Help me get my breakfast potatoes crispy!

I’ve been experimenting with my breakfast potatoes recipe and while I have the seasoning I’m looking for pretty much perfected, I’m still having trouble getting it to come out crispy, and if I could figure that out they would be perfect.

The 3 major ingredients are potatoes (obviously), onion and red bell pepper if that makes any difference.

Any advice? What kind of potato fries up the best? Does a small dice or a larger dice make any difference? Should I soak the potatoes in cold water for a while or is a quick rinse good enough? Should I just stick it under the broiler until it crisps up? Please help!

Need more info. Like, lots more info.
Are you cooking them in a skillet/frying pan? If so: nonstick? cast iron? stainless steel?

What kind of fat: butter? oil? something else?

What are you doing with the potatoes: cubing? slicing? shredding?

  1. You probably ought to pre-cook the potatoes, or else you’ll have a hard time getting them cooked and browned.

  2. Use relatively high heat

  3. Use a fair amount of oil. Making potatoes crispy is basically the process of dehydrating the outside (like a potato chip) without burning it. It’s hard to do in a dry non-stick pan, and just about impossible in a regular pan.

Cast iron. Olive oil + a little butter. Potatoes are diced, pretty small, like 1/8 - 1/4" cubes, probably on the smaller end of that.

What I have been doing is cutting them, throwing them in a heated pan (with oil and butter) and cooking them mostly through, then tossing in the onion, pepper and seasonings, letting it cook through, then chucking it under the broiler for a few minutes, stir it up, toss it back under the broiler, then taking it out, tossing in some herbs then serving. Sometimes it comes out pretty crispy, sometimes it comes out overcooked and mushy. I’m having difficulty getting a consistent result.

Cast iron, high heat, precooked potatoes, don’t stir. Use a high heat oil, and let them set and char before you stir/flip. This is the major mistake people make with hash browns, too.

I cook diced potatoes pretty much every Sunday morning for me and my wife. I dice them into 3/8"-1/2" cubes, then dump them in water. Bring to boil, but boil for just a minute or so, then drain. Return to pan, with 1.5 tablespoons of butter per potato. Gotta stir early on to coat them all with butter before the residual surface water evaporates. Then I cook over medium heat, stirring/turning them maybe once every five minutes for fifteen minutes or so, until they’re nicely browned. As silenus notes, you gotta let them sit there for a while while they brown up on their bottom sides; if you turn them too often, you’re just warming them evenly.

Pan is stainless steel because I typically use a heat level that’s a bit hotter than a non-stick pan will tolerate.

I see. Perhaps I’m just fussing with it too much.

I soak the diced (or grated) potatoes in water for about two minutes first, then squeeze the water out, then fry.

My favorite method:
-Pat dry.

These three steps get rid of some of the extra starch that bleeds out of the potatoes from the dicing and can result in mushiness or bottom-of-pan charring that happens before they cook through. Be sure you don’t skip the rinse and thorough patting dry.


-Cook in covered iron skillet in butter for 10 minutes.
-Uncover and stir.
-Cook in uncovered skillet, stirring every minute or two, for ten more minutes.

This leads to nonmushy potatoes (I don’t really like ones that have been pre-boiled, but that’s a to-taste thing) with good buttery crispness. They taste a bit like buttery french fries.

I’ve subbed olive oil for some of the butter with good results, but subbing good yellow potatoes for russets was unfortunate: the potatoes never got crispy. I think russets have a pretty low moisture level to begin with, which makes them extra-fluffy and delicious.

Chill the potatoes and peppers before you dice them.
Don’t use a non-stick pan. Cast iron is best but stainless will work.
Use canola oil or some other extremely light oil. No animal fat or butter.

I’ll bet the times they’ve come out to the crispness you liked, you possibly got distracted and left them longer between flips than you might have otherwise. Sounds yummy.

For me i had the most success with a finely cubed jullienne potato, around a 1/4 to half an inch square, done in small batches with a roomy pan and 3/4 burner setting with shallow vegetable oil and butter to nearly cover. I finished the last 1/4 of the cooking with onion and garlic and a bit more butter. The most important factor to this crisping was the roomieness of the pan… small quantities to fit the pan. Prevents the steaming and soggienes effect.

Adding the onions and peppers introduces moisture, which is not conducive to crispiness. One thing you could do is saute your pepper and onion in a separate pan, then add to the potatoes at the last minute.

Good suggestion.

I never precook the potatoes, as it’s just not necessary. It doesn’t even matter what kind of pan you use. I don’t use butter, because it can scorch, so I stick to either peanut oil, bacon fat or olive oil (and not all that much, either). Get the oil hot, dump in the spuds, let them brown on one side, then cover the pan and let them cook a bit. Uncover, flip them over and continue browning. Unless you’re using huge chunks of potato, it doesn’t take long for them to be done. If you’re making hash browns, only flip the potatoes once when cooking (and no stirring), or you’ll likely end up with a mess.

Best potatoes? Russett or Yukon Gold.

What Chefguy said. Especially about choosing the potato. Avoid red potatoes, they too often turn into a greyish mush. Wrong starch ratios…

Did you think of roasting the potatoes? Put a couple tablespoons of evoo (or peanut or grapeseed oil) on a baking sheet or shallow pan in the oven at 425. Nuke one large russet 3-4 minutes, flip and nuke for another 3-4 minutes. The potato will be almost completely cooked. Slice it into fries. Carefully slide the potato wedges onto the blazing hot oil and do your best to coat with the oil. Put them back in the oven for about 12 mins, then flip them and put them back for another 10-15 mins. Best oven baked crispy crunchy potatoes you’ve ever had. I would just eliminate the peppers and onioins, or, if you must, mix them in afterwards.