Skillet fried potatoes may be a super simple side dish, but they are a classic for a reason. They are such a versatile side dish that goes well with just about any entrée and the leftovers are great served with eggs for breakfast.
Fried potatoes may not be a flashy side dish, but their perfection is in the simplicity. We use basic seasonings to let the tender yet crispy potatoes shine through.
Growing up we always had fried potatoes with steaks. Usually there would be a fresh ear of corn on the cob or a slice of garden fresh tomato topped with cottage cheese and Lawry’s seasoned salt rounding out the meal.
It is such a simple and classically summer meal. Then the leftover steak and potatoes would be served with fried eggs in the morning for another treat.
I have watched my mom make many a pan of fried potatoes over the year. Usually in her biggest cast iron skillet.
We keep our potatoes a little lighter in color than some other folks, but you can certainly make them more golden brown and crispy if you would like. Just turn up the heat a little bit at the end to crisp them up.
On this particular day we served up our potatoes with barbecued thick cut pork chops and sweet corn. It was a meal fit for kings!
What Kind of Potatoes Should You Use
This is a real matter of preference. My mom always used russet potatoes when I was a child, so that is what I use now.
We use raw potatoes and don’t soak the potatoes or boil them. Instead we just remove the peel and cut them relatively thin.
They don’t have to be perfect, this is meant to be a rustic dish. So a little peel or less than perfect slicing does not matter.
We actually like the starchy texture of the potatoes in this dish. It reminds me of hash browns in the best kind of way.
However, if you like a waxier potato they totally work as well. Feel free to use yellow or red potatoes.
If the skins are thin, you wouldn’t even have to peel them. Just slice them thin and throw them in the pan.
What Kind of Pan to Use
If you have a nice big cast-iron skillet, this is the time to break it out. I used my 12-inch skillet and there was plenty of room for all of the potatoes.
In a pinch a stainless steel skillet will work as well. Just make sure it is good and hot before you add the oil, that will help prevent sticking.
Using these tips and plenty of grease, and there is no need to use a nonstick skillet. Plus you are going to get more of those golden crispy bits if you aren’t working with nonstick.
What Kind of Grease to Use
You want to use an oil with a high smoke point. This is not a time to use extra virgin olive oil, it will just scorch.
Vegetable oil, peanut oil or avocado all work well. Though our favorite way to make fried potatoes is with lard or bacon grease.
The bacon grease adds a slight smokey flavor that works so well with the potatoes. Any of these options will do well over medium-high heat without smoking or burning.
Tips and Tricks
Don’t stir the potatoes too much. You don’t want to the potato slices to break into pieces, so the fewer times you flip them the better.
If you are worried you won’t be able to keep from stirring the slices, cut the potatoes into small cubes instead. Then they will just be home fries and still taste just as delicious.
Use a really large skillet, you want to potatoes to fry not steam. A little bit of steam helps to keep them soft, but too much will ruin the crispy edges.
The exact amount of oil you need will depend on how big your potatoes are. If you find they look a bit greasy, you can soak up some of the extra oil with a paper towel.
You can also start with less oil, but you want enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. That hot oil is going to keep the potatoes from sticking and make them taste oh so good.
Should I soak potatoes before frying?
Soaking potatoes in salt water helps to remove excess starch, which keeps them from sticking together and helps them get extra crispy. You can certainly soak your sliced potatoes before cooking them if you want, just make sure to get them completely dry first. However my mom and Maw-Maw never soaked the potato slices, so we don’t either.
More Great Potato Recipes
Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes are a perfect side dish. They are so creamy, flavorful and make a great addition to any dinner menu.
Roasted potatoes are a versatile and easy side dish. These have the perfect amount of seasoning on the outside and are soft and delicious on the inside too.
Cheddar bacon ranch potato salad is like a loaded baked potato in picnic salad form. It is a great make ahead side dish that is perfect for potlucks, BBQs, game day and more.
The recipe for sour cream and chive new potatoes may be simple, but the flavor is delicious. You boil potatoes and coat them in all of the good stuff for some of the best potatoes you’ve ever had.
Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!
Southern Fried Potatoes
- 7 medium russet potatoes
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and/or paprika
- Wash and peel potatoes. Slice 1/8-1/4-inch thick.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- When oil ripples, add an even layer of potatoes. Top with finely diced onions and sprinkle with seasonings then remaining potatoes.
- Fry potatoes for about 20 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes or so.
- When the potatoes are tender, you can turn up the heat a bit to get a deeper golden brown color and crispier edges.
- Serve hot and fresh.
- Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They are great served as breakfast potatoes the next morning.