Have you ever wondered How to Make Hash Browns at home? The perfect hash brown potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. But how do you achieve this perfect texture? Is there a secret?
You won’t believe how simple and easy it is to make the best homemade hash browns!
Is there anything better than having a lazy weekend breakfast that includes light and crispy hash brown potatoes? Not just any hash browns… I’m talking about the perfect hash brown recipe. It is so simple once you know some of the secrets. Are you ready?
What do I need to make hash brown potatoes?
- Potatoes. No surprise here. More details to follow.
- Vegetable oil. Any kind will do.
- Butter. Just a few tablespoons are needed.
- Seasonings. Make sure to use your favorite herbs.
- Salt and Pepper. These will be added at the end.
It would be best to have a box grater, a large bowl and a pan, preferably a cast iron skillet. It would help if you also had a salad spinner, a potato ricer or some clean tea towels -more details to follow.
What are the best potatoes?
Hash brown potatoes, also referred to as hash browns, are made with potatoes and only potatoes.
No surprise there.
But did you know that there are thousands of potato varieties and each variety has different characteristics?
Whether you are baking or cooking, you always need to make sure that you are using the right kind of potato for the job.
Today, we are using the almighty russet, also referred to as Idaho or baking potato.
These oblong starchy potatoes with the rough brown skin are the best potato for baking whole and fluffy mashed potatoes -all because it has firm flesh and maintains its structure when cooked. Russet potatoes are also the number one choice to make the perfect hash browns.
This is the spud for us today.
Grated potatoes are a must!
Shredded potatoes can easily be made with a simple box grater. If making a large quantity, a food processor can also be used.
Once you have peeled your potatoes, grate them with the large side of a box grater. It is crucial to use the big, large holes in your grater.
What does soaking potatoes in water do?
Once you have grated your potatoes, soak them in a large bowl of cold water.
The first thing you will notice is that the water immediately becomes cloudy. Swirl the grated potatoes around the bowl and drain the excess water. Repeat this at least 3 times, or until the water runs clear.
What you are doing here is rinsing away the excess starch.
Eliminating the extra starch is a key step that ensures a texture that is not gummy. In other words, your hash browns will get crispy when being pan-fried.
Why remove the moisture from the potatoes?
Another contributing factor to obtaining golden, crispy hash browns is using shredded potatoes as dry as possible.
At this point, you might be asking why did we soak them if we needed dry potatoes?
The soaking got rid of the starch, which contributes to getting them crispy; the other is getting them as dry as possible.
You have three options…
Option 1: a salad spinner. Place a clean tea towel on the inside of the salad spinner, followed by the potatoes shreds and spin away.
Option 2: a potato ricer. It would be best if you worked in batches for this option. Place about a cup or so of shredded potato and give it a gentle squeeze. We want to eliminate the excess moisture; we do not want to force them through the ricer.
Option 3: a clean tea towel. If neither of these 2 options is available to you, use a clean cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. If you recall, we used the same principle when we made these tasty zucchini fritters.
How to make hash browns stick together?
Once you’ve added your favorite seasonings (everything EXCEPT the salt) to your dehydrated, coarsely shredded potatoes, it’s time to turn on the heat.
A cast-iron pan is great for this recipe. If you don’t have one, a large nonstick skillet works just as well.
Get your pan nice and hot over medium-high heat. Add the butter and listen to it sizzling. This will ensure a crispy exterior. We will be adding equal amounts of butter and olive oil.
Ensure there is a thin layer of oil covering the bottom of the whole pan, as this will prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan.
It’s time to add your potatoes to the pan; spread your potatoes out evenly and gently press with a flat spatula -ideally, they should be anywhere between ¼-½ inch thick.
Reduce to medium heat and walk away. They need to cook for about 10 minutes. This will give your shredded potatoes enough time for the bottom to become golden brown. You have now attained 50% of the perfect hash brown potatoes: crispy on the outside.
Just before you flip, you need to season them with salt. As you know, salt has the super ability to draw out moisture. If we were to add the salt any earlier, you would get super-soggy hash browns.
How to flip hash browns?
I usually use a plate to help me flip this giant hash brown.
Slide the potatoes onto a large plate. Place a second plate over the hash brown and turn the plates upside-down.
The cooked side should be facing up.
Place another tablespoon of oil and butter into the pan and slide the hash brown potato back.
Once again, let it cook without touching it. Set the timer for about 8 minutes. You have just attained the other 50% of perfection: a tender interior.
There you have it! The perfect hash brown potatoes.
Remove from heat, and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Ketchup, sautéed mushrooms and/or onions, or even a poached egg are all great options. They are just as tasty garnished with fresh herbs, which can also be added to the shredded potatoes. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives are all fantastic options, fresh or dried.
You can make individual hash browns, which can easily be frozen, or one large one that can be cut in quarters.
A couple of years ago, I purchased a Better Homes and Gardens magazine called “Cook’s Secrets.” There truly are some wonderful recipes in this publication, including this one.
I’ve shared all of the secrets I know to make the perfect hash brown potatoes.
Do you know any other secrets? I’d love to hear about them!
This weekend, treat yourself and your family. Skip the commercial wannabe perfect hash brown potatoes, and say hello to your perfect homemade version!
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★★★★★ If you have made this hash browns recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
How to Make Hash Browns
- 1¼ pounds Russet potatoes about 6-7 medium
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil separated
- 2 tablespoons butter separated
- pinch pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Peel the potatoes.
- Using a box grater (or food processor) shred potatoes using the coarse side (or coarse shredder attachment).
- Place the shredded potatoes in a large bowl of cold water.
- Swirl and drain.
- Repeat three times or until water runs clear.
- With the use of a salad spinner, lined with a clean tea towel, spin until the potatoes are dry. Alternately, place shredded potatoes in a clean tea towel and squeeze or use a potato ricer to draw out the moisture.
- Place "dry" potatoes in a large bowl.
- Add your favorite seasonings (if using).
- Over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a 10-12-inch cast iron or nonstick frying pan. Make sure to cover the entire pan.
- Once butter begins to sizzle, add the potatoes.
- With the help of a spatula, press down and flatten into an even layer (¼-½ inch).
- Lower heat to medium, and cook, without stirring, for about 10 - 12 minutes.
- Just before flipping, add salt.
- Flip, with the help of a plate.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and butter.
- Slide hash brown back into the pan and continue to cook for another 8 minutes.
- Garnish with your favorite toppings.
This post was originally published on April 11, 2015 and republished on January 5, 2018 with updated photos and content.