I’ve been making my version of saute potatoes and onions for more years than I care to remember. It’s a tried and tested recipe that never fails to deliver. The potatoes are lightly browned and fork-tender, while the onions are soft and full of flavour. This dish is perfect for serving with your favourite roast or sausages, and you can even fry leftovers in the morning for instant breakfast hash-browns.
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The best saute potatoes and onions
Let me start off by saying that this isn’t a recipe for crispy saute potatoes. If that’s what you are looking for you may like to try this recipe for German fried potatoes instead.
My recipe for saute potatoes and onions delivers softer potatoes with a golden brown colour, combined with delicious caramelised onions, that pair beautifully with a roast, with sausages or with my favourite crispy eisbein.
The beauty of this dish is that it almost cooks itself.
Once you’ve browned the potatoes, all you have to do is stir in some chopped onions, cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Then the pan can be left alone for half an hour or so (with an occasional stir) until everything is soft and yummy. Such an easy dish, but so full of flavour!
This recipe is a combination of two cooking methods, sauteing and steaming. First, the potatoes are sauteed in a little oil and butter until they are browned. Next, the onions are stirred in, then a lid is placed over the pan to allow the onions to steam and release their moisture, which both softens and flavours the potatoes.
The result is a delicious combination of potatoes and onions that will have everyone asking for seconds.
Let me show you.
What you will need
You will need a saute pan or a large frying pan with a lid. Years ago when I first made this recipe I had an electric stove, so I made this recipe in an electric wok because it meant that I could adjust the temperature easily. Now I’m cooking on a gas stove I find a saute pan or frying pan work just as well.
For cutting up the potatoes and onions you will need a sharp knife and a chopping board. And of course, you don’t want to be scratching your non-stick pans with a metal spatula, so a silicone spatula is a must!
This recipe will be sufficient for 4 people as a side dish. But you can easily scale it up or down by adjusting the amount of potatoes and onions you add. You will need roughly twice as many onions as potatoes.
**You can find the complete list of ingredients and details instructions for making these saute potatoes and onions on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Potatoes – it doesn’t really matter what sort of potatoes you use. If you choose a firmer potato such as a Charlotte or Jersey Royal, the finished dish will have potatoes with a firmer texture that hold together better; if you use a more floury potato such as a Maris Piper or a King Edward, the finished dish have more of a ‘fall-apart’ texture. Either of them will taste good!
Onions – I prefer to use a white onion because I think the colour looks better in the finished dish, but if you only have red onions you can use them with no problem. You will need half as many onions as potatoes.
Salt – this dish does benefit from the addition of salt. I used about half a teaspoonful, but you can add salt to your own taste.
Oil – this is sunflower oil or any other neutral-flavoured oil, and is used for frying the potatoes. If you prefer you can add a tablespoon of butter to the oil for more flavour. Don’t use just butter on its own though, the smoke point isn’t high enough to brown the potatoes without the butter burning.
What to do
Start off by peeling the potatoes and onions. Cut the potatoes into approximately one-inch chunks and cut the onions into half-inch pieces.
Heat oil (and butter if using) in a saute pan and then add the potatoes and stir fry them for 5 minutes or so on a medium heat until they start to brown. The oil should be hot enough so that the potatoes sizzle gently when added.
Sprinkle the potatoes with salt to taste.
Stir in the chopped onions, add 2 tablespoons of water, then immediately cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down as low as possible.
Leave the potatoes and onions to steam for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are well softened.
Tip the potatoes into a serving dish and serve hot as a side with a roast or sausages.
Note – the actual time to cook will depend on how hot your stove was. If the potatoes and onions start to burn while they are steaming, add one or two tablespoons more water to the pan.
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What to serve with sauteed potatoes and onions
As I mentioned above, I like to serve these saute potatoes and onions with a crispy eisbein. Here’s the link again for my eisbein made in a Ninja multi-cooker but if you don’t have a Ninja you can just as easily make the eisbein in a normal pressure cooker and crisp it in the oven.
These potatoes also go extremely well with a roast. Why not try them the next time you make a roast leg of lamb, instead of roast potatoes? They also go very nicely with lamb shanks instead of mashed potatoes.
Or what about serving them with this slow-cooker brisket with lots of delicious onion gravy?
And don’t forget, any leftover saute potatoes and onions can be fried up in the morning for easy hash browns!
Saute potatoes and onions FAQ
Yes, you can freeze any leftovers. However,l do bear in mind that the onions may draw a little water on defrosting. If this happens, pour any liquid away once you have defrosted the saute potatoes.
Freeze them in a suitable freezer container for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to eat them, defrost them in the refrigerator, pour away any water that may be in the bottom of the container, and then reheat them in a saucepan on the stove. You can also reheat the potatoes in the microwave.
Yes, you can make these potatoes up to three days in advance and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. Reheat either in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave.
Simply heat one or two tablespoons of sunflower oil in a frying pan. One the oil is hot, add the potatoes and cook over a medium heat until the potatoes start to brown on the bottom. Turn them with a spatula and continue to cook until the other side has browned too. This will take about 5 minutes per side.
Save for later
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If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like to try some of my other potato recipes:
- Air-fryer baked potatoes (with savoury mince topping) – a crispy skin on the outside and beautifully soft and creamy on the inside, topped with my popular savoury mince.
- Boulangere potatoes – slices of creamy potatoes layered with buttery onions, topped with cheese and baked in a tasty vegetable stock.
- Potatoes Romanoff – a cheesy potato and onion casserole.
- Crispy smashed potatoes with rosemary – smashed potatoes sprinkled with rosemary and oven-baked in olive oil until crispy.
- Scalloped potatoes in batter – slices of potato dipped in batter and fried until crispy.
Saute potatoes and onions
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Frying Pan with lid
- ¾ pound / 350 grams potatoes cubed approx ¾ inch
- ½ pound / 175 grams onions cubed approx ½ inch
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- Heat the oil in a saute pan or a frying pan until quite hot and then add the potatoes. The oil should sizzle gently when the potatoes are added.2 tablespoons sunflower oil, ¾ pound / 350 grams potatoes
- Add the salt½ teaspoon salt
- Stir fry the potatoes on a mediium heat for 5 minutes until they start to brown.
- Leave to cook on a medium heat, stirring 2 or 3 times for 5 minutes until the potatoes start to brown.
- Turn down the heat to low and stir in the onions and 2 tablespoons of water and cover with the lid. Turn down the heat as low as possible.½ pound / 175 grams onions, 2 tablespoons water
- Leave the potatoes and onions to steam for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened.
- Tip the potatoes into a serving dish and serve hot as a side with a roast or sausages.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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