HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Hash Browns

I cannot seem to get my hash browns to come out right. DH likes them from Perkins - semi-crisp, grated potatoes that are not really sticky. Anyone have any ideas or techniques? Mine always seem to come out like wallpaper paste.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I have had that problem before, you might want check and see that they are not to thick.and also the temprature of your heat. you might need to cook them alittle bit
    slower.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bigjimbray

      Use a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet. Bacon drippings work best for flavor, browning, and cripness. Use medium-heat on stovetop burner. Then you need patience....give each side enough time to brown, at least 5 minutes each. Peek, if you must, to check. The browning and crisping takes place when the moisture has evaporated. I have see instructions for rinsing the potato shreds before shaping, but I find using the shredded potato with all of it's starchiness is better.

      "bigjim" is right...don't make them too thick.

      1. re: bigjimbray

        Cooks Illustrated says drying is key. They even wring the grated potatoes in a tea towel.
        Chef's method sounds spot on.
        Bah! Meant to reply to OP.

      2. I think they need to be dried between clean towels. I shred with a hand held shredder, do a quick soak in lemon water, to help prevent discoloration.Let them drain, and then I try to dry them really well with clean towels.

        Then I make an even layer on the flat side of the cast iron griddle, olied and buttered, making the layer that is not to thick. To the potaties I add butter, dotting the top, the onion goes in a few minutes after starting the potatoes, press them in, or you will get blackened onion if you add them too soon and the heat too hot, so I time that. Garlic salt. I Garlic powder can burn and gives a bitter taste. Generous amount of Sea Salt or Kosher, and Ground Pepper.
        Let them cook I've not timed it but when I think they are ready, I lift gently to see if they have reached a nice gold color, then using a large spatula, I flip (if you time it right you get a better flip). I usually am not not successful in getting the whole thing, then I dot a dab more butter on the fresh side, and repeat. I flip one more time. I use a med hi heat and adjust so not to burn the onions.
        I like mine so that the potatoes are soft in the center and gold crispy on the outside. They don't always turn out perfect, but pretty much.
        You can add red pepper flakes, bell pepper and top with cheese and scallions or use fresh garlic (it can burn though).
        Or be a purist, leave them alone and enjoy them with a bottle of Tabasco at your ready that's my way.

        Read my profile, I love potatoes, and I take them very seriously darn it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          A really good post, "Chef".....think that this is one of those recipe techniques that you have to develop yourself ! I also use powdered garlic and powdered onion in the mix. Have even tried shredding the onion on a box grater. Some potato varieties oxidize quicker than others, too.

          For a quick lunch, or snack; after flipping over once I (give it a few moments, or so, to start the browning of the second side) make a small divot in the already browned surface and drop a raw egg into the indentation. Add a tablespoon, or so, of water to steam egg. Quickly cover pan and wait for all steam to evaporate and finish browning the second side. Peek to see if egg has been steamed to your liking. Remove lid to finishing crisping/browning second side. Egg yolk should still be runny.

          1. re: Lisbet

            OH Lisbet that is an excellect idea! That's multi-tasking at its finest!

          2. re: chef chicklet

            My pupils are now dilated reading this recipe....Chef, do you use russets? Which kind of potato is best? Must......make.....hashbrowns.

            1. re: Val

              Just regular Idaho russets. peel and grate. I am sort of weird I don't dry the potatoes with paper, I use tea, or linen towels (white) I feel bad using paper towels... anyway, I dry them well after a lemon bath (no lemon I use lime).
              I think the key is using a fine grater, and drying and rinsing them. Then frying is the easy part. Leave them be let then crust up, there is moisture still in there and the insides will be creamy. Butter, oil salt pepper, garlic whatever, the outside will be just perfect, just let them get the crust first or you will have a mish-mash of potatoes.

              you guys I just plugged in my deep fryer. PLEASE someone stop me.

          3. Sounds like you might be shredding raw potatoes, in which case you have a different definition of "hash browns" than we folks on the West Coast do.

            Here, hash browns are almost synonymous with Swiss rosti. You start with all-purpose potatoes (NOT mealy baking spuds), boil them until about 3/4 done, then let them set overnight to firm up. Come morning, you peel them, shred them, and fry them to a brown crisp on one side, turn them over and do it again. For frying, use bacon fat saved up just for the purpose, but any frying fat or oil will do. Eat immediately.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sharuf

              That sounds more like what I would call "home fries," Sharuf.

              1. re: vanillagrrl

                Sounds like there are some geographical semantic differences. I have never been served anything called "hash browns" made from shredded raw potatoes.

                Around here, order breakfast with "home fries" or "cottage fries" and you will get diced or chunked spuds, often with their skins on, and frequently jazzed up with onions and maybe other stuff. Order "hash browns" and you get plain shredded pre-cooked potatoes browned to a nice crispness. Go to Denny's or IHOP and you'll see what I mean.

                Shredded raw potatoes are used for potato pancakes (which I dearly love) but their texture is quite different from frying pre-cooked spuds.

                1. re: Sharuf

                  I use mash potatoes for potato pancakes. I'm from CA I shred my raw potatoes and call them hash browns, never have I thought to even use a cooked potato. But I'm cooking the way my NY Mom and Midwest Dad taught me, so this is all I know.

                  If I ever get "Country or Cottage Fries" and I'm expecting what I call "hash browns" I am so hugely disappointed! I'm suspect that they were last nights baked potatoes that didn't sell.

                  However if the way you make them is to partially cook the potato, I could try that and see how it works.

            2. Try the "institutional dried hash browns". I went camping in Alaska a few weeks ago, one of the guys brought a half case of these, he got them from a local (to him) restaurant. I was skeptical, but they tasted like the hash browns many coffee shops in the area serve including my old breakfast place. I didn't cook breakfast and I don't know how they are prepared, but they tasted great and were light weight (Important when one has to fly everything in).

              Ask "Perkins" if they use dried and if they do, would they sell you some.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Alan408

                At the Napa airport restaurant, they used to sell a premade frozen hashed brown patty with cheese and scallion as a side dish. I loved it!

              2. This is how I have always made hash browns and everyone raves about them, and they are so simple. I peel potatoes (usually use russets) and then cut them fairly thin (but not paper thin) so you have oval potato slices. Warm up some real butter in a fry pan and add the potatoes. Chop up an onion add this to the potatoes that are frying. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until potatoes and onion are browned to the degree you like. When I dish them out, I add a little more butter to the top that melts over the potatoes as they are served. Very easy and very delicious.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cheri

                  They do sound delicious, but why the heck do you call them "hash browns"? They sound more like scalloped potatoes.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    No, these are hash browns (just potatoes, onion, butter, seasonings). When I make scalloped potatoes it is essentially the same ingredients, but with flour added as a thickener and then a layer of cream and/or milk or half n half is added and then they are baked. The hash browns above are fried. Potatoes don't have to be shredded to be considered hash browns.

                    1. re: Sharuf

                      Grate them if you wish - same end result really as far as taste.

                    2. re: cheri

                      I realize this thread is pretty old, but I noticed it and read it.

                      The potatoes cheri is describing are called 'raw fries' in my neck of the woods. Hashbrowns are always shredded unless they are purchased frozen. They are then sometimes cut into very small dice and when diced onions and green peppers are added they are called 'potatoes o'brien'.

                      The reason some people boil their potatoes before shredding them and making hashbrowns is to avoid the oxidizing. I ususally use either frozen shredded hashbrowns (rarely) or the dehydrated hash browns (occasionally).

                    3. Hear ye, hear ye....

                      Several months ago, I too was overcome with a hankering for restaurant-quality hash browns. I had encountered this website/page a long time ago, and searched and read many others. Over the past several months, each Saturday and Sunday, being a scientific sort of geek, I conducted "test cooks" and tried each and every recipe and technique that I found. After establishing the difference between rosti's and home fries, I finally found the process and technique of creating that nirvana of crusty outsides, and white, creamy insides. Again, I've tried ALL the various techniques. This is the ONLY one that worked. Enjoy.

                      In the morning (no, you cannot do it the night before, tried that, did not work well)
                      first thing,...

                      1) Boil them first - If you use a stock pot, just start with plenty of water. If like me,
                      you use a small deep sauce pan, you will find it easier to place the potatoes in the
                      pan first, cover with tap water, then take the potatoes out, so now you're boiling just
                      the right amount of water.

                      Either way, start the water boiling. Do not add the potatoes yet. While the water
                      is boiling, peel the potatoes. Try to time it so that so that when you're finished
                      peeling, the water is at a boil. Once the water is boiling, place the peeled potatoes
                      in the water, and set a timer for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, the potatoes should
                      now be "fork tender", meaning that the prongs of the fork should now more easily
                      penetrate the potatoes, but not necessarily go all the way thru.

                      When "fork tender", pour the potatoes into a colander in the sink, and let them cool.
                      Meanwhile, if you have a griddle, start your bacon. The hash browns will be inifinitely
                      better if cooked in bacon grease. (Yes, it's a pork fat thing)

                      2) Shred them - Shred them any way you want or can. I use a food processor and it
                      makes fast work of the process.

                      When finished, do not rinse the potato shreds under cold water. I tried that too
                      and it did not work as well. Which is nice, because it removes a step.
                      (If you want to verify this by washing them, just remember you also have to
                      squeeze the heck out of them to get ALL the water out.)

                      3) Cook 'em - Hopefully you've now got a very hot griddle shiny with bacon grease.
                      Hand toss your potato shreds onto the griddle and using a turner (spatula) just
                      medium-lightly pat them down. No need to lean on them.

                      Now, seasoning...Add a pinch of salt all over, and much freshly grated black pepper.

                      I've also found that dropping two or so little dabs (1/4 teaspoon) of butter on the top
                      helps here. It will melt slowly down thru the shreds, eventually reaching the bottom,
                      and helps obtain a nice brown crust.

                      Now leave them alone!...don't touch 'em for at least 5-8 minutes. If you muck with
                      them prematurely, you're ruin them. A lot of this depends on the heat of your surface
                      but I've usually got my gas burners turned up to midway between Med and Hi.
                      So we're talking a very hot surface.

                      In time, you will see stray shreds start to turn brown around the perimeter.
                      When you do, it's time to turn them over. I like to use two turners at once, one
                      in each hand, but this takes a little practice. Whatever you want to try, you're
                      halfway home anyway. The potato shreds should now be behaving as one mass
                      now, bound together by the crust that has formed on the bottom. If it doesn't,
                      then you need to cook it longer.

                      Once flipped over, you just need another 5 minutes. Once flipped over, I also add
                      another pinch of salt, cracker pepper, and dabs of butter. Relax now, breathe deep.
                      You are close.

                      4 ) Now is the time to crack and fry the two eggs that you will want as well ;-)

                      5) The hash browns should now be a single, cohesive mass, that you can flip like a
                      burger, even though it may extend beyond the width of a single turner.
                      If both sides are to you're liking, plate them, and layer on the fried eggs.

                      Enjoy....you are in Hash Brown Bliss ;-)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Sampson

                        Just gave your method a try. Hash Brown Bliss as you described. They had the really crusty outside and the nice creamy inside.

                        Started with the boiled potatoes, shredded 'em. I mixed in bits of fried ham/ham fat instead of using bacon. Salt and pepper. Fried em in rendered fat/butter. The ham flavor permeated nicely through the whole mass of potato-y goodness.

                        I mucked them up because I wasn't patient enough initially and because the patty I made was just too big. It separated into 4-5 sections and those I let sit until they were nice and crusty and ready to be flipped before turning them over.

                        1. re: Sampson

                          This is the perfect recipe! We tried it for Sunday brunch today, and the directions were spot on. Used 3 big russets, yielding two skillets of hash brown bliss. Thanks for sharing your research with us.

                        2. It seems that there are many different ways to make hashed browns. I make them with raw potatoes using Idaho russets as they'll be more fluffy. Using potatoes like yukons or maine potatoes will make them more gluey. After shredding them I soak them in water for a while, changing the water every so often. That helps it to release the starches so you've got crisp, non-sticky potatoes.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            Yep, I tried that....doesn't work as well as the method I outlined.

                            1. re: Sampson

                              Ok, back to Cheri's oval shaped ones - my mom made these by cutting on a mandoline type thing (though in the deep south in the 70s they didn't call it a mandoline) and fried them with onions in the electric frying pan. We (and I think southerners are the go-to people when it comes to the names of fried foods!!) called those "Fried Potatoes"... anything called hash browns has to be hashed, that is, grated or at least julienned. Home fries would be the square chunks.
                              Love me some fried potatoes.

                          2. I made the best hash browns ever, just last week! I made the best baked potatoes too. I used Alton Brown's baked potatoe recipe one night and the next morning I shredded the leftovers and fried them in just enough oil to cover the pan. You should have seen my "O" face!!!

                            1. Ok... I'll take the heat.

                              I use ORE-IDA frozen hash browns. They come out fine.

                              Now that that is out of the way, have you ever had them loaded like at the waffle house?

                              onions. chili, cheese etc

                              1. I am about to post something that may seem like heresy, but here goes. We don't often eat hashbrowns, you know the high fat, high carb thing so it's tough to keep them on hand. Grating my own potatoes is a pain and the whole squeezing them and making sure they don't turn brown or gray is another matter. So, here it is. I've found the dehydrated hashbrowns from Costco to be very close to those served in restaurants. They come in small cartons similar to half and half or whipping cream. You just rehydrate them in hot water, drain and fry. I was surprised at how good they were and how easy they are to make. They can sit on your shelf for years and they're still just as good as the day you brought them home. I won'te eat the instant mashed potatoes and don't really care for the Hungry Jack au gratin potatoes from the box, but the hashbrowns are good.

                                1. I use a version of Thomas Kellers recips and I've had success every time. shortly before cooking, I grate the potatoes into a bowl and add whatever flavors I want (garlic, chives, green onion, etc.). I also add some cornstarch - a couple teaspoons for 2-3 potaotes. Oh! and I use Yukon gold potatoes. I heat some canola oil in a pan over medium high heat and drop handfuls of the potato mizture in. Not too thick or else they'll brown before they cook thru. I let them cook until brown on one side, turning the heat down to medium if they're browning to quickly. I flip them with a spatula and let the other side brown and then drian them on paper towels. If working in batches put them on a rack in the oven so they stay crisp and warm.

                                  Cheers,
                                  Ladyberd
                                  http://ladyberds-kitchen.blogspot.com

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ladyberd

                                    I have a confession. Lately I have been addicted to Linden's Potatoes O'Brian. Frozen in the store...! I love onion's in my potatoes and Green Pepper.

                                    But when I make regular hashbrowns from scratch I will semi cook the potatoes then shred them. Put the shred in the oven on a LOW heat. 150º is fine and dry them out the best you can. Don't over do, just get them drier. Stir to keep them from sticking

                                    Now take some Snow Cap Lard, not much for your grease and sprinkle a small amount of shreds that just covers the bottom of the pan some. NOW sprinkle on some garlic salt a little pepper and chopped onions. Then that way the onions are not directly in contact with the bottom of the pan to get burnt. Either is any garlic. Now add the rest of the potatoes on top of that.

                                    Cook at between LOW and Medium heat for around, (depending how much browns you have in your pan) 15 to 20 minutes. Cover with a glass casserole cover, slow cooker cover or fryer cover. Put a good pat of butter in the middle on top first before you put on the cover. I use a Black Iron Skillet or my industrial non stick thick wall pan, and when the browns are dark brown on the bottom and crispy then I take and unstick the bottom with a thin stainless spatula and unstick the bottom. Salt and pepper the top, then I take a small plate and put it upside down on the browns and flip the frying pan upside down and the browns are in the plate. Now slide the browns off the plate and cook the other side of the browns.

                                    Injoy !!!!!!