How to Cook Potatoes in a Pan

How to Cook Potatoes in a Pan

There are many ways to cook potatoes as well as many different kinds to choose from. The possibilities are completely endless for this incredibly versatile ingredient. But one of the most common and easiest ways to cook potatoes sometimes goes overlooked. Right on the stovetop in a sauté pan can make some of the best potatoes you have ever had. Make sure to choose the right potato and keep a close eye as to not burn them as they fry up!

Choosing the Best Ingredient

There are many potatoes to choose from but picking the right one can be tricky. When cooking on the stovetop, you need to pick a potato that won’t take as long to cook. Some good choices will be a lighter and sweeter potato like fingerling potatoes or white potatoes. You can also use other potatoes with a thinner skin like new red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes. Other types of potatoes like Russet Burbank potatoes or Idaho potatoes will not work very well because they are too full of starch, a little denser and take much longer to cook. But the best ingredient to go with will be fingerling potatoes overall.

Preparing the Ingredients

Wash the potatoes under cold water and use a sponge with a scrubber to scrub them free of any dirt if needed. Once they are washed, pat them dry and begin to cut them. You will need to cut them fairly thin, about ¼ inch thick or if they are smaller you could quarter them lengthwise as well. Both cutting applications will work for this cooking method. It is best to preseason them in a bowl with oil, salt and pepper. You can also add any other seasonings you want like onion powder, garlic powder, chili rub or fresh herbs. Toss them in the bowl well to combine everything together. If you do this in the pan instead, you won’t be able to get the potatoes all completely covered, evenly.

During the Cooking Process

When cooking potatoes this way, you will need to use a pan with a lid so you can trap in the heat and moisture that will help cooks the potatoes. If you do not use a lid, you may run the risk of burning the potatoes as they cook longer. You will want to get a nice initial sear on the potatoes, then reduce heat to cook them. So, make sure to start with a smoking hot pan before adding the potatoes. After you get a good sear you can add some butter or water to speed up the cooking process. Butter will make them crispier in the end while water will steam them and make them softer, just depends on your preference. Then close the lid and reduce the heat to continue cooking them.

The Final Touches

Once the potatoes are done, make sure you place them on a paper towel or drain off the grease from the pan. You can also re-season them again with salt and pepper because some may have come off during the cooking process.


  1. Wash and dry the potatoes under cold water then pat them dry. Cut them into ½ inch thick slices and place them in a bowl with salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Toss gently to combine everything.
  2. Place a non-stick pan on the stovetop over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the potatoes and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes then remove the lid, toss everything together with a wooden spoon and cover again for two more minutes.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of butter to the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pan and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and crispy.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off the fat or place them on a paper towel to drain the grease.
  5. Transfer to a plate or serving dish, serve and enjoy!
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