Lebanese Potatoes (Batata Harra)

5 from 4 votes

This recipe for batata harra is spicy, smokey, tangy, and bright. This authentic Lebanese side dish features pan-fried potatoes that are tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and dressed in a mouthwatering spicy cilantro sauce. Make this flavorful side dish in just 30 minutes!

closeup: lebanese potatoes side dish batata harra

Whip up a batch of spicy Lebanese potatoes for an easy side dish with a major dose of flavor. The combination of warming, aromatic spices with fresh herbs and lively lemon juice creates a zesty cilantro sauce that is going to knock your socks off. It is the secret to transforming simple potatoes into a delicious Middle Eastern side dish.

Potatoes, like rice, have long been an important staple food for several different cultures, and I am constantly impressed by how many ways they can be used. This batata harra recipe is one example of many along the Silk Road — and beyond for that matter. With a few simple ingredients and a bit of creativity, it is amazing what can happen.

lebanon circled on map of middle east

For a few more recipes featuring potatoes, check out my Aloo Masala, Crispy Potato Pakora, and Skordalia.

overhead closeup: white dish of roasted batata harra recipe and serving spoon

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Yellow Potatoes – I went with yellow potatoes, also known as Yukon Gold. They have thin skin and tender, waxy flesh, plus a buttery mouthfeel that makes them perfect for this recipe. If needed, you can substitute another thin-skinned variety like red or fingerling. 
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil is an ideal choice for its mild flavor and high smoke point. 
  • Black Pepper Adds just the right dash of piney, peppery sharpness. 
  • Cilantro – Infuses the sauce with a vibrant green color and a grassy, lemony-fresh flavor. 
  • Garlic – Adds a robust, zesty flavor and pungency to the dish. 
  • Paprika Delivers layers of warm, smokey, and slightly sweet flavor. 
  • Red Chili Flakes Jazzes up the recipe with a punch of spicy heat. Feel free to add more or less depending on your preferences. 
  • Lemon – Compliments the heat as it enlivens the dish with a bright citrus flavor.
overhead: white bowl of yukon gold potatoes with dishes of lebanese spices

Tip From Kevin

Why Yukon Gold?

Yukon Gold potatoes excel in frying due to their low starch content, maintaining shape and preventing sogginess. Their creamy texture and higher moisture create a crispy exterior and tender inside. The thin skin crisps beautifully, enhancing taste and texture for delightful fried dishes.

How to Make Batata Harra

  1. Purée the Seasonings. Purée the cilantro, olive oil, garlic, paprika, red chili flakes, and half of the lemon juice together using either a blender or a blend stick or wand. 
  2. Brown the Potatoes. Place a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. With care, add the potatoes to the hot skillet and pan fry, turning often, for about 15 minutes. You want the potatoes to be a nice golden brown color. 
  3. Add the Sauce. Reduce the heat to low and pour half of the cilantro sauce over the cooked potatoes. Give everything a nice toss to coat, then cook for several more minutes. 
  4. Remove from Heat. Remove from heat and transfer the potatoes from the pan to a serving dish. Add the rest of the cilantro sauce and fresh cilantro leaves as garnish.
  5. Serve. Squeeze the other half of the lemon juice over the top of your spicy Lebanese potatoes. Serve immediately.
overhead: spicy Lebanese potatoes on oval white platter with spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

What is batata harra?


“Batata harra” is an Arabic phrase that translates literally to “spicy potatoes” in English. This flavorful side dish is made from crispy, pan-fried potatoes seasoned in a blend of warm, zesty spices and tossed in a bright lemony sauce. 

Originating in Lebanon, batata harra is now a widely popular side dish throughout much of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. And, like so much of Lebanese cuisine, it highlights some of the best flavors of both regions!

Over time, different versions have evolved as each community incorporated its own unique preferences and regional ingredients. It is not uncommon to find a batata harra recipe with tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, and various herbs tossed into the mix. 

What dishes go well with spicy Lebanese potatoes?


Batata harra is as versatile as it is tasty. It makes the perfect side dish for just about any entree out there and is especially delicious paired with roasted meats. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

– Enjoy with Lebanese Kafta or Grilled Koobideh Kabob.
– Serve with Lemon Zaatar or  Saffron Chicken.
– Pair with a Fattoush Salad and Lentil Soup for a light vegetarian lunch. 
– Toss in some shredded chicken or other protein for a light meal or filling snack.

Do I need to boil the potatoes for this batata harra recipe?


While it isn’t absolutely necessary, a quick parboil is super helpful. It helps make sure that the potatoes come out soft and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Nothing is worse than biting into a raw potato! For a successful batata harra recipe every time, be sure to use this quick trick. 

To do this, chop your potatoes into cubes, getting them as uniform as possible. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, carefully add the potatoes, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and thoroughly drain the potatoes in a colander. Heat up your frying pan and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

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side view: spicy batata harra on white serving platter
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close up of lebanese potatoes side dish: batata harra

Spicy Lebanese Potatoes (Batata Harra)

5 from 4 votes
Batata harra is a dish featuring spicy Lebanese potatoes pan-fried to crispy perfection and tossed in a bright and tangy cilantro sauce.
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Cilantro Sauce

Instructions 

  • Using a blending wand/stick or blender puree the cilantro, oil, garlic, paprika, red chili flakes and 1/2 of the lemon juice until smooth.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Carefully add the potatoes to skillet, and pan fry for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning often.
  • Turn heat to low and pour half of the cilantro sauce over cooked potatoes. Toss to coat and cook several minutes.
  • Transfer potatoes to a serving dish. Garnish with remaining cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro leaves (optional), and squeeze remaining half of lemon juice over the potatoes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 1050mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 677IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: side dishes
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): batata harra Lebanese spicy potatoes

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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9 Comments

  1. One of my favorite appetizers,,.
    However we don’t add the sauce, just cilantro and shatta sometimes but it’s a great idea!

  2. 5 stars
    This sounds yummy, and I like that you make a sauce. I have some cilantro I need to use, and if I’m running a little short, the stems will help fill in. I’ve been trying to avoid carbs a bit, but I have potato’s that need to be cooked so these would really be tasty, and i think I have ground beef and everything to make the kabobs.