I will always stand by the idea that the most simple, basic dishes, when done well, are my favorites. Take these Southern Fried Potatoes for example. They only call for 5 ingredients – two of those are salt and pepper – but when they’re done right, are one of my most favorite things. Those golden fried, crunchy edges are the perfect complement to the caramelized onions.
Sometimes I eat them just like this; other times drizzled with some tart and tangy ketchup. Regardless, these things are good eats, for sure!
Tips for perfect Fried Potatoes:
Pick the right potatoes. I prefer Russet potatoes for this recipe. They are starchy and hold up better when fried. Some argue that the starch makes them fall apart, but my experience has been that the starch actually helps them get a deep golden color and I think that characteristic is more important. Others say that you should soak the potatoes in cold water before frying to wick away some of the starch, but doing that also requires that you’ll need to dry them completely before putting them in the pan to keep them from getting mushy. The extra moisture will also prevent them from browning. And for me, that’s just one more step I find unnecessary. The last thing I want to be doing when trying to get supper on the table is drying off a bunch of potato slices.
Use the right skillet. I always recommend a heavy cast iron skillet for this recipe because it can handle the heat required to get those potatoes golden brown. A heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet will work as well, just make sure it’s one that can handle a higher heat level. Other cookware, like stainless, will work too, but you might have a problem with the potatoes sticking. With stainless, just make sure to heat the pan before adding the oil to help with that.
Choose the right oil. For high temp frying like this, I always prefer peanut oil, but it’s expensive and since so many folks have peanut allergies, I recommend vegetable oil or canola oil.
Don’t stir the potatoes too much. The more uninterrupted contact the potatoes have with the pan’s hot surface, the greater chance you’ll get them cooked all nice and golden brown. I’d recommend not flipping them much more than about 4 times. Just watch them and flip over a potato or two every now and then to check them and keep them from burning. Flipping too much will also make them start to fall apart.
For even more flavor, you can swap some of the oil out for good ol’ bacon grease. It adds a smokey flavor that’s great in this dish.
Some other recipes out there call for you to cook the potatoes partially before frying them, but I think that’s another extra, unnecessary step. I also find it’s really easy to overcook them when doing them that way.
Also: It’s nearly impossible to get the oil to potato ratio perfect every single time. There are just too many variables. That being said, if you find them to be a little greasy at the end of the cook time, draining them on some paper towels will help.
Southern Fried Potatoes
- 5 medium Russet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Wash, peel, and slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds.
- Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it starts to ripple. Add the potatoes evenly and sprinkle the onions over the top. Cover and cook about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and add the salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes, flipping once or twice more, or until golden brown and tender. Drain on paper towels if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe was great. For me if it is 30 miinites of reading i tend not want to save the recipe. I am sorry because it turned out great
Loved them and reminded me of my sweet Mama. Thanks for rekindling great food ideas. I did add a little garlic and inion powder with the salt and pepper.
Sweet memories! Thanks, Pam!
My dad and grandfather would make fried potatoes and onions over a campfire when they were hunting. My dad made them for me growing up, too, but his twist was to toss on some Parmesan cheese at the end, clap the lid back on, and leave it just long enough for the cheese to melt.
I’m glad to see your proportions, though! I’ve tried this any number of times and the potatoes just don’t get crispy. Still wonderful, but soft. I may be putting in too many potatoes, IDK. Thanks for the recipe, as always!
You’re so welcome!
I love these potatoes with syrup, along with biscuits and scambled eggs!
excellent! followed recipe exactly including tips. Thank you Stacey
So glad to hear it turned out great for you!
Ok I’m slow lol. I watch 6 every potato I try to fry. After you flip then the first time, do you recover the pan?
I love fried potatoes,,,,breakfast or dinner they are super great and with country sausage and baked beans! Yummy
I like you love to cook. your meals are always tempting. I was rained is a European background so many of my meals are from the chec republic. But love trying new!!
Just love your blog. You can’t beat fried potatoes and onions. Thanks for this reminder of a delicious side.
Thanks so much, Stacy!!
We’re in Ohio, in our mid 80s, and love your recipes! We make our fried potatoes and
onions just as you do, except we fry them in coconut oil. They are delicious!
Nancy & Dale
Thanks so much, Nancy & Dale!
Good Morning…Stacey..these potatoes with onions….are absolutely ……PERFECTO……
Breakfast….a nice orange, coffee and your potatoes……all done……
Thank you very much….have a wonderful day….♥️😎♥️
Thanks so much, Barbara! You, too!
Delicious 😋 😋 😋 😋 😋
So glad you enjoyed them!
Oh my gosh I grew up eating these. Annette forgot about them. Yours look exactly like my mom instead I making them tonight we used to put creamed peas on top of the potatoes. The piece would have a white sauce with lots of salt and pepper so delicious. Thanks again for the memory.
Stacy, I consider bacon grease a must when frying potatoes.
Hi Stacy! I’m from south Alabama and I use you as my
” go to mom recipes”, and this was an amazing side to my bbq porkchops, Thanks!
Ha! Thanks, Darla!
Linda C Ladd
Hi there! I don’t do Instagram, but did want to tell you how delicious your recipe turned out! Being full southern, you would think I would have mastered fried potatoes by 70 years old lol! These were sooo good! Thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Mary Lou Pope
I’m 65 and never my fried potatoes been 5 star!!! I think your recipe will help me achieve. Never old enough to not keep learning more!
Hope they’ll turn out great for you!
I make mine just like your recipe in an iron skillet. The only thing I do differently is with the onions—I love them and prefer them cooked in larger pieces; not diced.
There’s just something about cast iron, right!?
It was so good. I put some onion minced. I didn’t have a oin.
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
These are fantastic! And so easy.
Definitely one of my favorites!
Looks great! I like tators and onions with ketchup. Eggs and bacon!
With ketchup is the best!
Love your recipe for fried potatoes. I am 85 and your fried potatoes are exactly like the way I make mine except I put the onions in at the beginning and they will burn. You never get to old to learn. I am alway inspired by Southern style because I was reared in the South. The Southern way of cooking is awesome.
Thanks so much, Geanette!
Mine definitely burned on the bottom layer. Even the ones that weren’t burned had a bitter burn taste to them. Looking for a difference fried potato recipe.
Hi Liz! Sorry to hear you had trouble. Next time you might want to flip them sooner or turn down the heat a bit.
This is exactly how I fry potatoes. 💕 I didn’t know it was southern though! I made your cheesy chicken spaghetti this week. The pan was cleaned! Your bacon monkey bread is in the oven as I type. My daughter-in-law’s family is visiting. I hope they enjoy it (smells great!).
Sounds like you’re getting some great use of some Southern Bite recipe! So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed them!
Thanks for the memories! I made these fried potatoes tonight and added some cut up ham that I had leftover toward the end. The only change that I would make is to put the onions in later or they will burn as mine did. I would also cut the potatoes a little thinner than I did the next time. Great recipe! It would go great with eggs mixed in at the end also.
Glad to hear you enjoyed them, Danny!
I love these. Cook pretty just the way my moms and grandma showed me. Expect I cut them long like a thick steak fry. I use my onion i chunk those up and mix half them in the bowl and toss everything with a bit of pepper Madeley ground up a bit of garlic and onion powder. And yes I have to put some Tony’s on y’all!!! I mix them up in a bowl I use half crisco hard whit grease and half bacon grease in a iron skillet let that heat really good I will layer the potatoes in bowl and then a bit of the other chunky onion slices and another layer of potatoes and top with the rest of the onion. I cover and let it dry for a bit. Then turn. Cover and cook a bit then turn again. I take the lid off and finish them up let them brown and soften up and just yummy
Now you’ve got my mouth watering!!
Fried potatoes are so delicious! My dad used to fix them and scramble a bunch of eggs and pour them over the potatoes. It would be so good with biscuits or toast and apple jelly.
Yes! You’ve set my mouth to watering!
Lisa, Brook Park, OH
Can I cook these in an electric skillet?
Yep, that should work just fine, Lisa. Enjoy!
Kellie Kees Sheridan
I am making these for Fathers Day in honor of my Dad who I lost this year. You’re recipe looks just like how my momma made them and were his favorite. Thanks for the inspiration!
I’m so sorry to hear that, Kellie. What a sweet way to honor him!
Can you leave the peel on the potatoes while cooking them?
With a thin skinned potato, like a red skin potato, sure. But traditional russets, with a thicker skin, probably won’t work very well.
I always wait until the last 5 minutes or so before adding the onions so they don’t burn and brown to quickly than if you add them at the beginning,.
This photo makes my mouth water!!! We would eat fried potatoes about once a week when I was growing up! Loved them then and still love them now! 🙂
They look delicious. Ate them many times as a kid not only from a cast iron skillet but on a wood stone. Today I would add some well browned Italian sausage. I am so allergic to onions but I love them. If someone else has the same problem, I can eat leeks, true Vidalia onions and sometimes a purple Bermuda onion.
Sorry for the misspelling “Wood stove”
Interesting! Thanks for sharing, Myrna!
Why do you always put combine steps 2-10 into Step 2?
It’s practically inconsequential how they’re numbered. My goal is to get folks in the kitchen and recipes that have 20 steps are often quite intimidating for kitchen novices. Regardless, there are far bigger things to get upset about than the number of steps in a recipe.
This is how my Mama fried potatoes. I’m now 72 and I still fry my potatoes like this. Nothing better than fried taters and a big softball sized onion. Now I want some as it’s been a while since I’ve made them. Love watching you cook.
Couldn’t agree more! Thanks, Pat!!
???????? And a couple of over easy’s on top ! ????????????????.
Sounds right perfect to me!
I fry my potatoes like this too. Sometimes I will add extra onions ( we love onions anyway you fix them) and dice up some peppers. Bell peppers, jalapenos, poblanos whatever kind you prefer. Throw in some diced garlic too.
Just depends what is in the fridge. Thank you for the simple but delicious recipes.
Extra onions are always good in my book!
That’s what I do sometimes too! I use bacon grease to fry them. But oh soooooo good! Move over, french fries! 🙃🙃
my mother called them saw mill potatoes. back in the 40′ my grandfather worked at a saw mill. most days my mother would tote him his lunch in a pail. several times a week my grandmother would fix him these potatoes. only back then, they used bacon grease. I have been fixing them for the past 50 years. enjoy your site
Thanks, Bo! And thanks for sharing that story with us!
So glad to see your instructions for making fried potatoes, and especially to read the comments from people who use bacon grease like their mothers did. My mom had a special can she poured bacon grease into….it had a strainer at the top when you took off the lid…. she kept it by the stove, and she used some of it to make the best fried potatoes. I’m seventy years old, love to cook and have become quite accomplished at it, but I just haven’t been able to make fried potatoes like mom’s. Maybe now I can!
I hope you’ll try it and it will turn out great for you!!
I can smell this picture….. YUM!
Thank you for all the magnificent recipes. By following your recipes I not only don’t burn anything anymore I actually have results worth eating!! I.am.so.grateful 🙂 lol
That’s some high praise right there! So glad to hear you’ve found the recipes useful!!
Exactly how I fry potatoes.
My mother fried potatoes like this too.
Thanks, Virginia! I’d say I’m in great company!! 🙂
Momma made these several times a week growing up in NC. She always made them in the cast iron pan I have now and always made them with bacon grease. To this day I keep my can of bacon grease by the stove. One good thing about these is you can eat them with any meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Love your blog!
Agreed! Thank so much, Nancy!!
Your photo immediately transported me back to when I was growing up in the 60s; these are the potatoes my father would make us Sunday mornings, except he used a big spoonful of bacon grease from the Maxwell House coffee can at the side of the stove instead of the oil in your recipe. Thanks for the memories!
Love that! So cool how food can transport us back like that, right!?
Oh, I remember my mother making these about once a week. Thanks for the memory. . . and the recipe.
You are so welcome! I love how food can do that.
This looks absolutely scrumptious. I fry my potatoes this way too except I haven’t ever done the first step of covering them. I think I will try that because they seem to take an awful long time to cook uncovered. From the times you’ve given they cook faster your way. 🙂
Thanks, Aileen! Covering them does help steam them and they cook a bit faster.
I peel and slice the potatoes and then put them on my extra large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. This allows me to salt and pepper one side lightly. I baked for 10 to 15 min till a knife can barely go in. Then take out sent cool, I can get hen fry up what I need and refrigerated the rest. I also pre-carmelize onions and add them just before the potatoes are done frying then I hey don’t burn but add a nice flavor…always have extra carmelized onions on hand. You still get your potatoes and onions and the parchment keeps the cookie sheet clean….Enjoy
Thanks for these tips, Roma!
Hi Stacy! I’m from south Alabama and I use you as my
” go to mom recipes”, and this was an amazing side to my bbq porkchops, Thanks!