How to Make Romanian Rustic Potatoes – Cartofi Taranesti Recipe

If you were looking for a delicious side dish that will work with almost all of your main meals then I have the recipe for you. These Romanian Rustic Potatoes are very tasty and are simple to bring together. You have all of the comfort of fried potatoes with the warmth of paprika and Kaizer, which is smoked pork. This is such a versatile side dish, and it’s a great accompaniment to meat dishes, but also fantastic on its own, as a hearty lunch.

I like to serve this potato dish with a spoonful of sour cream on top. The sour cream balances the flavours and bring freshness to the dish in every mouthful.

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The Ingredients for the Romanian Rustic Potatoes

A piece of Romanian kaizer next two two slices cut from it, on a wooden chopping board.

The beauty of this rustic potatoes recipe is that they are so easy to make and only need a few ingredients. The potatoes are the most important ones – make sure you buy the right ones, for frying. You don’t want them to disintegrate in the pan and instead of a beautiful dish to end up with mashed potatoes.

This dish uses kaiser as the protein. This is a meat typical to Romania, similar with bacon. It is made from pork belly which is rubbed with a blend of spices and then left to cure dry or in brine for at least a week. It is then either boiled or directly hanged in a smoke house, rubbed with paprika, and let to age. You can easily find Kaiser at the Romanian, Polish or Turkish shops.

The classic seasoning for this potato dish is paprika, garlic and parsley. You can add other herbs as well, based on your own taste.

Recipe Notes and Tips

A black pan with onions, kaizer meat, and paprika on top.

Sometimes recipes can be simple, other times they can appear a little complex. This is where I hope to help and guide you through this recipe with some helpful recipe notes and tips. Romanian cooking is wholesome and full of flavour, and I want to help you create that. Here are some of the helpful recipe notes and tips that will help with the Romanian Rustic Potatoes. 

  • Make sure all of the potatoes are cut in even chunks. This ensures they cook at the same rate and you won’t get overcooked or undercooked potatoes in your dish. 
  • Make sure the onions are translucent before you move on to the next stage. You don’t want the onions to be hard. 
  • Kaizer is smoked pork. It can be found at the Romanian/Polish/Turkish shops, even in Asda and Sainsbury’s at the Polish section.

Variations to Try

The potatoes ready, still in the pan. There is a wooden spoon in the pan as well.

I appreciate that we all like to vary recipes from time to time, and often it might be that you want to know of any substitute ingredients or any additions or changes that you can make that will work well. So here are some of the variations to try when it comes to this Romanian Rustic Potatoes. 

  • This is a side dish. I like to add sour cream on top when I eat it to balance the flavours. You can pick up some great sour cream at the Polish section of your supermarket, or at the Romania or Turkish shops. Make sure you buy the sour cream that has at least 18 grams of fat content.
  • You could make this rustic potatoes recipe vegetarian by removing the Kazier and adding smoked paprika instead.  

Romanian Rustic Potatoes

A delicious side dish that brings in together the deliciousness of fried potatoes with the add-on of cured meat, garlic, onions, and paprika.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Romanian
Servings 4


  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 250 gr Kazier read notes above
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • salt and pepper


  • The first thing you need to do is prepare the potatoes. You will need to peel them and then cut them into even-sized cubes. You can boil them in salted water until they are ¾ done.
  • Meanwhile, cut the onion into julienne and the Kaizer into small pieces. 
  • Fry the onion in a little bit of oil and add the Kaizer. Once the onion is translucent, add the paprika, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Make sure you mix everything well. 
  • Drain the potatoes and make sure they are very dry. Add them to the pan over the onion and Kaizer, and gently mix them, making sure you don’t break them. Wait until they are cooked. Take them out of the pan, place them on a plate and sprinkle them with chopped parsley.
  • Serve with some soured cream as a side dish for any of your favourite mains.


The potatoes inside a white bowl with a blue rim. The potatoes have chopped green parsley sprinkled on top. It sits on a wooden chopping board, next to a grey tea towel.

There will always be questions about recipes so I hope to answer some of them below. However, please get in touch if you have a question that isn’t covered here or in the recipe notes section. 

Can you make this ahead of time?

Yes you can make this ahead of time. If you make this ahead of time you will want to reheat the dish before you serve it. You can do so in the oven or on the stove top. 

How do I store the Romanian Rustic Potatoes?

If you have any leftovers or you are making ahead of time then make sure they are cooled completely. Then add them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They will last for up to five days. 

Can I cook the Romanian Rustic Potatoes in any other way?

This could be a great option for slow cooking or using an air fryer. With the slow cooker you could pop all of the ingredients into it and then cook it on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. In an air fryer you will need to adjust the cooking time and the oil content, but it could be a healthier way to enjoy this traditional Romanian side dish. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe for delicious Romanian Rustic Potatoes. 

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