Crispy Hash Browns

You can’t have a classic American breakfast without hash browns! I LOVE hash browns that are light & crispy on the outside and soft & fluffy in the center. 

I did not grow up eating American style breakfast. Instead, breakfast was either Mexican pastries (which my dad ate) or a traditional Korean breakfast (which my mom ate). So it was either orejas and conchas, or mulbap (rice with water) and kimchi and/or any leftover food from dinner the night before. 

It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started making myself American style breakfast! I was missing out. Maybe it’s because I was hungover eating my hash browns with eggs for the first time, but it was SO good I felt foolish for thinking American breakfast was so basic and boring. The combination of a runny yolk + crispy hash browns + ketchup & Tabasco= heaven on a plate! So delicious.

I like my hash browns really crispy on the outside- but like a really light & airy crisp if that makes sense. I also like my hash browns a little bit on the thicker side, so that there are soft and fluffy bits of potato shreds in the center. If you follow my recipe I will show you exactly how to make them like this. If you prefer thin & crispy throughout, I will add instructions for how to achieve that as well. 

Equipment needed

  • Cheese grater– you’ll need one with coarse grates, like this one.

  • Salad spinner- I use a salad spinner to remove as much moisture as possible. It works really well for this! But you can also use a cheese cloth or just paper towels to squeeze out the moisture.

  • Skillet or griddle– cast iron or non-stick would work best, but stainless steel is also an option if you know how to use one properly.

    Stainless steel is known for making food stick to the pan but there is a way to make sure this doesn’t happen. First you need to get the pan really hot. You’ll know its hot enough when you splash a little water on it and the water bounces around all over the pan. If it stays in one spot and sizzles, it’s not ready. Once the pan is ready, just reduce the heat to where you need it and now your stainless steel pan is ready to use and your food won’t stick 🙂

How to make them

Step 1: Peel the skin off your russet potatoes, then use a cheese grater to shred it.

Step 2:  Rinse the shredded potatoes in cold water (pictured below are suds from the starch, not soap). How much starch you wash out will determine how light, crispy, & fluffy your hash browns are. 

For example, if you thoroughly rinse out as much starch as possible, your hash browns will be delightfully light & fluffy with a super crispy exterior. However, it will be more difficult to flip over because the lack of starch results in less binding. This is how I prefer my hash browns. It takes a bit of practice to flip them over in one piece, but it is possible! *Note: you can add some corn starch to the potatoes to avoid this issue, however the texture isn’t as fluffy in the center but that is a matter of preference so you can decide if you want to add it or not. 

On the other hand, if you give them a quick rinse (allowing some starch to remain in the potatoes), you will still get great results and they will be easier to flip over because there is enough starch to bind them. These won’t be as light & fluffy as the thoroughly washed potatoes, but still good. 

If you don’t rinse the potatoes at all, they will bind and flip over with no issues but it will be grey, mushy, and oily. 

Left: Lightly rinsed potatoes. Right: Not rinsed at all

Step 3: Remove as much moisture as possible. In order to get evenly crispy hash browns, you need to squeeze out as much water as you can. 

I prefer to do this using my salad spinner– it works GREAT for removing water! But you can also use a cheese cloth or even paper towels to squeeze it out. 

Step 4: Add onion powder and/or garlic powder. I do not like garlic on my breakfast potatoes so I only add onion powder, but feel free to add whatever seasonings you like. 

*I do not add salt or pepper at this time. Instead I wait until the potatoes have been spread and frying on the griddle so I can see how much I need, plus my husband and I prefer different levels of seasoning. 

Step 5: On a large griddle or skillet (cast iron or anything non-stick works best), add a generous amount of oil over medium high heat and evenly spread the shredded potatoes.

Spread the potatoes in a thicker layer if you want a soft & fluffy center. Spread in a thinner layer and press down firmly if you prefer thin & crispy throughout. Then lightly season with salt & pepper. 

To maximize the amount of hash browns I can make at once, I usually spread it in one big piece but you do not have to do it this way. It may be easier for you to do smaller, multiple pieces so that flipping it over isn’t an issue. 

Step 6: When the edges begin to brownUse two spatulas to separate the hash browns into smaller pieces by pressing down and gently pulling them apart. (Skip this step if you didn’t make one big piece). 

Step 7:  Add bacon fat (or just more oil if you’re not making bacon) around the edges of the hash browns. 

*If using bacon fat, be careful about how much salt you season with. Bacon fat will add flavor and a little salt, so adjust the amount of salt you add accordingly.

Step 8:  Flip the hash browns over immediately after adding the bacon fat or oil. 

Depending on how thick your hash browns are (and if you thoroughly rinsed the starch out of your potatoes), they may not stick together and some parts can fall apart when you flip them over. I use two spatulas to help with this and don’t worry if you make a mess- just shape it back together and continue cooking. 

Step 9: Lightly season with salt & pepper and remove from heat when the bottom is nice and crispy. 

*This blog post has affiliate links to products that I recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Crispy Hash Browns

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp bacon fat (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Peel the skin off your russet potatoes, then use a cheese grater to shred it.
  • Rinse the shredded potatoes in cold water (pictured are suds from the starch, not soap). How much starch you wash out will determine how light, crispy, & fluffy your hash browns are. Please see the additional notes from the instructions in this blog post above.
  • Remove as much moisture as possible. In order to get evenly crispy hash browns, you need to squeeze out as much water as you can. 
    I prefer to do this using my salad spinner- it works GREAT for removing water! But you can also use a cheese cloth or even paper towels to squeeze it out. 
  • Add onion powder and/or garlic powder. I do not like garlic on my breakfast potatoes so I only add onion powder, but feel free to add whatever seasonings you like.  
  • On a large griddle or skillet (cast iron or anything non-stick works best), add a generous amount of oil over medium high heat and evenly spread the shredded potatoes.
    Spread the potatoes in a thicker layer if you want a soft & fluffy center. Spread in a thinner layer and press down firmly if you prefer thin & crispy throughout. Then lightly season with salt & pepper. 
  • When the edges begin to brown, use two spatulas to separate the hash browns into smaller pieces by pressing down and gently pulling them apart. (Skip this step if you didn't make one big piece). 
  • Add bacon fat (or just more oil if you're not making bacon) around the edges of the hash browns. 
    *If using bacon fat, be careful about how much salt you season with. Bacon fat will add flavor and a little salt, so adjust the amount of salt you add accordingly.
  • Flip the hash browns over immediately after adding the bacon fat or oil. Depending on how thick your hash browns are (and if you thoroughly rinsed the starch out of your potatoes), they may not stick together and some parts can fall apart when you flip them over. I use two spatulas to help with this and don't worry if you make a mess- just shape it back together and continue cooking. 
  • Lightly season with salt & pepper and remove from heat when the bottom is nice and crispy. 
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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Vanessa

    Using a salad spinner is brilliant.. definitely going to give this a try sometime!

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Hi, I'm Stella! I come from a multicultural background, and learning how to cook has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. I truly believe that anyone can cook as long as they have the passion to learn. Thank you for being here!

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