Fried Potatoes and Eggs

There’s a breakfast spot my husband, David, and I hit now and again–Vera’s Country Cafe–that combines my two breakfast favorites, fried potatoes and eggs, in one dish. Vera’s Skillet Breakfast, a mound of tender-crisp potatoes with eggs scrambled right in, satisfies me every time. Once I discovered you don’t need to start with cooked potatoes to make the dish, it became a regular breakfast for me at home. Serve it up and enjoy, knowing this dish will stay with you until you’re actually supposed to be hungry again–lunchtime!

By the way, this dish is easy to double to serve four for brunch or a light dinner; just double the ingredients and use a 10-inch skillet instead. If you like, you can omit the scallions, but this perfect early-morning allium–no tears, no funky breath–provides great color and flavor.–Pam Anderson

LC Diner-Style Dinner Note

We’ve had our share of memorable dinners like this one at diners, seated at a counter, a laminated diner menu before us. Yet the way we see things, a jumble of eggs and potatoes and assorted other ingredients in a skillet is a highly personal thing. Which makes us ask, can you really trust that sticky menu to know exactly what you’re craving? Exactly. So if you’re anything like us, you’ll like the singular technique and the ample options afforded by the blueprint below. Just use your imagination and the contents of your firdge. The indecisive can always turn to author Pam Anderson’s tried-and-true combos, which she shares below. And those who, like us, are almost always hungry will find this skillet situation just as satiating at breakfast as it is any other hour of day.

Fried Potatoes and Eggs Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces red boiling potatoes, (4 small or 2 medium potatoes), rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Generous pinch dried herbs or spices, such as oregano, basil, Italian herbs, tarragon, thyme, herbes de Provence, paprika, or ground cumin (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup grated or crumbled cheese, such as aged or extra-sharp Cheddar, pepper Jack, feta, goat cheese, Gruyere, aged Swiss, provolone, or regular or smoked mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro or dill (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Dice the potatoes pretty small but not super tiny. (You want them small enough so they more or less fit in a single layer in an 8-inch nonstick skillet and will cook quickly. Aim for about 1/2 inch dice–no larger.)
  • 2. Combine the potatoes, water, oil, and salt in the skillet over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and set the timer for 5 minutes. Let the potatoes cook, stirring once or twice if you think of it, while you prep the rest of your ingredients. By the end of the 5 minutes, the water should have just evaporated and the potatoes should be barely tender and maybe even have started to brown.
  • 3. Uncover the potatoes and use a spatula to loosen them from the skillet. Cover again and cook over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, 2 to 5 minutes longer. If using dried herbs/spices, sprinkle them over the potatoes now.
  • 4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Pour the eggs over the browned potatoes, strew with the scallion, and scramble until the eggs are just set, maybe a minute or so. Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and fresh herbs, remove the skillet from the heat, and let the whole shebang stand until the residual heat melts the cheese and finishes cooking the eggs. (If you don’t mind losing a little crispness on the potatoes, you can cover the skillet so the cheese melts more quickly and evenly.) Scoop the mess from the skillet, place it onto plates, and pass the forks.

Pam's Fave Combos for Skillet Potatoes and Eggs:

  • Pepper Jack and cilantro
    Feta and oregano
    Goat cheese and thyme
    Extra-sharp Cheddar and fresh dill
    Gruyere and tarragon
    Provolone and Italian herbs
    Swiss and paprika
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Jun 14, 2012

If there ever was a recipe that comes in handy for every meal (and sometimes in between), it’s this one. I made the skillet potatoes and eggs with Cheddar and dried Italian herbs, as well as a version with the bits of cheese left in the cheese drawer and lots of pepper. Both were delicious. Just make sure the potatoes are diced pretty small so they soften up. Anything larger than 1/2-inch cubes aren’t going to be tender in such a short cooking time.

Testers Choice
Kim Graham

Jun 14, 2012

We loved this dish. It came together very quickly and is very flexible to make with whatever cheeses and herbs you have on hand. I used creamy Point Reyes blue cheese and Italian flat-leaf parsley and doubled the recipe so it would be enough for dinner. It was a perfect light meal for a warm spring evening. I had a small problem with the cooked potato/egg mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan, so I would reduce the heat slightly when removing the lid from the pan, possibly add a little more oil if needed. We will definitely be making this again and trying some of the other suggested combinations.

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Jun 14, 2012

This is the fastest, easiest, (pretty) healthiest recipe I have found in long time that everyone in my family loved. I have made this three different times in the last two weeks because it was such a hit the first night and this has been an extra busy week with people on different dinner schedules some nights. Each night we tried different combinations of herbs and cheese on several different skillets, letting individual family members decide on the combinations to fit their taste preferences. Tonight being an extra-busy night, I made one huge one in a very large skillet using nine extra-large eggs, I should not have tripled the olive oil and water because it just took longer to cook off, but it still turned out great! I used fresh Italian herbs, some chives because I did not have any scallions, and a blend of Italian cheese on top. I had a little warm tomato sauce on the side, but no one really needed it. I may try adding some veggies or a little meat next time, but it is wonderful just like it is.

Testers Choice
Nancy A. Mosher

Jun 14, 2012

This breakfast can be made quickly while the coffee’s brewing and is the ultimate in flexibility. The technique of cooking the potatoes in a little water is the genius behind this recipe, making it a one-pan breakfast. The combinations of herbs, spices, and cheeses you could use is unlimited. I even tossed in some leftover roasted red peppers after the potatoes were cooked to brighten things up. All sorts of things could be added in, like crumbled bacon, a handful of peas, or some minced garlic. With only six ounces of potatoes and three eggs, the portions are certainly smaller than you’d get at the corner diner, but not too skimpy. Give this one a try and you’ll find yourself making it over and over. It’s also terrific spooned into a warmed tortilla with a little sour cream.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jun 14, 2012

This breakfast is quick and easy. It could almost be done on a weekday morning. I love the freedom to use whatever cheese and herb blend I have on hand. The small-cut potatoes cook up nice and add fabulous texture. The onions are mild and great for a breakfast. Adding a bit of sausage, bacon, steak, etc., would make this a fun dinner.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Jun 14, 2012

This is so quick and easy to make. It’s similar to my hubby’s signature home fry scramble, but easier and faster to make and lighter in taste. (There’s also less mess afterwards.) I liked that this is fast enough for a weekday, but versatile enough for weekends, too. And with so many variations to make, everyone was happy. I cooked the potatoes covered for closer to six or seven minutes to make sure they were nicely softened. The water had evaporated by the time five minutes had passed. The rest of the timings seemed to be right on. I would suggest that the pan be covered when off the heat to help the cheese completely melt. I found that when left for a few minutes as suggested, the cheese on top didn’t completely melt. One of the family suggested they’d like to increase to four eggs and a half cup of cheese in the variation they wanted. This made a better balance of eggs and cheese to potato, nice for those of us who prefer eggs to potatoes. All in all a really enjoyable dish.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Jun 14, 2012

I already made this twice and I can see me making this one for Sunday breakfast often. I love all the possibilities of cheese and herb combinations. For my first time I did a double recipe for my daughter and myself to eat while watching Food Network Saturday morning. We opted for provolone cheese and fresh tarragon (since she had some in a pot growing nicely). We thought it was great. The next time I made it for myself and I used Cheddar cheese and fresh chives from my herb garden. Again: delicious. Can’t wait to try other cheese and herb combinations. Five minutes was perfect for cooking the potatoes in the water and oil and they were starting to brown when I took off the lid after prepping the other ingredients. After a couple more minutes, the potatoes were ready for the eggs, green onion, and herbs. Once scrambled, it only took a couple more minutes for the cheese to melt and breakfast was ready with only one pan to wash.

Testers Choice
Bev B.

Jun 14, 2012

I routinely make this, an evolution of a frittata recipe, for breakfast on a Sunday morning. It tastes so good and can be thrown together with whatever you have on hand. The water is optional with the potatoes, but you definitely need to cook the potatoes before adding the eggs. My variations include frying bacon, taking the bacon out and using the bacon fat to fry the potatoes, then add the crumbled bacon with the eggs. My cheese and herbs also vary depending upon what I have in the garden and in the refrigerator. Despite all the combinations I’ve tried, it always tastes delicious.

Testers Choice
Marilee Johnson

Jun 14, 2012

This was a tasty combo of all ingredients. The potatoes were cooked through, eggs scrambled enough, and the fresh basil & marjoram along with the scallions added a very fresh tasting flavor. Add cheese for gooey yumminess and you have a home run! I didn’t get very crispy potatoes, but I didn’t mind, since all ingredients blended so well. This is a keeper!

Testers Choice
Megan M.

Jun 14, 2012

Right now I’m completely full as I just finished eating both servings of these potatoes and eggs. Generally I’m not an egg person, either. I made this with oregano and feta, a lovely combination, and I will most likely try some other flavor combinations in the future. The potatoes took a little longer than five minutes and the subsequent two minutes to fully cook. I cut them into about a 1/4-inch dice, and that may have been a bit big. I ended up using two red potatoes which weighed about seven ounces. This is certainly a quick, easy and delicious meal.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Jun 14, 2012

This is something that will now be gracing the table quite often in this house. It was so very easy and fast to make–15, maybe 20 minutes tops, and we were eating. Whenever I would make home fries for breakfast, I would start with par-boiled potatoes. I would either boil them the day before, or if the urge hit in the morning, and I did not have par-boiled potatoes, breakfast would be quite delayed, waiting for the potatoes to get tender, and then there is all that time getting them browned afterward. I do think that it would be a good idea to give a guide as to what a “pretty small dice” is. I diced the potatoes about the size of a pea, which may have been too small. After the five minutes of cooking them covered in the pan, they were quite crusted on the bottom. Because of their size, they did get a bit lost in the finished product. So next time, I will experiment with a larger dice. I added some halved cherry tomatoes along with the eggs and scallion slices. We used a mixture of Gruyere and Cheddar cheese and added some chopped parsley. The finished product was soft, moist, and very fresh tasting. Although not part of the recipe, the finish product was sprinkled with crispy bacon pieces. Don’t know how that happened, but it sure was good.

Testers Choice
Cindy Zaiffdeen

Jun 14, 2012

Made this recipe on a Saturday morning. Rather than boiling potatoes, I saved some of the purple Peruvians we had for supper the night before and used them instead. I cubed them and sauteed them in the olive oil with a little salt and pepper and dried oregano. Made the egg mixture with the scallions and more oregano. Poured it on to the potatoes and scrambled. It would have turned out like a frittata if I hadn’t stirred it. Sprinkled feta cheese on top at the end and let it soften a bit before digging in. Very tasty and quick to make if you don’t have to boil the potatoes from the beginning.

Testers Choice
Chiyo Ueyama

Jun 14, 2012

I will definitely make this again, and again, and again. The recipe is more like a guideline and your preference and creativity play a big role, so have fun making Fried Potatoes and Eggs à la YOU. Just be mindful of the cooking time and heat adjustments, and you’ll be able to make this down-to-earth dish by feel. I cut my potatoes into about 1/2-inch pieces and they cooked perfectly in five minutes. Asiago cheese and Italian parsley made a good combination.

Testers Choice
Brenda Carleton

Jun 14, 2012

My husband has made something similar to this for years, at least somethingwith the same ingredients. However, this technique is far different. I like that the potatoes are cut very small and almost braised in the water and olive oil. Several suggested flavor combinations are listed at the end of the recipe; I opted for the extra-sharp Cheddar and fresh dill. The potatoes are diced small so they cook quickly. Mine took about five additional minutes after the five-minute braise rather than the two suggested. After the potatoes have started to brown, the lightly-scrambled eggs are added along with scallions and fresh herbs. Last, the cheese is sprinkled on top. Sounds soooo simple (and it is). The entire process took about 20-25 minutes start to finish. A great dish for breakfast, lunch or supper. There was nothing I did not like. It was simple, rustic, flavorful and filling. It would be so easy to double it or simply add a bit of this or a bit of that here or there. It’s alsoan excellent base for all sorts of cheese/herb combinations. You can bet I will be making this again! Great brunch idea for guests as well.

Testers Choice
Rebecca Marx

Jun 14, 2012

While this isn’t a recipe that will blow your mind, it’s straightforward, simple, and satisfying, and works equally well for dinner and breakfast. I liked the somewhat unconventional approach of scrambling the eggs on top of the potatoes, as well as the method of cooking the potatoes themselves. Everything worked pretty much as it was written, though I’d advocate using more than the one scallion that’s called for if you want any actual scallion flavor. I used herbes de provence and hard goat’s cheese, as well as a mix of mint and some semi-geriatric parsley languishing at the bottom of my vegetable bin. It worked really well, and highlighted the recipe’s versatility.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Jun 14, 2012

This recipe is a perfect breakfast, brunch, or light dinner. All the flavors of potato with eggs, herbs, and cheese was a winner for my group of testers. The recipe was loosely written with lots of options, but right in line for the cookbook title “Cook Without a Book.” I used dried tarragon and herbes de Provence, Gruyere, and fresh basil. The possibilities of changing this dish are limitless with fresh herbs in the garden and scraps of cheeses in the refrigerator. I’ll keep this recipe around and keep trying the variations!

Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Jun 14, 2012

What attracted me to this recipe was that I’m always looking for fun and easy enough breakfast/brunch ideas when I have a house full of teenagers who slept over. I made it this past weekend, and everyone seemed to have liked it. Now the first batch I made, I actually ended up using it over a pizza (for breakfast pizza) instead of the usual scrambled eggs and hash browns. The reason for such is that I did not pay as much attention to the cooking in the skillet and the water evaporated pretty fast and the oil was not enough, so the potatoes got a tad stuck. When I started loosening them up, they broke into pieces. I still went ahead and finished the recipe up and the taste was fantastic, but it did not look very appealing, hence the breakfast pizza. The second batch worked out much better as I kept a better eye on the potatoes and added a little bit more warmed oil when the water had evaporated. For spices I used paprika, oregano, basil, and thyme. I added fresh cilantro and parsley too.

Testers Choice
M.K. Morgan

Jun 14, 2012

On Sundays we almost always have what my Irish cousins call “a cooked breakfast.” This fits the bill. It was quick to put together, took 20 minutes start to finish and certainly is a hearty meal for two people. The potatoes should be diced quite small–mine needed a couple of extra minutes. Perhaps 1/2 inch? I used a little dried thyme and feta cheese, which worked nicely with some fresh parsley at the end. The eggs cooked in a flash. It is a simple, comfort food breakfast which would work as is or with the other combos for lunch or supper as well.

Testers Choice
Trudy Ngo-Brown

Jun 14, 2012

I made this for our Sunday breakfast, and it worked out well. In the past when we have tried doing potatoes in the skillet, they either a) took forever to cook or b) got overcooked and greasy (from too much to oil added to keep them from sticking to the pan). The addition of a little water to help cook the potatoes worked out very well and sped things up nicely. I used fontina cheese and some rosemary that I had on hand, and we used it with warm corn tortillas for breakfast. I like recipes like this for their ease of adaptability and appreciate the new technique I learned for cooking potatoes in a skillet quickly!

Testers Choice
Kristin Cole

Jun 14, 2012

A simple recipe that’s loosely worded can be refreshing at times! I enjoyed this one because I was able to modify it in countless ways. First off, I used a sweet potato instead of red potatoes, gorgonzola for my cheese of choice, sweet paprika/chili peppers to spice it up, and basil for a fresh, light quality. I wish the potatoes had gotten a bit crispier (I could have let them go longer than two min) but they were still nicely cooked through. Two tablespoons of oil was also excessive for that small quantity, so I would reduce that to one. Overall, an easy and satisfying meal for any time of day!

Testers Choice
Liz Tarpy

Jun 14, 2012

Six ounces of potatoes came out to be two medium-size ones, and after dicing them up, I worried there were too many to fit in one layer in the 8-inch skillet and cook properly. But I pushed them all together, followed the directions, and they cooked up perfectly. The egg part came together in no time, and after I pulled the pan from the heat, the cheese melted into the sides of the pan and got a little crispy (a good thing). I used sharp Cheddar, scallions and parsley. Breakfast couldn’t have been faster or tastier that morning.

Testers Choice
Valerie Curtiss

Jun 14, 2012

I have never cooked fried potatoes from raw without burning them. The addition of the water is brilliant—I love it. I will always cook fried potatoes this way from here on, as it beats microwaving the spuds first and cutting up hot spuds. The recipe worked just as written and we loved the result. I served them with leftover steak from the night before. Great recipe with great results.

Comments
Comments
  1. Rick Casner says:

    Now I know what I’m having for lunch! Maybe a little salsa on top. And I love recipes where cheating or shortcuts are encouraged, so thanks. Also, is it just chance that the photo on top was shot by a guy named…Bacon? Really???

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Casner, can’t say whether it was chance or not, but yes, the guy’s name actually is Bacon. Believe it. And you’re welcome!

  2. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Sounds yummy and I’ll be trying it.

  3. wow that looks so delicious! love a good potato and egg dish!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      So do we, Caralyn. Many thanks for the shout out. And yes, you’re going to want to try this. Let us know when you do…and let us know what you do…

  4. Cindy says:

    Yikes. Another old favorite. My mom called it German Farmer’s Breakfast. In addition to potatoes (occasionally baked leftover from the night before) and eggs, ours had whatever meat was handy (usually bacon or ham), plus a little onion. Cook the bacon first, and use the grease to cook it all. I know, I know, bacon grease. Nothing cooks a potato better.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I come from that same line of German sensibility and practicality in terms of saving the bacon drippings, Cindy. And thank heavens for that! I’m with you–nothing cooks a potato better. (Well, save perhaps for duck fat, depending on one’s mood.) Love the sounds of that skillet breakfast, which I dare say also sounds like supper. Love it. Many thanks…

  5. Jeff says:

    I just LOVE this idea. It incorporates a little of the economy of movement that good intuitive chefs have, i.e., Jacques Pepin.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Jeff. Although I’d add that, given this recipe’s resemblance to hash, it bears the practicality and penny-pinching of good grandmas, too.

  6. Kelley G says:

    I was looking for a quick lunch recipe using eggs and potatoes and stumbled upon this one. My goodness; that was amazing! I’ll definitely try the different cheese/herb combinations for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  7. Andrea Vaughan says:

    I just made this for dinner using a leftover baked potato from dinner the other night…it was yummy. I prob never would have scrambled the egg right in the tater before…I usually made and served them separately…together is definitely better :)

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail