3 Tips for Perfect Fried Potatoes
I absolutely love fried potatoes. It’s one of my favorite sides with just about any meal. But getting them to be perfectly cooked, with soft centered and lightly browned outside can be a challenge for some. I’ve put together the 3 most important tips to make sure that my fried potatoes turn out perfect each and every time.
City Spouse would much rather have mashed potatoes as a side with things. I think it’s just a matter of preference. I grew up loving these darned things. Heck, there were a lot of times at lunch when this was all my sister and I would eat. Not because there was nothing else. Fried potatoes were all we wanted.
We were also weird kids in that when we had barbecued beef for dinner, which was usually served with rice in my house when we asked for seconds it wasn’t for meat. We just wanted plain rice with a little butter. Told ya. Weird.
As much as we loved them, it’s only natural that we wanted to learn to make them in the exact way we grew up eating them.
I don’t think my sister quite learned. She’s by no means a chef in any sense of the word. Did I tell you all that this year she somehow managed to burn a ham in a CrockPot? I hang my head in shame of her being related to me sometimes.
I know a lot of people who try to make these but only end up with a pile of mushy, oily pieces of potato on their plates. Or maybe a charred but still raw in the center plate of inedibility.
I’m here to help you fix that and to avoid it forever more.
3 Tips for Perfect Fried Potatoes
Before I give you my list, I’m going to give you a kind of disclaimer. I have onions in my fried potatoes almost religiously. I just like the flavor of them. City Spouse despises onion, as do a lot of people. Just because I have them shown in the picture does NOT mean that you must use them when making your own batch of fried potatoes. It only affects the flavor by adding onion. Leaving them out is perfectly fine.
Start with Hot Oil
I know a lot of people who throw the oil (be it vegetable, canola or other) in the pan mere seconds before they add the potatoes. This is mistake #1. By doing this, you are letting the raw potato absorb too much of the oil instead of letting the oil do its thing and brown them. By having the oil hot first, it essentially sears the outside of the potato, letting the outside brown while the inside “bakes” from the heat of the pan. This is how you get the crisp exterior and light, fluffy interior of a perfect fried potato.
Just put your 2 tablespoons (per six average size potatoes) into the pan and allow to warm over medium-high heat until water sizzles when dropped into the oil. Once this occurs, turn the burner down to medium-low and add the sliced potatoes.
Cook Slowly and With Lower Heat
Fried potatoes can take up to an hour to cook well depending on how big of a batch you are making. I keep my burner on medium-low for most of the cooking time and stir only occasionally. We want most of the potato to fry, but it’s the slow cooking and escaping steam that is going to give you the perfectly cooked interior of a fried potato.
Keeping the heat low, and the pan covered for most of its cooking time allows a perfect combination of frying with baking. It’s the ultimate environment for the potatoes.
Folded, Not Stirred
Potatoes lose their density very quickly when being cooked in this environment. It makes them very fragile. While it is necessary to move them in the pan to help them fry evenly and not burn, the more you move them the more likely you are going to break them up.
I like to use a very large spatula in a rather large covered skillet.
The key is to fold the potatoes over from the outside edges of the pan inward. As you fold inward, the potatoes in the middle of the pan will be displaced gently by the weight of the new potatoes added on top of them, hence reducing the stress placed upon them and eliminating breakage in the pan. It is a similar motion to flipping a pancake. Gentle movement keeping them cooking perfectly without smashing them into an oily mess.
I hope this helps make your next batch of fried potatoes perfect for your family.
Tried it? Let me know how my tips work for you and if you have any tips of your own that I may not have mentioned. I’d love to hear from you!
3 Tips for Perfect Fried Potatoes- Country Mouse City Spouse
This post may contain affiliate ads to help support this site. For more information, please see our full disclosure statement here.