You can make hash browns at home just like at the diners.  They are really quite quick and simple—or they wouldn’t be standard dining fare wherever you go.

The best hash browns are fried until they are golden and crispy on the outside and cooked through.  In our quest to make the best hash browns, we tried several methods.

We grated and cooked raw potatoes and we parboiled potatoes before grating.

  • Usually, raw potatoes are grated for hash browns.  You can parboil the potatoes before grating if you like but it’s not necessary.  The parboiled were a little drier and fluffier than the grated raw and some testers preferred these. There was not much difference and both browned evenly. For most of us, parboiling was not worth the effort.

We cooked them after wringing the water from them and without wringing.

  • Getting moisture from the grated potatoes seemed essential to creating crispy hash browns.It was amazing how dry the raw grated potatoes became after compressing them in a potato ricer. We didn’t run the potatoes through the ricer, we simply used the potato ricer as a press, compressing the grated potatoes extract the water. We ended up with very nice dry shreds. Wringing the potatoes in a towel is not as efficient, but stilled worked, getting a fair portion of the moisture out of the potatoes.

We varied the amount of butter in the pan. 

  • First we used one-and-a-half tablespoons of butter for three cups of grated potatoes. Though the butter created a golden crust, the hash browns were quite greasy, especially as they cooled.  We experimented with lesser amounts of butter.  Two teaspoons of butter for three cups of grated potatoes browned the potatoes nicely without being fat-laden.In an accompanying venture, we added a cup of grated cheese to the grated potatoes before frying and reduced the butter. The results were great.  The potatoes ended up with a flavorful golden crust with a bit of cheese.

We tried different heat settings.

  • We found the best heat combination to be medium-high heat to melt the butter. When the butter began bubbling, we added the potatoes and turned the heat to medium-low for ten minutes, before turning them over. Then we continued frying on the same heat for another seven or eight minutes. A higher heat browned the potatoes too quickly, not allowing them to cook thoroughly.

Perfect Hash Browns

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw shredded russet potatoes (2 large potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet onions, grated
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate them. Rinse them in a strainer with cold water.  Then using a potato ricer compress the water from the potatoes. You may also wring the potatoes in a cloth towel and then pat them dry.
  2. In a two-quart bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, and salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  3. In a ten-inch frying pan (nonstick works best), melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it is bubbly, add the potatoes and reduce the heat to medium low. Press the potatoes evenly with a large spatula. They should be no more than a half-inch thick. Cook for ten minutes. Then with a spatula, cut the hash browns evenly in to four wedges for easy turning. Turn them over and cook the other side for another seven or eight minutes until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

 

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