Recipe Review

I Tried “German Fried Potatoes” and They’re the Perfect Cozy Side

published Sep 27, 2023
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German fried potatoes up close.
Credit: Lena Abraham

As a certified potato-lover, it only took the first two seconds of this reel from Cook’s Illustrated for me to add potatoes and bacon to my grocery list. This version of Bratkartoffeln (or German fried potatoes) by chef Erica Turner appeared impressively golden, coated in little bits of sweet cooked onion and crispy bacon. Not only did I need to try them, I needed to try them with an over-easy fried egg. After a quick trip to the store, I was ready to create my dream breakfast.

Get the Recipe: German Fried Potatoes

How to Make German Fried Potatoes

Start by peeling 2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes and cutting them crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. 

Finely chop 3 slices of bacon. Heat a large, high-sided 12-inch nonstick or carbon steel skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is golden at the edges and just starting to render, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onions to the pan and continue sautéing until onions are soft and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon and onions to a bowl.

Return pan to medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the sliced potatoes and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and stir carefully to coat them evenly in fat. Cover pan and cook for 9 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. When 9 minutes are up, check on the potatoes; they should be bubbling in fat. If there is no moisture around the potatoes, lower the heat slightly. If there is little or no sizzling around the potatoes, increase the heat slightly. Cover and cook 6 to 9 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork or the tip of a paring knife.

Credit: Lena Abraham

Remove the lid and cook potatoes 10 minutes more, stirring gently every 2 to 3 minutes, until potatoes are mostly golden. Gently stir in cooked bacon and onions along with 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley.

My Honest Review of German Fried Potatoes

Credit: Lena Abraham

These potatoes checked all my boxes: crispy and flavorful on the outside, creamy and smooth on the inside, and perfectly seasoned throughout. Though the recipe requires a lot of active cooking, I think it’s worth it for potatoes with the perfect textural balance. The contrast of sweet onions and smoky bacon keeps you coming back for bite after bite, and they pair beautifully with a runny egg yolk. 

Though these spuds are ideal for breakfast, they’d be just as great with pork schnitzel, sauerbraten, or anything else that goes with potatoes. 

Three Tips for Making German Fried Potatoes

  1. Use hickory-smoked bacon. To mimic bauchspeck, the German beechwood-smoked bacon typically used in this dish, Chef Turner suggests hickory-smoked bacon.
  2. Go for the (Yukon) gold. With just the right amount of starch, a creamy texture, and enough structure to hold their shape, Yukon gold potatoes are the perfect spud for this recipe. Subbing in another type like russets or fingerlings won’t yield the same result.
  3. No lid? No problem. If your 12-inch skillet doesn’t have a lid, a sheet pan (rim side-up) will do the job just fine.