Potatoes O’Brien

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Pan-fried potatoes O’Brien combines potatoes, onions, and bell peppers for a classic diner breakfast side. 

All of my friends know that I love a good breakfast meal. In fact, we may have planned trips around where we plan to have our first meal of the day.

While I don’t eat big breakfasts during the week, on the weekend and on vacation I love to tuck into a plate piled high with scrambled eggs, jam-slathered toast, and tender potatoes.

Potatoes with peppers served on a plate beside a spoon, with salt and pepper to the side.

Potatoes O’Brien are an option we always find on the menu, from small-town diners to big chain restaurants. It’s no surprise really — the combo of potatoes, peppers, and onions is a savory powerhouse!

These potatoes are a little different from my roasted breakfast potatoes. Potatoes O’Brien are cooked on the stove rather than the oven, and the recipe does not contain any meat.

If you’re craving a classic diner-style breakfast, potatoes O’Brien are a must!

Ingredients for potatoes O’Brien

Full list of ingredients including quantities is located in the recipe card.

You’ll need:

Various fresh vegetables and seasonings neatly arranged with labels on a light background.

Potatoes – Yukon gold are potatoes I use most often, as they are a medium-starch potato that’s great for a variety of recipes. You can also use low-starch potatoes for this recipe, such as fingerling or round red (new) potatoes. They’ll keep their shape during the parboiling process and stay moist instead of dry.

Olive oil – For sautéing.

Onion – Use yellow or white onion. If you want a sharper flavor, you can use red onion.

Bell peppers – Use your favorite colors of bell pepper! I like to use two different colors for the variety on the plate. Red bell peppers are sweeter, while green bell peppers are less so. Yellow and orange fall in between.

Garlic – Use the amount of garlic you like! Sometimes I add as many as 4 cloves.

Salt and pepper – Added to taste

Paprika – For a bit of color and mildly sweet finish, this recipe calls for paprika. You can use any variety of paprika; each one has a slightly different flavor. My personal favorite is smoked paprika!

Green onions – Green onions (also called scallions) are added at the end for a burst of freshness.

A colorful sautéed vegetable dish in a pan, with fresh ingredients on the side and a wooden spoon.

How to make this recipe

First things first: prep the potatoes.

You don’t need to peel the potatoes for this recipe (in fact, the peels hold a lot of nutrients!) so just cut them into bite-size pieces, about 1/2-inch big.

Pile them into a large pot and cover with cold tap water, along with a pinch of salt. We’re going to parboil the potatoes, which is just like cooking mashed potatoes, only not as long.

Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high, just to prevent boiling over. Let the potatoes cook for 3-5 minutes.

Test a potato after 3 minutes; if your fork or paring knife goes in with minimal resistance, they’re ready.

Drain the potatoes and let cool for a few minutes. This will also help them dry out a bit, so we don’t have excess moisture in the frying pan.

While the potatoes are cooling, add olive oil to a large skillet and set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, bell peppers, and 1/4-cup water. Stir everything well, then stir in salt.

Keep cooking, stirring often, until the vegetables are a bit browned and potatoes are tender all the way through. They shouldn’t be sticking to the pan, but if the bottom does start to look too browned, add a little water and scrape up the browned bits into the potatoes.

Once cooked, add the garlic and cook just a bit longer, until the garlic is fragrant. Don’t burn it! 

Add pepper and more salt to taste, then stir in the paprika and green onions and serve.

Storage and reheating

Have leftovers? Potatoes O’Brien will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Warm in the microwave or in an oiled skillet set over medium until heated through.

You can also freeze this dish! Let it cool completely, then spread into an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze until solid. This can take 4 hours or longer, depending on how much you’re freezing.

Once frozen, break into pieces and store in freezer-safe bags or containers. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.

Cook right from frozen over medium-low heat, or thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

A bowl of sautéed diced potatoes with red and green bell peppers, with whole vegetables and measuring cups in the background.

Serving suggestions

Potatoes O’Brien are a great addition to any breakfast spread.

Serve them up with a Denver omelet, featuring many of the same flavors. A classic fried egg is great too, especially if you also make millionaire’s bacon!

Have alongside a cheese quiche, whole wheat pancakes, or banana bread french toast. They’re also great with sweet peanut butter waffles with chocolate chips!

Want to have these potatoes for dinner? Mix into taco meat for a complete meal, or have alongside a juicy turkey burger.

A person serving a colorful mixed vegetable sauté with a wooden spoon.

Let’s get cooking!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below!
It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Potatoes with peppers served on a plate beside a spoon, with salt and pepper to the side.

Potatoes O’Brien

Potatoes O'Brien are a diner classic! Whip up this tasty dish to serve alongside any breakfast.
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 223 kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin


  • Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt, then set the heat to high. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high to prevent it from boiling over. Boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes. Test a potato after 3 minutes with a fork or sharp knife. When it goes in with only slight resistance, they’re ready to go.
  • Drain the potatoes and let them cool for several minutes.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Add the potatoes, onion, bell peppers, and 1/4 cup water, stirring, then add in 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and bell peppers are slightly browned, 7-10 minutes. (If the bottom of the pan ever looks like it could burn, add a splash of water and scrape up any brown bits, stirring them into the vegetables). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in paprika and green onions.


Calories: 223 kcalCarbohydrates: 37 gProtein: 5 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 16 mgPotassium: 913 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 5 gIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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