Crispy hash browns are one of the delights of life … at least in my life, anyway. What’s not to love? Here I’ll show you a great technique for making these diner beauties at home.
This is my mother’s technique for making hash browns and my take on them varies only slightly in the seasoning. If you want to create happy dinner table memories in your house, this is a great start. It sure worked for me as a child.
Crispy Hash Browns Technique
I am NOT much of a weekly menu planner. At most, I have a rough idea of what I’ll want to cook that week, or what needs to be used. A little bit of preplanning is all you need here.
Generally, I’ll decide that I want to make these hash browns sometime during the week and I’ll simply cook the potatoes while I’m cooking another dinner and place them in the refrigerator for later. It doesn’t matter what size potato or how many of them, it’s your choice for how many people you’re feeding.
Prepping the Potatoes
Use russet potatoes (brown skins) for these hash browns – other potatoes don’t contain enough starch and won’t work properly. Scrub the potatoes in their skins and place them in a pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. If you start with hot water, the potatoes won’t cook evenly.
Cook approximately 15-20 minutes depending on size. You want them to be a little bit underdone in the center but otherwise fork tender. Place them on a plate to cool, then place the plate in the refrigerator. Covering is optional.
When you’re ready to cook, peel the potatoes and grate on a box grater using the side of the grater with holes that are about 1/4″ across. I like to do this on a sheet of wax paper or parchment, it makes moving the grated potatoes so much easier. Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl and season them.
Heat up a 10″ non-stick or well seasoned slick cast iron skillet and add butter and oil. Gently pat the shredded potatoes in an even layer in the skillet, tamping the edges inward so it will flip more easily.
Here’s where knowing your cookware and stove pays off. Cook on medium-ish heat until the bottom is golden and crispy. You’ll start to see the golden color on the underside of the edges of the potatoes. Don’t try to finagle a spatula under there to pry up an edge – you’re likely to crack the crust.
Lay a plate over the skillet and (with oven mitts on!) flip over. Heat more butter and oil in the skillet, then slip the potatoes in golden side up so the uncooked side gets the crispy treatment.
Cook until golden again and slide them onto a warm serving plate. If desired, slice like a pie for serving.
If you need to hold them for a little while, place the skillet into a warm oven (about 175°) or keep on a very low burner. Don’t cover them or the top won’t be crispy.
What to Serve with Crispy Hash Browns
- Delicious alongside a comforting meal of meatloaf or Roast Chicken
- Serve with sausage or bacon and eggs for breakfast or brunch
- As the main event with applesauce and sour cream or Crème Fraiche
- With a light brothy soup and salad
No matter how you serve them, these Crispy Hash Browns are one of those foods that make love flow around the table. Whether you’re celebrating the small stuff, mending a broken heart or simply because it’s Wednesday, cook some up and let me know how you liked them.
Crispy Hash Browns
- 3 lbs russet potatoes (cook the night before, see step 1)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-4 Tablespoons butter
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
- The day prior, place the washed potatoes in their skins in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, cook 15-20 minutes until barely fork tender – still a little underdone in the middle. Drain, cool and refrigerate.
- When ready to cook, peel potatoes and while they're still chilled grate them on box grater using the 1/4" holes. (Grating on wax paper or parchment helps to transfer them.) Place shredded potatoes in a large bowl and gently stir in the herbs, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Heat a 10" non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add approximately 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Tilt skillet to distribute evenly.
- Gently pat the potatoes into the skillet. You can season with some more salt and pepper as you're putting them in, if you like. Tamp down the edges to form a neat rim, it will aid in flipping them.
- Cook, uncovered, on medium heat without moving for approximately 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy. You'll see the underside of the edges become golden when they're ready. Don't attempt to lift up the main body of the potatoes to check, it's likely to crack and break.
- Remove from stove top. Lay a dinner plate (a flat edged one with no lip is great) face down onto the potatoes in the skillet. With mitted hands on either side, swiftly and surely flip the skillet and plate over together. Place the skillet back on the burner to heat again.
- Add more butter and oil to the skillet and tilt it around again to disperse. Gently but quickly, slide the potatoes back in the skillet. Give the skillet a shake to center the potatoes. Cook again until golden, 5-8 minutes.
- Either flip again onto serving plate or slide out, whichever will work for you. Cut like a pie to serve.
- I usually cook the potatoes the night before either while I’m cooking dinner, cleaning up or in the evening. There’s very little effort to it. The cooked potatoes will last several days in the fridge.
- You can use all butter or all oil in amounts to suit your tastes.
- This method works for a varying amount of potatoes. Make the amount you need.
- Season as you like. Some ideas: Garlic oil, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, no herbs, lots of herbs, etc.