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Nov 17, 2013 10:37 AM

How to make diner style home fries?


Could anyone point me to a recipe for diner style home fries (not the cubes but the kind that are kind of flat and have sat on the griddle getting nice and crusty on the outside)? I must be in the minority because all the recipes I see are for the cubed kind or on occasion scalloped potato type things. But this is the style I grew up with in NY and I luv them! Just can't figure out how to do it! Here's a pic Thanks!

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  1. I do a "stacked potatoes" recipe in a CI skillet that could probably be adapted for home fries. Here's the original recipe:

    1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 -inches in diameter)
    3/4 lb. red potatoes (about 2 -inches in diameter)
    3/4 cup Rumiano Dry Jack Cheese (in our Deli), divided finely shredded
    1/4 cup butter melted
    2 tbsp. fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and sage) chopped
    1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
    3/4 tsp. McCormick Smokehouse Pepper
    1/2 tsp. sea salt
    4 cloves garlic minced

    Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 40 to 45 minutes Makes: 12 potato stacks
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Cut potatoes into very thin slices, discarding rounded ends. Place in a large bowl with 1/2 cup cheese, butter, herbs, mustard, pepper, salt and garlic. Mix well with your hands, separating potato slices so that all are as evenly coated with mixture as possible. Stack slices in prepared muffin cups. Scrape bowl to remove all butter mixture and spoon over potatoes; top with remaining cheese.
    3. Bake for 20 minutes, then tent with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

    I sub oo and usually use cheddar cheese. For breakfast you just stick with potatoes and whatever seasoning you prefer. Here are a couple of pix.

    1. Boil or steam whole peeled potatoes (waxy or regular, not Russet/Idaho). Chill. Halve or quarter lengthwise, slice crosswise about 1/4" thick. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, with oil, butter, or (preferably) bacon fat, start sauteeing some chopped onion, add the potatoes and stir gently to mix. In a diner they'd do this on a flat-top griddle, weighing the potatoes down. Press on your potatoes with a pancake turner, or weigh down with a smaller pan. When a good crust forms, flip the potatoes and repeat. Don't do a lot of stirring or you'll break up the potatoes.

      1 Reply
      1. I'll have to disagree a little with in New Jersey...and the King of Greek Diners...most all use Russets, or what are commonly known as Chef Potatoes. These are the large potatoes you see in the markets sold individually by the pound from large bins.

        Like others have indicated. Boil the potatoes. I suggest you cook them slightly underdone so they can slice a little easier and you can finish them in the pan.

        Many diners will add onions, the butter browns them easier. Some will include granulated garlic or onion.....many Greek diners will also include Paprika to add some more color. For some reasons unknown, they put it in, or on, everything.

        5 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I defer to your restaurant experience, fourunder, since I have none. I can see why professional kitchens would prefer large russets - easier and faster to peel, slice. But don't you think they are more fragile for making fried potatoes than less starchy varieties are? Personally, I seldom buy potatoes with a specific use in mind. I'll bake Yukon Golds or Red Bliss if that's what I have on hand (I generally toss a few spuds onto the oven rack when baking something - anything - to multitask the oven. I've made home fries from leftover baked russets and found they crumbled a lot (no surprise there), but I can't specifically recall whether or not I've used boiled or steamed russets for home fries.

          1. re: greygarious

            Personally, I like the russets for Home Fries and Hash Browns. They brown up nicely when an appropriate amount of butter/fat is used. I certainly agree that russets can break down easier, especially when overcooked, but I actually like when the some potatoes are softer than's like having home fries and hash browns together at the same time.

            Like yourself, I try to be very practical and efficient theses days. With regard to potatoes on hand, whether boiling or baked, I like to have extras made for the next day...or for something like mashed potatoes, have extra for leftovers, croquettes or Cream of Potato soup.

            Finally. I think for HBs or HFs... They need to cooled or refrigerated with skins on....then sliced or grated the next day for best results from my experience. Cool or cold makes it easier to slice or cut.

            1. re: fourunder

              Actually, I almost never peel potatoes but I wasn't going to get into that because of potatoes' position on the Dirty Dozen vegetable pesticide list, and the aesthetic objections some folks have to skin-on potatoes. I prefer "dirty smashed" to smoothly-whipped so if I'm cooking just for myself, the skins stay on, for fiber's sake.

              1. re: greygarious

                I just soak them for a couple of hours....drain, rinse under the faucet with hands, or scrub with brush as needed.

                Too much trouble to peel....unless I'm doing a look for presentation with small red bliss.

            2. re: greygarious

              Diner style=chef potatoes. If we're going for "authentic" here, there is no substitute!

          2. To everybody who's posted here: Do you think jimchou71 (and I) can really achieve diner flattop style home fries at home? I'm willing to give it a shot if you think so, but it seems like at least 2/3's of the goodness in those potatoes comes from the flattop itself.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ninrn

              A French Pan (Carbon Steel) or Cast Iron is best. Most older Grill Tops are made with Cast Iron.

              The transfer of flavor from the flat top to the food is a myth.

              1. re: fourunder

                I wasn't thinking of the flavor coming from the flat top, so much as the texture you get from years and years of seasoning and the way heat is dispersed from such a giant slab of cast iron.

                1. re: ninrn

                  Flat tops are scrubbed clean every night...they aren't seasoned. Seasoned pans only prevent sticking. Cast iron and carbon steel disperse heat very well...and maintain heat very well. The only thing a flat top gives you is more surface area.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Fry in cast iron with a press on top. Can't go wrong.

                  2. re: ninrn

                    I enjoy the home fries I make at home just as much as I do the diner version, sometimes more (I always include onion and some of them use little or none).

                    It's not labor-intensive or expensive to make, so try, and judge for yourself. Make sure the chill is off the sliced potatoes before you start to fry, so they start crisping right away and don't soak up a lot of fat. If in a rush, spread them on a plate and nuke on low power for a couple of minutes before frying, to warm them up.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I am psyched to give it a try next weekend! Thanks for the guidance!

                      1. re: jimchou71

                        To get them crispy can take up to a half hour, even if parboiled, so give yourself some time. If they're not almost burnt, I'm not happy.

              2. Peel, quarter and slice the potatoes about 1/8th of an inch thick. Par boil them until they are almost to the point where they would fall apart if you picked up a slice, but not quite. Let them rest in the strainer until all the steam is gone and they start to dry out a bit. Even better if you prep these the night before.

                Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan. Too little and/or if it's too cold, the potatoes will soak it all up and they won't get golden and crispy.

                I prefer to use a garlic infused olive oil - fresher taste than garlic powder, and you don't have to worry about burning fresh garlic. Other than that, I just add sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and paprika (or even better, smoked paprika if you got it). Then I top it off with fresh chives for the onion aroma (I don't like cooking white onions with the potatoes because they end up slimy).

                Don't keep flipping the potatoes, let them get golden around the edges, then flip them and add a tad more oil if needed to brown the other side. Also, don't overcrowd the pan if you are making a lot, use a larger pan instead.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Atomic76

                  Don't forget the parsley! It need a little color.