Pan fried potatoes that are perfectly crispy aren’t difficult but there is a trick to getting that golden crust and tender, buttery interior. I’m sharing my tips and tricks for getting them perfect every time. Here they are — just like you remember.Updated from the 2016 version on March 17, 2019
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
Table of Contents
Pan Fried Potatoes Are Comfort Food
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.
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 Your Potatoes Aren’t Perfect
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:
- You’re using the wrong oil
- You’re using very starchy potatoes and not removing some of the starch
- You’re 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
Even though making home fries isn’t hard it is a bit like riding a bike — easy when you know how.
Need something this easy but a little different? Try my easy “top of the stove” au gratin potatoes!
Fried Potatoes FAQs
Cook without moving them around until they begin to brown around the edges…that will take about 10 minutes. Then maybe 5 more minutes on the other side.
You need a cooking oil with a high smoking point – I prefer peanut oil but if you have allergy concerns any light vegetable oil is fine.
You can but you won’t be able to use high heat. If you’re set on using butter I’d recommend using cold, boiled potatoes that have been patted dry. Slice them and cook in butter until golden brown.
Soaking potatoes in cold water helps to remove excess potato starch.
Actually, if you use a low starch potato like Yukon Gold you don’t have to soak them.
How to Make Perfect Pan Fried Potatoes
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Making perfect home fries isn’t hard once you know how! Be sure to either use a low starch potato (like Yukon Gold) or soak the potatoes in cold water for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Slice 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.
Add to salted ice water and let them soak for five minutes or so.
Drain, rinse and pat dry before frying.
Use peanut oil unless someone has an allergy. Let the oil get shimmery hot before adding the potatoes – watch carefully! Don’t let it start to smoke.
The amount of oil needed may vary from one time to the next. Use enough to keep them from sticking.
- Use an Iron Skillet
Fry the potatoes in a large cast iron skillet if you have one.
- Add to Skillet and Turn Down Heat
Don’t overcrowd the skillet.
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.
You May Need
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More Great Side Dishes
- Sweet and Spicy Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- 50 Best Side Dish Recipes on the Internet
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole
And these Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes from Bowl Me Over sound perfect to go alongside that Sunday roast!
Best Crispy Fried Potatoes
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 (longer if possible) 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 or until they start to get golden on the bottom.
- 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. Flip the potatoes. Fry for a minute or two, or until the bottom layer begins to get golden.
- 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 on medium heat.
- Add the onion and peppers plus any seasonings you’d like on your potatoes.
- 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.
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