These Crispy Pan Fried Potatoes make the perfect side dish to so many meals. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are a real family favorite!
The trick to making these smashed potatoes is two-fold - Plenty of salt and a good heavy skillet or frying pan with oil and not butter. In this recipe, the oil gets them crispy, and the butter is added at the end to add flavor. It is a winning combination!
The potatoes are boiled first and then crushed, so they have plenty of edges, some small pieces, and some larger pieces. This gives you the perfect mix of crispy bits and soft fluffy bits. These really are the BEST pan fried potatoes!
How to pan fry potatoes
These crispy pan fried potatoes are so easy to make, and you can get some of the cooking done in advance if you want. (more details on this below)
To start, we are going to boil the baby potatoes in well-salted water. This gives the potatoes more flavor and does make the finished dish amazing! You want around 1 ½ tablespoon of salt in the water.
Don't be alarmed by the amount of salt in the cooking water! It doesn't all absorb into the potato; it just ensures that the finished fried potatoes are seasoned entirely through.
Once the potatoes are drained, make sure you leave them for 5 minutes to really steam dry. This way, they fry up to be more crispy.
After this drying time, you want to use a mug or a glass to crush the potatoes. Don't worry if some of the potatoes fall apart. This will give you more crispy bits. The aim is to get a few small chunks and plenty of large pieces.
These smashed potatoes are then cooked in a hot skillet with a neutral oil. I like to use canola oil, but sunflower oil or vegetable oil works well too. Don't use olive oil as it can impart a bitter flavor on the potatoes.
Once crispy, you can add some butter for extra flavor and a sprinkling of herbs. The potatoes shouldn't need any seasoning as they were cooked in the heavily salted water at the beginning.
How long to pan fry potatoes
These are quick to cook! Because the potatoes have been cooked in salted water first, they can be pan fried in around 5-7 minutes.
The key is to get the skillet/frying pan and oil hot before you add the potatoes; this way, they start to fry as soon as you add then to the pan. They will get crispy and delicious!
The best kind of potato for fried baby potatoes
I am torn between two camps! The really crispy and fluffy camp and the soft and creamy camp.
Potatoes like Baby Yukon Golds will be soft and creamy when cooked, so you get a delicious soft inside. But they don't smash up to give you as many jagged narley edges. So you get less crunch. I prefer these with something like a fillet of salmon.
Something like a Baby Russet, Red Skinned Potatoes, or a Baby Nadine Potato will give you a fluffier inside and more crunch as they are starchy, so the crush more easily into small and large chunks. I prefer these as a side for steak.
Both are delicious!!!
How to prepare fried potatoes advance.
If you want to get ahead, you can boil and drain the potatoes ahead of time. The potatoes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
When you are ready to eat then, remove them from the fridge and place your skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, and once glistening, add the potatoes. Leave them to crisp slightly before turning them in the oil. Fry for 8-10 minutes until crispy and heated through. (Cooking time is longer than the recipe below because the potatoes are cold)
What to serve with fried potatoes
The answer here is just about anything! I can't think of a meal that wouldn't be made nicer with a side of these! But some great recipe to try with these would be:
- Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken
- Easy One Pan Italian Chicken Breasts
- Grilled Sweet Cajun Chicken
- Prosciutto Maple Salmon
- Seared Steak with Blue Cheese Butter
- Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Schnitzel
For more delicious potatoes recipes try:
- Slow Roasted Greek Lemon Potatoes
- Brabant Potatoes
- Roasted Hedgehog Potatoes
- Cheesy Garlic Butter Potatoes
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Thyme
- French Style Mashed Potato
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Crispy Pan Fried Potatoes Recipe
- 1.5 lb baby potatoes - see note 1
- 1 ½ tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoon oil (neutral flavor)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped herbs (optional) - see note 2
- Place 1.5 pounds (680g) of potatoes in a pan and just cover with water (about 1 inch above the potatoes) Add 1 ½ tablespoon of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil, turn the water to a simmer and cook the potatoes until a fork easily pierces them. (around 20 minutes for baby potatoes)
- Drain the potatoes well and leave them to steam dry. (see note 3)
- Use a mug or drinking glass to crush the potatoes. (see note 4)
- Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a heavy-based skillet or frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Once glistening, add the crushed potatoes and leave undisturbed for 3 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the potatoes gently and cook on the other side for 3 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are crisp, add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt.
- Serve immediately with fresh herbs.
- You want to choose baby potatoes as they cook more quickly and crush easily. Baby Yukon Golds will be soft and creamy when cooked, so you get a delicious soft inside. But they don't smash up to give you as many jagged narley edges. Baby Red Skinned Potatoes or a Baby Nadine Potato will provide you with a fluffier inside and more crunch as they are starchy, so the crush more easily into small and large chunks.
- You can change the flavor of this dish by adding different herbs. Some great choices would be:
- It is essential to let the potatoes drain well and steam dry. This is what allows them to get crispy when fried.
- Don't worry if some of the potatoes fall apart. This will give you more crispy bits. The aim is to get a few small chunks and plenty of large pieces.