Tri-Colored Pan-Fried Potatoes

I first thought about slicing and pan-frying potatoes when I saw this method used to prepare purple potatoes in one of my favorite cookbooks, Williams Sonoma's Eating By Color. I'm generally not crazy about potatoes of the yellow- or white-fleshed varieties. But when I finally got my hands on some purple potatoes and sauteed them atop my stove, I loved the final product. The potatoes form the thinnest bit of a crust for a slight crunch but are cooked through inside and perfectly seasoned with only salt and pepper.

Then I tried it out on sweet potatoes. I'm much more daring and adventurous with these guys because I have yet to find a sweet potato dish I don't like, whether sweet or savory. I added a bit of sage to my pan-fried concoction and loved it much as I did the purple-hued option.

So when I found red-skin potatoes, purple potatoes, and sweet potatoes in my pantry, I thought using all the varieties I had on hand would yield a delicious dish further enhanced by it's multi-colored look. These potatoes were simply delicious. I'm usually only a fan of red-skinned potatoes when doused in an oil and vinegar potato salad or loaded with fresh dill, but buried amongst their more brightly- and darker-hued counterparts, the red-skinned varieties had less work to do in terms of satisfying my palate. And it was a great dish to satisfy lots of tastes. Most people seem to favor certain colors of potato and with this dish I could please them all.

The method is quite simple and open to interpretation and adaptation. I simply used salt and pepper for my first go-round but I imagine thyme, sage, or rosemary would have brilliant flavor additions and I'm planning on trying them for next time. Quick, virtually idiot-proof, and effortlessly delicious, these Tri-Colored Pan-Fried Potatoes are a crowd-pleaser that's friendly to the chef too!

Tri-Colored Pan-Fried Potatoes


  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium-sized purple or blue potatoes
  • 2 medium-sized red-skinned or white-fleshed potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh or dried herbs, if desired

1. Slice all varieties of potatoes into 1/4-to-1/2-inch-thick rounds. Either end of the spectrum will do, just try to keep the thickness constant.
2. Toss potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Cook over medium-high heat. It is easier to achieve even cooking if the rounds cover the saute pan in a single layer, however if you have more potatoes, simply pour them in and stir routinely.
4. Allow the potatoes to cook, turning/stirring every 3-4 minutes. The potatoes should get slightly crispy and golden on one side when they're ready to turn. Ultimately cook time will vary depending upon how many potatoes are in the pan and the thickness of your potato rounds (mine took about 15-20 minutes and were closer to 1/2-inch thickness).
5. Remove from heat and season again with salt and pepper. Add any other herbal seasonings if desired. Enjoy!

I made these potatoes for my parents and my dad prepared a unique side salad served
in bowls made with fried parmesan. He simply fried a large circle of the cheese in
 a shallow stovetop pan, then put the fried cheese in small bowls to give them their
round-bottom shaped. With mixed greens and dried cranberries, this was a delicious
addition to my colorful potato dish!


  1. omg to both!... those Parmesean bowls are a hoot!.

  2. I love any type of potato (well I am Irish!!) these look delicious.


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