Home Fries

4.95 from 20 votes
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Treat yourself and your family to crispy diner-style home fries for breakfast. This side dish of fried potatoes and caramelized onions complements eggs and bacon. (Ding!), order up!

Golden browned home fries in a cast iron skillet.

This home fries recipe is a classic breakfast side dish served at diners and restaurants, but they are easy to make at home. Starchy russet potatoes give just the right amount of contrast. The sliced pieces parboil until they have light and fluffy centers, then saute until crispy on the surface.

To enhance each serving’s taste, I saute chopped onions and bell peppers with the potatoes and a generous amount of savory seasonings. I serve these golden spuds with crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for a complete meal.

Diced russet potatoes in a metal bowl.
Step 1. Prepare the potatoes

Potato selection

I use russet potatoes because they have a mealy texture when cooked. The flesh flakes easily, which is precisely what we want to create a crisp exterior. Once the crust forms on the surface, the centers become fluffy, just like a baked potato. 

Alternatively, you can use other types of potatoes like waxy Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes. However, their lower starch and high sugar content will yield sturdy spuds that taste creamy and dense rather than light and flaky.

Prepare the potatoes

No need to peel the spuds. I prefer to keep the skin on to give more structure and a crispier texture. Cut them into ¾-inch-sized pieces to provide a good ratio of crust to centers. The potatoes break down slightly during cooking, so the large cut considers that loss.

If not using the potatoes immediately, cover them with cool water as the air oxidizes the exposed areas, turning the flesh greyish brown.

Parboil the potatoes

Raw potatoes are hard; if just thrown into a hot pan, you risk not cooking to the middle. To quick-start the softening process, bring water to a boil and add the potatoes baking soda, and salt to season. The chemical leavening agent quickly breaks down the exterior, giving a flaky surface for extra crispiness.

You don’t want to cook the potatoes entirely; otherwise, they will break apart in the pan. You should be able to poke through the surface with the center still firm. This process takes about 5 minutes.

Drain and dry

Drain the parboiled potatoes into a colander to remove the cooking liquid. To dry the surface for faster browning, shake off the excess water, then warm them up for a few minutes in the same pot. This process will evaporate the surface moisture, so they don’t steam instead of fry for better browning.

To season, stir in butter and kosher salt. The agitation and coarse granules will create a starchy paste on the exterior, which will crisp up. It’s delicious!

Saute the vegetables

Add a pop of color and enhance the flavor with onions and bell peppers. Dice the onions, then saute in oil, and season with salt. The salt draws out the moisture, helping to caramelize the natural sugars and adding a pleasant sweetness to the dish. Dice the red bell peppers, then saute unticrisp-tender. Remove the vegetables so there’s room to fry the potatoes.

Sauteing diced onions and red bell peppers in a skillet.
Step 4. Saute the vegetables

Pan-fry the potatoes

The trick to a crisp surface is to allow the parboiled potatoes to have prolonged contact with the hot pan and fat. I use olive oil and butter as the milk solids turn golden brown and add a nutty flavor. Use a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan to prevent sticking.

Heat the large skillet over medium heat to gently brown the sides. Once coated in the fat, spread the pieces out in a single layer, and you’ll see a gorgeous golden crust develop. Stir and repeat the pan-frying process until most of the surface is crispy. This will take about 20 minutes. During this cooking time, the centers will complete their cooking.

Add extra seasonings last

Add the dry seasonings to the home fries at the end of cooking. I use a combination of paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Turn off the heat, as paprika is prone to burning if the pan is too hot.

The seasonings add a wonderful aroma even before you bite in. Add the onions and peppers and stir to warm them up. Then, the home fries are ready to serve. Freshly chopped parsley adds a pleasant fresh taste.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between breakfast potatoes and home fries?

Home fries are a type of breakfast potato. It’s cut into cubes, cooked in a skillet, and sauteed with onions and bell peppers for extra flavor. Hash browns are another popular breakfast potato that’s shredded instead of diced. They are fried in a pan until golden brown and crispy.

What is the difference between home fries and fried potatoes?

Home fries are a type of fried potatoes. The smaller pieces in cubes, wedges, or thin slices are fried in fat like butter or oil. Fried potatoes can also be deep-fried.

Are home fries healthy?

When cooked in a skillet with a small amount of fat, home fries are a healthier side dish than deep-fried potatoes. It’s cooked with extra vegetables like onions and peppers for added nutrition.

Pan of crispy home fries made with onions and peppers.
Step 6. Combine the potatoes and vegetables

Add baking soda for a crispier texture

Add a small amount of alkaline baking soda to the boiling water when parboiling the diced potatoes. When cooked in this solution, the tough pectin in the cell walls breaks down, which releases the starch to the exterior. This technique softens the surface, creating a flaky texture that can be stirred to form a paste on the outside. This starchy paste increases the browning rate, and as the surface dries, it becomes more crispy.

Home Fries

Easy to make crispy home fries for breakfast that complements items like scrambled eggs and bacon.
4.95 from 20 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Breakfast, Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion, ¼" dice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, ¼" dice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable, corn or avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Prepare Potatoes – Wash and scrub the potatoes, then dry well. Cut them into ¾-inch cubes.
  • Parboil Potatoes – In a large pot or dutch oven, bring 5 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. Add the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook until the surface softens but is not cooked all the way through, 5 to 6 minutes.
    Drain into a colander, gently shake off the excess moisture, then add back to the pot. Cook over low heat until the moisture evaporates, about 2 minutes.
  • Add Seasonings – Turn off the heat, and add 1 tablespoon butter and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir until a starchy paste coats the surface, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • Saute Vegetables – In a large 12-inch skillet or cast iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute until lightly browned and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, and saute for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Surface Browning – Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the butter melts, add the potatoes. Stir and spread them in a single layer. Let it sit without stirring until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    Turn the potatoes with a spatula. Repeat the process of spreading in a single layer, allowing to sit and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until most sides are lightly browned and crisp, about 11 to 15 minutes. Individual pieces may need to be flipped over to ensure browning.
  • Combine Ingredients – Turn off the heat and evenly sprinkle the potatoes with paprika, onion powder, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add the sauteed onions and bell peppers, and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve while hot.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 3 cups
  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Storing: Once cooled, store them in the refrigerator inside an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Microwave on high power in 15-second intervals until warmed through. Alternatively, heat a pan over medium heat, add a few teaspoons of olive oil, then fry until lightly crisp and warm.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 180kcal (9%)Carbohydrates 24g (8%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 9g (14%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Trans Fat 1gCholesterol 10mg (3%)Sodium 839mg (35%)Potassium 549mg (16%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 646IU (13%)Vitamin C 25mg (30%)Calcium 31mg (3%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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2 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. William Boynton says

    I just finished eating these home fries. Wow were they great. As I was making them, I was thinking they better be good because it was a bit of work. But it was well worth it. I fancy myself as an aficionado of potatoes, and these are clearly the best home fries I have had. The ratio of onion to the sweet red pepper was perfect. Thank you so much for posting the recipe.