These Southern Fried Potatoes are tender on the inside and golden brown on the outside. They’re a great side dish for breakfast and brunch!
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Diner lingo has always fascinated me. You know, the kind of language used by short-order cooks at local diners or chain restaurants like Waffle House. Some of my favorites are “Cowboy with spurs” (Western omelet with French fries), “Shingle with a shimmy and a shake” (Toast with butter and jam) and “Put out the lights and cry” (Liver and onions). I know some folks like liver and onions. Not me. If that was on my plate, I’d definitely be putting out the lights and crying!
Potatoes have their own terminology in the diner world. “Mystery in the alley” is a side order of hash. “Frog sticks” are French fries. At Waffle House, hash browns are referred to as “the drop.” So if you hear “Drop three, one in a ring” that means 3 orders of hash browns – 2 orders scattered and 1 order “in a ring” (or cooked in a pile rather than scattered).
Southern Fried Potatoes
I have no idea what to call these Southern Fried Potatoes in diner lingo. Potatoes are called “Murphy” so maybe Fried Murphies? Who knows? I call ’em delicious!
I’m also not sure what makes this recipe Southern. Maybe it’s because this style of potatoes is common at diners throughout the South? This recipe is also called Home Fries, Pan-Fried Potatoes, American Fries, Southern Hash Browns, Soft Fried Potatoes or Skillet Potatoes. Phew, that’s a list!
These potatoes are a quick and easy side dish for breakfast and brunch – or those nights when you’re having breakfast for dinner. They’re basically cubed Russet potatoes that are pan fried to deliciousness. The potatoes end up soft and tender inside with crispy, browned edges. Add in some caramelized onions, and you’ve got one heck of a side dish!
Mix it up!
The classic version of these Southern Fried Potatoes calls for a diced onion, salt and pepper. That’s it. Pretty straightforward. Definitely delicious. However, you could elevate this dish in a number of easy ways:
- Bell peppers – add a diced bell pepper along with the onions.
- Jalapenos – If you want a spicy kick, dice up a jalapeno or two and add it with the onions.
- Herbs and spices – Salt and pepper are the basics, but you could easily go Southwestern with a bit of cumin, chipotle chili powder and paprika (or smoked paprika). Or go the other direction and add some Italian seasonings and rosemary for a different vibe. A pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and thyme would produce an entirely different flavor profile. Have fun with the seasonings!
- Eggs – Turn this side dish into a meal by adding a fried egg or two and a piece of toast. Yum!
- Bacon or Breakfast Sausage – Cook a couple slices of bacon or a couple pieces of breakfast sausage in the skillet before adding the potatoes. Once cooked, remove the bacon/sausage and crumble it into the potatoes before serving. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet (in place of the butter). The taste will be amazing!
- Leftover Ham – If you happen to have any leftover ham hanging out in the fridge, this breakfast potatoes recipe would be a great place to use it!
What is the best potato to use?
Honestly, you can use almost any type of potato for these Southern Fried Potatoes. I prefer potatoes with a high starch content like Russet, Idaho and Yukon Gold. However, we’ve made this recipe with red potatoes in the past when we had extras that we needed to use up.
The key to this Southern Fried Potatoes recipe is not flipping the potatoes very often. Resist the urge to stir! You want the bottoms of those potatoes to turn golden brown – so don’t flip ’em more than 2-3 times max. I also like using a large cast iron skillet for this recipe. Cast iron helps these potatoes brown easier.
I opted for a mix of vegetable oil and butter for these potatoes. Butter brings the flavor, while the oil has a higher smoke point – that means it won’t burn as easily once the bottom of that skillet gets super hot.
Some folks microwave or boil the potatoes for a few minutes before transferring them into the skillet. If you dice the potatoes up into ½”-¾” cubes, then there’s no need to boil them first. This entire recipe can be cooked in a single skillet on the stovetop. Less time, less dishes to clean. That’s a win-win in my book! The cubed potatoes will be tender on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Potato perfection if you ask me!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat, just spread them in a single layer in a dry skillet. Cook over medium heat until hot.
If you’re hunting for one heck of an awesome side dish, then put this recipe on the list. It’s easy and delicious! Cheers!
Did you make a batch of these Southern Fried Potatoes at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Southern Fried Potatoes
- Chop potatoes into ½”-¾” cubes. (Note: I like to leave the potatoes unpeeled, but feel free to peel if you’d like!)
- Using a large cast iron skillet, add oil and butter; place over medium-high heat.
- Once butter has melted, spread potatoes evenly in the skillet. Spread chopped onions evenly on top of potatoes.
- Cook for 7-8 minutes without flipping, or until bottoms of potatoes have turned golden brown. (Note: Do not use a lid for this recipe.)
- Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. Flip potatoes and continue cooking for 5-6 more minutes, or until tender and golden brown. If necessary, flip potatoes one more time and continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes.
- If desired, top with chopped parsley before serving.
Looking for more tasty potato recipes? Check out some of these other favorites, too: