Hash browns are one of those things you only order at a restaurant because they know just how to make them. They arrive on your plate crispy and golden brown – the perfect accent to eggs or an omelet.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Hash browns are super easy to make at home!
I haven’t always known my way around hash brown heaven. My mom made them for us once in a while when we were kids but they were soggy, slimy and gray. We ate them anyways because we didn’t know how great hash browns could be. That, and we’d go hungry for not eating them.
When I married my husband, he liked the pre-formed hash browns. I bought those for a few months and got disgusted with the price and the extra ingredients. So I switched to buying the bagged, loose hash browns.
Yeah, that was a disaster. The first time I made them I put the lid on the skillet – a big no-no. The next few times I didn’t add enough grease so they burned on me. Thankfully my husband was patient on my hash brown journey!
After I finally mastered making loose hash browns out of the bag, I decided to make them from regular potatoes. I mean, really, how hard could it be!?
Enter soggy, slimy, gray hash browns from my childhood.
After a bit of research on know-it-all Google, I discovered my big mistake: I hadn’t pre-cooked the potatoes.
So the next time I went to make hash browns I got started a little earlier on breakfast, boiled my potatoes and began to peel them. Oh but they were hot! I didn’t have time to let them cool sufficiently, so burning my hands was my only option.
Eventually I got the steaming potatoes peeled and shredded into the skillet.
I knew there had to be a better way than starting breakfast earlier and still scalding my hands.
And there was!
After some experimenting I feel I have perfected my hash brown skills.
So here I am to share my method with you.
The Best Hash Browns Ever
What you will need: potatoes, grater, butter, heavy duty skillet or griddle, bacon grease (optional)
Step 1. Boil potatoes. Choose potatoes that are all about the same size so that they cook at the same pace. Place potatoes in a kettle and cover with water. Place a lid on them and boil. It’s hard to say how long to boil them for because the time will depend on the size of potatoes. Check them periodically by sticking a paring knife into the center of a potato. When it goes in smoothly they are done.
Step 2. Cool potatoes. Place a sieve in the sink and dump the boiled potatoes in it. Let them cool there.
Step 3. Store potatoes in the fridge. I store my potatoes loosely in the vegetable drawer. They keep in the fridge for up to two weeks! When I want to make hash browns I pull one out, peel it and fry it. But then I am only making enough for two people.
If you are making a lot of hash browns you can peel the potatoes ahead of time. Peeled potatoes will have to be stored in a sealed container or bag. The good news is that cooked potatoes will not go brown after you’ve peeled them. You can peel them three or four days ahead of time!
Step 3a. Peel the potatoes if you haven’t peeled them ahead of time. You do not need a peeler for cooked potatoes. Simply use a paring knife and grab some skin. It will pull right off.
Step 4. Shred potatoes. I have one of these simple box graters for shredding. For large quantities of hash browns you can use a food processor with the grater blade. A salad shooter is what my mom always used for our family of six.
Step 5. Fry potatoes. This step is where the magic happens. You need to start with a heated skillet. Cast iron is my favorite,
but any heavy skillet will do. If you are making them for a crowd, use an electric griddle. Make sure you have plenty of grease melted in it. I’m talking two to three tablespoons for one
medium sized potato! I use half bacon grease, half butter (see #6 here). The bacon grease adds some depth of flavor and the butter helps the hash browns turn golden. If you don’t have bacon grease saved up, straight butter works great, too.
Do not put a lid on. Ever.
Let the hash browns fry until you think they are golden brown and then let them fry a little longer. Your skillet should not have dry spots showing. If you see a dry spot, add more grease there.
Dry spots burn the potatoes.
Flip the hash browns in manageable sections and let them fry on the other side. Of course you must add more grease when you flip them.
After frying them to golden brown on the second side you can stir them a bit to let the inside potatoes get browned.
Step 6. Serve and Enjoy!
Hopefully this hash brown tutorial will give you the confidence to wow your family with an awesome breakfast this weekend!