Ditch the bag of frozen hash browns and make my dad’s better-than-your-favorite-restaurant fried breakfast potatoes with onions instead.
Growing up, there was nothing better than waking up on the weekend to the aroma of my dad cooking his breakfast potatoes and onions. These skillet potatoes are his weekend specialty, and I can truthfully say I’ve never had better anywhere else. We only eat them for breakfast, but I’ve been known to have leftovers for lunch and dinner too.
My dad’s recipe isn’t so much about the ingredients—it’s only potatoes, onion, and butter—as it is the technique. Over the years I’ve tried to emulate it, but they never tasted like his. Daddy’s potatoes are just the right bit of crispy sides with pillowy soft insides, with slices of onion that’s soft and sweet, never crunchy or burned.
Two years ago when my dad made breakfast for us on New Years Day, I hovered over him like a hummingbird as he cooked this recipe. I took notes and snapped iPhone photos, documenting each and every slice of his knife, change in cooking temperature, and pat of butter, just to make sure I got each and every step exactly right.
I’m proud to say these fried potatoes are 99% as good as his, recognizing that last 1% will always lie in the magic of my daddy’s hands.
What’s in Daddy’s Breakfast Potatoes
What goes into these potatoes is totally basic, comprised of just 3 ingredients along with a little S&P:
- 2 ½ pounds white or Yukon gold yellow potatoes (about 6-7 medium size potatoes with skins on)
- 1 yellow onion
- 8 tablespoons butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
The Best Type of Potatoes for Breakfast Potatoes
Buttery, medium starch white or Yukon gold potatoes (yellow) work best in this recipe. These potatoes hold their shape but break down just enough to become super tender on the inside with some crisps on the outside.
Why You Should Refrigerate the Potatoes Before Cooking
Boil and refrigerate the potatoes before frying. Just like the best french fry recipes, one of the major tenets of this recipe is to boil and then refrigerate the potatoes before frying them. This does three things: 1) The potatoes are nearly cooked before refrigerating where the starches concentrate, creating tender and pillowy potatoes on the inside, and 2) Refrigerating them first pulls out some of the moisture so they become golden and crisp when cooked at a low temperature. 3) Boiling and refrigerating first makes it easier to peel these tender skinned potatoes.
How to Make Breakfast Potatoes From Scratch
Cut the potatoes and onions into chunks, not slices. These potatoes are cut into chunks, not slices, for a more home fries style vibe that crisps but won’t burn. Same with the onions.
Use a large, non-stick skillet. My dad always, always, always makes these potatoes in his electric skillet. I have too. But because everybody doesn’t have a handy electric skillet, a large, heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with a lid is the tool you want here.
My Dad’s Secret Tater Techniques
Cook over medium-low heat, only flipping gently and only when needed. Low and slow is the goal here. My dad keeps these at medium-low or about 275° in an electric skillet, turning only as often as needed so the potatoes don’t burn.
Don’t skimp on the butter. Butter makes everything better, and these potatoes are no exception. If you’re really concerned, yes, add less if you’d like, but they may not taste as good :).
Add the onions ¾ of the way through cooking, then cover with a lid to steam. The onions in this dish aren’t wispy or crisped. They should taste sweet and jammy instead. Topping the potatoes with the onions and more butter ¾ of the way through cooking, then covering with a lid, traps the moisture inside and steams the onions. As they steam, their flavors seep into the potatoes below. Yes, you will want to flip them and mix into the potatoes, but don’t feel like these should be browned in any way.
Other Ingredients to Add to Fried Potatoes
I’ve never wanted to add anything else to these potatoes, but if you’re more into a hash than strictly potatoes and onions, here’s a few ingredient ideas to give a go:
- Green or red bell pepper
- Green onion or sliced shallots
- Chopped parsley, thyme, or rosemary
- Instead of white or yellow potatoes, try making them with sweet potatoes, or even butternut squash.
What Goes Well With Breakfast Potatoes
- Grandma’s Scrambled Egg Recipe
- How to Make Poached Eggs the Easy Way
- Scrambled Egg and Roasted Asparagus Toasts
- Ham And Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata with Goat Cheese
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
THE BEST Breakfast Potatoes
- 2 ½ pounds white or yellow potatoes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt , divided
- 1 yellow onion
- 8 tablespoons butter , divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain, then refrigerate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
- When cooled, peel the potatoes, then cut into quarters and slice into ½ inch chunks. Set aside. Peel and halve the onion, then cut into thick slices. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet with a lid, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes and cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes. Lower the temp to medium-low and use a spatula to gently flip the potatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes, flipping the potatoes once or twice. When the potatoes are ¾ of the way done and are becoming golden brown and crispy, break up the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over the potatoes and layer the onions on top. Cover with a lid, and continue cooking until the onions soften, gently flipping the potatoes once or twice so they don't get too browned or burn. Season with more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
More Breakfast Potatoes Ideas
- The Best Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Rosemary Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Recipe
- How To Make Yummy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
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Oh yes These potatoes are awesome. It looks like Heidi has the technique down perfectly. They are always a treat at our house.
You know how good they are P! XOXOXO
I cannot wait to try this recipe! Whenever we eat breakfast out, my husband and I order the home fries and ask for extra onions (because there are never enough!). Any suggestions for if you are making a batch for a larger group, for a brunch? I don’t have a pan big enough to make a double batch, so would you keep the first batch warm on a sheet pan in the oven while you make the second batch?
Hey Lori, yes! You could easily keep a second batch warm on a baking sheet or casserole dish in a 275-300°F oven. I’d warm the baking sheet or casserole dish in the oven before transferring the potatoes to it so they don’t hit a cold baking sheet and cool. Enjoy!