Pan Fried Potatoes and Onions are a classic side dish that is perfect for any meal. They're simple to make, but they're always delicious. The crispy tender potatoes and caramelized onions are a match made in heaven, and they go well with just about anything from breakfast to dinner.
I love to pan fry potatoes and onions! It's one of those simple yet incredibly satisfying dishes that always hits the spot. First of all, it's ridiculously easy to whip up a large skillet of these and requires basic ingredients you already have on hand. It's the kind of recipe that doesn't require any fancy techniques or complex steps, making it perfect for those lazy days when you just want something delicious without putting in too much effort.
What I absolutely adore about skillet fried potatoes and onions is their versatility. You can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They make an easy side dish for a hearty brunch, a tasty accompaniment to a juicy steak or pork chops, and even a filling meal on their own. It's a dish that never fails to bring warmth and comfort to the table.
I grew up eating home fries or hash browns and in my college days often ordered them at NJ diners. But since then, I love to make this simple dish in my own kitchen. It's a perfect side dish that has become a family favorite. When you want comfort food, these are the best potatoes!
- Potatoes – Use your favorite type of potatoes such as russet, Yukon gold, or red potatoes. Russet potatoes are starchy and will give you a fluffy interior, while red and Yukon gold potatoes have a slightly waxier texture. You can also make this with sweet potatoes.
- Red Onions – Red onions have a mild and slightly sweet flavor compared to other onion varieties but you can substitute yellow onions, white onions or shallots. You could also leave the onions out if they are not your thing.
- Olive Oil – I prefer olive oil but you can use any light, neutral-flavored oil such as vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Salt and Black Pepper – Kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper enhance the flavors of all the ingredients.
- Unsalted Butter – Adds flavor and richness of the dish. If using salted butter, adjust the amount of additional salt that you add to the recipe.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic adds an earthy flavor and aroma. Substitute garlic powder if fresh garlic isn't available.
- Paprika – Paprika adds depth of flavor. You can substitute with smoked paprika if desired.
- Oregano – Oregano adds a hint of earthy and herbal taste.
- Chives (optional) – Chives are a popular herb that adds a mild onion-like flavor. They can be sprinkled on top of the finished dish for a fresh and vibrant touch. You could also garnish the crispy pan-fried potatoes with green onions if you like them.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Pan Fried Potatoes
- Wash the raw potatoes and cut into bite size cubes. Peel onions and roughly slice. Heat a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet with the oil on medium heat.
2. Add the seasoned potatoes and onions to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add butter, oregano and paprika and cook 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when the potatoes are tender.
Hint: Stir frequently so the potatoes don't stick to the bottom of the skillet but make sure to do so after the potatoes have developed a crust.
- Cheesy – Sprinkle shredded cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella, over the pan-fried potatoes and onions during the last few minutes of cooking. Allow the cheese to melt before serving.
- Spicy – Add some crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the seasoning mix. This will give your dish a spicy kick and elevate the flavor profile. You can also saute a diced jalapeno along with the potatoes and onions.
- Herby – Experiment with different herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil. Chop fresh herbs and toss them with the potatoes and onions before cooking.
- Smoky – Replace the paprika with smoked paprika or a few dashes of liquid smoke to add a delicious smoky flavor.
- Breakfast – Transform your skillet fried potatoes and onions into a hearty breakfast by adding crispy bacon bits or diced cooked ham. Top it off with a fried or poached egg or stir in some scrambled eggs for a complete and satisfying morning meal.
- Seasoning – Adjust or swap the seasoning according to your preferences. My recipe for homemade potato and french fry seasoning is especially tasty.
The best type of skillet to use for pan fried potatoes and onions depends on your personal preferences and cooking style. If you want a skillet that is easy to clean and less likely to stick, then a non-stick skillet is a good option. If you want a skillet that is durable and can be used for high-heat cooking, then a cast iron skillet is a better choice.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Leftover pan fried potatoes and onions can be repurposed in various creative and delicious ways. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your leftover potatoes:
- Breakfast Hash – Sauté the leftovers with cooked bacon or sausage, bell peppers, and any other desired veggies. Top it with a fried or poached egg for a complete and satisfying morning meal.
- Potato and Onion Frittata – Whisk several eggs and pour them over the pan-fried potatoes and onions. Cook until set in the oven or on the stovetop.
- Taco Filling – Combine the leftovers with fajita or taco meat for a flavorful filling that can be piled inside warm tortillas.
- Soup – Add your leftover pan-fried potatoes and onions to a vegetable or chicken broth along with other desired vegetables, such as carrots, celery, or peas. Simmer until the flavors meld together to create a comforting and flavorful soup.
- Salad Topping – Reheat the potatoes and onions and toss them over a bed of fresh greens, along with your preferred salad dressing and additional toppings like cherry tomatoes, crumbled cheese, or sliced avocado.
- Use potatoes that are suitable for frying, such as russet, Yukon gold, or red potatoes. These varieties hold their shape well and develop a nice crisp exterior when pan-fried.
- Cut the potatoes into bite-sized cubes or slices of roughly the same size. This ensures that they cook evenly and have a consistent texture.
- If you prefer your potatoes extra tender on the inside, consider partially precooking them before frying by boiling for a few minutes.
- Start by heating the skillet over medium-high heat and then add the oil. Allow the oil to heat up before adding the potatoes and onions. A hot skillet and oil will help you get crispy potatoes.
- Don't overcrowd the pan.
- Stir frequently but not too frequently. Allow the potatoes and onions to develop a golden brown crust before flipping or stirring. Stirring too early or frequently can cause them to break apart and become mushy.
- Don't be shy with the seasonings. Potatoes and onions can handle a good amount of salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Take your time to cook the onions until they become golden and caramelized. This enhances their natural sweetness and adds depth of flavor to the dish.
- Once the potatoes and onions are cooked to your liking, transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil before serving.
This skillet potatoes recipe is super versatile. While they are great breakfast potatoes, I can't think of many meals that these potatoes wouldn't pair well with be these are a few of my favorties:
- Mushroom and Bacon Breakfast Quiche
- Perfect Grilled Steak
- Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken
- Chicken Fajita Skillet Tacos
Whether you peel the potatoes is really a personal preference and may depend on the type of potatoes you choose. Waxy potatoes such as Yukon gold and red potatoes have thinner skins that are tender when cooked. Russet potatoes have thicker skins which you may prefer to peel.
To prevent the potatoes from sticking, make sure the skillet is properly heated and add enough oil to thinkly coat the bottom of the pan. Additionally, avoid stirring the potatoes too frequently. Allow them to develop a crust on one side before flipping or stirring gently to avoid breaking them apart.
While best enjoyed fresh and hot, you can make fried potatoes and onions ahead of time and reheat them later.
More Potato Recipes
Potatoes are a popular and versatile side dish that can complement a wide variety of meals. Potatoes are comforting and satisfying, making them a go-to choice for many people when it comes to choosing a side dish. Whether you're serving them with meat, poultry, fish, or vegetarian dishes, potatoes can add substance and deliciousness to your meal. Looking for other potato side dishes? Try these:
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Pan Fried Potatoes and Onions
- 1 pound potatoes, washed and cut in bite size cubes
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chives (optional)
- Wash potatoes and cut into bite size cubes. Peel onions and roughly slice. Heat a large skillet with the oil on medium heat.
- Add the potato and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and add butter, garlic, paprika and oregano. Stir, cover and cook for another 10 minutes (or until desired tenderness), stirring occasionally so the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat. Garnish with chives if desired and serve.
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