Ever wondered how to make hashbrowns at home?
Not just hashbrowns, but killer homemade hashbrowns? Hashbrowns you’re actually proud of?
I have too. I spent the past year devoting each slow weekend morning to trying to make diner-worthy hashbrowns at home. See, I love breakfast food. Downright adore it. I am completely willing to wake up a little early on a Sunday just to beat the rush of church-going families at our favorite local diner.
The food isn’t mindblowing at this place. It’s a small, family owned, decor-hasn’t-changed-since-they-opened kind of place. The coffee is awful compared to the $4 I shell out for pour-over at a downtown coffee shop. It’s a dingy, cheap, busy-as-all-heck diner, and damn are the hashbrowns amazing. Crisp and golden on the outside, soft but never mushy on the inside. The hint of butter and salt.
I thought it would be easy to create at home. Then we could stay home on Sunday mornings, save ourselves the 20 minute drive to get to the diner (a long commute in ND – it’s literally on the other side of town), save ourselves the 30 minute minimum wait, and get to enjoy a great cup of coffee with our diner-style breakfast.
Side note: I seriously think a diner with classic, greasy diner food that serves quality coffee would be a diamond in the rough.
So I tried making homemade hashbrowns in my trusty cast iron skillet. Crispy, but the flavor wasn’t right. Try again. Crispy, but too crispy – no softness in the middle. Try again. Burnt. Try again – mushy and gross.
I looked up every damn tutorial from trusted sources on the internet, but couldn’t find anything that seemed to really work. I tried adding starch, squeezing the excess liquid out, par-cooking the potato shreds with hot water, using oil, using lard, using butter, cooking long, cooking hotter, turning the burner down, using a dry skillet… I mean, I thought I’d tried everything.
The man spouse was getting sick of my attempts. He didn’t think it was worth it. So one day I made breakfast potatoes instead, and he asked me to stop with the hashbrowns. I gave up. Our breakfast ideas became limited to breakfast potatoes.
Luckily, my gym is an amazing resource. While complaining about my year-long struggle with hashbrowns, a fellow member who used to cook at a diner told me their secret.
Put the hashbrowns on the griddle, use a spatula to form them into a rectangle, drizzle a line of oil down the middle, and cover.
Still, I was skeptical. After all, I felt like I’d tried everything.
So I shredded my potatoes, squeezed the excess liquid out, added them to the pan, formed them to a uniform height, drizzled with a little extra oil, and covered.
And by golly, it worked. My hashbrowns stayed together. They were crispy on the outside. The insides were soft. Oh. My. Gosh. It worked!
I can’t wait for you to try these. Good hashbrowns at home are possible, everyone! That’s definitely worth celebrating.
A couple things before we get to the recipe. I use a food processor to shred my potatoes—I highly suggest getting one, since shredding by hand can be a giant pain. I squeeze out the excess liquid with a nut milk bag (I use this thing allllll the time). You can use a linen dishtowel or even paper towels if you’d like. The potato shreds don’t need to be dry. Just squeeze out the excess liquid for a couple seconds.
Most importantly, when you cover the potatoes in the skillet, you aren’t putting the lid on the skillet. You need a lid that’s smaller than your pan. Set the lid directly on the surface of the skillet. Note that I only have stainless steel skillet lids, so that’s all I’ve used. I have no idea how a glass lid would fare.
But seriously, covering the hashbrowns this way is what works. Seriously!
Your homemade breakfast just got a lot more epic.
How to Make Hashbrowns at Home
- 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or ghee, divided
- 1 large russet potato
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of olive oil or ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- While the skillet is heating up, shred the potato with the shredding attachment of a food processor. If you have the patience and gusto, feel free to use a box shredder to hand-shred the potato. But consider investing in a food processor, because it makes life so much easier.
- Add the salt to the potato shreds and toss. Put the potato shreds in a nut milk bag and squeeze out the excess liquid. You can also use paper towels or a linen dishcloth here. The potatoes don’t need to be completely dry, but squeezing out the excess liquid prevents the hashbrowns from getting too mushy!
- Dump the potato shreds into the hot skillet. Use a spatula to flatten and spread the potatoes into a uniform height (I keep mine about 1/2 inch high). Drizzle the potatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil/ghee.
- Cover the potatoes by placing a small, stainless steel or cast iron pot lid directly onto the bottom of the skillet. (You’ll need a lid that’s smaller than the skillet you’re using!) Let cook for 4-5 minutes, then carefully lift up the lid—I use an oven mitt and the spatula to do this. Flip the hashbrowns and cover again, continuing to cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the hashbrowns to a plate, cut in half, and serve!