Home Fries

We had dueling home fries here the other day, a veritable home-fry cook-off between my mother and father. Mom makes her fried potatoes sliced, using raw potatoes, and usually serves them as a side when we have fish for dinner. Dad makes his home fries for breakfast using leftover boiled potatoes from the night before. Both are great. The raw potatoes tend to brown up better. The cooked potatoes can get a little mushy if you stir them too much. You can easily dress up them up with bell peppers, ham, or bacon. And if you add some egg, you get German farmer’s breakfast.

How do you like your home fries?

Home Fries Recipe

Ingredients

For home fries made with raw potatoes

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  • 2 large raw Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)
  • 1/2 of one large onion, or 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp or more of grapeseed oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or other high smoke-point oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For home fries made with cooked potatoes

  • 2 large Russet potatoes, quartered and boiled for 12 minutes in salted water until just cooked through, drained
  • 1/2 of one large onion, or 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp of grapeseed oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or other high smoke-point oil
  • 1 Tbsp of bacon fat (optional, omit for vegetarian version)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Home fries made with raw potatoes

1 Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium to large skillet on medium high heat until sizzling. Place a single layer of potato slices on the bottom of the pan. Add a light layer of sliced onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add another layer of potatoes, another layer of onion slices, sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Keep layering until you've used up your potatoes and onions.

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2 Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan. Let cook for about 10 minutes, until the potato layer at the bottom is nicely browned. You can move aside a little bit with a fork to see if the bottom edges are browned.

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3 Gently flip the potatoes over, a section of the pan at a time, so that the layer that was on the top is now on the bottom, and the browned potatoes are now on the top. Add another Tbsp of oil. The oil will help the browning. Cover and let cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the bottom layer is now browned.

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4 Once the bottom layer is browned, remove the lid of the pan and let continue to cook for 5 more minutes. This additional cooking will help the potatoes dry out just a little bit more.

Serve immediately. Serves 2-4.


Home fries made with cooked potatoes

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1 Cut the cooked potatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium to large skillet on medium high heat until sizzling. Add sliced onions to pan and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

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2 Add the potato pieces, spread out as much as possible along the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, without stirring (about 7-8 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp bacon fat, or more oil to the pan. Gently flip the potatoes and cook until the bottom of the flipped potatoes are nicely browned.

Serve immediately. Serves 2-4.

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Links:

Garlic Truffle Fries from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Black Pepper and Lime Oven Fries from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

47 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Yum! The home fries served in restaurants around here are usually chunks of potatoes, but I have a hard time getting them to be soft enough unless they’re cut very small. Do you think they boil them first?

    A dinner favorite around here is breaded chicken with potatoes cooked like this (or baked in the oven), except I season them – usually the combination found in “Italian Seasoning”, plus onion and garlic powder.

    I hadn’t thought to slice them like chips, though. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Jeff R.

    I usually start with baked russets leftover from an earlier dinner or, if I don’t have any on hand I get by with baking them in the microwave.

    I roughly cube the potatoes, pour a liberal amount of salt in a skillet, then add some oil and heat on high. Once it’s good and hot I throw in the potatoes and maybe some shallots or onions for a basic recipe, or sometimes I get carried away and throw in anything from bell pepper to carrots, cheese, egg, mushrooms.

    Here is what I think is the secret to great, crispy homefries this way: Don’t flip or stir, let them get good and brown on the bottom first. And halfway to getting brown, smash those cubes a little with your spatula.

    The smashed potato better combines with the oil and salt to really crisp nicely. Flip them to brown the other side and eat with guilt — with all that oil and salt, these potatoes can’t be good for you!

  3. Mazz

    I normally steam my potatoes for about 20 minutes, then fry them in butter. Not the healthiest of dishes, but delicious!

  4. Seven

    My Dad and I like to cook, too. Dad told me to use leftover baked potatoes for home fries (we call them hash browns), because they don’t mush up like the boiled ones. He was right! We like to cook a few slices of bacon, then brown the potatoes in the bacon fat and add the chopped up bacon at the end.

  5. DawnsRecipes

    I like to leave the skins when I make home fries. I partially boil the potatoes to give them a head start before frying. When only partially boiled, they tend not to get so mushy and they brown nicely. I skip the oil altogether and throw the potatoes and onion in the pan with the bacon just as the fat starts to melt. Not the healthiest method, perhaps, but it’s very tasty!

  6. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    How lucky you are to have two parents who love to make home fries — to me, that would be heaven! I’m firmly in your mother’s camp on this one. I think that comes from years of camping and cooking home fries for breakfast over an open fire. We always start from raw potatoes, in part because I never think to bring cooked potatoes from home! Lately I’ve gotten into seasoning with smoked paprika, to intensify the smoky flavor of wood-fire cooking.

    Ah Lydia, I’m lucky beyond belief. Mom turns 73 tomorrow and dad 78 in a couple of weeks. They’re both ridiculously healthy, now that’s a blessing! Smoked paprika on the potatoes, yum! Some truffle salt would be good too. :-) ~Elise

  7. chocolatechic

    I like to slice mine thin and then microwave them. Not completely cooked, but not mush either. I find that it is a happy medium between what you and your dad do.

  8. Melissa A.

    I usually dice up potatoes and pre cook them a bit in boiling water, then fry them up in a little butter. Last night I diced them up finely, boiled them just for a minute, drained, then cooked them.

  9. jonathan

    Some of those potatoes look a bit green to me, but who doesn’t love them, or that great movie “Fried Green Potatoes”?

    Wait a second…

    That knife work your mom (?) is doing in the photo is making me nervous. Might I suggest an appropriate holiday/birthday/Mother’s Day/just for-the-heck-of-it gift? http://www.amazon.com/Borner-V-1001-Swissmar-V-Slicer-Plus/dp/B0000632QE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1205415753&sr=8-1

    Just be careful. VERY careful.

    While your mom’s home fries look great – kinda like an au gratin style, which I love – for home fries, I’m on your Dad’s team. I use leftover baked however. I’ve also been using paprika (like Lydia) for years. It adds wonderful color and flavor. Another fine method is to cut 1″ cubes of raw potato, boil for 10 minutes or so, and proceed to saute on high heat with a high smoke-point oil, shaking the skillet constantly (think Jiffy Pop). They turn out nice and crispy. Look for an Emeril (gasp!) recipe for Brabant-style potatoes. Yummerlicious.

  10. michelle

    My vote is for raw sliced potatoes (as a side to smoked sausage)- just like mom makes!

  11. merd

    A perfect base recipe for all sorts of breakfast, dinner, and camping recipes. ;)

  12. merd

    …by the way, is that knife a Wusthoff or Zwilling JA Henckels? It’s very nice and I personally would never substitute a slicer for old world precision cutlery. I loves me knives. It’s half of the fun when prepping food. :smiles: Now if you’re doing something fancy like criss-cross waffle fries, get a slicer.

    Dad adores his mandoline, mom is scared of it, so she uses a knife. ~Elise

  13. Keith

    @ jonathan
    Every chef uses knifes like that! No need to be nervous.

    Elise, I think I would prefer the raw potatoes version. I’ll have to try it out.

  14. Allison

    I don’t think I’ve ever had home fries made from raw potatoes! In my household, they’ve always been done with baked potatoes. And we throw in some cooked ground beef or leftover roast beef to make it a meal!

  15. Brian

    I’m on Team Dad :)

  16. Patty

    My mom taught me to make them, in a cast iron skillet, using your mom’s method, Elise. While my husband and sons have always enjoyed them, I was once outdone by my husband. My youngest son came home from a “guys only” camping trip and said, “No offense mom, but dad’s fried potatoes were the best I’ve ever had.” Turns out that hubby put about a quarter inch of oil in the pan before cooking! (He was afraid the potatoes would stick.) While I’m sure they were indeed the crispiest ever, even all these years later, I hesitate to think about all those fat calories my men ingested!

  17. courtney

    Well my dad always used raw cubed potatoes, and he never cubed them small. They were always perfectly cooked on the inside, and crisp on the outside. Depending on what we had in the fridge and who was home he would add mushrooms keilbasa or bacon, and onions (we wouldn’t eat peppers as kids and the onions had to be minced fine). Then when it was cooked he would sprinkle it with cheddar and stick it under the broiler so some of the cheese was crip and some was gooey. My dad didn’t cook much, but when he did you were sure to be in for a treat!

    For the life of me however I cannot get my potatos to cook like my dads unless I cut them teeny tiny which he did not do.

  18. AuntieMurry

    Mom’s method is the fave at our house. Come to think of it, we haven’t had these for a while. Mmm…potatoes…drool.

  19. Garrett

    I am with your mom on this. Add lots of black pepper and garlic powder and we’re in buisness.

  20. Lindsey

    I like my home fries best in a cast iron skillet over a campfire. If you bake a few potatoes before you go, all you have to do is cut them up like your dad did, add some grease to the pan and fry them up. I like to leave the skins on, though.

  21. furiousball

    You know who has two thumbs and loves home fries?

    this guy

  22. susan

    I hate making home fries! I usually use pre cooked potatoes and I hate how they stick to the pan and are all mushy. But it seems to me the other way the potatoes take so long to cook and are never done. So I am home fries free!

  23. Bonnie H.

    I fix them both ways.

    When I use raw potatoes, I cut them about 1/8 inch thick but I also cut them about 1/2 inch wide. Then I fill my salad spinner with cold water and put the potatoes in that for about 10 minutes, lift out the basket, toss the water and then spin the potatoes to remove more water. Also, I put the onion in after I turn the potatoes once (after they are a nice golden brown on the bottom).

    Using the boiled potatoes I fix a dish with onions, peppers, mushrooms, crumbled bacon and cheese.

    My husband calls me “the Potato Queen”. I could eat potatoes every day.

  24. sm

    Personally, I like my potatoes grated (onions too) and fried in butter or olive oil, rosti style, with lots of salt and black pepper. I know, they are more like hash browns than home fries but the result is still potatoey, crispy goodness that doesn’t require much attention while cooking. Thanks for reminding us that a simple dish of fried potatoes with onions (and whatever else you like) can be a beautiful thing.

  25. Denise

    My mom always used the raw method so that’s how I make them as well. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me a crispy brown potato! She did cubes or thinly sliced like your mom’s. My Gram made the best potatoes though! We don’t know what she did to them but they were FANTASTIC! Our family thinks she made the best fries in the world – DROOL! We lost her on July 4th and miss her more than words can say… Funny how a small thing such as a potato can bring back such fond memories…

  26. Susan

    We cook them both ways, though I’ve never thought of your mom’s version as home fries — just fried potatoes. When ramps are in season try them in place of the onions, heaven! We probably have fried potatoes at least twice a week until the ramps run out. Shouldn’t be long until they’re at our farmer’s market.

  27. Carm

    Hey Thanks for the simple recipe and all the good comments! As simple as it may seem, I still had a hard time cooking home fries. One question though, does the type of pan matter when cooking? for instance should I use a cast iron skillet versus an electric skillet?

    Thanks…Carm

    What matters most is the heat and using enough oil. Cast iron pans can take high heat better than any other pan, so they are a good choice. We also sometimes use anodized aluminum, which has a stick-resistant surface, but can also take high heat. ~Elise

  28. sara

    my daughter and me like home fries we cook 2 or three times a week potato fries. it is good we add tomatoes and green peper.

  29. Amy

    We made “Mom’s version” last night. We don’t have special pans, and I think I left the heat a little high (medium is apparently in the eye of the beholder). Nevertheless, despite the extra-brown/crispy potatoes from the first side near the middle of the pan, the overall taste was great! Thanks, as always, for the great ideas!

  30. TomokoN

    Wow, these turned out so nicely. The raw version is easy, easy. They browned beautifully. I liked mine with some over easy eggs and wilted spinach. Eaten quickly and happily.

    Thanks!!!

  31. Jerry

    Fried spuds are a staple around my home (and most other Southern and Southwestern homes) Both of those methods look good to me, as do these and these.

    As a matter of fact, just about anything that involves potatoes and a skillet sounds pretty darned good to me…

  32. chuckles

    I am 65 and my family has been making these for years,the raw ones we called Raw Fries, the cooked ones where American Fries…chuckles

  33. Linda

    Hi Elise,

    Blessings that you still have your mom and dad. Must be that cal lifestyle? One of my best friend’s parents who are in their 80s live in northern cal.

    I miss one which my favorite recipes that my mother cooked. It was fried potatoes. She used large red potatoes. She would hold the potato in her hand and peel it with a butcher knife not breaking the peel. Then she would dice the peeled potatoes into small squares about a 1/2 inch thick. She would fry the potatoes in Crisco with a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning till crispy golden brown yet still a bit soft on the insides.
    I have tried to make them like her, just not the same so I make potato wedges.
    My middle son was asking me today when I was going to make potato wedges.

    I peel russets and cut them in to 6 to 8 wedges
    Put them in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes
    then dry them really well on paper towels
    Toss them in a bowl with a TB or so of EVOO
    and salt and paper.
    I put the potatoes on a greased baking pan
    and bake them at 425 for 20 minutes then flip the wedges and bake them for 20 minutes more
    or until done.

    Linda in Washington State

  34. Don

    Instead of boiling the potatoes first,try putting them in the microwave for a minute & a half.Stick with a fork several times before putting them in the microwave.Leave skin on. This method works great & it’s fast. Let cool a bit then slice & fry

  35. David

    Great recipes, Elise! Just one question, though: who won the cook-off?

    Hah! We ate both sets for lunch and loved them both. Really! I think the potatoes with bacon fat in them are probably better for breakfast than potatoes without, they are just crying out for runny eggs to go with them. But whether you use raw or cooked potatoes with the bacon, doesn’t matter, just a different taste/texture. ~Elise

  36. thekevinmonster

    I always make them as diced raw potatoes, mixed with garlic and seasonings, along with oil. I find it hard to keep them from getting mushy, but they tend to be delicious enough that it doesn’t matter. I always mix the oil in.

  37. Pat G.

    I like home fries period. I make them both ways, raw and baked, but I use s&p, a couple cloves chopped garlic and a medium onion, also chopped. Fry in olive oil and butter (equal amounts) Stir only when bottom is golden brown and brown second side as the first. Keep up the good cooking. Pat

  38. Karen

    Potatoes fixed any way are great, but I do believe my favorite is fried with onions. Growing up in the 50’s ours were prepared in bacon or pork steak grease. I still love ‘em that way.

  39. K

    My Mom made the sliced raw potatoes, fried, but we called them potatosanna. I wonder where that name comes from?

  40. Amanda

    We made these last night! They were delicious! I used youe mom’s way and they were great. We made them with some bacon as well because who doesn’t love bacon?

  41. Sunny

    I am obviously late posting on this, but wanted to say I’ve always used raw potatoes. We frequently make a variation in the summer with half potatoes and half yellow squash, also sliced thin. It’s a great side dish with almost anything. My kiddos eat it up!

  42. annie

    Par boiling the potatoes lets them brown like raw but more quickly and they don’t “mush up” like totally cooked potatoes. Par boil and then dry them over low heat in the same pan you cooked them it. Shake to rough them up a bit and then when it comes to making them in to home fries they crisp up and become caramelised and absolutely gorgeous. We don’t call them “home fries” in Australia though. Just a potato fry up. YUM.

  43. will

    i served this today at lunch for my three boys(9, 5, 5) with Elise’s Porkchops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce. They couldnt get enough. Normally onions are a bit tricky but the way it all cooks up the whole thing was a huge hit. I think the trick is definitely not turning the potatoes too fequently. Let em brown up nice and good! Didnt use the bacon fat this time but thinking it can only make a great dish even better.

  44. Scott WP

    THANK YOU !!!

    If I had a penny for every attempt I’ve made to cook some home fries and failed I could retire now at age 38. I followed your steps for cooking raw taters and and they turned out “PERFECT” I made these w/ a massive omelet for my girlfriend and I for breakfast. Everything turned out so well.

    Thanks Again!!!

    Scott!!!

  45. Lulu

    mmmm….I love home fries!
    I make mine like your mom, with thinly sliced raw potatoes, so they get nice and crispy and brown. I also like to add some strips of green pepper and I use paprika for color and a little garlic powder for flavor.
    Delicious!

  46. Andrew

    Mom makes them both ways. When we have alot of potatoes, we microwave allot of them. Those we do not eat right away, we put in the fridge. They cut and fry up better (when they are pre cooked), if they are really cold because they firm up. If they are hot or even warm when you gtry to cut them, they mash up and get gummy.

  47. Richard Walker

    This is actually two recipes to me:
    -/ raw fries (the wife’s recipe)
    -/ fried potatoes (the husband’s recipe)
    I love them both with or without peppers and additional ingredients.

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