prep time: 10 min | cook time: 25 min
I love eating diner-style potatoes for breakfast. These have a soft potato-y inside and a crispy outside that makes them delicious to bite into. Usually if I’m out eating a plate of these on a weekend morning, I have a raging headache thanks to the night before. But breakfast potatoes always make things slightly better.
I have a method that somewhat replicates these at home. The key to achieving potatoes that have a soft inside with a nice crust on the outside is to boil the potatoes first before frying them in the pan. If you throw raw potatoes into a frying pan directly, the outside is more likely to overcook before the inside cooks through. By par-boiling (or partially boiling, get it hehe) potatoes before frying them, the inside is already partially cooked, so by the time you are done crisping the outside, everything has finished with the right texture.
It may take a few extra steps, but it’s really not a ton of work and it’s worth it for the results. I like cooking these on lazy Saturday morning or when I want to eat breakfast for dinner 🙂
- Par-boiling: I have in my instructions to quarter the potatoes and boil for up to 10 minutes. You can also cube the potatoes before boiling them and then grab them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and drop them right into a hot pan when the time is up. If you do this, you’ll likely need to boil more on the lower end, 5-8 minutes, since the pieces will be smaller.
- Onions: I have in the instructions to dice the onions, but I also sometimes like them included as larger pieces sliced thinly. If you go this route, add the onions at the same time as the potatoes since they will have a longer cook time.
makes about 2 servings
- 2 medium Russet potatoes (about 3/4 to 1 pound)
- ½ medium onion
- Olive oil, butter, or bacon fat – enough to evenly coat pan (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 2 tsp garlic powder (ish – I am usually reckless with amounts)
- 2 tsp onion powder (ish)
- 2 tsp paprika (ish)
- Parmesan or feta cheese, optional
- Bell pepper, optional
- Gather a pot for boiling water and a skillet (preferably cast iron, but any kind will do).
- Peel the potatoes and cut each into 4 pieces (cut lengthwise, then crosswise). Try to cut them all into pretty similar sizes so they boil evenly.
- Halve and deseed the bell pepper, if including. Slice lengthwise into thin pieces.
- Dice the onion (See Note 2).
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat (See Note 1). Once it is boiling, set the potatoes in gently with a spider or slotted spoon so the water doesn’t splash up and burn you. Set a timer for anywhere from 5-10 minutes – 5 minutes for a firmer potato and up to 10 minutes if you like them softer inside. I wouldn’t boil them longer than 10 minutes or else they may become too soft.
- When the timer goes off, remove the potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon or drain them right into a colander. If you poke a fork through them, they should have some give but not be too tender where you can easily poke through the entire thing. Rinse under cold water for about 20 seconds (this stops the cooking process and cools them down) and let them sit and cool for few minutes.
- Warm the pan over medium heat with enough oil or butter to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Cut the potato quarters into cubes. I like to keep my cubes a bit larger.
- Test the pan to see if it’s hot enough by flicking water on it. If it sizzles on contact, it’s ready to cook with. Add the potatoes to the skillet and make sure they are spread out evenly (if you are making a large recipe and the pan would be too crowded with all the potatoes, you may want to cook in batches).
- Let the potatoes cook for a few minutes without stirring – moving things around too early would prevent a crispy crust from forming.
- When it looks like the pan-side of the potatoes are lightly golden and crisp, add in the onions and peppers and stir everything around so the other sides of the potatoes get some fry action. If things look like they are cooking too rapidly or slowly, adjust the heat accordingly.
- Cook until the potatoes look like they’ve crisped up enough and the onions have softened up, a little over 5 minutes or so.
- Turn off the heat, add the onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika and stir until everything is well coated. Add a light sprinkling of salt for seasoning.
- Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle cheese over top and add torn basil. You can eat as a standalone dish, but I usually make it with toast and scrambled eggs and eat it on the couch while sitting under a soft blankie.