How to Make Fried Potatoes

Fried potatoes are the classic comfort food. Whether you're making a special weekend breakfast or you need a hearty dinner side, here are three easy methods for preparing them.

Call them fried potatoes, home fries, home-fried potatoes, or cottage fries, they all mean the same thing -- thinly sliced potatoes or wedges that are usually cooked in butter or oil. You can start with raw or cooked potatoes and cook them on the stove top or in the oven. To personalize your spuds, see the add-ins and seasoning ideas below. Before getting started, wash the potatoes with cool, clear tap water, scrubbing them with a clean produce brush.

How to Pan-Fry Potatoes

Any kind of potato will work using this method. If you use potatoes with a thicker skin, such as russets, you may want to peel them first. Three medium potatoes, sliced, equals four servings that fit nicely into a large skillet.

  • For sliced potatoes: Thinly slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick. (Quick tip: If you have one, use a mandoline or vegetable slicer to slice the potatoes.) In a large skillet melt butter or margarine (use about 1 tablespoon for each medium potato) over medium heat. Add potato slices and cook, covered, for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Uncover; cook for 12 to 15 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and light brown, turning occasionally. If necessary, you may need to add additional butter during cooking.
  • For New Potato Wedges: For four servings, plan on 1 pound tiny new potatoes. Cut the new potatoes into wedges. In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine over medium heat. Add potato wedges and cook, covered, for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Uncover; cook for 8 to 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and light brown, turning occasionally. If necessary, you may need to add additional butter during cooking.
  • Tip: You can cook the potatoes ahead. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a covered baking dish. Place in a 200 degrees F oven and hold for up to 1 hour.

How to Oven-Fry Potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Prepare potatoes as above in the pan-fry method, except arrange potatoes in a thin layer (single layer for wedges) in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Melt margarine or butter; drizzle over potatoes. Bake about 25 minutes or until browned.

How to Pan-Fry Potatoes Using Cooked Potatoes

Some cooks prefer to boil their potatoes before frying them. This is also a great way to use leftover potatoes. For this method, choose a medium- or low-starch potato that will hold its shape during boiling:

  • Medium-starch potatoes: Yukon gold, Finnish yellow
  • Low-starch potatoes: round red, round white, new potatoes
  • To boil potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters. In a large saucepan bring salted water (just enough to cover the potatoes) to boiling. Add potatoes and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or just until tender when poked with a fork. Drain.
  • To microwave potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 5 minutes. Stir; cover again with the vented plastic wrap and cook 5 minutes more or until tender. Drain.
  • Tip: You can boil or microwave the potatoes ahead of time and refrigerate them, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • To fry the boiled potatoes: Peel potatoes if desired. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices or cut into 3/4-inch chunks. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt about 2 teaspoons butter or margarine per medium potato. Add cooked potatoes; cook about 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.

Quick Add-In Ideas

Flavor your potatoes with any of these add-ins. You can stir in the fresh veggies when you start cooking the potatoes or midway, depending on your preference. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, herbs (except rosemary; add it midway), and cheese at the end of cooking and just heat through.

  • Chopped sweet peppers
  • Sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia, or green onions
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (oil pack, drained)
  • Crumbled cooked bacon
  • Fresh chopped herbs such as chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, or sage
  • Shredded cheese


Experiment with these seasonings. Add them to the melted butter before adding the potatoes. You can add more later to taste.

  • Regular salt, onion salt, or garlic salt
  • Sweet or smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Dijon-style mustard

Potato Serve-With Suggestions

  • Eggs and egg dishes for breakfast or brunch
  • Chicken, pork chops, steak, or ground-meat patties
  • Broiled or baked fish meals
  • Italian or chicken sausage, brats, and dogs

Fried Potato Recipes to Try:

Cottage Fried Potatoes

Potato Crisps

Pan-Fried Garlic Steak & Potatoes

Skillet Sausage & Potatoes

More Potato Ideas

Also see French Fries and Hash Brown Potatoes.


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