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Potatoes O’Brien combines chunks of tender cooked potatoes and peppers with garlic and seasonings. It’s a simple side dish for any meal.
What are Potatoes O’Brien?
It’s an classic side dish dating back to the early 1900’s made from fried, diced potatoes, plus red and green bell peppers and other seasonings.
Many restaurants serve this easy dish at breakfast alongside eggs and sausage or bacon, but we think Potatoes O’Brien are just as delicious served at dinnertime with any favorite dinnertime entrée such as steak or pork chops.
Living in New England, my husband Jack and I have always believed that Potatoes O’Brien was a recipe with origins from Massachusetts. But Wikipedia attributes Potatoes O’Brien to both a restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts called Jerome’s, as well as a Manhattan, New York-based restaurant called Jack’s. Well, both Jerome and Jack were on to something good!
Potatoes O’Brien have fantastic flavor, and I love the little crispy cubes of potato with the flavor of the diced bell pepper.
Why You’ll Love Potatoes O’Brien
- The little crispy cubes of potato with the flavors of the diced bell pepper is absolutely delicious!
- This dish can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dinnertime.
- You can cook this easy dish ahead of time, then quickly reheat just before serving.
- With a few tweaks to the recipe, you can even use leftover cooked potatoes to make this dish.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bell Peppers – Any color of bell pepper can be used in this recipe. We especially like a mix of stronger flavors from the green bell peppers with the sweeter red bell peppers.
- All-Purpose Potatoes – This includes white or yellow potatoes with a medium-starch level that hold their shape when cooked, but are still soft and tender to the bite. Some supermarkets label them as “all-purpose” in bins or bags, but you can also look for Yukon Gold, Finnish, or White Gold varieties. Avoid Russets (which are more starchy) and Red Bliss (which are more waxy).
- Fresh Garlic – Used to season the dish.
- Butter and Olive Oil – Use a combination of these two fats to saute this dish. The butter adds lots of flavor, while the oil helps prevent scorching.
- Salt & Pepper – Also used for seasoning.
Special Tools Needed
- Vegetable peeler
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Large skillet or saute pan with cover
- Spatula for stirring
For this recipe, you’ll cut the potatoes and peppers into a medium dice. This term means that the potatoes and peppers should be cut into cubes or pieces that measure approximately half an inch on each side.
How do I make Potatoes O’Brien?
- Dice the peppers and potatoes.
- Sauté peppers first in butter and oil, stirring with a spatula.
- Add potatoes and garlic, plus salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the cover and add more butter and oil.
- Raise the flame under the skillet and brown the potatoes until crispy.
- Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve immediately.
“I love potatoes O’Brien! Thank you for posting this recipe and the instructions…I think adding the extra dab of butter and olive oil toward the end is what put it over the top for me. It came out marvelous!” – Tawana
Frequently Asked Questions
- What kind of potatoes should I use for Potatoes O’Brien? As mentioned above, you’ll want to use an all-purpose yellow or white potato. The most common variety at supermarkets is Yukon Gold.
- Can I make Potatoes O’Brien ahead of time? Yes – Just note that cut raw potatoes will turn brown when prepped ahead of time, so you’ll want to keep them in a bowl of water to prevent oxidation. Then drain well before cooking. But – since this dish reheats nicely – we suggest you prep the entire recipe ahead of time and reheat in the skillet to serve.
- Can I freeze Potatoes O’Brien? Yes, but..diced potatoes tend to get a little mushy when frozen and thawed, so freshly cooked will taste the best.
- How do I store leftovers? In the refrigerator, in a closed container for up to three days.
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2017. We’ve updated the post with additional information and cooking tips, but the delicious recipe remains the same.
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3 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups medium diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups medium diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups medium diced yellow onion
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.
- Add both peppers and onion and cook ten minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Add potatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and cover. Lower heat to medium and cook ten more minutes, stirring every few minutes. Test potato doneness and cook longer if not fully cooked.
- Remove lid, add remaining butter and oil and raise heat to high.
- Cook for about two minutes until the mixture is crispy.
- Add more salt and pepper to season if desired. Serve immediately.
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