home fries

All right, people, time for a confession. This summer, for our third anniversary, our parents bought us a new set of pots and pans from the lovely All-Clad Master Chef 2 series. My last set, also a gift, dated back to 2000 and as much as I loved, loved, loved those Calphalon non-sticks with the clear glass lids, the nonstick was not only wearing off, I was ready to wean myself from it, and the annoying silicon-coated cooking utensils required to keep them intact. I wanted wooden spoons and metal spatulas and better caramelization in my cooking.

yukon goldsinto the microwavecooking the onions separatelysearing

I love my new pots and pans, and they do everything good, heavy steel pots promise. Caramel? A cinch. Stovetop to oven? No problem! Gorgeously browned food? You got it. Eggs, potatoes and pancakes? Whoops!

People, I have no doubt it is my own lack of cooking skill causing this drama, but there are some things I am finding flat-out terrible to cook in anything but nonstick. I feel that no amount of butter or oil keeps my fried egg from cementing itself to the pan, and I didn’t have much more luck with those cottage cheese pancakes. Oh and home fries? I was nearly moved to tears this morning by the amount of butter in the pan and the fact that I was still chiseling the potatoes off the bottom.

Compare and contrast, if you will, the way mine used to come out when cooked in a nonstick pan with the picture at the top.

sunday morning

The beauty! The lack of gumminess! The separation of pieces! I… I have to buy a new nonstick pan, just one if I want to ever enjoy cooking these again. But enough about me. Though I suspect that I am going to get raked over the coals for this–the horror! someone who claims to cook well not being able to fry an egg without an artificial teflon film!–if one person out there can echo this sentiment, it will be worth it. And I will happily share my home fries with this person any day.

minealex's fries

Breakfast Index: Not the breakfast you have in mind? We’ve collected all of our breakfast recipes, from muffins to scones to panacakes, eggs and a couple how-tos, over on one page. Please try them all, and then invite me over, thank you.

One year ago: Apricot and Walnut Vareniki

Two years ago: Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers

Home Fries
Loosely adapted from Cook’s Country

There are two secrets to making great home fries, if you ask me. The first is cooking the onions separately. As potatoes need to cook quite a bit longer than onions, it saves them from become burnt specks by the time the potatoes are ready. The second is more of a shortcut (so you can make them more often because they’re easier!) which is that I reduce the pan-frying time by half cooking them in the microwave first. As the best French fries are twice-cooked, this follows that line of reasoning well, yielding home fries with a soft center and crisp edges.

As you may guess from my tirade above, I do have more success with these (and can greatly reduce the amount of butter needed) when I cook them in a nonstick pan, but I’ll leave it up to you whichever you prefer working with.

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoning of your choice: Garlic powder or salt work great, as does smoky Spanish paprika or chopped chives

1. Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl, top with 1 tablespoon butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until edges of potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.

2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in large regular or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula. Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes. Stir in onion, seasonings of your choice and salt and pepper to taste.

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223 comments on home fries

  1. Aphie

    I bought a relatively inexpensive “Lincoln Wearever” frying pan from Zabar’s – it’s aluminum, not non-stick, but it fries and cleans beautifully. Not sure exactly what it’s made of, but it’s great for pancakes. (My attempts to only use le creuset frying pans was not a success for eggs, etc) – I think one well cared for non-stick pan is fine, with frequent replacement as the coating wears off.

  2. i can’t cook eggs in a non non-stick pan either. i ruined over a dozen eggs trying to teach myself. gave up because i don’t want to use half a stick of butter to fry two eggs. i’ve convinced myself that there are more important things for me to try and master in the kitchen…

  3. I feel the same way, especially when it comes to eggs! That’s why I also bought one nice non-stick pan for those type of meals like pancakes and eggs but I won’t ever go back to nonstick now that I can make the best sauces with the yummy bits of food that stick to a metal pan!

  4. Ryan

    I have a single non stick frying pan 9 inches just for eggs and omelets. For home fries I use my cast iron pans and they turn out beautifully.

  5. Howard

    Hey, don’t stress over your non-stick guilt. Even most professional kitchens keep non-stick pans on hand specifically for those Sunday brunch eggs. And think about it, the restaurants serving alot of eggs and home fries? They have the full griddle cooktop. They don’t use steel pans either. I won’t think any less of you if you buy a basic Calphalon 10-inch non-stick. It’s an excellent tool.

  6. I’m really looking forward to all of the advice from your readers because I’m in the market for some new pans. I’ve had non-stick pans that are now becoming everything-sticks pans and I know I need to upgrade.

  7. KT

    Yep, I have wonderful “9 element” foreverware, but I still keep 1 non stick skillet (and I think they’ve probably improved the technology a lot since 2000) for eggs, pancakes, crepes, and carmelized onions. (doing them in nonstick ensures that the fond sticks to the onions, not the pan.) But, for potatoes, I’ve taken to “oven frying” them on my Camp Griddle. it’s like a non-stick pan in the form of a baking sheet, and I toss diced potatoes with a mere teaspoon of olive oil per potato. Roast ’em at 400 and they come out crispy and wonderful, and the best part is I can ignore them while prepping and cooking omelettes.

  8. Lori

    I absolutely have that same problem cooking without a non-stick pan! My evil ex-roommate absconded with my non-stick pan, and now trying to fry an egg easily moves me to tears. I’m expecting a new one for Christmas, and then we’ll have eggs again!

  9. Hi Deb, Yes I agree good pans are worth the money. I threw away my teflon pans years ago and haven’t looked back. I use good skillets and things just don’t stick. I do use the Analon for eggs though. I love oven roasted anything. It’s easy and it’s easy!! And I like the idea of cooking the potatoes and onions separately…it really makes a differnce doesn’t it?

  10. Kara

    I have been wondering about this too, because I bought what I believe is a stainless steel skillet and have had absolutely no problems – I use a little olive oil cooking spray but even without it it’s usually fine. But I have heard about the problems and had them in the past with other pans, so now I am wondering if mine are secretly nonstick even though they are not advertised as such? They don’t appear to have the nonstick covering and weren’t marked as nonstick – I looked carefully as I was trying to avoid it. I bought them at Target or Kmart last month.

    If you’re interested, these look similar to the ones I got, although mine have a soft cushioned handle part: These also look similar although I feel like my skillets are not quite as rounded and tall:

  11. I finally got myself a good cast iron skillet, and, over time (it DID take a bit of regular use–say, four to six months!) it became truly nonstick. Now I can fry up a tofu omelette without any sticking, or even pancakes. I hate the heaviness of the pan, but appreciate the gratuitous increase in my daily iron intake.

  12. JoJo

    Your potatoes look lovely. When I do them, I cut the onions in roughly the same size as the potatoes with the root intact (so some of them stay together) and cook them at the same time – I find they don’t burn if you cut em big enough. I also don’t par-cook – my trick is to get everything going in the pan, then turn the heat down a little and cover. I let them go undisturbed for about 15 minutes before tossing. That way the potatoes steam while creating that great caramelized crust.

  13. Kaye

    I made eggs at a friend’s house this week and sadly, no nonstick pan was to be had. I just used lots of nonstick spray but still! OMG! I washed the pan in the dishwasher, let it soak with hot water, and finally set it back on the stove to boil off the residue. So for some things, I think the teflon is essential. Ironically I made your cottage cheese pancakes tonight for dinner along with the sauteed apples, before I saw this entry with the neatly compiled breakfast list. And yes, all were made with a nonstick griddle and skillet!

  14. Amy

    The one and only time I was able to make home fries without teflon was in culinary school. I believe at the time that Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were aligned with the 5th house of Capricorn. Proof in the pic: Cut me some slack, it was with a cell phone camera. :)

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are on the menu tomorrow morning. Served with bananas, strawberries and French press coffee. Come on over! I mean, if Duluth, MN isn’t too far out of the way.

  15. Victoria

    My own version of this meal was my lazy brunch (er… it was one, I guess that’s past brunch time, isn’t it?) today. I dice the potatoes as small as I can tolerate, fry them and within the last couple of minutes of cooking, add a tomato. It colours the potatoes nicely, I think it helps them to crisp up a little, and I love the crispy little bits of tomato skin that remain once they’re done.

    Today, however, I was out of tomatoes, and apparently didn’t use enough oil, for the potatoes cooked rather spottily in my non-stick pan, which left me wishing, not for the first time, that I had my own set of cast iron pans like my mother’s.

    It was delicious in any case, but I agree that bare cast iron is the way to go.

    I also discovered (you must spare me my ignorance, here, I’m new to using anything but cast iron for these things) that non-stick is NOT non-stick when it comes to frying eggs and buttering the pan is not optional. Let’s just say that brunch was a bit more stressful that usual this morning.

  16. Sarah

    I have an All Clad set too, and after about three days, my husband and I decided that although they are freaking fabulous for just about everything else, they are a total disaster for eggs. We tried a million different ways, but the eggs always stuck indelibly to the pans. We got one nonstick pan just for eggs, and it has been totally worth it.

  17. I love cooking eggs in my stainless steel pans. :) Okay. Not scrambled.

    But fried..definitely.

    Spray with Pam – just a little. Preheat pan. Keep on medium, put in egg. Break yolk if desired. When it’s cooked ot the point that you would turn it, add a Tablespoon of water, put the lid on, turn it to low, and wait 2 minutes.

    Take lid off and tadah! Perfect egg. :)

  18. I also found one of the keys to cooking eggs and flipping…and other things is preheating the pan..letting it cook fully at a lower heat. The item will release when its done on the first side, then flip.

    Your potatoes will do the same, you just have to let them sit for longer. You don’t keep stirring. Sit sit sit sit and then stir and then sit some more. :)

  19. Melissa D

    Around my neck of the woods, your potatoes are what we call “real” home fries; my dad in particular turns his nose up at the deep fried chunks of potatoes. We always boil ours first, and if potatoes are being boiled for any reason there are always a couple of extra thrown in for home fries the next day! Since they’re already cooked, we fry them up with the onions, and my dad’s big thing is to only stir the potatoes a few times, thus giving them a nice crust.

    I’m sure this goes without saying, too, but they are ALWAYS better if fried up in bacon fat. But then again, what isn’t?

  20. Lee

    I support you!!
    Though I love my cast iron and stainless steel…don’t take my teflon away.
    I just can’t do it without one, good, big one!

  21. I feel the same way…I have a small non-stick pan I bought almost ten years ago at Target, of all places, and it’s my favorite pan for cooking eggs! No other pan seems to work as well. Those home fries look delicious!

  22. MK

    Another one weighing in on the teflon for eggs debate. Im all for! I simply can NOT make eggs sunny side up in any other pan! We did the same thing. Got rid of our nonsticks, when we graduated to copper bottomed cookware. Ooh it looks so pretty and grown up. But about a week later, hubby boy went out and bought a nonstick fry pan for just those things. Eggs, pancakes, potatoes..

    You actually eased my guilt in your confession. So, in fairness, I do believe the comments above, and most likely below mine should do the same for you!


  23. I thought that the potatoes-in-microwave-prior-to-pan trick was my invention! Guess it was too good to be true…

    And I agree about the absolute need for non-stick in certain cooking conditions. My parents, concerned about teflon and my ovaries- of all things! and given my relationship history, my ovaries might well be MADE of teflon- snuck away my non-stick pan and replaced it with a cast iron one, which is great but not for eggs and potatoes. I now cook scrambled eggs in a non-stick saucepan!

  24. Jessie

    You need to preheat the pan for a couple of minutes. Make sure it’s hot enough before putting anything in it. Kind of like what you do with cast iron. Also, you don’t want the burner turned higher then medium to medium high. If you need it high, heat the pan, grease it, put the food in, let it sear for a few seconds then turn up the burner.

    I don’t use non stick. Ever. For one thing, I don’t like how it makes the food tastes and for another thing, I have a parrot. Too dangerous for her. Never had a problem with food sticking. Not even eggs.

  25. I have had the same problem with sticking before. Someone suggested to me to try a mix of butter AND oil, and you know what? My eggs didn’t stick. I don’t know why the eff it worked, but it did…maybe you should try it?

    I still use a non-stick pan, though, FYI.

  26. RP

    I couldn’t agree with you more!! I am so glad that I am not the only one. I just got married and we received the beloved All Clad pots and pans for a wedding gift. I thought I had gone to heaven until I tried to make eggs. Disaster! Luckily we saved one of the non-stick pans from my old set. It’s just not worth the hassle trying to use the All Clad for eggs, but for everything else the All Clad is well worth the investment.

    I am still torn on what to clean them with. Any suggestions? No matter how well I feel like I’ve scrubbed them, sometimes they appear to have a film.

  27. Sarah

    What about a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet? We have one that we use for everything. It never leaves the stove top. They are really not that difficult to clean (don’t believe the rumors), and work amazingly well when you need something non-stick. Loveliest pancakes ever, and, as an added perk, food absorbs traces of iron, and you can continue avoiding silicon and teflon.

    BTW, I really adore your food blog. Really, really adore it. I baked the recent choco-chip cookie recipe for a block party, and a 79-year old “connoisseur” of chocolate chip cookies loved them. Thank you.

  28. Absolutely non-stick for fried eggs. Not necessarily pancakes, if you can accept that the first pancake is always sacrificed to the pan-seasoning gods and toss it without guilt. If you’re against this, non-stick works quite well.

    But definitely not home fries! The BEST part of the home fry is the burned-y bits that come up from the bottom of the pan. Scraping is essential. I would even venture to say that home fries in cast iron are BEST.

  29. I have also made the walk of shame, back to the “baking tools” section to re-buy a non-stick pan that I thought I was too good for after acquiring a set of stainless pots and pans. It was the mocking from a horrible fried egg that wouldn’t part from my new pan that sent me crawling back for just that one pan. I am ever so happy I did it.

  30. Stacey

    Hi Deb, Love your blog! I do a mix of butter and oil for home fries (as Erica does for eggs) and that seems to be an improvement over either alone, and I am eager to try Melissa’s suggestion of adding a little water! I do use a non-stick for eggs, without a shred of embarrassment (there is NO shame in my game), and I love the one recommended by America’s Test Kitchen (, the WearEver Premium Hard-Anodized (

  31. Jessica

    Well, I for one love my non-stick Circulon 2 pans. It all started with this one ( given to us for our wedding by my dad’s boss. Every year I feel the need to write him another thank you note because I love my saute pan so much. It makes everything fabulously (even popcorn!) and I have yet to make anything stick to it.

    Just last week, I was poking around on Amazon and they had the Circulon 2 8″, 10″ & 12″ skillets in one package on sale for $50. I made homefries in them this morning. Yum! Now to continue adding to my collection…

  32. I have the same problems with eggs. My boyfriend through my nonstick pan out with the garbage (he’s afraid of chemicals), so I learned to use the stainless steel pan. It’s all about controlling the heat. I once heard Jacques Pepin say that stainless steel pans become nonstick at certain temperatures. I just keep repeating this over and over again while I’m waiting for my eggs to release from the pan.

    The potatoes look delicious.

  33. griffen

    Deb, Deb, Deb. Thank you for your admission. I recently received Emerilware stainless as a wedding present. I thought I was a good cook until I tried to make our typical weekend breakfast of hashbrowns with scrambled eggs (scrambled together). I felt like a complete dolt My poor husband was scraping for what seemed like hours. I hid my shame from the world. Until now. Misery loves company and I’m so glad to be in your company. I’m going to try the suggestions for doing them in stainless, and then I’ll probably go buy a new non-stick ;)

  34. Kate Nolan

    I’m with you on the non-stick! It’s just not worth the trouble to try cooking eggs in anything else.

    You specify Yukon Golds, which I buy on occasion, but usually just have good ‘ol Russets in the house. Any idea if there are modifications that should be made? I’ve always stuck to baking or mashing my taters, but I do love hash browns/home fries in diners…

  35. CeeCee

    deb – i TOTALLY hear you! over the past several years we have slowly made the switch from the professional non-stick calphon series to le creuset; however, after much scrubbing and many busted over-easy eggs/sacrificed pancakes, we decided to keep two non-stick pans. one is an omelet pan and the other a griddle. i buy them fairly cheaply because the second i notice a flake they are tossed. i have found that the martha stewart “green” non-sticks last a lot longer.

  36. Amanda

    i have a set of all-clad too (wedding gift – yay!) but after living for 10 years without a single nonstick pan, i was sure to ask for one (just one) nonstick skillet on my registry. it’s all-clad too so it matches the others, and i only use it for items that necessitate it — eggs, pancakes, and this frozen gnocchi i get from trader joe’s (it has cheese nuggets in it which weld themselves to my stainless pans and i’d just rather not deal with that if i don’t have to). for most things, stainless works great (and i’ve noticed a big improvement from my old cuisinart stainless set — the all-clad heats so evenly! and i get much less sticking in general) but every now and then, you just need a non-stick pan.

  37. gem

    my mom bought my husband really good skillets for christmas two years ago, and it took a while for me to figure them out…but we are a strictly non-stick house, so i persevered. maybe what i’ve learned is something you – and everyone else here! – has already tried, but this, i think, is the trick – never turn the heat up past 4 – or just below midway. ever. when you have a really good skillet with a nice heavy bottom, low heat – and then, taking jessie’s advice and really giving it time to heat up – will give you a really evenly heated surface. so – i never turn it up past 4, no matter WHAT you’re cooking. and then – no stick on anything and i cook pancakes, eggs, you name it and nothing ever sticks.

  38. i have had the same problem with potatoes. it almost makes me cry to see how beautifully browned they could be using a nonstick…if the beautifully brown didn’t stick to the bottom like cement and turn to horrendously black. i’m not brave enough to try eggs.

  39. I always have a hard time cooking really good potatoes – they take forever and never turn out like you get in restaurants, so Ill have to try your recipe. Congrats on your new set of pots and pans – is there a brand/set you would recommend for “beginner” cooks?

  40. Stainless and home fries, and eggs for that matter, don’t mix. Cast iron is the way to got here, cast iron properly seasoned. I own a cast iron pan that I use for eggs and eggs only. Just a pat of butter is needed to let them slide pan to plate. A quick wipe with a paper towel and the pan is clean.

    All Clad is nice and all that, but personally I go for copper for the quick saute, cast iron for everything else.

  41. I used my non-stick for years and then was just too spooked not to replace them when the stick came unstuck. I have found that I’ve been using my mom’s old cast iron skillet, more and more. It’s seasoned and easy to use and there’s a benefit from cooking in iron. See if it doesn’t help.

  42. I love the All-Clad line. I have an All-Clad non-stick griddle (the kind that drapes over two burners of your stove) and I love it for eggs and pancakes. One thing about high-quality stainless steel is that you need to use a lower cooking temp (on the stove, at least) than you would for other pieces because of its superior heat conductivity. I was skeptical at first, but, it seems to do the trick. Oh, I just bought an All-Clad roasting pan at Williams-Sonoma and the associate told me that All-Clad is starting to issue a warning about the use of non-stick cooking spray on its stainless steel – it invalidates the lifetime warranty (i.e., don’t use it). Not sure whether that’s true (I haven’t investigated further).

  43. Cast iron.
    I felt the same way about stainless steel for a while but since I didn’t want to use any non-stick coated pans I was resigned to food sticking. I was wrong, cast iron. Those ancestors knew what they were doing. I can’t stress how pleased and impressed I have been with my cast iron frying pan. Best purchase I ever made and I think it’s actually the cheapest pot/pan I ever bought!

  44. sarah

    a well-seasoned cast iron skillet will work with eggs, pancakes, whatever. that and a sturdy metal spatula. plus they’ll last your entire life, whereas after a few years a nonstick pan is basically garbage.

  45. I’m going to nth two things. It is okay to have one (or even two) non-sticks pans in the house for eggs and pancakes. And give good old cast-iron a try. Once it is seasoned well they work so nicely. Just remember to dry them by heating them over the stove until the water droplets have evaporated and rub a very thin layer of oil on the interior after drying if you used soap to clean them.

  46. Are you kidding? I can’t live without my nonstick. I LOVE my stainless steel, and I was shocked and thrilled at how easy they are to clean, but I find that what I’m cooking determines which pan I reach for. I’ll never be totally devoid of nonstick.

  47. I can relate to this post and your frustrations. I am surprised in reading all the comments about how many people suggest cast iron! That is encouraging because it is a cheap alternative, especially because I already have one. I am wanting to phase out my non-stick cookware because it emits a funny smell…anyone else notice that?

  48. Anna

    Have you thought about cast iron frying pans? They are the only thing I cook eggs and pancakes in. Once they are seasoned, they are very nice and slick- I’ve never had a problem with sticky-ness.

  49. janelle

    teflon pans always get scratched up and the coating can come off and then you can ingest it and i get super paranoid about all the health effects i read about teflon pans but i swear i am not a shiller or anything but i found thermalon coated pans that you can put in the oven and work just like nonstick pans but without the effects of teflon.!4808&rdr=1&sourceid=googbg&cm_mmc=Paid%20Search%20Brand-_-Google-_-Cooking-_-green%20pans

  50. dede

    Melissa above had it right you probably aren’t letting your pans get hot enough before you try to use them. The non-sticks are in professional kitchens because they are a little faster when you have 20 egg orders. But it can be done in your All-Clad:) Keep cooking.

  51. Emilie

    Just FYI, not all nonstick pans have Teflon coatings. All-Clad nonstick and one of the Calphalon lines both have other nonstick surfaces that have not demonstrated the same problems as Teflon at high temps. Also, I was told in a cooking class long ago never to use oil spray on cookware — that it eventually builds up a residue that can’t be removed. So I’m sure that goes not just for All-Clad but for all stainless. Personally, I’d be hard-pressed to do without the several nonstick pans I have. I use them not just for eggs, but also for cooking the few things that really do stick (such as sugar syrup for icing). Although I typically don’t use them every day, I find them indispensable when the need arises.

  52. Emily

    Oh Deb, we’re cut from the same cloth! Just this morning I struggled to make an egg in one of the heavy-duty copper-bottom pans my boyfriend’s parents gave us. While awesome, quality pots and pans are a force to be reckoned with, non-stick will always have a special place in my heart! I have resorted to purchasing a small tiny, Teflon-coated pan just for frying eggs – so worth it!

  53. Kara

    I’m going to supplement my comment from above by noting that I cook my eggs over pretty low heat – around a 4 on a 1-6 with high as a separate setting burner. So that may be why I haven’t had a problem. But also agree that eventually cast iron will work – it can take a while to get seasoned correctly and again you want to keep the heat relatively low, but a good cast iron will be nonstick without the chemicals! I’m just suspicious of any chemical-coated pan, whether Teflon or no!

  54. Joanne

    I love my All-Clad stainless. I also have a good non-stick skillet, a cast iron skillet, and I love my Le Creuset dutch oven (or French oven if you prefer). But for eggs, I always use my small All-Clad stainless omelet pan. The key to preventing your eggs from sticking is to make sure the pan is hot enough. I use some butter, as well, but only a small bit. As long as the pan is nice and hot before you begin, it will slide right out. Alton Brown did a show about eggs once upon a time and he discussed this issue and, of course, explained the science.

    FYI, there are concerns about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—also known as C-8—a chemical used to bond nonstick coating to pans. The EPA has asked for changes from the major companies who make non-stick coatings, including DuPont with their Teflon, because C-8 has been linked to cancer and birth defects. Google it for more info.

  55. I agree. We have a great set of regular calphalons. But we always keep a small inexpensive non-stick frying pan for eggs, etc. There’s just no way around it.

  56. Ang

    Ask Smack for his recipe. His home fries are fab, and he does not use non-stick. I think the secret is tons of olive oil and tons of cheese, but what doesn’t that work for?

  57. I second, third, fourth all the recommendations for cast iron. I’ve never owned a non-stick pot (actually I take that back… my husband came with a non-stick pot that I promptly warped and scratched beyond repair) but have cooked happily and successfully on cast iron all my life. Honestly, until reading this post, it never even occurred to me to fry an egg in anything else.

    Get thee a cast iron skillet and you’ll never go back.

  58. Job

    Dear Deb! I’m in the same position as you are. Absolutely love my iron skillets, but eggs and so are (at least for me) impossible in this. So i bought a Woll pan, the good thing, you don’t need the silicon coated spoons to keep them alive! You can even cut in them with a knive if you must. Since the bf doesn’t care much for pots and pans, this was the best solution for me, since i don’t want him to ruin it :-)

    Try one and your sold!

    PS Loved your post on the tiny kitchen. Will share some pic’s of mine soon and believe me, you’re gonna love yours, mine is so much smaller than yours!

  59. You’re braver than I am. I’ve been putting off buying new pans as I’m too scared to make the switch back to steel for cooking. I’d love to get perfect browning and caramelisation, but then I think about all the oil I’d need and cling to my nonstick.

    Both sets of fries look good, but yeah… the nonstick ones look awesome!

  60. Gigi

    Oh dear! I have the same problem. You have the same all-clad set that I do and things just STICK. I even own a le cruset pancake skiddle and pancakes cling to it like cement. As much as I hate and fear teflon it seems like for some things just need it.

    Did you season your pans? You know, heat them up really high then oil and wipe them? I’ve read about it but I’ve been too lazy to try it out and see if it fixes the sticking problem.

    Perhaps thats how it works?

  61. Laura

    I too just retired my Calphalon non-stick pan about 4 weeks ago, because of the same reason. It was starting to peel.I must confess I am a wooden spoon metal utensil cook and would use these at times even though I know it wasn’t good for my pan (I only have one utensil for the nonstick). I just purchased another for my pancakes and eggs and such because even though my Master Chef pans are fantastic for all my other cooking, for the life of me could never cook a few things (like pancakes!) without scubbing and not so nice words every time I tried; even my good old very seasoned black iron skillet fails whenever it’s in the mood. So, I have resigned myself to having one nonstick pan for things that are important not to stick!! My Chef pans with a little deglazing come clean with normal cooking no problem. So keep your pan! Cooking is suppose to be fun and non-violent! lol

  62. Rachel

    Just finished reading ‘I’m Just Here For the Food’. I was curious what Alton Brown thought was essential for a well equiped kitchen as TV chefs seem to have every pot under the sun. In his list he specifies a inexpensive 8-in non stick specifically for eggs and omelets. The first pan on his list is a 12 cast iron skillet. Having both I used a non stick for eggs and the cast iron for the homefries – But I am still working on how to cook the home fries to my liking. I am going to have to try your recipe on my husband, the ultimate homefries judge.

  63. i have to add a nod for the cast iron skillet vote. with one caveat: i’ve heard rumours that the new ones are just not the same…so keep your eyes peeled at flea markets, antique stores…they are worth it if you can find them, i’ve got a small (the one-egger) and a large one. now if i could only find a cast-iron wok…

  64. wes

    Cast iron for me as well. If you use it to fry tacos every week for years, the nonstickiness of it is unmatched. I have this cheapo cast iron skillet that started out with a removeable wooden handle that has since broken and is lost, but I won’t get rid of the pan because it still works, although I have thought of buying a new one. Nothing sticks to it. Stuff sticks to my stainless pans, but it cleans of easily. If I get it very hot and fry the potatoes in smaller batches (I tend to crowd the pan), I get that nice carmelization and they don’t stick.

  65. I distinctly remember Mark Bittman writing something about how there are certain things that you should just cook with a non-stick. Less aggravation, better results, and so on. I think that you are totally entitled to your non-stick pan without anyone’s judgment or berating. :-) I actually need a pan like yours – in the all-clad series – my non-stick, however, is doing a fine job, while the economy is so uncertain. There’s always an amazon wish list though. :-)

  66. Ricki,
    I agree on the cast iron. I have two skillets that makes beautiful pancakes, and eggs (if I use enough butter), but these pans did take a while to season. My husband has never gotten the hang of eggs in these skillets….he still relies on some $1.99 teflon pan from Target, but I learned long ago not to complain when someone else is cooking!

  67. EB

    Add me to the cast iron crew. Everyone should have a cast iron skillet. There are things that just shouldn’t be cooked in anything but cast iron – and home fries are one of them. I have the All-Clad cookware you just got and I love it with a passion that’s scary, but there are times and meals that even my beloved All-Clad won’t do. The cast iron has to come out. Try it. You won’t regret it. (And besides, the price is right, as wel!)

  68. Leigh Barrett

    Jeez, if you were using cast iron, I’d say you need to season your pan. This is tough. I know the “hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick” mantra of Martin Yan (heat the pan before adding your oil), but I don’t know what metal his wok is made of! And of course, you should *never* preheat non-stick cookware.

    However, this is All-Clad, not cast iron, so it’s possible that there is another technique that needs to be used. Do yourself a favor and just ask the folks at All-Clad:

    Of course, being about the 81st of your comments, I’m sure you already have this info!

  69. I’ll agree with tons of other posters and say that, while I love my (also All-Clad) frying pan, I do keep a small non-stick one for frying eggs, pancakes and omelets. I find it just keeps the grease content I need to use down, which makes me happy! Get something not-too expensive that you won’t feel guilty about replacing if it gets scratched.

  70. Like many other posters, I keep a single non-stick pan for eggs and delicate fish. However, for things like home fries where the sticking is not quite as bad, I use a le creuset skillet. It has a black enamel coating on the inside that browns beautifully and prevents most all sticking. It’s heavy though. But I do find it much easier to clean than traditional cast iron, which I’ve since gotten rid of (don’t tell).

    Marion Burros did a testing of pans a while ago, and found the le creuset to be the least sticky of non-non-stick pans.

  71. I don’t own any of the stainless cookware yet because of an incident involving gingerbread pancakes a few years back. I was over at a friend’s lake house one weekend and made the pancakes in their stainless pans…NOT successful. I had to add so much butter to the pan, the pancakes were greasy and awful. I do want to try going from stovetop to oven…but because of that one experience, I am a SCAREDY CAT!

  72. Karen B.

    These were wonderful for our Sunday breakfast w/scrambled eggs. I did use a nonstick skillet but will try my cast iron skillet next time just to see. Thanks.

  73. Susan K

    You are in need of a well seasoned cast iron skillet. You can use it to cook your eggs, pancakes and home fries to perfection. Lodge Manufacturing sells the pre-seasoned, but my favorite is one I bought in a thrift store and seasoned myself. There are many internet articles about seasoning cast iron. Try one. You will love it.

  74. jeannie

    I’ve found that the trick for home fries is to have the pan very hot and the potatoes nice and dry, drop them onto the hot oiled surface and immediately move them around just slightly for a few seconds. Then leave them alone until they brown and need to be turned, and again, move them around for a few seconds after turning then leave them alone. This seems to work with all of my pans. But the way I prefer to make home “fries” is in the oven – toss the potatoes with oil, arrange peel sides down on a baking sheet and bake at 425 until browned. Much less oil, much more even browning. Salt immediately after taking from oven but not before cooking.

  75. I second or third or seventeenth the cast iron skillet sentiment.

    The Lodge pre-seasoned are okay, but they will still need a little work. Luckily, the work involves cooking things like regular bacon in them. Mmm.

  76. Selkie

    My well seasoned cast iron pan works perfectly, with a little peanut oil, for homefries. I too add onions later. It perfectly fries an egg without sticking if hot enough. I use it for grilled/toasted bread also. Love my cast iron wok too (e-bay).

  77. We’ve got some kind of fancy non-stick skillet that you actually can use metal utensils on- the non-stickiness seems to be part of the metal of the pan, not a coating applied to it.

    Use the tools you need to get the job done right. Anti-nonstick snobbery is for amateurs, and I don’t have time for that. I’ve got to get food on the table.

  78. Linda

    My experience is similar to yours with one exception. My old tried and true cast iron skillet, about 30 years old. If warmed slowly and given plenty of time to fully heat up, give it a thin layer of oil, it will cook perfect eggs, sliding out beautifully. Just yesterday I did a perfect omelet in it. But, the key is to let it slowly get hot enough before adding any ingredients. Love that pan. It was the first thing I saw my husband cooking with when we first met. :)

  79. I still have a non-stick pan that I go back to when trying to lose weight. We both have high cholesterol so I don’t make many eggs, but when I do, I gravitate to that non-stick. I love my 2 year old Lodge Logic cast iron for grilled cheese so I’m going to have to try it the next time I do make eggs. I just checked eBay…if you search for “cast iron skillet” you’ll find hundreds of well-seasoned pans to choose from.

  80. Meg

    I have this issue with my all clad pans as well, but whats worse is getting them clean! Do you use a special cleaner like bar keepers friend? It’s really hard to make that all-clad shiny again!

  81. If I cook scrambled eggs in a non-stick skillet, I end up with only a fraction of the eggs on the plate! And forget about eggs over easy…there is nothing easy about them in a regular fry pan. There are just some things better in a non-stick skillet, just as some are better in a regular one!

  82. I season my cast iron and it works amazingly well… drip a little vegetable oil onto a paper towel and wipe a very thin layer of oil over the surface… make sure no oil drips around (you just want a thin sheen). Then throw it on the burner and its highest heat or in the oven at 400 degrees and let the oil burn off completely (the pan will finally stop smoking). If you put too much oil on or don’t cook it long enough, it’ll be a little sticky and gross (remedied with some steel wool and a fresh seasoning); if you let all the oil burn off, you will have a lovely, nearly nonstick surface to cook with. It’s going to smoke up your apartment terribly (be prepared!), but once it’s seasoned, it’ll stay that way for a while. Contrary to popular advice, I do wash my cast iron with a little tiny bit of soap and water when it gets gunky. Then I put it on the stove until the water burns off and re-season every once and a while.

    For eggs and pancakes, the trick with all clad (or any steel surface) is patience. Let those eggs sit! Once the center gets firm enough, the eggs will hold together from the force of the spatula, and once the eggs get browned enough on the bottom, the proteins will release from the surface. Also make sure that the oil is very hot before you put in the eggs. The oil should be shimmering from the heat before you add any protein.

  83. Kate

    This is exactly the conversation my fiancé and I had the other day: we love our super allclad pans, but can’t ever make decent pancakes (which is a tragedy, in our house) in them. Solution? One really nice nonstick frying pan is in our immediate future. So here’s another person who understands, totally enjoying the homefries recipe!

  84. It’s cast iron all the way for my eggs and fried potatoes, and an electric skillet for pancakes ONLY because I firmly believe they cook better at a constant temperature. I realize with an 80-sq. ft kitchen you can’t keep a whole legion of cookware around so I’ll just slip out of the room……quietly.

  85. deb

    Wow! You all have a lot to say about this–I love it!

    Okay, just to cover two recurring themes: Yes, I have a cast-iron frying pan. However, I don’t think I have ever gotten it well-seasoned enough to get it to work like everyone promises they will one day. Not enough bacon grease? I’m not sure. (Yes, they’ve been reseasoned at particularly thin-looking times and I do know about the heating and oiling trick before you store them…Yet still. Stuff sticks.) I am trying out a pancake recipe today; I’ll see if I can get them to work in the cast-iron.

    And I always preheat my pans well, before adding the oil/butter whatnot and never cook on high, but it did not save these from sticking.

    I hope that covers it. Looking forward to reading more!

  86. Shayne

    I’ve been looking for a great home fries recipe for 2 or 3 years now; made these this morning and I’ve found it! They turned out really nice and are easy to do.

  87. Susan

    Well..I learned about what pans works with what foods in the same way you did; trial and error. lots of frustration and well loved foods seldom prepared. At least, until I got my first non stick pan, then life got better, or at least breakfast did.

    I prepare homefries very much like you do. I actually bake my potatoes whole in the microwave the night before and refrigerate them. I rough chop or break them apart before cooking and add them to then pan with butter and oil that has been infused by cooking onion in it, but without adding the onions themselves. I save those to add to vegetables at dinner usually.

  88. Katy

    Some things are best cooked in a non-stick pan, and I personally think that anything egg-based falls into that category.

    I think the anti-non-stick campaign has got slightly out of hand generally, to be honest. It’s like when people go into a massive sulk if you use dried herbs or a garlic press. I don’t want to wrestle with crusty pans after a ten hour day, dammit.

  89. Jelena

    For eggs and pancakes non-stick is the rule in my kitchen. Otherwise it turns into a complete disaster. I’ve never tried using cast iron, it sounds too complicated.

  90. Ann

    Wow. I am surprised at all the nonstick love on here. You’re all missing out- I crack myself up flipping food in my 9 inch cast iron pan and joking about the workout! If I can toss my omelette over, it’s nonstick enough. My eggs and pancakes (even the foofy delicate egg white and cottage cheese pancakes) can slide around in the cast iron fine. 99% of my cooking is in my 9 and 12 inch Lodge pans.

  91. Ann

    And Deb– you never cooked on high with your cast iron? A pan that’s hot enough to make canola go up in smoke isn’t going to defeat the seasoning or make things stick. I’m not sure why you would have been cautioned against high heat. That’s half the beauty.

  92. deb

    Update! Update! Thanks for all the cast iron comments–my pancakes this morning? Cooking PERFECTLY in it. Who knew? I have obviously been avoiding it too long.

  93. i’m in the same camp as you and as many of the other readers of your blog – i recently converted to gorgeous all clad nonstick pans, but can’t get fried eggs or pancakes to flip clean, no matter how much butter i add or how warm the pan is before adding batter or eggs. i recently stumbled across a website ( that sells nonstick pans that don’t have teflon, and ordered myself a 12″ skillet so i can stop tearing my hair out when i cook food that should be flipped easily!

  94. patti

    I’m a huge fan of cast iron cooking here as well.

    Whenever we make baked potatoes we throw in a bunch extra so we can have them as fried potatoes the next morning. They’re already cooked so all you have to worry about is getting that beautiful crust. That also means you don’t have to cook the onions and potatoes separate, because they won’t be on the heat as long. They do require about a pound of butter though, but that’s part of what makes them a family favorite!

  95. Ditto! I also have a beautiful new set of All Clad and had to buy a non-stick skillit, ok two a big one and a little one because the eggs in the steel pans just pissed me off!

    It’s not you, it’s the pan. Using the right tools for a job is no weekness!

  96. Oh, how I can relate… the only things I am able to fry (not saute or toast – fry) without crying on stainless are eggplant rounds, because it’s such a fussy operation to begin with (the slicing, the sweating and the browning turns them into mock-pepperoni on pizza) and meat – because you make pan sauce with what sticks, anyway.
    So not too much luck.

    What about seasoned cast-iron pans, though? I’m pretty sure my aunt and grandma haven’t even heard of non-stick and they never complain…

  97. Meagan

    Delurking here. :) Cast iron! A well seasoned cast-iron pan is worth it’s (substantial) weight in gold when it comes to potatoes and eggs. It takes a while to break in, but it’s so worth it. Long before you would need to start thinking about buying a new non-stick, you’d have a seasoned pan that will last FOREVER. And you can use your wood and metal utensils on it, too! And go into the oven! And the broiler! A dream come true.

  98. My cast iron skillet has never let me down as far as frying potatoes, goes. I season it well and don’t use soap on it, but it does a quaity job of fying up potatoes nicely.

  99. Beth

    I have read that well seasoned cast iron skillets develop some non-stick properties over time (due to grease build up, perhaps?) We can’t go by mine which needs to be re-seasoned, however. Cast iron skillets apparently cannot be used on the newer flat surface ranges, however. It was told it would damage the surface by a salesman, so I stuck w/ conventional surface range. Re. the cottage cheese pancakes — I have made my cottage cheese pancake recipe (not the one recently posted here) for years in an electric, non-stick skillet. I use a few tablespoons of butter at max., and do them on 350 degrees; they turn out fine – never any sticking. Nicely browned. I might re-evaluate the cast iron pan issue after I re-season my pan. We don’t do eggs and bacon very often here, but the pancakes are always fine, as noted above, in the electric skillet.

  100. Mary

    I wheedled and whined until I received a gift of All-clad cookware for Chrismas. I threw out my old stuff that was not flat on the bottom (and with a ceramic cooktop, it REALLY has to be flat!), but I found that I really did need a non-stick skillet/saute pan. Enter the best of both worlds: non-stick All-clad. Love it. I also have a sacred nonstick omelet pan and the old standby, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. I swear, you can cook anything but tomatoes in that! Best grilled-cheese sandwiches ever! Anyway, the All-clad nonstick ware is wonderful and less fragile than some. I highly recommend it.

  101. Meg, I use Bar Keeper’s Friend on my All-Clad (both the liquid version for daily cleaning, and the powdered version for those days when you just shouldn’t have turned on the stove at all…). I love it. So far, there’s nothing it hasn’t been able to clean, and it keeps my Copper Core line bright and shiny. I may have reconsider my aversion to cast iron – I’ve never tried it, but it’s always seemed counter-intuitive to keep a pan “dirty.” (Don’t judge me. I’m just stubborn. :)

  102. I used to have this saying that red wine, whiskey and black coffee are things you have to mature into. No one likes them when they’re 20 (wait, what? you’re not supposed to drink wine and whiskey at all at 20? whatevs… ). I think stainless is something you have to graduate into as well. I couldn’t agree with you more – browning, pan sauces, crispy coatings. I was scared of the stainless and now I couldn’t live without. But potatoes… give me calphalon! Thank god we have an outlet near by so every few years I can get new skillet at half off retail when the coating wears off. :) Love the taters…

  103. Elaine

    Hi Deb! Love the blog and have cooked several of your recipes with great success. We eat eggs every weekend and after many teflon pans peeling and wearing away on us, we discovered the Scanpan with a titanium coating – you can even use metal utensils without ruining the surface.

  104. Susan

    I just made home fries last night and while they were good, I always wish my edges were a bit crisper. Thanks for the tip to nuke ’em first. I also have Calphalon that I LOVE but is also losing its non-stick coating. I’m nervous to venture into something that’s not non-stick… hopefully I’ll get brave soon.

  105. I have the LTD set from all clad. LOVE them, have been using them for 10 years and they are no worse for the wear. You do need to heat the pan before you put sticking things in them… but I keep 10 and 12 inch non sticks around for that stuff. Cooks Illustrated has done some testing for inexpensive non stick pans, since they only last about 2 years with regular use… and their reccomendation is usually between $30-$40. Either way, cooking will never be the same!

  106. E.J.

    The only thing that’s not Teflon coated and works as well as Teflon is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Anything else is a fight. I have a stainless steel skillet with a dead-heavy cast-aluminum insert in the bottom (you could use this thing for a murder weapon, it’s that heavy), and I have tried every technique on the planet — oil in cold skill/heat together, hot skillet/add oil, every temp, every application of lubricant — to no avail. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING is as effortless as Teflon or the iron skillet. Thank goodness I have a well-seasoned one of the latter.

  107. I have been able to sort-of do eggs in a stainless pan, but there’s always some sticking, even when I patiently let it heat and then patiently wait for the food to release. However, I do fine with a well-seasoned cast-iron. We use it for pretty much everything, and it is a dream to work with. It holds heat well, it is nigh-indestructible, and after a few months of constant use, nothing ever sticks. Eggs, pancakes, the best home fries ever. (Our method’s a lot like yours.)

  108. Tori

    Last weekend I decided that instead of using my trusty nonstick pan to make home fries I would try my cast iron. Freshly re-seasoned I was feeling good, until I was scraping all of my delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pan. My home fries looked more like mashed potatoes gone wrong.

    I scraped the whole batch into the non-stick and came out with something slightly more edible. I went and bought a new non-stick at Ikea, looks like it won’t be the last nonstick sees of me or my potatoes.

  109. Natalie

    Calphalon replaced our 12-yr old non-stick pan that was starting to peel (even though we followed all of the care instructions). Might be worth a try – I think most of their stuff has a lifetime warranty.

    I love my cast iron skillets, but I can’t convince my husband to wash them without soap! Grrrrr.

  110. Jenn

    I actually think these potatoes look better than your non-stick ones! Yes, they are not so eerily perfect, but they have some beautifully browned bits that look super yummy and chewy–they also look more like the “real” ones that you get in restaurants. Also, I just want to say that I think these types of recipes originated as a way to use left over potatoes–like another commenter pointed out using baked potatoes from the night before…so of course it makes perfect sense to cook them first if you are not “recycling” your potatoes!

  111. viva

    Hey Deb, I love your cottage cheese pancakes. My babies did too, my son got a kick out of the cottage cheese “now these are pancakes!”, was his reply after eating your recipe compared to the buttermilk he’s been used to 6 of his 9 years. I was able to prepare and dish them out with ease as breakfast before school by using my stainless steel cuisinart pan and two parts coconut oil with one part butter. Coconut oil is my nonstick secret. It’s very good for you too! It blends itself well to sweet or savory dishes. My children love homefries so I know your pain when it comes to the sticking so I started using cococut oil with butter or olive oil when I prepare them. It works and tastes great. Enjoy!

  112. Chiming in in favor of cast iron. Seriously, those things are my prized possessions…getting them seriously seasoned is a process…I have one that’s GREAT that was from a hardware store and has been seasoned about 2 years…lots of fried eggs in that one. My newer one, only six months old or so, and much bigger, is not quite there yet. But it’s great to have two going for big pancake brunches…Just cook everything you can in it for awhile (minus obvious acidic stuff) and you’ll probably notice the finish improving.

  113. Christy

    Even Martha Stewart says you should use a non-stick pan for eggs! But according to my husband (know-it-all) the key to using a stainless steel pan for eggs and pancakes is to get the temperature just right – not to hot, but just hot enough. I like the non-stick for eggs to and I’ve read that it is only bad if 1) it is flaking off the pan because you ingest it, or 2) you let it heat up really hot on the stove with no food in it because it gives off fumes.

  114. Tina

    My family went anti-nonstick a few years ago after we had a close call…the pan overheated and our pet bird got sick. (Fortunately, he pulled through) You have to wonder how healthy it is for humans if Teflon fumes from cooking can kill a smaller creature. So I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to not using non-stick pans anymore. Right now, I’ve got some anodized aluminum pans that are not quite as fancy as the All-Clad but pretty nice. I treat the eggs gingerly, and cook them very slowly. I have to use nylon or wood utensils (metal scraping drives me NUTS) and I find the softer material seems to help scrape better. This may sound strange, but my mom has made pancakes with a tiny bit of olive oil (or some other high-heat oil) instead of Pam or butter and seems to have better results. I think the butter/oil mix also works pretty well. Butter is so tasty after all…you can’t leave it out of the party.

    But if you really need non-stick without Teflon, I think cast-iron is probably the way to go. It’s just such a pain to get a pan seasoned well enough to have eggs sliding off of them. My significant other has been wanting to try a method he found online…the woman who uses it has the glossiest cast iron I’ve ever seen. Here is the method link (sorry it’s a thread post, but that’s the best I could do)

  115. I have a 30 year old cast iron pan that was given to be my a friend and it is the best thing to ever happen to me. I make EVERYTHING I possibly can in it and I find that it handles most things better than a nonstick. Always dry the pan well before storing it (I dry mine by heating it on the stove) and coat with a thin layer of animal fat (lard or butter) as olive oil and vegetable oils plasticise after time and will create a sticky, rancid, dust collecting mess on surface. Making a batch of bacon does a good job of maintaining the season in the pan as the salt draws out any flavors that may be lingering while the oil coats and seals the surface of the pan AND you can eat the bacon afterwards… mmm… bacon…

  116. Jerzeetomato

    I am a pot and pan whore. BUT I love my calphalon. The regular hard adonized. My Wolf range eats bad pots. High heat does has a habit of showing you which one of your pots is junk. I have a big cast iron, I season it with regular veggie oil.
    I only own one non stick and it is for eggs only.
    For cleaning your pans the best time to do it is when they are hot. Deglaze them with water when they are hot then quickly drop them in the soapy sink and wash them tuit de suite.
    My all clad is not my favorite, I prefer my calpahlon. Those 12 inch frying pans kick butt. Everyone needs a large dutch oven from Le Creuset.

  117. Kelly S.

    I love my hard anodized (sp?) all-clad fry pans. They are non-stick and wonderful and long lasting. And I use wooden spoons in my non-stick, what’s wrong with that?


  118. sarah

    add me to the chorus. IMO, there is exactly one use for non-stick cookware: fried eggs. Otherwise, non-stick is pretty useless. I buy a cheap small non-stick pan for frying eggs and when it wears out in 5-10 years or so, I throw it away and buy another one. I also have a cast iron griddle that is brilliant for pancakes.

    My secret for home fries is to use leftover potatoes. For some reason I’ve never had a problem with the potatoes sticking to my le creuset pans.

  119. Twyla

    Eggs and potatoes can be done! Preheating is essential with stainless steel. It has to be hot enough or the food WILL stick. Most people don’t preheat enough. You don’t have to it with non-stick, but it’s essential with stainless steel.

  120. Marisa

    I am late to the party, but, weird. I have never cooked sunny-side up eggs in anything other than a SS pan. I’ve never had them stick. Or maybe they do stick and I don’t know how good a non-stick pan could be :)

  121. Christy

    I know there are a ton of comments here, and someone might have helped already. I just have to say I love your blog…and I feel your pain regarding potatoes and eggs in the steel pans. We LOVE our stainless set, and cook on it exclusively now (aside from our cast iron). It took some time and patience, but we did have success here with fried potatoes and eggs. Really! I found out that you must, must must! keep your temps on the stove lower than you think when it comes to making eggs in the stainless. On our stove, we cannot go above 4 (glass top setting). I let the pan heat up first, whether its eggs or potatoes, then add the oil or butter-this is also essential to not sticking. For potatoes, I can’t go above 6, and I cannot turn the potatoes at all once in the pan till they get the color I want (you can smell when they start to get that toasty color, then turn a few to check them). I hate the idea of that invisible teflon too, hence getting rid of our non stick too. Oh, Marisa’s right! Sunny side up is possible, just heat to med-low/add fat/crack eggs in/go low and slow. I hope this helps.

  122. Weeziefitz

    For some reason I didn’t get the feed on Saturday, so I am just now tuning in. A while back, guru Christopher Kimball and the guys at America’s Test Kitchen proclaimed that every kitchen needed one non-stick skillet, but to save one’s money when buying because the non-stick surface NEVER lasted longer than a few years. I bought a $40 skillet from Bed, Bath, & Beyond to use for eggs and potatoes because I could never get them to cook without sticking in my fancy All-Clad. It’s held up pretty well, but I won’t cry when I have to replace it.

  123. prklypr

    I hope I get the last word on this – I have sold cookware for years, and I can tell you that if you have a problem with sticking, most likely your pan is too hot! Tri-ply products (two layers of stainless steel with a layer of aluminum between, like All-Clad) retain heat exceptionally well. Here’s how it works: hot pan + cold food (chicken, potatoes, eggs, etc) = sticking. It’s like licking a metal pole in the winter – your warm tongue sticks to the cold metal b/c of the temperature difference. With sauteing, this is supposed to happen – that’s how we brown and/or sear foods. The key here is 2 things: a pan that is the correct temperature, and patience. If the food is stuck, eventually when it comes up to the temperature of the pan, it will release (assuming you used some sort of fat, like oil or butter). And please be patient! Don’t get freaked out and try to force the food to release or you will have messy results. The bad part is, if the pan was too hot, by the time the food releases it may be burned. And when it comes to eggs, it really takes a lot of experimentation to get them to release from a stainless steel pan. I use nonstick for things like eggs, pancakes, etc. Using a nonstick pan once a week is not going to kill anyone, esp if it is a good quality nonstick pan that is not compromised (ie the surface is unscratched, it has not gone thru the dishwasher, and no PAM was used on it). Remember, never use high heat with nonstick, and never preheat an empty pan. If you totally abhor the idea of a nonstick coating, go with a pan that is anodized on the inside. It works a little like nonstick, but it is not completely nonstick like a coated pan. Anodized pans are treated with a chemical that seals the pores and turns the metal a darker color – it is not a coating, it is the metal itself. And for all you bargain hunters: you get what you pay for. A $19.99 nonstick pan is not the same quality as a $99.99 pan. There are many ways that nonstick coatings can be formulated and applied to the pan. If you’re concerned about your health, invest in a better quality pan and take good care of it. Buyer beware!
    I hope this answers everyone’s questions!

  124. prklypr

    …and one last thing. Throw away your nonstick pans if they have been compromised (see above), or after a year or two – not 5-10 years, as another poster suggested! – regardless of how worn they are. The newer pans are safer b/c the technology is always improving.

  125. Pete

    Yes to #145, and another tip: warm the eggs in hot tap water for a couple of minutes before cracking. That way the food is not so cold when it goes into the hot pan.

    I’ve been making beautiful omelettes in my new 10″ Calphalon stainless steel skillet (happy birthday to me!) and I haven’t had much trouble with sticking at all. I use medium heat, a smallish pat of butter and pre-warmed eggs.

    My first thought hearing about your egg issues in stainless steel was that the heat was too high and the food too cold. Give it another try and I think you’ll do ok.

  126. Interesting timing! I spent all weekend cooking, so I didn’t have time to catch up on my favorite food blogs till now. I broke out my Dutch oven (the only cast iron I currently have) for some hash brown/skillet potatoes for both Saturday and Sunday’s brunches. I used russets, baking them ahead the night before to cut down on the cooking time. This enabled the onions and garlic I threw in with them to cook without burning, and I had no trouble with stickage since my Dutch oven seems to have gotten perfectly seasoned under my nose without my noticing. I just used a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of butter to add flavor and help with the browning. Now I’ll have to go get a skillet and a griddle to complete the set. :D

  127. Nich

    How funny to read of your troubles. Just this last weekend we stayed in a hotel – a suite with a kitchen. It was stocked with steel pots and pans. Cooking breakfast was quite the chore with all the scraping and extra butter. I think once you get your new pots/pans mastered you need to post some tips!

  128. I have recently made a purchase to replace such a pan–that my husband hated, hated, hated to clean, and that I was consistently frustrated with. Eggs, pancakes–you got it. The pan was lovely and even bought only a year ago, which is why I almost couldn’t bear to oust it with the non-stick pan, but it had to be done. If nothing else, marriages must be preserved! :)

    I still have the stainless (copper bottom, to boot–inappropriately heavy for its uses), but haven’t used it since. In fact, I haven’t come across a time when I would rather use that pan than the non-stick, which makes me wonder if it is indeed obsolete or if there are dishes I’ll end up using it for. I’m hoping for the latter, since I’m the kind who can’t stand to see a usable item go to waste!

  129. anna

    Yes, Melissa is right, make sure to heat the pan pretty hot before adding the fat, then once you’ve added the potatoes you have to resist the urge to stir since they’ll inevitably stick unless they’ve already formed the nice caramelly crust you’re going after.

  130. don

    Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. I too have a beautiful stainless clad heavy bottom frying pan that I use for almost everything. I too every year get a new nostick pan to cook eggs. We are all sinners, each in our own way.

  131. anna

    Thank you to everyone for the tips using the stainless steel pan! After reading all the comments and seeing that i don’t (yet) have a cast iron pan, I had to try this morning. Scrambling some eggs in the preheated (on low heat) pan, then letting them “sit”- and it worked! it worked like a charm! Nothing sticked!!
    Trauma overcome.

  132. Great post!
    Have you ever tried Ruth Reichl’s recipe for Home Fries? I can’t recall which book includes the recipe (I think it may be Garlic and Sapphires), but they are DIVINE.

  133. BigJon

    This may have been covered already in the posts above. But I think Cooks Illustrated uses baked potatoes in their home fries recipes. I’ve made them several times and they come out perfectly. When you bake a potato for dinner, just make an extra couple and store them in aluminum foil in the fridge for the next time you make homefries. They are firm, perfectly starchy and dry. They cook up in a non-stick frying pan in a couple minutes as in your recipe. You can also forego the extra butter in your first step this way.

  134. Amanda

    Deb, just this morning I found myself asking the same thing… “WHY does my fried egg sandwich need a half stick of butter in order to be scraped off a pan without teflon!?” I hear you, sister. I will happily push my boyfriend’s stainless steel aside and watch my eggs slip and slide with joy!

  135. Shilpa

    I completely got rid of my Teflon stuff with the scare a few years ago, and I also LOOOOOOOVE my heavy iron skillet for everything. What I found helps with sauteeing, esp for eggs, is a few drops of olive oil and not to have the heat up too high. My fried egg slips off every morning…

    G’luck, love love love your blog.

  136. Eva

    I know I’m late to the party, and also making a real faux pas by not reading through all the comments, but… I generally have quite good luck frying eggs in cast iron (that is, well-seasoned cast iron). I haven’t had great luck with other pans, even heavy ones, but cast iron is the best. And talk about good caramelization! That said, it’s not for everything (sautéeing, for example, is difficult with such a heavy material).

    Also, allow me to say that, despite the grief they have caused, I much prefer my home fries the way they are in the top picture — with large softer bits and smaller crisper, nearly-blackened bits.

    But I don’t think any less of you for wanting a nonstick pan. They’re effective, non-fussy, and as long as you use the right tools with them, they’re a savior in a lot of situations! Hurrah for new pans, of any and all sorts! And hurrah for home fries!

  137. My husband is a chef and has shared with me a great tip about making stainless cookware “non-stick”! Cover the bottom of the pan with a high temp oil like soybean or canola. Let the pan heat on high until the oil begins to shimmer and smoke slightly. Then turn off the heat, pour out the oil and wipe excess with a towel or paper towel. Let the pan cool some, as it will be extremely hot and will burn any butter or eggs you put in right after. Once it has cooled, proceed as usual. Good luck!

  138. Nadia

    Lovelovelove these homefries! They are better than our favorite brekkie place and now has been requested every Sat/Sun morning – with pleasure hubby!

  139. pixxie

    I agree. I love my enameled pot, my stainless (more than my non-stick). but for breakfast? Go to Sam’s Club and pick up a 2 pack of nonstick fry pans (12″) for 20 something bucks. They work great. Good luck.

  140. Petey

    I am a former short-order cook, and here are the three major differences in the way I make the home fries compared to the way you do it:

    1) instead of half-cooking the potatoes, I fully cook them;

    2) I use a cast iron skillet instead of stainless (which incidentally should never be washed with soap and water)

    2) I use high heat.

    The key making steel nontick is to quickly form a brown crust on the potatoes. This requires higher heat, which of course will cause the outside of the potato to cook much earlier than the inside. Hence the need to boil or microwave the potatoes first. I actually boil them whole the night before, whenever possible, and put them in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for the night. (This is what they do in breakfast places BTW. When they open up the place, before business hours, they put a big pot of potatoes on the boil. Then they make your home fries to order with cold cooked potatoes.)

    In the morning, I take out the whole potatoes from the boil, dry them and cut them up. I saute the onions and garlic with some water, then add the potatoes and butter when the water is cooked away. Then I fry on high for a few minutes – just enough to reheat the potatoes up and brown the outsides. Salt, pepper and paprika, done.

    The home fries are coming out better for you in nonstick because you are cooking them a relatively long time, so it is taking the heat longer to overcome the anti-browning effect of the nonstick. Mind, this is just an explanation of what is happening. How one cooks something is a lot less important than whether one likes the end result, and if your home fries are already coming out right you don’t need to change anything.

  141. Zaphia

    I am trying to avoid potatoes at the moment. Been eating too much of them. :)
    They would taste really good thrown into some scrambled egg. I’ve tried it. :)

  142. cast iron cooking
    get it and learn to use it !

    nothing , absolutely nothing , works better

    tomato stuff is the singular exception
    use stainless for anything with tomatos

    good luck


  143. Elizabeth

    A friend taught me to bake the potatoes (until mostly done, but not too soft) in the oven & then just leave them there overnight (not with the oven still on!). Cut ’em up in the morning and finish cooking/brown them… Yum!

  144. mylife3636

    Ok, I’ve seen a lot of comments about cookware but nothing about this recipe and how it tastes. I’d love to hear some reviews!!!!

  145. Arlene

    Hi Deb:

    I know exactly what you are talking about with the home fries..non stick pan.

    If you want awesome eggs & homefries that will NOT STICK and fish that jump out of the pan and onto your plate… you must try the Green Pan. Martha Stewart sells them at Macy’s and I believe Chef Tod English sells them on HSN… they are awesome and without chemacles and Teflon. Hope this helps…
    Be well,

    secpractly jjuh

  146. dustyhighheels

    If you well-season a cast iron pan and make sure to get it hot BEFORE you put the ingredients in, it works as well if not better than non-stick for almost everything (some cheese based recipes are still a little rough to clean out). I season my pan by usually cleaning it with just hot water and then spreading a thin layer of coconut oil in it after every use. It takes 1 min. to do. I made the switch to the try-ply and cast iron for health reasons and prefer it now.

  147. Erin

    I love my hard anodized pans – I make non-sticking eggs and pancakes without the need for any spray, oil or butter. Lower maintenance than cast iron, and more durable than non-stick.

  148. Wow, I feel like a complete idiot. I *never* thought of simply cooking cut potatoes in the microwave. I know, it’s horrible. I’ve thought of cooking whole ones, of boiling them and chopping them, etc. But never thought of just cutting them first and then nuking them. I was looking for a good recipe for hash browns or home fries and came here first – I’m so going to make these now with some fried eggs and ham. Breakfast, here I come.

  149. Mel

    Great recipe! We are having these tonight with adobo rabbit (yeah rabbit, I’m not totally thrilled but hubby bought it so I will cook it). I have been putting my potatoes in the microwave for years. It is so much faster! I don’t have any big non-stick pans so I have to cook everything in the cast iron. The trick to keeping things from sticking is putting oil in the pan and turning the heat up. Eggs don’t stick if they are cooked on medium high heat. It is a pain. i agree!

  150. emily

    Get a cast iron pan and season it (oil, oven, etc). Then, use a little bit of cooking spray on it, and you’ll have the best fried eggs in your life.

  151. Damon

    These are definitely the best home fries I’ve ever made. (Full disclosure: I skipped the onions and just garnished them with a handful of chopped chives.)

    Much better than last time, when I succumbed to the temptation to do it ‘properly’, i.e. without a nonstick pan. They browned so nicely that I almost cried when that brown layer stayed on the pan and not the potatoes.

  152. Zoë

    How many people would you say this would serve as a side at breakfast? How many pounds of potato would you reccommend per person were I to need to adjust the recipe?

  153. I’m a potato head for sure and always looking for the best home fries. Left over mashed potatoes? Pancake and fry them in a pan untill crispy. I particularly like doing this with sweet potatoes (mashed or otherwise).

  154. Caroline

    Made this yesterday for Easter brunch, and also this morning for breakfast- LOVED it! I used smoked paprika and a little bit of seasoned salt, and also scallions. It was so good and easy! Everyone loved it.

  155. BaileyMon

    A few properly well-cared for iron skillets are great! When properly seasoned and cared for they are non-stick and work great for everything! I can cook a fried egg in mine and flip it without a spatula, pancakes are a cinch, sometimes potatoes or other things might get a little cooked on, but boil some water in the pan, and things wash right out with no effort…Just be sure to properly care for it. The effort it takes is well worth it!

  156. Ali

    I have tried making home fries a million times and they have never come out well. I’m going to have to try my nonstick pan now. I always assumed it wouldn’t work since you wouldn’t get the same caramelization, but I see that yours are beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration!

  157. Sarah

    This recipe is incredible! I never knew how much I loved home fries. I used a cast iron skillet, and they didn’t even stick. Also instead of microwaving plastic wrap, I used a ceramic dish with a glass top. Sooo good!

  158. Mmm. I think I may make these though we don’t have a microwave so I may have to up the cooking time on the potatoes quite a bit. We finally bought a Green Pan (basically a safer non stick pan) just to cook our eggs on and it does the job!

  159. Ali

    Jut made these home fries and the turnout was INCREDIBLE! Amazing recipe, they were delicious, can’t wait to look at some other recipes on this site!

  160. Katie

    I was, up until this summer, a die-hard non-stick skillet for egg frying. I eat one fried egg every single morning. This summer, my fiance banished my old, scratched non-stick pans and handed me an tiny old cast iron skillet. Keeping the cast iron silky slippery smooth just requires upkeep. After you clean it, rub it over with veg oil and leave it there. In the morning, add just a teaspoon or less of oil, and heat it a bit to coat the pan. Your fried egg won’t stick, . I promise. If something does ever stick and you have to scrape it all off, just remember to re-coat that sucker when you’re done.

  161. Emily

    I have my great grandmother’s cast iron skillet (from the 1930s) and NOTHING sticks to that baby. :) Calphalon can kiss its butt! lol

    And for the record–these potatoes are FANTASTIC! I opted for onion powder in mine.

  162. Alocasia

    As already mentioned, season the HELL out of a beautiful cast iron griddle and/or skillet and you’ll NEVER miss that non-stick for your home fries. They turn out even better than on non-stick and if you ise them regularly they require barely any upkeep/maintenance. I’ve got one of mine full of potatoes and onions in my oven as we speak. :)

  163. Elana

    I’ve never used a non stick pan I love more than my Berndes traditional skillet. It’s heavy like cast iron with the most durable non stick coating. We’ve now invested in a small omelet pan and griddle – it’s just fantastic! Not cheap, but well worth it because you don’t have to replace as often… the coating doesn’t chip like the cheap ones. Just made these home fries in it and they were perfect.

  164. Noel

    I feel your pain! When I graduated from college I decided it was time for a new set of pots and pans. I found a nice set on HSN from Wolfgang Puck (i’m a sucker for that guy) and feel in love. Now, it’s taken me a while to get used to stainless steal because I was so used to non-stick. What I’ve found works best for eggs is to first make sure the egg is at room temp and have the stove on a low/medium heat because the stainless steal skillet will heat up fast. I usually just use some cooking spray instead of butter. My omelets and sunny side up eggs slide right off the skillet. Cooking home fries is still a bit of a challenge…again keep on a low heat and put a lid on. The bottoms get crisp and you have to make sure to stir a lot but they still come out good. I haven’t made pancakes yet but I think I’ll cheat a bit and use non-stick for that :)

  165. Brook Monroe

    I did this with three good-sized potatoes, two bell peppers, and two onions, and got enough servings for six people.

    My fifteen-year-old son ate two of those servings.

  166. Brook Monroe

    …should have mentioned that I did the onions and peppers in a cast-iron pan just after searing off two very thick pork chops (which then went into the oven; why waste perfectly good pork fat?). I finished the potatoes in a Thermolon non-stick pan (Green Pan brand) which takes a lot higher heat than ordinary non-stick and doesn’t leave chemicals in the food.

  167. Amy

    Found your recipe on Pinterest and made it twice this week. Was very easy and a very big hit in my house. My picky 4 year old had seconds BOTH nights! Thank you.

  168. SusanNYC

    We have every type of pot. A good in between between a Teflon coated and a non- stick are the Scan Pans. For some reason, they do not stick as much as our All-Clad.

  169. Like Susan we’ve gone the other way too. I bought All-Clad last year and just about everything sticks, in frustration I picked up a Tefal non-stick from the super market and love it. I still use metal utensils in it and it hasn’t scratched at all. Anyway back to the recipe, I’m thinking par boiled waxy new potatoes which I grow on my allotment would be really good here.

  170. Cd

    Thanks for the recipe!!! Just made it this morning and it was delicious!! Simple too so I’ll be able to remember it :)
    Some of the potatoes broke so I’m thinking I’ll reduce the microwave time in the future.
    Thanks again!!

  171. Michelle

    I haven’t made these yet but just have to comment, I love love love my old cast iron pans. By old I mean antique, so look at your estate sales and antique store, they are the best! They have a much smoother finish than the new and are lighter. I don’t usually have any sticking and much healthier for you.

  172. Michelle

    This was my first time ever making home fries. But I had a craving and figured I would try. Only one problem. There weren’t enough. :-) we loves them. Thank you. I will definitely be making them again.

  173. Vic DeHaven

    This overly long story is about my SUCCESS with OLIVE OIL, laced with a teeny bit of liquid LECITHIN, as a no stick magic for my SS egg pan.

    Okee Dokelee. I’m a fan of the stainless steel cookware. My most often used piece is a 9″ T-FAL brand skillet made to be compatible with induction cooktops, of which I have a portable Duxtop brand one that I am trying to make peace with, but that’s another story ;-| Short story on that one = quickest hot water in the west (1 qt. to boil in 4 min), but hard to control.

    Neither teflon, aluminum, nor gacky no-stick sprays are allowed in my humble kitchen. But I have no problem with sticking eggs and I don’t have any elaborate expertise to help me. Studying a can of the aforementioned gacky stuff I noted that the magic ingredient was LECITHIN, mixed in with the oil. The only lecithin handy was in gel capsules so I’d nick one and squeeze the stuff out and stir it into the warm olive oil.

    Nowadays I get my liquid lecithin online thru Vitacost. A quart bottle has lasted me over 2 years. Some people advocate using equal parts or greter to one part OO. I find that to be both unnecessary and wasteful. I get my favorite, non-gourmet, olive oil from the Family Dollar in 4 oz plastique bottles. Each time that I uncork one I make a little room art the top for just a couple of teaspoons of the lecithin.

    Oh yeah! How does it work ? Marvelously. :-) I preheat my SS pan until the lecithin tainted oil can roll around and lube the sides of the pan. This step may be unnecessary, but I still do it out of habit and for good luck. Although I always fry my eggs with a glass cover (I likes ’em sunny side up)It took a long time for me to learn that I had to cook them under a med-high heat, just short of burning the undersides, to have the whites get firm while leaving the tolks soft. Too slow a heat and (most experienced cooks have found this out long before I did) the whites firm up about the same time the whites do.

    The cleanup: Just like the folks that use cast iron cookware I almost NEVER wash my egg pan. Except in the most stubborn case the egg pan always comes clean with a paper towel.

    A caveat: This solution hasn’t worked for me when cooking ham or for the very rare bacon trip. For those meats it just seems to make things worse! VERRRY worse !!! Time for the ole chisel… I s’pose it’s OK to use the OO&L nostick for cakes and breads. Sometimes I’ve fried my bread in the residual OO&L

    From a lazy old bachelor.

  174. Andy

    I agree with you on needing the non-stick coating. I just can’t get my eggs to flip with out it. I can see that i wasn’t the only one that way.

  175. Lissa

    This has become a mainstay in our house. We took the “nuke for 5 minutes” tip and started making breakfast hash about 5 years ago and now, we make hash at least every other weekend. It’s my favorite breakfast (actually, eggs Benedict is my favorite, but we never have english muffins at home and I hate poaching eggs) by far. We dice and cook some thick-cut bacon, sometimes onions as well. Then add the cooked potatoes and brown until crispy and some of the bits are charred. Then we top it with fried eggs. I am a huge potato lover and something about the creaminess of the inside of the potatoes and the crispiness of potatoes that have fried in bacon fat. Oh man, so good. Soooo sooo good.

  176. Jackie

    This recipe is fantastic. I’ve used it a few times. I just used 3.7 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes and 3 onions to make home fries for 6 people. Some leftovers, but mostly we just ate them. So good. I think the key is to make sure they soften in the microwave, and then take your sweet time cooking them. I use a teflon coated roasting pan on my griddle burner. They may have cooked for an hour or more.
    One thing tho, I think they got soft when I added the onions. They’re still delicious, but I think I may have liked them better if they had stayed crisp. So next time I may add the onions at the very last moment.
    Thank you for all your great recipes and humor!

  177. zorro

    Ok, but here’s the scoop: get you a stainless steel frypan that can double-duty in the oven. Start cooking with it, at high heat, put that sucker through its paces, in the oven, whole nine yards. It might be a pain, but always wash it 100% clean. No little rings of scorched oil clinging to the edges, people! I often will walk outside and grab a handful of sand and scour it hard. In maybe six months, its stickiness will be tamed. It will be far easier to clean and dependably, if not non-stick, certainly less-stick. I routinely fry eggs, pancakes, and yes, home fries, in my stainless since it’s the perfect size for cooking for one and my cast iron is pretty oversized.

    There is a metallurgical hocus-pocus backstory for this process involving the smoothing of tiny machined ridges in the steel that eventually wear down (unless you let the valleys in the microscopic ridges fill with scorched greasy gunk, which is just as sticky as brand-new stainless.) A little care and patience is all it takes.

  178. Lisa

    Great idea to microwave the spuds first! I save bacon fat just like mom and grandma did and use that instead of butter for frying eggs and homefries. I also season with Goya Adobo seasoning for both color and flavor.

  179. If you boil your potatoes with the skins on first, then chop them up it will take a lot less time to cook them. I keep boiled potatoes in my fridge most of the time. Also, just cook your potatoes to almost done, then add the onions. I have ONE pan that I cook eggs in, and nothing else. It keeps them from sticking because there isn’t any left over salts or fats from the other foods. That’s just my way of doing it, but thought I would add my little two cents worth. I DO love potatoes and eggs like that.