How to Make Really Good Fried Potatoes

posted by Andrea | 03/27/2012

Ever since Dave and I tied the knot {almost 6 years ago} I’ve struggled with making REALLY good fried potatoes. I even resorted to using frozen potatoes in times of desperation.

I can still remember the first time I attempted to make fried potatoes… I set off the smoke alarm :)

Well, after almost 6 years of trial and error, I’ve finally figured out how to make really good fried potatoes.

Here’s how I do it…

Peel, wash, AND dry:

The first thing I do is peel and wash my potatoes… and then I dry them with a clean towel until there is no water left {this is important}. Sometimes I even let them sit out on the counter for a few minutes after I dry them, just to make sure they are really, really dry.

Oh, and I should mention that I use Russet potatoes — simply because they are inexpensive and big!

Dice, don’t slice:

I used to slice my potatoes, but the thin slices would always stick together and they took up so much space in my pan that I had to do several batches in order to make enough for one meal.

Now, instead of slicing them, I “dice” them. Well, I actually don’t dice them {that would be a little too small} — but I do chop them into small chunks, which makes them so much easier to handle and I can fit a lot more in my pan.

Nuke them in the microwave:

One of my biggest issues was that the outside of the potatoes would always get nice and crispy before the insides were soft — and by the time the insides got soft, the outsides would be on the verge of burning {hence the smoke alarm!}

So now, I toss the chopped potatoes in a bowl and microwave them for 2 or 3 minutes before frying them… that way, the potatoes are a little more tender and it doesn’t take the insides as long to soften up.

Use plenty of HOT oil:

I honestly don’t think it makes a difference what type of oil you use — I often just use plain vegetable oil or whatever other oil I have on hand. The important factor is that the oil has to be hot when you put the potatoes in the pan.

You also want to use enough oil. Fried potatoes aren’t healthy  anyway — so just add a little bit more oil.  I promise, this will help!

Season… liberally:

Fried potatoes taste delicious with just a little salt and pepper, but I often like to add a few other seasonings as well. Depending on what we’re eating, I’ll add garlic, rosemary, chives, or even paprika. I always add the seasoning after the potatoes are fully coated with oil and I don’t think I’ve had a bad combination yet — so just get adventerous!

Oh, and seriously, don’t skimp on the salt… fried potatoes need a healthy coating of salt!

Don’t stir too much:

I cook my potatoes on medium-high heat and I let them fry for a few minutes before I stir them. After I stir them once, I let them sit for another few minutes and stir again.

After they are cooked through and tender, I remove the lid, turn the heat down a little bit more, and let the outsides really brown up.

Drain:

After my potatoes are fully fried, I dump them onto a large platter lined with several sheets of papertowel so the excess oil can drain off.

This is not to make them healthier {they aren’t healthy… believe me!}.  It’s simply so they aren’t “slippery”. I don’t like “slippery” fried potatoes. I want my fried potatoes to be crispy, not greasy — so a quick pat with some paper towels does the trick.

Serve and enjoy:

I always serve my fried potatoes with a side of ketchup…. and maybe a little more salt:)

These tips have helped me significantly improve my fried-potato-making skills – a skill for which Dave is eternally grateful!

What are your tips for making really good fried potatoes?

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34 comments

  1. LP

    03/27/2012

    I love them with mustard and a side of baked beans. Oh. My. God. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Tracie W

    03/27/2012

    I know what’s for dinner tonight! I start mine at a lower heat with the lid on to really soften the potatoes (instead of microwaving them). Also, I use a bit of bacon grease (oh my goodness…) An

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  3. Beth

    03/27/2012

    I have never tried fried potatoes, but one of my absolute favorites is roasted potatoes. I chunk the potatoes up the same way you did, spread them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning salt and Parmesan cheese, then bake in the oven at around 375 or 400 for 20-30 minutes. The time and temperature can be adjusted depending on if you have other food in the oven, as well. They get nice and crispy on the outside and are soft on the inside. A favorite at our house!

    [Reply]

    Willow Reply:

    I figure this results it something very similar to what I do with my fried potatoes.

    I stumbled across this page without realizing that most people consider fried potatoes to be more of a… well, fried fiasco than a savory, olive-oil-and seasonings-soaked endeavor.

    She talks about microwaving them beforehand and then keeping them in whatever form of oil for a very short period of time. My diced potatoes stay on the stove top a lot longer, but the oil and seasonings mix that I keep them in matters a lot more. I just made a batch that was this delicious contrast between a well-seasoned, savory, fried exterior and the perfectly soft, sweet inside.

    A huge bonus to the way I fry my potatoes? I can’t imagine burning them. Olive oil doesn’t happily get to the same high temperatures that other oils will get to, but then again, other oils aren’t nearly as delicious.

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  4. Vonda

    03/27/2012

    I use leftover baked potatoes. I always bake extras for this purpose. Then I use either bacon drippings or olive oil- over medium – high heat, chunks of onions and potatoes then season with pepper and garlic salt. They cook up quickly which is helpful with three hungry kids and a husband:) Yummy!

    [Reply]

  5. Amanda @ Newlywed Trek

    03/27/2012

    Thanks for the tips! I made fried potatoes last night, and while they were really good, I haven’t quite mastered making them yet.

    [Reply]

  6. Kelly

    03/27/2012

    I just had these for breakfast before reading your post! #1 most important factor is a well seasoned cast iron skillet….#2 is bacon grease because youou might as well go big or go home! #3 lots of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperand #4 ketchup. Delish!

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  7. Thrifty Military Mommy

    03/27/2012

    Yum! I love fried potatoes but we do ours differently and it has always been wonderful. Instead of chopping them we do a very thin Julienne cut and we don’t dry them out. We prefer ours to be nice and soft when we eat them. But that’s just us ;)

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  8. Crystal @ Blissful Homemaking

    03/27/2012

    LOL I do the same thing! Sometimes I don’t put them in the microwave…it really depends on how long the meal will take. If the meal doesn’t take long, I will put them in the microwave to start. I’ve also noticed if you cover the skillet it helps cook the potatoes faster. A great recipe I have used is making sausage, red bell peppers, and potatoes in the skillet. Seasoned with salt. It is a delicious breakfast recipe!

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  9. Pamela

    03/27/2012

    Oh but frried potatoes CAN be healthy! Use coconut oil!! (Use expeller pressed so that you don’t have the coconut flavor present.)

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  10. Heart and Haven

    03/27/2012

    We never peel our potatoes (for fried or mashed)…..it takes too much time, most of the vitamins are actually in the skin, and I can’t really tell the difference whether the peel is still on them or not. We’ve even made mashed or fried potatoes often for guests (who normally always peel their potatoes)….and we’ve gotten nothing but great compliments on our potatoes :-)

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  11. Liz C

    03/27/2012

    We don’t peel them, and I do cook onions or any other veggies separately, and add them right at the end. I also add a good shot or two of Chalula pepper sauce at the end when they’re breakfast potatoes. It’s not super spicy (even our little girls eat them with a flourish), but it adds a really nice zing!

    When I want things like rosemary, garlic, etc, I tend to oven-roast them, or even do home-seasoned wedges in the oven. The kids snarf them, and my 13yo son prefers homemade rosemary/garlic/parmesan potatoes to french fries–How great is that??

    [Reply]

  12. Amber

    03/27/2012

    I second the leftover baked potatoes comment. Just put the leftover potatoes in the fridge, then slice and fry the next day with oil/butter. Delicious!

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  13. sabrina

    03/27/2012

    Oh yummy! I like to roast mine in the oven using coconut oil (yum), a little garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. I toss half way and voila! Sooooo good!

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  14. KimH

    03/27/2012

    I peel and cube the potatoes in fairly small cubes.. just under half an inch. I get the pan & oil very hot and toss them in, adding salt & pepper. I let them cook for about 5 minutes untouched.. then I TOSS them. As soon as you put a utensil in there, you start smashing them. Just toss until they are mostly done. If the insides arent quite done, you can put a lid on it for a few minutes with the heat lowered, then remove the lid, and turn the heat back up to crisp them up again.

    [Reply]

  15. Cecilia

    04/01/2012

    My fried potatoes went from good to ‘to-die-for” when I made them in coconut oil (sliced as for french fries, no precooking, med heat, moderate turning)

    [Reply]

  16. Web Weekend #7 « merricontrari

    04/02/2012

    [...] oh yes definitely making this (Savvy Housekeeping) Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni (Happiness Stan) Fried Potatoes (Simple Organized Living) Double Cheddar Broccoli Soup (30 Pounds of Apples) Kahlua Dip – [...]

  17. Susan

    10/01/2012

    Finally! After reading this I made amazing potatoes!!! They were just like my grandpa’s famous ones he used to make… Thanks for amazing tips! :)

    [Reply]

  18. Alisa

    10/02/2012

    Ditto what Susan said – I have never been able to get fried potatoes right, but I used your tips today and they turned out awesome! Thank you for sharing!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Awesome — so glad my tips worked for you Alisa!

    [Reply]

  19. Sarah

    01/26/2013

    This were delicious! I just used salt and pepper to season and it was great.

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  20. Daphne

    01/27/2013

    I usually chop mine up and but heavy amounts of Extra Virgin Olive oil and bake then in the oven at 400 degrees and they taste WONDERFUL… after an hour of baking.

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  21. Kevin

    02/17/2013

    Don’t nuke them it dries them out to much also you don’t want to grow extra limbs. I use Butter potatoes and I boil them have way, strain and fry them in crisco shortining.

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  22. Lisa

    03/15/2013

    I throw a little vinager on them at the end, my family says it makes all the difference.

    [Reply]

  23. Stephanie Hill Alexander

    03/24/2013

    This was a big help to me. Thank you! :-)

    [Reply]

  24. Cyndee Reynolds

    05/20/2013

    Try this I promise you will love them!
    Wash potatoes and dice them in to chunks.
    Place them in a large glass bowl with luke warm water and 2 tablespoons of dissolved white sugar.
    Soak for 10 minutes and drain and dry well.
    Cook in plenty of Hot vegetable oil until brown and tender.
    Drain and salt to taste.

    [Reply]

  25. Carrie

    05/28/2013

    One way to help the potatoes to be extra crispy is to add a Tablespoon of oil mixed with 1 tsp granulated sugar the last few minutes….crispy and golden not soggy

    [Reply]

  26. Tanisha

    06/05/2013

    I usually don’t leave messages, but i felt this one deserved an applause. Your humor had me giggling while trying to make fried potatoes of my own, as I too have set off the smoke alarm many times. Thank you for your demo and keep them coming please, My potatoes turned out delicious!!

    [Reply]

  27. Debra

    06/07/2013

    Really good with lemon pepper seasoning and a little onion

    [Reply]

  28. Brian

    07/07/2013

    Thank you so much.
    I have gone from being useless as a dad ( any man with teenagers will know), for not being able to cook.
    To top of the pile, as my kids and friends love these.

    Great recipe
    Great instructions
    Thanks
    Brian

    [Reply]

  29. Rose

    07/28/2013

    Hello Andrea
    I am a caregiver and making really good food is important. It is anew job and I am 20 so cooking is not actually my specialty. Although, following your recipe has really helped I have almost perfected them! I just wanted you to know your potatoes have been a “hit” with my clients. Thank you so much.
    Best Wishes,
    Rose

    [Reply]

  30. Lorraine

    08/08/2013

    Thank you sooooo much! I concider myself a very good cook with 25 year experience but my crispy pots have always been rubbish! Until now :-)

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  31. Teresita

    08/28/2013

    Dear Andrea
    Thanks for sharing.
    I have a question: Can you freeze the potatoes after drying them and before frying. That way you could prepare two to five days in advance and fry them as you need them daily.
    Will you “nuke” them before or after freezing?
    i will appreciate your comment

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Teresita,
    I’ve never had good luck freezing potatoes so I don’t do it — but you could always just try a few and see if it works for you.

    [Reply]