Pan fried potatoes are an old fashioned side dish that are perfect with just about any meal. They’re really simple to make and I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips to make it even easier for you to get home fries with a golden, crispy crust and a tender, buttery interior. Here they are — just like you remember. Updated from the 2016 version on August 8, 2018
For this recipe you’ll need: potatoes, onions, fresh garlic, Bell pepper, poblano, or jalapeno, salt, pepper, peanut oil, butter, heavy cast iron frying pan
Need something this easy but a little different? Try my easy “top of the stove” au gratin potatoes!
Pan Fried Potatoes Backstory
One of my friends and I were talking about the best way to fry potatoes. She asked if I had a trick to make them so that they were both cooked through AND crispy without being burnt. It is one of those things that just never occurred to me to write about because it’s so second nature to me!
I grew up with fried potatoes — breakfast, lunch, dinner… they would find their way to the table almost any time of the day. I would walk in the house after school on a chilly, blustery day and before I even got my coat off the aroma of those sizzling spuds would waft down into the foyer (we lived in a tri-level with a foyer and den on the ground floor, the kitchen, formal dining, and formal living on the 2nd floor and the bedrooms up on the 3rd floor). It didn’t matter to me what else we were having — the smell said welcome home!
Depending on the meal my mom would make the potatoes with onion, chopped garlic, or green peppers — and sometimes she would get a little crazy and toss in all kinds of leftovers. The potatoes would sizzle and pop in the pan until the undersides were golden, crispy brown and then she would deftly flip them and brown the other side.
I thought it was magic. How did she know that perfect moment to slide the spatula underneath and begin turning?
Why Aren’t My Fried Potatoes Crispy?
If your pan fried potatoes are soggy rather than crispy, or raw rather than tender, or even burnt rather than golden brown you are probably doing (or not doing) one of the following:
- Using the wrong oil
- You’re using very starchy potatoes and not removing some of the starch
- Are you putting them in the pan wet?
- You are over crowding the pan and they are steaming
- You are leaving to cover on the pan too long
Fried Potatoes FAQs
Cooking level– Beginner, children should have supervision because of the hot oil.
How long do you pan fry potatoes?
Let the oil get good and hot – it will ripple but not smoke. Add the potatoes in a single layer and cook without moving them around until they begin to brown around the edges…that will take about 10 minutes. Flip them and continue to cook, turning them as needed until golden on all sides… maybe 5 more minutes.
Can you make fried potatoes with butter?
You can but you won’t be able to use high heat. I’d recommend using cold, boiled potatoes that have been patted dry. Slice them and cook in butter until golden brown.
Why do you soak potatoes in water before frying?
Soaking potatoes in cold water helps to remove excess potato starch. It keeps the potato slices from sticking together and helps them become very crispy.
How long do you soak potatoes before frying?
Plan on soaking them for 2 to 3 hours for the best results. In this recipe I put them in salted water for just 5 to 10 minutes. Try it both ways and see which you like best.
How long can you soak potatoes in water before they go bad?
You can store potatoes in the soaking water for about 24 hours in the refrigerator.
How to Make Perfect Pan Fried Potatoes
- Slice or cube them the same size so that they all cook evenly. They shouldn’t be too thick or too thin — about 1/8 inch is right.
- Slice them into salted ice water and let them soak for five minutes or so. If you have time 3 hours is better.
- Drain, rinse and pat dry before frying. Do not try to fry them when they are wet.
- Use peanut oil unless someone has an allergy. It is the best oil I have found for frying.
- The amount of oil needed may vary from one time to the next. Use enough to keep them from sticking.
- Fry the potatoes in an iron skillet if you have one – try not to fry them in a nonstick. The nonstick coating hampers the frying process because it doesn’t get hot enough.
- Let the oil get really hot before adding potatoes. It won’t smoke but it will ripple in the pan.
- Don’t overcrowd the skillet.
- Turn down the heat a little once they’ve begun to fry.
- You can put a cover on the skillet to help them cook for the first bit but take it off for the last part of cooking or your potatoes will be soggy.
- If these potatoes still aren’t the recipe that you’ve been looking for try this. Boil the potatoes until almost done the night before. Drain and refrigerate. Next day pat them dry and fry. You can also bake potatoes (or use leftover baked potatoes) and use them for this fried potato recipe.
You May Need…
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More Restless Chipotle Favorite Side Dishes…
Not feeling the fried potatoes today? Give one of these a try!
- Fried Green Tomatoes are a basic southern side dish – you’ll love the crispy exterior and tangy, tender interior!
- Homemade tater tots are so much easier than you think!
- Put away the frying pan and give these oven roasted sweet potatoes a try.
- Mexican cornbread casserole is one of those comfort foods – once you try it you’ll be addicted.
- Forbidden Rice Salad is just one of those side dishes with a name that makes me want to eat it… often.
- Southwestern Smashed Potatoes are spicy, cheesy, and creamy all at the same time.
This has nothing to do with potatoes… but I love brussels sprouts and this Sauteed Brussels Sprouts recipe from Bowl Me Over is to die for. Really.
Pan Fried Potatoes Recipe
Crispy home fries are just one of those dishes that invites you to sit down and relax, isn’t it? Give this recipe a try and see if they aren’t a big bite of Mom’s kitchen. If you like this recipe please consider giving it 5 stars.
Easy, Crispy Pan Fried Potatoes – Perfect Every Time
- 6 - 8 large potatoes peeled (or not) and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 1 large onion optional
- 1 clove garlic optional
- 1 pepper optional green, red, poblano, jalapeno - you decide
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Peanut Oil no good substitute, sorry
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Peel and slice (or cube) potatoes.
- Let soak for 5-10 minutes in salted ice water.
- Drain well and pat dry - make sure they are VERY dry!
- Heat 1/4 cup peanut oil in a skillet on high heat until it's shimmering and almost smoking.
- Add potatoes and let fry for about 2 minutes.
- Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Allow to steam for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove cover and turn the heat back up to medium high.
- Dump the pan of potatoes into a colander over the sink to remove excess oil and moisture. Blot with a paper towel and return them to the pan.
- Add the onion and peppers.
- Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and done. Do not cover at this stage of frying because they will get soggy!
- Add the butter at the very end of cooking.
- Taste for seasoning and serve hot with plenty of cracked pepper.
Included in Meal Plan Monday #77 from Southern Bite