaurants here in Portland, Tasty & Sons— they toss the fried potatoes in the bravas sauce until they’re coated in it, and we love that! Spicy, smoky bravas sauce is so delicious, we want it alllll over those crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside potatoes. Our salsa bravas recipe has quite a few ingredients, but most of them are probably in your pantry already:  

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • White wine vinegar 
Patatas Bravas

An Easy Garlic Aioli Recipe

Before you call us out on it, we know that technically aioli is French, and in Spain it’s called allioli. But we’re not too worried about authenticity here because—whatever you want to call it—we’re taking a shortcut to everyone’s favorite creamy, lemony garlic sauce. All you do is stir together: 

  • Mayonnaise.
  • Lemon juice. Fresh-squeezed, please!
  • Garlic cloves. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic turns the allium into almost a paste and that’ll help to ensure that it gets evenly distributed into the mayo-lemon juice mixture. 

Tools You’ll Need 

More Tapas Inspiration

Invite some friends over, make a few snacky dishes, and call it a tapas party! Here’s what we’d make to serve alongside these crispy fried potatoes:  

Potatas bravas in a dish with garlic aioli and a fried egg

Put It All Together! 

This is an elaborate dish, and sometimes it’s just really fun to prove to yourself that you can make something as good (better?) than you’d get in a fancy restaurant. We hope this patatas bravas recipe was a success for you! Let us know how it turned out—snap a photo, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see. Happy eating!

Patatas Bravas

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 3 medium russet potatoes (about 3 lbs), peeled and diced into 1 ½” cubes
Canola or Vegetable oil, for frying
sea salt
4 eggs, fried (optional)
Flat leaf parsley, for serving

Garlic Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated

Bravas Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
½ yellow onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup white wine vinegar

Method

  1. For the garlic aioli, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to two weeks.
  2. In a large pot and using a deep fat thermometer, heat roughly 4” of oil to 300° F.
  3. Working in small batches (to maintain temperature), submerge the potatoes into the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes. Strain the potatoes and set aside on cooling rack over a baking sheet. Once all potatoes are cooked allow them to cool completely. (This step is very important for achieving perfectly crispy potatoes, so don’t skip it!) This takes roughly 45-60 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooling, make the bravas sauce! Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender about 10 minutes, add garlic, saute for 2 minutes longer before adding the paprika, cayenne, sugar, salt, tomatoes and white wine vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes and blend with an immersion or countertop blender.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooled, reheat the oil to 370°F. Fry the potatoes in small batches for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Set aside on the cooling rack over the baking sheet.
  6. Once all potatoes are cooked transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with salt to taste and toss with the bravas sauce until completely coated.
  7. Serve potatoes topped with aioli, extra bravas sauce, optional fried eggs, flat leaf parsley and smoked paprika.