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Easy Fried Potatoes and Onions (20 minutes)

Fried potatoes and onions – also known as home fries – is a quick and easy recipe with a couple of time-saving tricks. Crispy golden outsides, creamy insides, and a mild onion flavor in just 20 minutes.

They’re hard to beat as an easy side dish for breakfast or dinner. Simple ingredients, fuss-free and delicious.

fried potatoes and onions in white bowl.

What you can expect

We use a simpler, shorter cooking process by first microwaving the potatoes. Otherwise, you would have to either slice the potatoes thinly or use a two-step pan-frying process – first with the cover on, then with the cover off.

No deep frying: I actually hate frying so I keep the oil and frying to a minimum. In fact, the recipe uses no more oil than you would for roasting potatoes. 

Less frying: Pre-cooking the potatoes in the microwave not only makes the pan fry part much quicker, but it also dries them out to ensure crispy potatoes.

Quicker than most other recipes: Most recipes for pan-fried potatoes and onions take 30-40 minutes. This one takes about 20 minutes. By using green onions, you still get the onion flavor without the need for extra frying time.

Nutrition values are not too shabby! You might be thinking that anything fried is a no-go. But pan frying is very different from deep frying. This dish has good fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. And it’s low in calories and saturated fat.

Bottom line: These fried potatoes and onions are an ideal side dish when you’re craving fried comfort food fast without a ton of oil. Delicious.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

potatoes, oil, salt, green onions, pepper.
Ingredients: potatoes, oil, chopped green onions, salt, pepper

Best potatoes to use: Yukon gold (great all-purpose potatoes), red-skinned potatoes, new potatoes, white. These waxy potatoes hold their shape best. Russet potatoes can also be used, but may fall apart more and they are not as creamy.

Oil: You will need to use an oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavor such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or avocado oil. Here’s an article on cooking oils that explains which oils are best to use for which purposes if you’re interested. 

Variations

Seasoning: Try adding garlic powder, chili powder, or smoked paprika. Or amp up the flavor with fresh herbs before serving such as chives, parsley, dill weed, coriander, thyme, rosemary, or basil. If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Make a hash: Turn this potato dish into a hash by adding bacon and bell peppers. Cook the bacon and/or peppers first, scoop them onto a plate, then pan-fry the potatoes (in the bacon grease for added great flavor if you want instead of the oil).  Combine everything at the end. 

Step-by-step instructions

microwaved cooked potatoes diced on cutting board
Microwave potatoes until tender. Cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
parcooked potatoes in skillet
Pan-fry potatoes in a cast-iron skillet or a nonstick large frying pan on medium high heat on the first side.
fried potatoes in skillet
Flip potatoes and pan fry on the second side until browned.
fried potatoes and onions in skillet
Add chopped green onions at the last minute.
bowl of fried potatoes and onions

Tips

For extra flavor and great browning, use half butter and half oil. Butter burns quickly so use medium heat if using butter. The potatoes will take a little longer to fry this way. 

There’s no need to peel the potatoes if you use thin-skinned potatoes as recommended.

What to serve with pan-fried potatoes and onions

It’s a versatile side dish so almost anything including breakfast dishes.

I love them with marinated grilled pork chops, sous vide burgerscrispy chicken burgers, a sous vide corned beef sandwich , and a nice steak, to name a few.

And of course, they also pair well with some of these cozy main dish comfort foods.

You can also drizzle on a topping like sour cream, sriracha aioli, basil pesto, or herb sauce. Or how about a 5-minute Better Than Bouillon gravy?

Recipes FAQs

What is the difference between pan-fried potatoes, home-fried potatoes, and hash browns?

There is no difference between home-fried potatoes and pan-fried potatoes. They are both fried in a shallow pan. Hash browns, on the other hand, are deep-fried shredded potatoes. 

How do you make fried potatoes that aren’t mushy? 

Two tips: make sure your raw potatoes are dry (so they don’t steam in the pan) and don’t crowd the pan. Place the potatoes in a single layer in the hot skillet. If you need to make a larger quantity either make two batches or use two skillets.

How many potatoes do I need per serving?

Figure a medium potato per person. About 6 ounces/173g. Just over 1 pound (450G) will serve about 3 people.

Make Ahead

  • Pre-cook the potatoes in the microwave and cube them several hours or even a day ahead (store them in the fridge)
  • Or, make the full potatoes recipe (without onions). Turn off the heat and let the potatoes sit on the stove until you need them. Just before serving, rewarm the potatoes in the skillet and add green onions at the last minute. 

Unique potato recipes

Potatoes are delicious side dishes for most of us. Change it up with one of these slightly off-the-beaten-path potato recipes. Grilled, stove top, oven, boiled – take your pick.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

fried potatoes and onions in white bowl.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

fried potatoes and onions in white bowl.
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4.94 from 16 votes

Easy Fried Potatoes and Onions (20 Minutes)

Fried potatoes and onions – also known as home fried potatoes – is a quick and easy recipe with a couple of tricks. Crispy golden outsides, creamy insides and a mild onion flavor. Fuss-free and delicious. 
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
microwave6 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 3

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet (or large non stick skillet); microwave

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450g) potatoes, Note 1 3-4 potatoes
  • 3 tablespoon oil, Note 2 neutral olive oil or vegetable oil with a higher smoke point (you can also use half butter, half oil)
  • 1/2 cup (52g) chopped green onions 4-5 green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)

Instructions

  • PREPARE AND PRE-COOK POTATOES: Pierce each potato once or twice with a sharp knife. Cook in microwave on High for 6-8 minutes until tender and a knife can easily slide into potato. If potatoes are large, this might take an extra few minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut potatoes into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes.
  • PAN FRY POTATOES: Heat oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Add diced potatoes in a single layer to bottom of the pan and fry undisturbed for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with half of salt and pepper. Flip potatoes and fry on second side for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown with a crispy crust. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Timing is approximate and will depend on how well your pan conducts heat and how brown you like your potatoes.
  • ADD ONIONS TO FINISH: Add chopped green onions. Stir for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  1. What kind of potatoes to use: Yukon gold, white, red potatoes, new potatoes. Russets are also ok, but may fall apart more. If using new potatoes, place in microwave safe dish to microwave them for about 4 minutes.
  2. Cooking oils – here’s an article on cooking oils that explains which oils are best to use for which purposes. Use half oil, half butter for added flavor, but cook a little longer on medium heat.
  3. Variations:
    • Seasoning: Try adding garlic powder, chili powder, or smoked paprika. Or amp up the flavor with fresh herbs before serving such as chives, parsley, dill weed, coriander, thyme, rosemary, or basil. If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes. 
    • Make a hash by adding bacon and bell peppers. Cook the bacon and/or peppers first, scoop them onto a plate, then pan-fry the potatoes (in the bacon grease for added great flavor if you want instead of the oil).  Combine everything at the end. 
  4. Make Ahead:
    • Pre-cook the potatoes in the microwave and cube them several hours or even a day ahead (store them in the fridge)
    • Or, make the full recipe (without onions). Turn off the heat and let the potatoes sit on the stove until you need them. Just before serving, rewarm the potatoes in the skillet and add green onions in the last minute. 
    • The dish can also be rewarmed in a 400F/204C oven. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates. 

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 685mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
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