Fried potatoes and eggs in a skillet with cheese. That’s the sorta thing we expect from a classic diner, the kind where you’re seated at a counter with a sticky laminated menu with a blob of blueberry jam before you and surly service a given. Yet all too often we crave exactly this jumble of eggs and potatoes and assorted other ingredients in a skillet at an incredibly inopportune moment when dropping everything to head to a diner just isn’t an option. Which is exactly why you need to know how to make this simple recipe at home—including how to vary it ad infinitum according to your cravings and the contents of your fridge.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Fried Potatoes and Eggs
- 6 ounces red potatoes, (4 small or 2 medium), 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 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup grated or crumbled cheese, such as aged or extra-sharp Cheddar, pepper Jack, feta, goat cheese, Gruyère, aged Swiss, provolone, or regular or smoked mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or dill (optional)
- Dice the potatoes into evenly sized and fairly small (although not super tiny) dice. 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.
- Place the potatoes in the skillet and add the water, oil, and salt and crank the heat to medium-high. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and set a 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 a little.
- Uncover the potatoes and use a spatula to loosen them from the skillet. Cover again and cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 5 minutes. If using dried herbs/spices, sprinkle them over the potatoes now.
- 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 and potatoes with the cheese and fresh herbs, remove the skillet from the heat, and let the whole shebang rest for a few minutes until the residual heat melts the cheese and finishes cooking the eggs. (If you’re in a hurry and 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 of fried potatoes and eggs from the skillet and onto plates. Pass the forks.
Fried Potatoes and Eggs VariationFried Potatoes and Eggs Stir-Ins Sure, you can ad hoc any combination of ingredients, but sometimes you want something certain to work. That would be these combinations of stir-ins:
Pepper Jack and cilantro
Feta and oregano
Goat cheese and thyme
Extra-sharp Cheddar and dill
Gruyère and tarragon
Provolone and Italian herbs
Swiss and paprika Fried Potatoes and Eggs for a Crowd No matter which flavor combo you opt for above, this dish is easy to double to serve 4 for brunch or a light dinner. Just double the ingredients and use a 10-inch skillet instead. Or double the doubled recipe and grab a second 10-inch skillet and you’ve got breakfast for a crowd. Scallion-less Fried Potatoes and Eggs You can omit the scallion if you like. No tears, no funky breath. Just keep in mind that this early-morning allium imparts great color and flavor to the rather monochromatic plate of fried potatoes and eggs.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is the fastest, easiest, and healthiest recipe I’ve found in a long time that everyone in my family loved. I’ve made this 3 different times in the last 2 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 cheeses on several different skillets, letting individual family members tailor the combinations to their flavor preferences.
Tonight being an extra busy night, I made one huge dish in a very large skillet using 9 extra-large eggs. I shouldn’t have tripled the olive oil and water because it just took longer to cook off.
We loved this fried potatoes and eggs 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 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 and add a little more oil if needed. We will definitely be making this again and trying some of the other suggested combinations.
If there’s a recipe that comes in handy for every meal (and sometimes in between), it’s this fried potatoes and eggs. I made the skillet breakfast 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 get tender in such a short cooking time.
This is something that will now be gracing my table quite often, it was so very easy and fast to make. 15, maybe 20 minutes tops, and we were eating. The finished product was soft, moist, and very fresh tasting. Although not part of the recipe, it was sprinkled with crispy bacon pieces. Don’t know how that happened, but it sure was good.
Whenever I’d make home fries for breakfast, I’d start with par-boiled potatoes. Either boiled the day before, or if the urge hit in the morning, and I didn’t have par-boiled potatoes, breakfast would be quite delayed, waiting for the potatoes to get tender, and then there’s 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 5 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’ll 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.