Homemade Hash Brown Help Needed

I love keeping things real around here. I share my failures and my flops on a fairly frequent basis. I post photos as they come straight off of my camera without any photoshopping. It’s just always been important to me to reflect the reality that is life in my kitchen. Because when it comes down to it, I bet we all keep it real in our kitchens every single day.

So allow me to keep it real even more today. I am in desperate need of your help. I love restaurant hash browns. I have spent years and ruined many potatoes in the process of trying to make my own at home. I can dice and fry potatoes without a problem, but I want to duplicate those shredded hash browns that are such a diner standard.

Let me show you my latest attempt from this past Sunday.

Obviously I am missing something. But what? Is there some crucial step or process I am overlooking?

Here is what I do – I peel and shred the potatoes. I heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. I press the hash browns together and let them cook about 5-10 minutes before attempting to flip them over in sections.

But they never crisp. They become a soggy, gloppy mess. The only crispiness to be found is in a caramelized layer stuck to the bottom of the skillet.

Too much oil? Not enough?

If you’ve had success with homemade hash browns, I would absolutely love your help!

46 thoughts on “Homemade Hash Brown Help Needed

  1. I cannot find the recipe, but the one I use recommends peeling the potatoes and then par boiling them for 20 minutes, or until a knife can easily slide in. Then, cover and refrigerate overnight. Another idea is to drain the water and replace with cold water and refrigerate for 2 hours or so. Then, I shred the potatoes and cook on my griddle with a little butter and oil for about 10-15 minutes on each side. Hope this helps!

  2. I read a recipe from Food Network one time (I think it was Tyler something). He has you shred the potatoes and then squeeze all the juice out of them in a big ball of cheesecloth. It’s amazing how much liquid comes out of them and then they crisp up better without all the moistness. Will be interesting to see if it works. I have tried it and had good results. btw – love your recipes! Keep it up.

  3. I use the recipe off of the Heavenly Homemaker site. Bake potatoes in the oven. I think it is 350 degrees. I think she says 1 1/2 hours but check them. Mine took about 1 hour. Cool completely in refridge(the peels will come right off) then shred with a cheese grater. Now you can either freeze them or cook…..in oil or butter. They are great. Yes, like restaurant. P.S. Love your recipes! Tami

  4. Try soaking the shredded potatoes in cold water. This will remove some of the surface starch. Then put the potatoes into a tea towel and squeeze every possible drop of water out. The drier the potatoes, the crisper they will get. Good luck!

  5. I use butter not oil and mine turn out great. I usually peel them and then grate them then pat them down ad try to get water out. Put a little butter in the pan then I do them in batches and salt and pepper! They always turn out great! Good luck!

  6. Pre-cook the potatoes (I like to let mine sit in the Crock Pot on high for a couple of hours the night or day before). Shred. Put in a pan/griddle with butter or oil and let them sit there for 15-20 minutes. Really. It takes that long to get a nice crisp on them! Flip over and let sit for another 10-15 minutes or until crispy or just cooked. I messed them up for years until I read the back of a bag of frozen ones that said to let them cook undisturbed for 15-20 minutes as above. I had no idea!

  7. Use baked potatoes that have been shredded and instead of oil use butter. The butter is what helps it to actually brown.

  8. Is your oil hot enough? That’s usually why it won’t get crispy enough and get soggy. You have to make sure the oil is hot BEFORE you put it in.

  9. I just made hashbrowns this weekend & used this recipe from Parade Magazine from Bobby Flay. They were delicious. (The full recipe is for breakfast quesadillas, but I just did the hashbrown part.) http://www.parade.com/food/recipes/parade/eggs-bacon-hash-browns-quesadilla.html

    Basically, you boil the potatoes – whole, with the skins – for 15 minutes. Then cool them (I just did it in cold water). Then peel and grate. I fried them in my electric non-stick skillet with canola oil. They turned out yummy. I recommend the carmelized onions too.

    Good luck!

  10. I agree with others about removing the moisture, certainly helps. I personally don’t use as much oil as you. I like to use my cast iron for stuff like this, cause it gets hotter than my other pans. While i prep the potatoes i let the pan get pretty hot, i toss the potatoes in oil w/ any seasoning i want to use, then i put them in the pan & spread them out. Wait till they get nice n crisp on one side, then gradually start flipping. The next part, may be just somthing i do, i;m not sure, its just what i’ve always done. I turn down the heat on low & put a lid on it for about 30 min., stir occasionally. Then after they’re cooked through, i take the lid off & turn the heat up high. I get the other side seared then serve :).

  11. Looks like everyone here has it right: Par-cook the potatoes, squeeze out as much water as you can without crushing the potatoes, and get your oil really, really hot. I use paper towels or even the ends of a loaf of bread to blot the potatoes. Good luck! Let us know if your next batch turns out well 🙂

  12. This is a recipe from Ten Dollar Dinners on the food network. Has never failed for me. I also will sometimes add an onion that I’ve shredded with the potatoes. The trick is hot oil and not to touch it for at least 10 minutes.

    Ingredients

    * 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    * 2 tablespoons butter
    * 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated
    * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    * 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

    Directions

    In a nonstick 10-inch saute pan, heat the vegetable oil and butter over medium heat. Press grated potato into pan. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook undisturbed until crisp on bottom, 8 to 10 minutes. Gently flip onto a plate and then slide other side into pan to cook. Salt and pepper second side. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until potato cake is cooked through and nicely browned. Cut into wedges, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

  13. I agree with Commenter No. 4 Sandy. That is what I was going to say. You must remove most of the starch from your potatoes first. The drier they are the crispier they will be.

  14. I don’t do anything fancy for crisp hashbrowns. I use very little oil (or butter, sometimes), not nearly 1/4 inch of oil. Maybe a tablespoon, just enough to coat the bottom of my pan. Nothing more. Make sure it gets hot, that’s about all I do special. I don’t drain the potatoes, I don’t precook them, I don’t rinse them … just grate, season, and put ’em in the pan! Oh, and add cheese!

  15. Do you have a george forman? If so — make them there! Shred the potatoes, place them on the grill, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Cook until the outside is crunchy. YUM!

  16. To make the best hash browns I use left over baked potatoes put them in the refrigator and get them cold then peel and shredded and fry in very little oil.

  17. I use a julienne peeler to shred my potatoes. They are thicker than what a grater will give you. I also agree on removing some of the excess moisture, and when you squeeze them out of the julienne pieces, it doesn’t squish and destroy the pieces as much as the thin grated shreds will.
    I use very little oil, and very hot oil before adding the potatoes. I will cook them on medium heat for 10 min before flipping. Then drizzle the littlest bit more oil on the uncooked side and flip them over to cook for another 10 min.

  18. You’ll need to squeeze the moisture out of the shredded potatoes before cooking them. A potato ricer is the easiest way to do it (and comes in handy for squeezing juice out of shredded zucchini and other veggies), but a dish towel or piece of cheesecloth would work fine, too.

  19. I have never used that much oil! I just spray the pan liberally with olive oil cooking spray and let them crisp up on their own. I do pat them dry and try to soak up as much of the moisture before cooking though.

    LOVE your “keeping it real” post!!

  20. I par-boil the potatoes with the skin on. Then cool in the refrigerator several hours or overnight. After they are cooled, peel and shred. Put enough olive oil in a pan to cover the bottom of the pan and fry until crispy and then flip. (Butter works great too but olive oil is healthier). We have a lot of potatoes from our garden so I usually cook a large amount and after I shred them, I spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then remove from the pan and place in ziploc bags in the freezer. This works great for quick meals later.

  21. Hi. I love my hash browns. I shred the potatoes and put them into a colander and rinse them of all their excess starch. I also think you’re using too much oil in the pan. They’re boiling in it instead of frying. I put enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but I don’t make it deep. I can add oil as needed, but it’s only just enough to fry them. Think of the flat tops the restaurants usually cook them on. I also salt the pan before adding the potatoes and then again AFTER adding the potatoes. Cast iron pans work best for potatoes. They come out crispy, brown and not “mushy”.

  22. In your picture it looks like you’re using a stainless steel pan, I think? I have never gotten crispy potatoes in a stainless steel pan–they stick too much and leave all the yummy brown crunchy stuff on the pan, no matter how much butter I put in. Then one day I tried them in my cast-iron pan. Voila! Cast iron, if you’re not familiar with using it, will work just like non-stick if it’s well-seasoned (rub with shortening, bake at 400 for 30 minutes to an hour). Do follow the other commenters’ directions, but also try a non-stainless steel pan and see if it helps 🙂

  23. I have not tried to make hashbrowns in years because I have the same problem! Thanks for all the tips in the comments section. I am a cast iron convert myself. I should give hash browns another try with these tips!

  24. You are shredding them too small, and you should cook them in butter to make them crisp. Make sure you wring them dry first, too, otherwise you end up just steaming them in oil.

  25. We do ours in a thin layer with a minimal amount of oil. We have also started to do ours in smaller pancake size cakes so that you don’t have to portion them out. I think the key is making sure your potatoes aren’t layered too thick, I have done that before and they end up gummy on on the inside.

    Good Luck!

  26. I have been on a similar quest and a friend informed me: pre-cook the taters! either in the oven, or you can shred and microwave them for 20-30 seconds – just enough to get the cooking process going. I prefer butter to cook them. My cousin recently gave me this splendid concoction:
    When hashbrowns are mostly cooked through, add a bit of pre-cooked bacon. Top with cheddar cheese. Add a drizzle of ranch and then a drizzle of BBQ sauce. It’s an artery-hardening but delicious treat!

  27. I make great Hash Browns. Peel the raw potatoes, Grate them, Put them in a clean tea towel and wring all the liquid out, Put into a hot cast iron skillet with canola oil in it,
    Press the potatoes down, Season with salt and pepper, Leave alone and do not turn for 7 or 8 minutes, then turn over, Cook that side for another 7 or 8 minutes. They come out GREAT . . .

  28. You really don’t need that much oil, just a couple tbsp. will do. I actually use shortening or bacon grease, start with just a little fat, let the potatoes brown on that side and after flipping, add a touch more fat if needed. I prefer to start them raw, not baked.

  29. The solution to your problem is that you need to bathe the shredded potatoes in ice water as you shred them, then drain and squeeze out extra moisture. Starchy potatoes just don’t “fry”.

    Happy hashbrowning!!! 🙂

  30. I always squeeze out shredded potatoes first before cooking. Potatoes have a lot of moisture in them and like to get rid of as much of it as I can first.

  31. Another vote for Heavenly Homemakers Hash Brown recipe and tips: bake them the night before! Sooo easy and sooo good!

  32. Basically, think about hash browns made in a diner by a short order cook. Deep-fried in a lot of oil? Nah.

    Preheated, very hot grill? Yep.
    Oil? Just a schpritz.
    Oozes water? Nope, squeezed out beforehand.
    Fiddled with constantly? Nope, left alone, flipped once.

    so you either soak the shredded raw potatoes in water to remove the starch, then squeeze them out in a towel to remove all the water you can
    or
    precook the potatoes by baking, boiling or microwaving. You have to do one or the other.

    I reluctantly guess you could do it in cast iron, but think you should just get either an electric griddle, not nonstick if you can find one, or a grill “sheet” that fits over two burners of a range or cooktop. These have a smooth side and a ridged side which is good for grill marks on steaks.

  33. It’s not the water, or the oil, or the size of your shred. All you have to do is rinse the starch out of the potato! After you shred…rinse rinse rinse…until the water runs clear. Cook as usual! Walah!

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