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I've tried frying potatoes (generally cubed small, like 1/4") in my cast iron pan but they frequently stick very badly. Badly enough so I've got to resort to scraping with a metal spatula. The pan is not like 50 years old and perfectly well-seasoned or anything, but I have no trouble with any other kind of food sticking.

They generally come out ok but just not very brown and crispy, as you would like fried potatoes to be.

Anyone have any advice? Temperature ranges to try to improve the results?

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Preheat the pan for longer than you expect, then preheat the oil as well. Cast iron takes a long time to heat up. With some foods you can get away with not preheating so it may seem silly to just let the pan sit on the burner with nothing else happening, but the potatoes will test your patience because of how much they can stick to pans.

Once you add the potatoes to the hot pan with hot oil, let them sit. They will go thru a stage of raw -> starting to cook -> cooked and starting to brown but sticking -> deliciously brown and movable from the pan.

  • This. And the corollary to your last paragraph: When you add the potatoes to a cold pan with cold oil. They will go thru a stage of raw -> starting to cook -> cooked and starting to brown and bond with the pan sticking in an unmovable state. ...When preheated, the hot oil becomes a thin barrier that supplements the seasoning. – Paulb Jan 5 '17 at 11:38
  • This 100% worked. Heated the pan alone for like a minute, then the oil for like 2 minutes. When I threw the potatoes in the oil was just barely smoking, and they are delicious :-) – levitopher Jan 7 '17 at 15:30
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If potatoes are the only food that sticks, you probably have too much starch on the surface.

  • Choose firm-cooking potatoes over mealy ones
  • wash the cubes before frying
  • use sufficient oil
  • try freezing them, with or without double-frying

Do this in addition to MeltedPez's excellent advice on proper heat and stirring.

  • A soak in cold water (plus a couple rinses) seems to help mine behave, both in skillet and in the oven. – Catalyst Jan 5 '17 at 14:33

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