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
Cottage Fries Are Comfort Food
I grew up with what we called home fries– 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. They 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 Fried Potatoes Aren’t Perfect
If your pan fries 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
When all else fails check your skillet. An iron skillet is a beautiful thing and it’s definitely THE BEST skillet for fried foods. 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!
Tips for Perfect 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. 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 them in an iron skillet if you have one – try not to fry them in 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.
- 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 pan fried 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.
I love this dish because there are so many variations possible. You can even make it into a main course. Here are some of my favorite add-ins…
- Bell pepper
- Sliced smoked sausage
- Cubed leftover ham
- Cooked ground beef
- Taco meat
More Great Side Dishes
Side dishes make the meal, don’t you think? Can you imagine steak without corn on the cob or a giant, buttery baked potato? What about lasagna without a crispy salad or BBQ without potato salad?
I have some favorites here on Restless Chipotle that I use over and over again. My family loves them and I think yours will, too!
- Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes are spicy and crispy on the outside and sweet and tender on the inside. Perfect with roasted chicken!
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries actually get crispy! They have so much flavor – your family is sure to love them!
- 50 Best Side Dish Recipes on the Internet is a clickable list of side dishes that you won’t want to miss!
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole is creamy, carby, comfort food that’s hard to explain but once you’ve tried it you’ll make it often.
- Homemade Tater Tots can be varied in so many ways! They’re easy, too.
- Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese is one of my favorites. Tender, gooey, and delicious with a crispy top.
- Pineapple Casserole is one of my favorites. It’s kind of sweet, kind of savory, and totally delish!
And these Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes from Bowl Me Over sound perfect to go alongside that Sunday roast!
You May Need
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Pan Fried Potatoes Recipe
Crispy home fried potatoes 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 give 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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