How to make home fries that are baked, pan-fried, or deep-fried. These crispy diced potatoes are crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and make perfect breakfast potatoes or a side dish!
There’s rarely a wrong time for potatoes. I’m always digging into creamy mashed potatoes, Lebanese batata harra, or a sweet potato breakfast hash, among others. Now it’s time to make these breakfast potatoes, aka home fries.
I will share with you three cooking methods, ways to prep them in advance, several optional add-ins and recipe variations, and tons of ways to enjoy them. These homemade home fries make a great, versatile potato side dish for practically any meal!
What Are Home Fries?
Home fries are known by many names, including “fried potatoes,” “house fries,” “American fries,” “peasant fries,” and “breakfast potatoes”. All of these refer to a simple cooked potatoes dish.
Traditionally, it’s made by pan-frying potatoes that are sliced or diced and often paired with sauteed diced onions and/or bell peppers. The potatoes can be peeled or unpeeled and are sometimes parboiled (or steamed). The result is soft and creamy potatoes inside with a crispy, crunchy outer shell.
Home Fries Vs Hash Browns
While both dishes are popular types of breakfast potatoes, there are definite differences.
Hash browns are traditionally thinly shredded potatoes, pan-fried until a golden-brown crispy potato mass that will crunch as you eat it.
Home fries are larger cubed/diced potatoes traditionally pan-fried, either alone or combined with other veggies. These potatoes are crisp outside but tender in the middle.
With three cooking methods, you can choose whichever suits the occasion and your needs.
- Deep-frying: will yield evenly cooked, super crispy potatoes in the least time. But requires the most oil.
- Pan-frying: pan-fried breakfast potatoes are the traditional method. They will be fluffy inside and lightly crisp outside. But they require overseeing.
- Baking: will still yield crispy results. It requires almost no “tending to” other than a flip halfway. You can also broil the baked home fries for more crispiness.
I’ve also shared a version for air fryer breakfast potatoes too, with a fraction of the oil, in under 30 minutes!
- Potatoes: I recommend using russet potatoes for crispy home fries with a fluffy middle.
How do you pick out potatoes for home fries?
I highly recommend using starchy potatoes, like russet potatoes. These will have the fluffy center while still crisping up outside. They don’t hold their shape as well as waxy potatoes, but that isn’t an issue for this home fries recipe. Yukon gold potatoes could also work but are waxier.
I usually avoid super waxy potatoes, like new potatoes and red potatoes. While they technically work, the texture is denser and creamy. So, feel free to experiment.
- Olive oil: Or another neutral oil. For deep frying, use a high smoke point oil like canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Seasoning: I love to use paprika and/or chili powder (or red pepper flakes) with salt and pepper. Garlic powder and onion powder are also popular spices.
How to Make Home Fries?
How to Cut Home Fries
First, wash and (optionally) peel the potatoes.
Then, cut them into ¾-1 inch cubes. First square off the sides by making thin slices on the left and right (long sides, not the ends) of your potato. Cut enough to be able to lay the potato flat on the table.
Then, with one of the flat sides against your chopping block, slice the potato every ¾-1 inch apart.
Next, cut those slices every ¾-1-inch apart to make batons/sticks.
Finally, cut those sticks down into cubes.
As you’re chopping, transfer the cubed potato to a big bowl of water. This will keep them from browning and remove excess starch for crispier results.
The Cooking Methods
There are three ways to cook the home fries: oven-baked, pan-fried, and deep-fried.
Home Fries in the Oven
First, preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC before cutting the diced potatoes, and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Spread the soaked potatoes across a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry thoroughly. Then toss them in a large bowl with the olive oil and your seasonings of choice.
Then transfer the seasoned potato to the pan, spreading them in a single layer with some space in between. Use two pans if necessary.
Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes once halfway. The potatoes should be tender in the middle and crispy outside.
Broil the baked breakfast potatoes right at the end for even crispier results, flipping them so all sides cook evenly.
Home Fries in the Pan
First, parboil the cubed potatoes. To do so, add the potatoes to a large saucepan covered with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes once boiling. Then drain the water and optionally keep them in the pan for a few more minutes to steam away any excess surface moisture from the potatoes.
Then, transfer the potatoes to a clean kitchen towel and dry them thoroughly. You can optionally season with salt and spices now or wait until the end of the cooking process.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a swirl of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet would work wonderfully for this, too.
Once hot, add the potatoes, spreading them in a single layer and cooking for between 15-20 minutes, until crispy.
Make sure to flip but not stir the home fries too much, as you want to give them time to brown and become crispy on every side. Adjust the heat as necessary while cooking.
Deep-Fried Home Fries
First, heat your deep-fat fryer or a large, deep skillet with an inch of oil. It needs to be between 350-375ºF/176-190ºC.
Once the oil is hot enough, add the potatoes in a single layer. Do so in batches if there are too many; otherwise, it will affect the oil temperature and cooking. Allow the homemade fries to fry for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Once ready, transfer them from the oil with a slotted spoon to layers of paper towel to remove any excess oil, season the fried diced potatoes, and enjoy!
These delicious home fries are the perfect brunch and breakfast potatoes with eggs. However, they also work well as an all-purpose potato side dish that goes with pretty much everything, including:
- Full English breakfast optionally with eggs and bacon/sausage or with baked beans
- Scrambled egg (or scrambled tofu).
- Poached eggs or soft-boiled eggs or fried eggs.
- Avocado toast.
- English muffins.
- Burgers: Like this Pumpkin Bean Burger With Spicy Mayo Sauce.
- Protein: These fried breakfast potatoes pair with most cooked chicken, steak, and fish mains or meat-free alternatives like tofu.
- Enjoy a breakfast burrito with potatoes.
- Breakfast tacos or tacos.
- Omelet or frittata.
- Roast dinner with roast chicken and gravy.
There are a couple of things that can help. First, soaking the potatoes will help remove some of the excess starch and make for crispier results.
For the baked version, broiling them at the end will also help. But keep an eye on them as they’ll burn quickly.
Not necessarily. This comes down to personal preference.
Keeping the peel on will provide the cubed potatoes with more structure and crispiness. Scrub them clean if leaving the peel on.
You can reheat them in the oven (10-15 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC), air fryer, or a stovetop pan to try and bring back some of their crisp texture. I don’t recommend using a microwave, as it’ll make them super soft
While the texture and consistency will change, they are freezer friendly.
I recommend spreading them across a large tray (not touching) and freezing until solid. Then transfer to a freezer-safe container/Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating.
While there are methods that use raw potatoes and start the cooking process with a lid (to steam them), I’ve tried both and prefer parboiling. This helps to remove some of the starch and begin the cooking process. Thus, when making the breakfast home fries recipe, the potatoes will become wonderfully tender in the middle without burning on the outside first.
More Potato Side Dishes
- Homemade potato chips
- Crispy parmesan potato stacks
- Mashed purple potato
- Rosemary garlic roasted potatoes
- Air Fryer Breakfast Potatoes
- Best Oven-Roasted New Red Potatoes
If you try this easy home fries recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
How to Make Home Fries (3 Ways)
How to Cut Home Fries
- Wash and (optionally) peel the potatoes.
- Cut them into ¾-1 inch cubes. First square off the sides by making thin slices on the left and right (long sides, not the ends) of your potato, enough to be able to lay flat on the table.If you want more precise cubes, square off all the edges into a rectangle shape. Save any potato scraps in a bag in the freezer to turn into vegetable stock.
- With one of the flat sides against your chopping board, slice the potato every ¾-1 inch apart.
- Cut those slices every ¾-1-inch apart to make batons/sticks. Then finally, cut those sticks down into cubes.
- As you're chopping, transfer the cubed potato to a big bowl of water. This will keep them from browning and remove excess starch for crispier results.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC before cutting the diced potatoes, and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Spread the soaked potatoes across a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry thoroughly before tossing them in a large bowl with the olive oil and your seasonings of choice.It’s essential to make sure they’re as dry as possible. Otherwise, they’ll steam when cooking rather than become crispy.
- Transfer the seasoned potato to the pan, spreading them in a single layer with some space in between. Use two pans if necessary.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway, or until the potatoes are tender in the middle and crispy outside.Broil the baked breakfast potatoes right at the end for even crispier results, flipping them so all sides cook evenly.
Pan Fried/Skillet Potatoes
- Parboil the cubed potatoes. To do so, add the potatoes to a large saucepan covered with cold water. Bring this to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes once boiling. Then drain the water and optionally keep them in the pan for a few more minutes to steam away any excess surface moisture from the potatoes.
- Transfer the potatoes to a clean kitchen towel and dry them thoroughly. You can optionally season them now or wait until the end of the cooking process.
- Heat a large skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium heat with a swirl of oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Once hot, add the potatoes, spreading them in a single layer and cooking for between 15-20 minutes, until crispy.Make sure to flip but not stir the home fries too much, as you want to give them time to brown and become crispy on every side. Adjust the heat as necessary while cooking.
- Heat your deep-fat fryer or a large, deep skillet with an inch of oil. It needs to be between 350-375ºF/176-190ºC.You can test this with an oil or laser thermometer OR place a wooden chopstick/spoon into the oil. If it’s ready, bubbles should form around it immediately and begin to float to the surface. Alternatively, place a popcorn kernel in the heating oil. It will pop somewhere between 350-360ºF/176-182ºC.
- Once the oil is hot enough, add the potatoes in a single layer. Do so in batches if there are too many; otherwise, it will affect the oil temperature and cooking. Allow them to fry for 5-6 minutes until golden-brown and crispy.
- Once ready, transfer them from the oil with a slotted spoon to layers of paper towel to remove any excess oil, season the fried diced potatoes, and enjoy!
How to Make Ahead and Store?
- Make ahead: You can chop the potatoes in advance and store them in water, covered, for a couple of days.Store: It's best to enjoy the crispy diced potatoes immediately for the best texture. However, if you have leftovers, allow them to cool and transfer them to an airtight container for 3-4 days.Reheat: You can reheat them in the oven (10-15 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC), air fryer, or a stovetop pan to try and bring back some of their crisp texture. They won't be quite as good, but still good. I don't recommend using a microwave, as it’ll make them super soft.
- Slice the pieces evenly: So they cook at an even rate. Note that you don’t have to make cubed potatoes. You could make half-moon slices or full circles, instead.
- Make sure they’re dry: Otherwise, the potatoes will steam rather than become crispy.
- Avoid overcrowding: Cook the skillet potatoes in batches if necessary. Use multiple baking trays if needed. And don’t overfill the oil when deep frying. This way, you avoid uneven cooking.
- Don’t stir often: For the skillet potatoes, the key to crispy results is not to stir the potatoes too much. Instead, you want to give them a chance to brown and become crispy, flipping them occasionally to ensure all sides cook evenly.
- Time-saving hack: If you have a food chopper with grid blades, you can slice the potatoes and use the chopper to cube them.
- Onion & Bell peppers: You can use one or both, finely diced and pan-fried until tender and lightly browned.
- Mushrooms: Same as the above, sauté the mushrooms separately, then mix them in at the end.
- Chili: To add more heat, feel free to add some finely minced chili to the pan-friend version.
- Cajun seasoning: Swap out the seasoning option above for a Cajun twist.
- Garlic: You can either add 2-4 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet potatoes (add in the last minute, so it doesn’t burn) or use garlic powder to season.
- Butter: Using olive oil and butter combined for the skillet potatoes will be the best for flavor and browning.
- Herbs: Rosemary or thyme are a delicious addition. Add a sprig or two to the oil when pan-frying, or sprinkle them over the baked version.
- Parsley: To garnish the potatoes. Green onions/scallions or chives would also taste great.
- Cheese: Feel free to add some shredded cheese (like cheddar) at the end to melt over the fries when serving.