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Patatas Bravas with Garlic Aioli

Patatas Bravas with Garlic Aioli

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Patatas Bravas (or Papas Bravas) are a popular Spanish Appetizer. The name translates literally to “spicy potatoes” and once we discovered them, we’re always on the hunt for the perfect “Bravas” whenever we’re traveling through Spain. 

These crispy little potato bites come either smothered in a sauce, which can be a spicy tomato sauce, or more of a  mayonnaise. Our favorite version, however, is made with a creamy garlic lemon aioli. The spiciness comes from hot smoked paprika, which is sprinkled liberally on the potatoes themselves.

This version of Patatas Bravas also involves a 2-stage cooking method. The potatoes are first cut into cubes and parboiled with a little vinegar until tender.

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The vinegar helps to create a crust around the outside of the potato so it will stay tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. This first step can be done the day before.

The potatoes are finished by frying them in oil until browned, tossed in a seasoning mix, and then topped with garlic aioli sauce.

Brava are a fun appetizer on their own but are also a perfect addition to a complete Spanish Tapas menu. 

Tapas Menu

tapas menu

The most fun thing about eating in a Tapas Bar is being able to pick out a small dish and try a number of things together with a group of friends.

The little appetizers can be as simple as a dish of crackers or as elaborate as a dish of seafood paella or slow-cooked meat served over toasted bread or a thick slice of potato.

We’ve put together a collection of our favorite Spanish Tapas Recipes, which, in our opinion, should always include Patatas Brava along with some good Spanish Cheese, Serrano Ham, and a glass of Sangria

Yield: 4 cups

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas seasoned with hot smoked paprika and served with a garlic lemon aioli

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 6 medium size white potatoes, such as russets or Yukon gold.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (11 g) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons (4.6 g) hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (.8 g) garlic powder
  • Salt and Black Pepper to Taste


Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into 3/4 inch to 1 inch (1.9 cm to 2.5 cm) cubes. It's important to make sure that the cubes are equal in size for even cooking.

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. The potatoes should be completely covered and submerged by about 2 inches (5 cm).

Add 2 teaspoons (11.4 g) of salt, 1 teaspoon (2.3 g) of hot smoked paprika and the white vinegar to the water.

Place on the stove over high heat until the water begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer. Check the potatoes for doneness after about 5 - 6 minutes. They should allow a knife to pierce through to the center of the potato but still have just a little firmness. You want the potatoes to be able to hold their form and not fall apart when fried.

When done, add the potatoes to a water bath to stop the cooking process. When completely cool, allow the potatoes to sit in a colander until most of the moisture has drained off.

Add the olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, add a layer of potatoes to the skillet. Do not overcrowd and cook in batches if necessary.

Allow the potatoes to brown (about 7 minutes per side). Turning them too much will make it more difficult for them to brown and develop a crisp coating on the outside. Potatoes should be crispy brown on 2 sides.

Remove the potatoes from the pan when crispy and toss with the rest of the hot smoked paprika and the garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with aioli sauce (recipe below) on top or on the side.

Patatas Bravas

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 123Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 59mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 3g

Nutritional values are estimates only

Yield: 1 Cup

Patatas Bravas Aioli

Garlic Lemon Aioli

Patatas Bravas Aioli - creamy garlic and lemon sauce for Patatas Bravas. A fantastic easy appetizer or addition to a full tapas menu.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3/4 cup (172 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice,
  • 3 cloves of garlic grated on a microplane.
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil.
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


    Whisk together garlic, mayonnaise and lemon juice

    After they are fully combined, add in the olive oil slowly, while continuously whisking the sauce.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

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