Crispy pan-fried potatoes and caramelized onions make a delicious and easy side dish for breakfast, brunch or dinner. A classic Southern recipe that takes just 20 minutes to make.
I have yet to meet a potato I didn’t like and these simple spuds are some of the best! Pan fried potatoes with a crispy exterior and soft, creamy interior, combined with sweet caramelized onions is something dreams are made of.
There’s really nothing like great breakfast potatoes when you’re cooking up a big weekend morning meal. Hash browns are great, but unless you’re buying them frozen, they can be a lot of work to make at home. These easy southern fried potatoes and onions are similar to home fries and so easy to make in just one skillet!
It’s one of the simplest, most delicious side dishes you can make. From scrambled eggs and bacon to a nice steak, these crispy potatoes go with just about anything! I guarantee this potatoes recipe will quickly become a family favorite.
Why you will love this recipe
- It’s a versatile side dish that goes well with almost any meal.
- Potatoes and onions are simple, inexpensive ingredients.
- It’s a no fuss recipe, making it easy to manage other things you may be cooking at the same time.
All you need to make this simple recipe is a few pantry ingredients.
- Potatoes – to me, the best potatoes to use in this recipe are Yukon Golds. They have a thin skin so you don’t have to peel them and they have a soft, buttery, melt in your mouth texture. Russet potatoes are also great, but require a little bit more work as it’s best to peel them. You can also use red potatoes or a mixed medley. The recipe is super flexible so use whatever type of potato you have on hand.
- Onion – Yellow, white or sweet onions work best for this recipe. For best results, I would not recommend using red onions.
- Oil – any neutral, high heat oil will work. My go to is avocado oil but you can also use canola oil or vegetable oil. If all you have is olive oil, I recommend adding a little bit of butter.
- Salt and black pepper
I love this simple dish just the way it is, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up a bit. Here are a few variations to try.
- Add some garlic powder, garlic salt, chili flakes or other simple seasonings of your choice.
- Toss in some fresh garlic in the last minute or two of cooking for more great flavor.
- Top finished dish with chili crisp or fresh herbs.
- Add bell peppers along with the onions for an extra serving of veggies.
Start by cutting the potatoes into a half inch dice. You want to keep the pieces small and uniform so that they cook all the way through, evenly. To do this, slice potatoes into a few half inch thick rounds, then stack a few on top of each other and cut half inch sections, then rotate and cut into half inch cubes.
If you have the time, place diced raw potatoes in a bowl of ice water for about 15 minutes to help remove some of the starch. It’s an optional step but it does help them get crispier on the outside and softer in the middle. Especially russet potatoes which have a high starch content. Think french fries!
While the potatoes are soaking. Thinly slice a whole onion.
Drain the potatoes and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Do not put wet potatoes in a hot skillet, it will splatter!
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. Depending on the size of your skillet you should have enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Carefully add the dry diced potatoes to the hot skillet and leave them undisturbed for about 3 minutes. This will get some nice color on the bottom and prevent them from sticking during the cooking process.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the potatoes around every 2 minutes for a total of about 10 minutes. When the potatoes look mostly golden brown on all sides, add in the thinly sliced onions and stir them together. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat a little bit and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the onions are soft and caramelized. If the pan looks dry at all or the potatoes or onions start to stick. Just add a bit of oil and proceed!
Tips for recipe success
- Use a cast-iron skillet or a heavy duty large frying pan. A trusty cast iron skillet is one of the best kitchen tools you can have!
- Make sure your pan and oil are sufficiently hot before adding the potatoes to prevent sticking.
- Let the potatoes cook undisturbed for a few minutes before you try to stir them. They should easily release from the pan.
- If you soak your potatoes, it’s very important to dry them to prevent dangerous oil splatter. Do not skip this step.
- Season the dish when you add the onions. When you’re finished, cooking, check for seasoning then add more salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add the onions after the potatoes are mostly cooked all the way through and golden brown. Frying the potatoes first helps them stay crispy when you add the onions.
What to serve with fried potatoes and onions
These skillet potatoes are the perfect side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- Baked Asparagus Leek and Goat Cheese Frittata
- Eggs and bacon or sausage
- Roasted chicken, seared steak or pork chops.
- Sous Vide Top Sirloin Cap (Picanha)
- Garlic Herb Crusted Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Baby Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
- Asparagus Mimosa with Caper Vinaigrette
Skillet Fried Potatoes and Onions
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes or potatoes of your choice
- 1 medium onion yellow, white or sweet
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or high heat oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Dice the potatoes into half inch cubes and place in a bowl of cold water (see post about soaking). No need to peel if using Yukon golds or other thin skin varieties. Drain and dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Peel and thinly slice onion.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy duty frying pan over medium heat and add oil.
- When the oil is shimmering, carefully add diced potatoes in a single layer.
- Let the potatoes cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes, then stir. Cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes until potatoes are mostly golden brown on all sides.
- Add thinly sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir until potatoes and onions are mixed together.
- Lower the heat a little bit and cook for another 5 minutes or so until onions are softened and caramelized. Serve warm.
This is my go-to potato recipe for weekend breakfast and I even add it to eggs for our weekday breakfast tacos. Simple and delicious. Thank you!
I’ve made these potatoes three times so far and every time I make them, everyone goes nuts! They’re so good for breakfast but also as a side dish for dinner. 10/10!!
These were so perfect as a side for our brunch yesterday! And so easy! I love the tip to use Yukon gold potatoes!
This was one of those recipes that simply don’t make it to the table, because we literally ate it out the skillet! It’s so easy and flavourful, and easily will be in the rotation as often as possible!
I grew up eating potatoes like this but had never made them using Yukon Golds. The result was buttery, and so scrumptious – a definite game changer!
Jessica, you had me at potatoes. I love how versatile and easy this pan-fried potatoes and caramelized onions recipe is to make.
I made these skillet fried potatoes and onions believing I was going to serve them as a side dish. Instead, we ate the entire dish (with fried eggs on top) as a meal. LOVED it!