Fried Potatoes (How to make them and when to eat them!)


There aren’t many cultures who haven’t, at one time or another, relied upon potatoes as a staple in their diet due to their availability, adaptability, taste, and tendency to be very filling. Southerners, of course, are no different. I remember my great grandmother, Lela, telling about how she used to be picking cotton in the fields with her kids (when you were a sharecropper, the entire family had to work the fields) and they would walk back to the house at lunchtime and dig up some potatoes to go in and fry for their lunch. Its hard to hear things like that and not look at this bowl of potatoes as a connection to your ancestors, you know?
~Sigh~ I miss Lela.
Alright, moving on to the food part…

Now y’all know that when a Southerner gets a hold of a something, there’s generally gonna be some frying involved if we can help it. There is a great misconception about frying in the south though. Folks seem to think Southern Food = deep frying. That’s not the case at all. In face, much of our “frying” doesn’t even include oil. How can it be frying then? Well, its just a matter of what we call “frying” differing from what those outside of the south define frying as.

You see, to us, a skillet has always been called a “frying pan”. Therefore, when a person in the south tells you to fry something, sometimes they are just telling you what type of pan to use. A great many of our dishes such as “fried corn” have nothing to do with oil, but are just cooked in a skillet! I actually seldom use oil in my cooking, I am much more likely to use it in my baked goods, instead.

Fried potatoes are not so very different. You are really just barely coating the bottom of your pan with oil as potatoes do have a tendency to stick. Myself and absolutely everyone I know loves fried potatoes. There is no meal they can’t pop up at, either. They are just as likely to be served at breakfast in the south as they are lunch or dinner. Despite what you may think, they do NOT taste like a baked potato or even mashed potatoes. Fried potatoes are a treat unto themselves. This is the potato flavor at its finest, better than any other, honest!

Still, they do tend to be a regional thing. You’ve either heard of them and love them or are entirely confused by the very concept. Once, when Granny Jordan was visiting us (who was the epitome of everything a Southern Lady should be), we had prepared a large breakfast at my mother’s house.

Mama put a big old bowl of fried potatoes on the table and Granny Jordan leaned in and asked in her deep drawl “Well now, those look interesting! What are they?” Mama and I hid our surprise as Mama responded that they were just fried potatoes. To which Granny Jordan replied “Well now, isn’t that neat. I bet those sure will be good!”.
Born and raised in Atlanta and had never had fried potatoes?
Lets get some on y’alls table as soon as we can, alright?

All you need are potatoes, vegetable oil, salt and pepper.
(You are just going to love how wonderful these taste if you’ve never had fried potatoes before!)
Pour just enough oil into a skillet to coat the bottom of it. Turn the eye on medium to let your oil heat up for a few minutes.
Peel and chop up your potatoes. Add them to the hot skillet.
Salt and pepper them well, to taste.
When cooking you should always lean on not putting in enough rather than too much, that allows your guests to season according to their preference.
Did you know its considered very rude to salt or pepper your food before you taste it?
Interesting tidbit that you might not have known about! Its insulting to the cook. :)
Y’all just go for it if you’re at my house though, I don’t mind.
Cover with a lid and let them cook for about ten minutes on medium, but check on them every few minutes. Once the ones on the bottom start browning you need to stir them up from the bottom, so the ones on the top end up on the bottom and the ones on the bottom end up on top.
It sounds like I am about to start calling the hokey pokey, doesn’t it?
Growing up, we never had lids for our pots so Mama just used a Corelle plate. :)
After ten minutes or so, remove the lid and stir. Keep cooking until all potatoes are tender and most of them are browned, which will probably be about five to ten minutes longer.
Spoon into large bowl and dig in!!
These are great served alongside beans, hoe cake, and any type of country meat, such as Steak and Gravy!

Fried Potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Peel and dice potatoes into small cubes. Coat bottom of large skillet with oil, turn on medium heat and allow oil to get hot. Add potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for about ten minutes, until potatoes start to brown on the bottom. Remove lid and stir, continuing to cook until potatoes are all tender and mostly browned.


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Y’all have a wonderful day!


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  1. K Weispfenning says

    My Mom was a Southern lady, my Dad is German, so we grew up eating fried potatoes and German sausage, with dill pickles on the side. So good! My Dad had a connection to someone who made sausage “the right way”, and unfortunately that person passed. I’ve never found sausage like it again :(

  2. Angie T. says

    My mom cooked these alot when I was growing up. One difference is she dusted hers with just a little flour before she put them in the skillet. The menu usually included dried beans, cole slaw, and cornbread along with the potatoes.

  3. Cynthia DeHart says

    I’ve never heard of anybody who hasn’t had fried potatoes! Wow! I grew up in the South (Florida Gulf Coast), spent a few years in Central Texas, and have lived in WV for the last 23 years. Never saw a recipe for fried potatoes, either. :) However, I have noticed differences in the way different regions make them…..sliced vs. diced vs. just plain cut up potatoes, onions vs. no onions, etc. However, one thing I have found in common is that they are definitely liable to pop up at any meal (or snack) of the day. I personally cook chopped onions in them and use lots of pepper and a bit of salt. I also add some bacon grease to the oil (you know, gotta have that little bit of “extra flavor” and everything’s better with bacon!). Sometimes the bacon itself pops up in my fried potatoes, and if you add some beaten egg during the last 5 minutes or so off cooking, why, you’ve got yourself a skillet breakfast ready to serve with some buttermilk biscuits!

    I think during these times of rising prices and all that folks need to be getting back to learning how to fix potatoes, rice, beans, etc. for more frugal meals. A few potatoes can make a meal–like the skillet breakfast I mentioned, or made into potato soup…and don’t forget to throw an extra tater in the pot when an unexpected chair is going to be filled with a warm body around the dinner table!

  4. Angela Easterling says

    I grew up in eastern KY and it was always a mainstay for us. They were served year round, with garden food in summer and pinto (soup) beans and corn bread in winter. And served with a variety of meats, as you said.

  5. Martha says

    Thats funny cause I just had them last night. I havent had them in a long time and just wanted some. I do add onions sometimes. I added a porkchop I cooked the same way as the potatoes and some turnip greens I had canned. Good eating…

  6. Judy Ashcraft says

    Fried taters are the BEST! I grew up in Oklahoma and we always had potatoes every day. Occasionally they were mashed but mostly fried and almost always had bacon grease. I know what we’re havin for dinner!

  7. Michelle G says

    i always add bacon dried onions and garlic salt and pepper of course- in my fried potatoes– and we cant forget — a little butter too! but yes to the oil- i scatter sliced cut up bacon first on the bottom of the pan then pile the sliced potatoes and then season them– sometimes shallot salt works if you are out of garlic salt. :) when the potatoes have been browned i flip then season the other side — i put in sliced polksa kielbasa too at the very end to crisp up! thats more of a meal than a side.. fried potatoes and bacon were a staple raised in Nebraska with a cook from Iowa. frozen hashbrowns make a quickie side in a pinch but mainly it was potatoes when i grew up. on the grill wrapped in foil. in the frypan. in the oven. and pretty much any kind works russet yukon gold and reds– . oh and its sliced potatoes not diced how i was taught.. but they all taste yummy just the same ! loved this post!

  8. kay susan carlson says

    Up North, we call ’em raw fried potatoes. With the new red potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and slice thinly. Otherwise, the cooking is the same. Raw fries always remind me of my younger son, who really appreciates having them at any meal. 😀

    I enjoyed your post <3

  9. Marsha Wiggam says

    Love fried potatoes. We had them frequently when I was a child in southern Indiana. I add onions and green peppers to the skillet now and some capers when they are done. Very good!

  10. suzy says

    At our house these are called “Pappy Taters” my grandpa “Pap” always wanted his potatoes cooked this way. Sometimes he’d want my “Ma” (grandma) to throw in some onion. Yummm!

  11. Kay Overman says

    Fried potatoes are one of my favorite things. I slice mine and most of time add onions now. Great on a biscuit also. Put just out of the pan or bowl is great. We all will need to be using more of the old staple cooking due to increase in grocery prices. Have a great day.

  12. April Bohn says

    In my family, we put onion in our fried potatoes. And more often than not, they end up on some fresh white bread with mustard. Heaven on a plate! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

  13. Jolene Streetman says

    Love those fried potatoes!! Wanted to write about that the other day when you were writing about the sauerkraut & weenies. We always had fried potatoes and beans and cornbread with the sauerkraut & weenies. Of course, being from the South Plains of West Texas, we had potatoes with everything, but our favorite was fried potatoes. My, how I wish I could have some of my Mommie’s fried potatoes, somehow mine just aren’t the same. Thanks for reminding me, Christy!

  14. Teresa Ballard says

    Love, love, love fried potatoes. They were my Daddy’s favorite. His mother stopped frying much in the 40’s. She had heard in a home demonstration club meeting that it was unhealthy. She was way ahead of her time. When she would go to work, Daddy would talk his sister into frying potatoes for him. He also liked them with onions in them but I always preferred them without. Another way that we loved potatoes was to boil and peel new potatoes and then brown them in butter with salt and pepper. Yum! makes me hungry just thinking about all those taters!

  15. Joe Queen says

    Love my fried taters. Been eating them for most of my 65 years. I fry them with a little bacon grease and onion. They go with anything and everything. I like them best with soup beans, cornbread and a little applesauce to go with them. A meal made in HEAVEN!

  16. Marianne says

    I love me some fried taters for sure!! LOL… My Nanny Mac made them for me because I couldn’t have mashed or anything with butter on them. She’d saute an onion and throw in there with them, I haven’t made this in years, now I’ll have to buy some taters and have us a breakfast dinner complete with your Hoe Cake that my Mom dearly loves you for bringing into her life! : )
    Not sure how to verify my email addy, just hope I don’t end up not getting your emails, would break my heart for sure! Lot’s of hugs, spread them around to you and yours!!!

  17. Joanna says

    Have to comment on these. My wonderful grandmother used to make “Thursday lunch” for any of us who were able to stop by. Fried potatoes were almost always on the menu–these look very familiar! I probably should get around to making them while she’s still here to help me get them right! Central Illinois girl all the way here, although I say I’m geographically misplaced! (Hey, my grandpa was from Arkansas; I say that’s where the southern influence comes from.)

  18. melanie says

    Well I have to add my two cents here. I love fried potatoes anyway you fix them but one way we really enjoy is I slice the potatoes, chop onion, green pepper, and hot peppers, and I buy a package of smoked sausage and slice it in half moon slices and through it all into my cast iron skillet with some oil, add salt, pepper and garlic.. When done I serve it with nice slices of tomatoes.

  19. stephan Herrick says

    just had some over at a friends house and she used her french fry cutter for cutting them .they came out real good .I slice them uneven .which made them cook uneven .so will try the french fry cutter this Thursday making riblets with it and green beans .

  20. Melissa Anderson says

    We always called smothered potatoes, I guess b/c you put the lid on and let them smother down.
    They were sliced thin and the onion were even thinner and layered in the black skillet (cast iron) with salt and lots of pepper. I don’t think we ever went camping that these taters weren’t served.
    My husband grew up in Louisiana and had never had them. The first time I cooked them for him he said he fell in love with me all over again. lol
    OK…now I’m wanting fried taters.

  21. mkkiki says

    i know this is bout fried pot. but i got your magazine and got a ? bout tea. Do you use family size bags or reg. Im a very new cook and trying to learn cooking. Sorry know this isnt the page to ask on but i didnt know how to reach you.

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  23. Becky says

    Grew upon them also ! My mom was so good at frying those taters.And now all her girls ( Including me) cook them !! My aunt would fry potatoes and yellow squash together ( when squash was in season),didn’t know if I’d like this dish or not.So glad I tried it,was so good.So you that like squash,give it a try !!

  24. Dawn Brady says

    I grew up in New Orleans & my dad used to brown them a little more & then serve w/sausage and cane syrup either on the potatoes or on the side. After speaking with mom about this – I think it comes from our Cajun side (cane syrup). She said the older folks would do these potatoes with blood sausage (no longer made) and liver sausage. For what it’s worth, I don’t remember eating either of these types of sausages (I’m 54).

  25. Faye says

    We call them “smothered” potatoes here in south Mississippi. I add a small amount of bacon drippings to the oil, a little bit of grated or diced onion, a small amount of garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Tastes like home!!


    My mom made these potatoes for us when we were growing up a family of 8 children we never realized how hard it was for our family back then cause every meal was made with love the only thing she did different was she would cut up a onion and fry in her’s! We thought we were eating the best!! But that’s how the southern mom’s made you feel!! I cook this for my family now!! Delish!!!!

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