Hash browns are standard breakfast fare, second only to grits in the back woods of Mississippi where I am from, and an ultimate comfort food.
So what are the “perfect” hash browns…and how do you make them at home?
The perfect hash browns will be perfectly and evenly golden-brown—extra crispy, crackly, and buttery on the outside…and creamy and fluffy on the inside.
Soaking Your Potatoes
Scrub your potatoes clean. Do not peel the potatoes.
Place the potatoes in a stockpot with enough cold, salted water to cover them.
Bring to a boil.
Boil for about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse the potatoes with cold water until they are easy to handle.
Now remove any bruised or brown spots with a knife.
Shred the potatoes with a box grater or the coarse grater disk on a food processor…or dice them into 1/2″ chunks.
Place them into a bowl of cold water.
Stir until water is cloudy. This will dissolve any excess starch. You want to remove as much excess starch. Otherwise your hash browns will turn out “gummy.”
Cover potatoes again with fresh cold water.
Let them soak for a few minutes.
Place the potatoes on a clean dish towel.
Wrap them up.
Squeeze out any excess water. This will help ensure that your hash browns turn out crispy. Drying the potatoes well will make frying them infinitely easier.
Cooking Your Potatoes
Heat a 10″ cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. It’s important that your pan is large enough so that the potatoes can cook evenly in a thin layer.
Add 2Tbsp butter.
Let the butter melt until foamy, about 3 minutes, but do not let the butter brown or burn.
Make sure the pan is very hot before adding your potatoes.
Add the potatoes to the heated pan.
Spread evenly into a thin layer.
Press down on potatoes with a spatula to flatten so that the bottom will brown evenly.
Cook for about 5min.
Break up potatoes with a heatproof rubber spatula.
Turn the heat down to medium low.
Season with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like—such as cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder.dried herbs, or Cajun seasoning.
Cook for about 10min, until very crispy and brown on the bottom.
Add more butter if the pan becomes dry or the potatoes start to stick.
Do not flip the hash browns over as soon as you see some color on the bottom. Wait a few minutes more.
Use a metal spatula to gently flip the potatoes.
Cook on the other side for about 12min.
Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Finish cooking any remaining batches of potatoes…but remember that after cooking your first batch of potatoes, your skillet will be much hotter than when you started…meaning that the potatoes will take less time to cook.