Patatas bravas is one of the most popular tapas from Spain. This simple yet delicious tapa is traditionally made with fried potatoes and secret spicy sauce there are as many patatas bravas recipes as there are tapas bars in Spain. We grew up in Spain and ate this beautiful dish many times over the years, so our patatas bravas recipe is a part of who we are and the food that we love.
If you've been following us for a while, you already know that we grew up in Barcelona and we've been living in the US for many years now. We have enjoyed our fair share of tapas, but our favorite, without a doubt, is patatas bravas. It's such an important part of our childhood and family life; it is one of the first recipes we posted on this blog back in 2012. As one of our most popular posts, this deserved new pictures and an update.
What are Patatas Bravas?
This traditional Spanish dish originates in Madrid. It is made of potatoes fried in oil with a spicy sauce. The sauce could be served warm or cold. In the US you may see this dish called Papas Bravas or Patatas a la Brava.
What is Bravas Sauce?
You know that awesome spicy sauce they pour all over those crispy fried potato chunks to make patatas bravas? Well, it's called Bravas sauce, and it's the star of the show! But here's the thing, chefs can't seem to agree on its perfect recipe. Some swear by using tomatoes to make the perfect spicy tomato sauce, while others are all about that gorgeous red color from sweet paprika and spicy Pimenton de la Vera, a smokin' hot paprika from Spain. So, next time you dig into some patatas bravas, just know there's a spicy sauce debate going on behind the scenes!
The recipe for Salsa Brava made with tomato may look something like this:
- Saute garlic and onion in olive oil in a skillet on medium heat
- Add flour
- Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- Add a dry spicy chile such as cayenne pepper
- Add broth (usually meat-based, such as chicken broth or beef broth).
- Add sweet and smoked paprika
- Add a splash of sherry vinegar
Since there's no single bravas sauce recipe that all Spaniards can nod in agreement to, we decided to create our own twist. We mixed up mayonnaise, two kinds of paprika, and a hot sauce that you can adjust to your spicy preference. Our sauce brings a fresh twist to the classic while maintaining that fantastic flavor you crave. So, get ready to dip those patatas bravas and experience a whole new level of yum!
Ingredients for Patatas Bravas
- Medium Potatoes. Preferably Yukon gold potatoes. White potatoes can also be used.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This adds flavor to the potatoes, so don't skip it.
- Vegan Mayonnaise. Use regular mayo if preferred.
- Hot Sauce.
- Sweet Paprika.
- Smoked Paprika or Pimenton de la Vera (if you can find it). You can choose hot or not hot. Gives the sauce a little kick.
- Garlic Powder.
How to Make Patatas Bravas
- Start with some chopped potatoes.
2. Combine the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and salt and toss well until evenly coated.
3. Spread on a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake until tender and lightly golden.
5. Make the sauce following the steps below. Pour the sauce over the warm, cooked potatoes. This is a classic patatas bravas recipe your family will love.
The Best Patatas Bravas in Madrid
You will experience the best patatas bravas in Madrid in the tapas bar Docamar. Their sauce recipe is of course a secret, but they sell their sauce bottled, so you can enjoy patas bravas at home. This spot is so popular they had to rent extra space just to peel and cut potatoes their demand for Patatas Bravas is that high!
Tapas Bar Docamar makes their bravas sauce (salsa brave) following the classic tradition of Madrid using smoked paprika, onions, flour and vinegar.
The Best Patatas Bravas in Barcelona
You will experience the best patatas bravas in Barcelona in the tapas bar El Tomás De Sarría. Their approach to the bravas sauce is very different. They make a creamy garlic aioli and a spicy oil made with paprika and dried spicy peppers. Patatas bravas are served with aioli and spicy oil on top.
Changes we made to the traditional Patatas Bravas recipe:
- We roasted the potatoes instead of frying them. This is done on a sheet pan in the oven.
- We started with a vegan mayo base, a quick tip to achieve instant creaminess.
- Added a pinch of garlic powder for extra flavor to emulate the aioli, but not as assertive.
- We Used Hot sauce to taste for spice and tanginess.
- We used a combination of sweet paprika and spicy smokey paprika
Tips for the Best Spanish Fried Potatoes
This patatas bravas recipe is super simple, flavorful, and satisfying. It's an appetizer or Spanish tapas that everyone loves. Another great thing about it? You can take the basic recipe and modify it however you like it.
- Cut the potatoes into chunks.
- Use regular mayo, if you prefer, or make your own aioli.
- Make it your own, add more hot sauce if you like it really spicy.
- Fry the potatoes instead of baking them for extra crunch and drain any excess oil in paper towels
How to Serve Patatas Bravas: with any of these other Spanish tapas.
- Pan con tomate,
- Spring onions with Romesco Sauce,
- Tortilla de Patatas,
- Espinacas a la Catalana,
- Montadito de tortilla de berengenas
- Lemon Scented Almond Milk Custard
- Invite some friends over, make some sangria, and make it a real Spanish night! Oh, and most importantly, don't forget to have lots of fun 🙂
Did you like our recipe for patatas bravas?
Patatas bravas is one of the most popular tapas from Spain. This simple, yet delicious tapa is traditionally made with fried potatoes topped with a spicy bravas sauce.
- 5-6 medium potatoes, preferably Yukon gold ( about 2 lbs ). Peeled and cut in about 1-inch cubes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise ( you can also use regular mayo)
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce (or to taste)
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ -½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional but recommended)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Place the diced potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss until well coated. Arrange them in one single layer on the lined baking sheet
- Bake at 375F for 30 -45 minutes or until tender and golden brown
- In the meantime, prepare the "Bravas" sauce: in a small bowl combine mayo, hot sauce, paprika, salt and garlic powder. Mix well, add water and whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Spoon sauce over the warm potatoes right before serving
- You can fry the potatoes if you prefer.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Side or Tapas
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Spain
- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Calories: 276
- Sugar: 2.9
- Sodium: 555
- Fat: 13.2
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 10.5
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 37
- Fiber: 5.8
- Protein: 4.5
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: patatas, bravas, spain, tapas, vegan, gluten free, kosher, parve