This Popular Rachael Ray TikTok Recipe Adds A Surprising Ingredient To Potatoes

An accessible staple in many diets, potatoes are nothing if not versatile. You can bake them, mash them, fry them, stuff them, boil them, and even turn them into chocolate truffles (trust us). Aside from when you're transforming them into dessert, potatoes do seem to go hand-in-hand with a certain range of seasonings, like salt, pepper, and garlic. As great as potatoes are in all their flexibility, filling factor, and balance of being tasty and healthy, let's be honest: They can get a bit bland after a while. Leave it to Rachael Ray to rescue us from any potato doldrums with one game-changing ingredient.

When the pandemic made Ray's television show impossible to film in its studio, the celebrity chef began producing it herself with her husband John Cusimano from their upstate New York home (via BuzzFeed News). #STAYHOME with Rachael Ray shone a light on what made Ray a star in the first place: her relatability. The host often wears sweats and little makeup as she guides fans along on whipping basic pantry staples into fresh meals that are actually exciting to eat. Ray also shares these fun teaching moments on her Tik Tok account, like bite-sized cooking lessons. In one more recent and popular Tik Tok video, the TV personality got viewers all enthusiastic about how they could totally reinvent those potatoes they might be getting bored with: lemons. Because you know what they say, right? When live gives you lemons, make potatoes.

Why lemons are such a good match for potatoes

Rachael Ray's "crispy lemon potatoes" start with a familiar trick for the culinary star: smashing. Boiling small potatoes until they're just about cooked and then lining them on a baking sheet and gently but firmly pressing them until they're a little flattened makes it easier for the taters to get all golden-brown and crispy on the outside, and Ray has utilized the tactic for a perfect potato finish before. Take, for example, her "pressed potatoes" (via Rachael Ray Magazine) or her "butter and parm squished potatoes" (via Food Network). 

This time, though, Ray combined the squishing or smashing or pressing with lemon, advising viewers to char a lemon-half while their potatoes are roasting in the oven. According to The Kitchn, charring the lemon makes its juice less bitter and acidic. When the spuds come out of the oven, you give them a squeeze of that perfect lemon juice, and it serves to open up the potatoes' flavor with a bright burst. 

The recipe is just too irresistibly simple, with results that can seriously energize your weekday dinner game, so it's no wonder that the crispy lemon potato Tik Tok video is one of the most viewed and liked on Ray's page – it's got 10.1 million plays and counting, compared to 225,600 for fresh mint sauce and 801,500 for how to bake bacon. So, if you haven't seen it, get caught up, and consider your potatoes reinvented in a snap.