Southern Fried Potatoes and Onions

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This easy southern fried potatoes and onions recipe will be your new family favorite at breakfast time. With crispy pan-fried potatoes, savory bacon, and perfect golden brown onions, these breakfast potatoes are true southern comfort food.

Southern breakfast dishes always take me back home, and from what y'all tell me it does the same for you.

Give me a hot buttermilk biscuit, a bowl of creamy grits and plump shrimp, or a plate of juicy fried chicken on top of fluffy waffles any day of the week and I am happy as a clam.

a bowl of skillet potatoes and onions with a jar of fresh chives

So bringing y'all the best fried potatoes was definitely on my to-do list. These are country potatoes, cooked in bacon fat to give those potatoes those glorious crunchy edges and giving the onions a beautiful savory flavor. So good.

The best part is that it works as both the perfect side dish for brunch or dinner, so keep this recipe in your back pocket. It's fabulous especially for Christmas or Easter brunch!

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Equipment

Cast Iron Skillet - you want to get your hands on a nice, large skillet, about 10 or 12 inches. This will hold all the bacon bits, raw potatoes, and onions without overcrowding the pan.

Wooden Spoon - the best thing to sauté with, nothing beats it.

Ingredients

Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

bowls of potatoes, bacon, spices, herbs, garlic, and onions for southern fried potatoes and onions

Good skillet potatoes are made with simple ingredients: a fat, good potatoes, and sweet and savory onions. Anything extra is just a delicious bonus.

Bacon - not only are we having this crispy bacon in our dish, we are using the bacon drippings to pan fry our potatoes for extra flavor. Bacon grease has a higher smoke point than most oil, so we don't have to worry about it burning.

Red potatoes - if you ask me, waxy potatoes are the best potatoes for home fries. Reds or Yukon gold potatoes chopped into small pieces are the way to go.

Spices and dried herbs - a little smoked paprika, some chili powder, and herbs like rosemary, sage, and oregano really bring out those nostalgic 'breakfast' aromas.

Yellow or Sweet Onion - these are the best sauteing onions, hands down.

Garlic - garlic powder works, but pressed garlic brings the flavor.

Fresh herbs - I use whatever I have on hand any time of the year. Fresh herbs like parsley, green onions or chives bring unique flavors!

Kosher salt and black pepper.

How to Make Fried Potatoes and Onions

chopped bacon in a cast iron skillet to make southern fried breakfast potatoes

Step 1 | Render the bacon to your desired crispness in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels, but keep the rendered fat in the pan, if using.

raw diced potatoes coated in bacon fat and spices in a cast iron pan

Step 2 | Add the raw potatoes, diced onion, and seasonings into the hot oil or bacon grease in a single layer. Give a good mix with your wooden spoon to coat the potatoes in fat and spices.

a lid sits on top of a cast iron skillet cooking breakfast potatoes

Step 3 | for crispy potatoes, cook without a lid for 18 minutes. For fluffy potatoes with crunchy edges, put a lid on it and cook for 15-20 minutes on the stove.

cast iron skillet filled with pan fried potatoes and onions

Step 4 | add the cooked bacon and minced garlic into the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the stove top until they are golden brown. Serve hot with a garnishing of fresh herbs or green onions!

Variations and Substitutions

Making this vegan or just without the bacon? Use an oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil. I don't suggest olive oil since it has a low smoke point and burns easier than the others.

Using russet potatoes? Soak them before frying (make sure to dry them off really well!) since they have a high starch content. Starch is the enemy of crispy potatoes.

Try this recipe with sweet potatoes, but give them some time in the oven to soften and caramelize their sugars.

Make some caramelized onions ahead of time to bring a sweet flavor to breakfast!

Spice this simple dish up with a little pepper! Fruity aleppo pepper, punchy red pepper flakes, use whatever you have on hand.

Speaking of peppers, add in some bell peppers you have leftover in the fridge. They bring crunch, color, and so much flavor.

a serving bowl of pan fried potatoes with bacon and onions.

Crispy pan-fried potatoes are started on the stove and finished in the oven, in my opinion. Depending on my mood, I'll keep it on the stove top for tender, fluffy potatoes with crunchy edges or I'll give it some love on the stove and then put right in the dry heat of the oven until fork-tender.

Instead of bacon, try cooking up some breakfast sausage or smoked sausage with your potatoes and add a few good dashes of Italian seasoning.

What to Serve with Pan-Fried Potatoes

This potato dish goes great with all those delicious side dishes we're known for in the south: slow cooked green beans, syrupy candied yams,...basically it's a go to for Thanksgiving and Easter!

Lighten things up with your favorite vegetables. A salad or sauteed asparagus brings that freshness and vibrancy. As my mama always told me, "A plate always needs something green on it."

Serve inside of a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast quesadilla! Or turn it into a burrito!

Any main dish really goes with fried potatoes but my dinner favorites are...

Million Dollar Chicken - okay, this is an amazing roasted chicken recipe. The chicken is brushed with a flavor packed creme fraiche glaze, it's the perfect dish for any holiday or Sunday supper!

Smoked Tri Tip Steak - steak and potatoes are a classic pair, and my husband's smoked tri tip steak is a fast and easy main smoked on your pellet smoker. Perfect for summer!

French Onion Pot Roast - a favorite during the cold weather months! The savory french onion vibes go along so well with the bacon and onions in this recipe. I can say the same for this instant pot beef bourguignon!

Storage and Reheating

Storing: place the cooled leftover fried potatoes in an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheating: To keep the potatoes crispy, reheat the leftover fried potatoes in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil over medium heat until warmed through.

FAQs

Do I have to peel the potatoes?

When you're using a thin-skinned potato like reds, whites, or golds, skin on is just fine to keep on. Tougher skins, like on russets, may not be as appealing.

Should I boil the potatoes prior?

You can, especially if you don't want to use the oven and cook the potatoes open in the skillet without a lid. But it's not necessary.

What is the best type of potatoes for southern pan fried potatoes?

russet potatoes, best potatoes, type of potato, yukon gold potatoes, waxy potatoes, - red potatoes, russet potatoes, yukon gold, small pieces, high starch content, similar size

Why won't my potatoes get crispy?

Two reasons your potatoes aren't crispy: you didn't soak the starch off of your russets, or you steamed your potatoes instead of crisping them up. Give them a little time in

More of my Favorite Brunch Recipes

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📖 Recipe

a serving bowl of pan fried potatoes with bacon and onions.

Fried Potatoes and Onions

Eden Westbrook
This easy southern fried potatoes and onions recipe will be your new family favorite at breakfast time. With crispy pan-fried potatoes, savory bacon, and perfect golden brown onions, these breakfast potatoes are true southern comfort food.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Southern
Servings 8 servings
Calories 293 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ lb thick cut bacon small chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion medium diced
  • 3 lbs red potatoes washed and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano optional
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage optional
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced or pressed

Instructions
 

  • In a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it reaches desired crispness. Use a heat-safe slotted spoon or Asian spider to remove the bacon but keep the rendered fat in the pan. Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate until later.
  • Place the chopped potatoes and onions into the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the spices and toss the potatoes with the bacon fat and spices until coated.
  • Cook the onions and potatoes, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes. You're looking for crispy, browned sides and the potatoes are tender. You can top with a lid while it cooks for softer, not-as-crispy potatoes.
  • Add the garlic and cooked bacon into the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate the garlic and rewarm the bacon.
  • Before serving, make sure the diced potatoes are fork-tender, otherwise cook for another 2-5 minutes.
  • Place the fried potatoes and onions onto a serving platter and serve hot with chopped, fresh herbs.

Notes

Storage and Reheating

Storing: place the cooled leftover fried potatoes in an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheating: To keep the potatoes crispy, reheat the leftover fried potatoes in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil over medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 14gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 508mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3g
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