Cooking Home Fried Potatoes A Step-by-Step Guide: When ordering breakfast or brunch out, I always order something savory. Home fries are my only motivation. The only thing better than ordering this side at my favorite diner is making them at home for a big brunch with friends or for myself.
Make slightly starchy home fries with a soft, creamy inside and crispy, crunchy exterior with this recipe. Using starchy Russet potatoes and this three-step cooking method is our secret.
The Key to Great Home Fries
Some local diners I’ve frequented for years define good home fries. Is it the same for you? A good batch of this breakfast potato side dish has great texture.
I’m talking about slightly starchy home fries with a soft, creamy center and crispy, crunchy exterior. They don’t have to be crispy on all sides; some pieces only have one deep-crisp side, while others miss out. This combination provides the perfect crunch. A texture study, if you will.
Ingredients for Home Fries
Russet Potatoes: Your home fries’ consistency and texture depend on the potatoes. I like mild, starchy Russets. These potatoes cook up soft and creamy due to their high starch content. They absorb butter and spices well, making them flavorful. If cooked for two minutes too long, they may crumble, but that gives them that crispy, diner-style look.
Russet Potatoes: Avoid waxy potatoes like fingerlings, red, and new. They don’t cook down like starchy potatoes. Instead, they remain firm, never reaching the soft, creamy texture that makes home fries so delicious.
Onions: Home fries should be well-seasoned and mixed with a little soft sautéed onions for flavor and texture. The eggs and bacon should take center stage.
Seasonings: Smoked paprika is noticeable, but the cubed potatoes are mostly amber.
Three Steps to Perfect Home Fries
These home fries require three steps to cook. Trust me—it’s easier than it sounds and will yield your dream home fries.
Step 1: Parboil for Creamy Insides
- First, parboil the potatoes, which means adding cubed potatoes to a pot, covering with cold water, and cooking for two minutes once the water boils.
- Just enough to soften potatoes without mush.
- Creamy home fries require this. They’re done when a fork can pierce them.
Step 2: Cook onions separately
- Just a little soft diced onion is enough for home fries.
- I prefer to cook the onion separately because potatoes take longer to cook and don’t get tossed around.
- Cooking the onion alone gives it enough time to soften and smell without burning. While the potato water boils, do this.
Step 3: saute in hot oil for crunchy exteriors
- Next, grab a large cast iron skillet (or any large pan).
- Heat the oil and butter in a pan, then add the potatoes in a single layer. Be patient.
- This step should be done in batches if your pan can’t fit all the potatoes.
- I promise that extra time and effort make super-crunchy potatoes instead of mushy ones.
- Cut potatoes: After washing and scrubbing, cut into half-inch cubes.
- Cover potatoes with water in a pot: Pour cold water over cubed potatoes in a large saucepan to an inch above the potatoes. Add a pinch of salt.
- Boil the potatoes: With the saucepan uncovered, bring the water to a boil, then cook for another minute or two.
- Cook the onions: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat while the water boils. When hot, add onions, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Test the potatoes for doneness: Insert a paring knife into a few potato cubes to check doneness. Though slightly firmer, the flesh should be tenderer after cooking. The potatoes shouldn’t be soft.
- Drain the potatoes: Drain the potatoes in a colander, shake off excess water, and cool for 5 minutes.
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet: Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a wide cast iron pan or large skillet over medium heat.
- Add potatoes, season, and cook: When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Working in batches, place the potatoes in a single layer on the pan bottom. Cook the potatoes without stirring for 8–10 minutes to brown and crisp the bottoms.
- Add cooked onions and spices: Stir in cooked onions, garlic powder, and paprika in the skillet.
- Serve now: Remove pan from heat and serve immediately.
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