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What's the trick to hash browns from scratch? I'm trying to get the nice golden crust found in diners, but don't have consistent results.

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I shred them with a julienne slicer, squeeze out as much moisture as I can, use Canola oil and butter over med-high heat, but don't get the "crispy on the outside, soft on the inside" results that restaurants do. Instead, they come out a bit greasy and soggy. What can I do to improve them?

asked by NOLA in SF almost 5 years ago
21 answers 27360 views
3e8aec12 01d0 432e a6a4 5963bb36f5b2  fb avatar
added almost 5 years ago

The trick is to parboil the potatoes before you shred them. The potatoes that you get at many restaurants are mostly cooked in the factory, shredded, and flash frozen.
Use russet potstoes. You only want them about 70% done when you shred them. Also, parboil them skin-on and peel them before you grate them. Then hand grate them on a box grater. I have a cheap box grater; I expanded the holes with a closed pair of needle nosed pliers. This gives larger shreds.
Also, the food processor is too hard on the potatoes and develops the gluten, which makes them gummy.

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

I shred potatoes in the food processor all the time with no problems. Not sure what you're talking about!

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added almost 5 years ago

I thought potatoes were gluten free.

3e8aec12 01d0 432e a6a4 5963bb36f5b2  fb avatar
added almost 5 years ago

You are right, I'm wrong. The thing that makes potatoes gluey has nothing to do with gluten.

67544da8 1862 4539 8ec8 2d9dfc2601bb  dsc 0122.nef 1
added almost 5 years ago

but, now you've piqued my curiosity.. what is the element that makes the potato gluey.. (I always assumed that it was the starch cells that absorb water & heat & get swollen)

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gt9
added almost 5 years ago

http://www.epicurious.com.... Here is a great recipe for the 21 club hash browns. I have made these for years. Never had anybody not love.

9ef8cbfc c936 4992 b2ea c2466ec1cccd  adg specialists pictures 215
gt9
added almost 5 years ago

http://www.epicurious.com.... Here is a great recipe for the 21 club hash browns. I have made these for years. Never had anybody not love.

9ef8cbfc c936 4992 b2ea c2466ec1cccd  adg specialists pictures 215
gt9
added almost 5 years ago

http://www.epicurious.com.... Here is a great recipe for the 21 club hash browns. I have made these for years. Never had anybody not love.

516f887e 3787 460a bf21 d20ef4195109  bigpan
added almost 5 years ago

I use russet potato and rinse the starch off and dry on paper toweling. I also add a bit of shredded onion because onion goes with everything. Fry in a hot pan with butter (not margarine) with some canola oil to help raise the smoke point. Make "patties" for nice plate appeal instead of just a big pile.

E0cc9d5c 6544 49fb b0e4 5c150d9ac0f7  imag0055
added almost 5 years ago

Parboil the potatoes the day before and let them get cold in the frig. overnight . Shred them on a box grater and add a little salt. Clarify some butter ( a pain, but do it). Put some butter (save some) in the heated pan and spread out the potatoes. Cook until a nice crust forms--it will, I promise--takes about 15 min. of medium heat. Put a plate over the pan and flip the potatoes onto the plate, then back in, unbrowned side down. Send the rest of the butter trickling down the sides and brown again. I take no credit. Sam Sifton ran this recipe in the NY Times a few months ago and it is "genius." You can probably find the details, with exact measurements, in the Times archive. I've made them lots and his technique is the answer to your prayers.

32fb3935 151a 4db2 ac26 980d4c0d5cea  lorigoldsby
added almost 5 years ago

Pre cooking the potatoes is key as several have mentioned here. My husband actually prefers the dice style "home fries" of hash browns and I either use leftover baked potatoes or I will put them in the microwave that morning.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 5 years ago

I have better luck with the small dice - rather than shredded potatoes - too.

Also, don't crowd the pan or the spuds will steam instead of crisp - do them in batches if you don't have a big enough. And be brave with heat - obviously you need to watch so they don't burn, but it often seems the cook has been scared off and turned the flame too low, when there's a problem getting something crispy/brown.

Not sure if this will work with hash browns, but when I do oven fries, they come out extra crispy and tasty when I soak the pieces in salted very hot tap water for a half-hour or so, then dry them on paper (or a clean) towel before cooking with oil, s&p, etc.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 5 years ago

I hate to say it here..with 'home cooking' being the touchstone.

But the Ore-Ida brand of hashbrowns (either shreaded/or the southern cubed style). In the freezer section cook up great. They're minimally processed, lightly steamed cooked with a touch of cornstarch coating and citric acid to keep them white and flash frozen.
And if you're eating hashbrowns fried that should be least of your worries.

Hashbrowns to get them right from scratch can be labor intensive. Precooking, cooling, draining, drying, dusting with cornstarch etc..etc...and that's before you get down to actually frying them.

32fb3935 151a 4db2 ac26 980d4c0d5cea  lorigoldsby
added almost 5 years ago

Sam...agree with you about the Ore-Ida potatoes! I usually skip the freezer section but do like these potatoes. If catering a large brunch...I use them for my latke omelet cups!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

I just shred the potato and then put it in a ricer to squeeze all of the extra water out. Fry it with a little butter, salt and pepper and enjoy!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 5 years ago

shred, rinse, pat dry, and place on a microwave-safe glass dish that has a lid. heat for 3-5 minutes per 1-inch of depth of potatoes in the dish. you want them to feel like the bagged, frozen hash browns. so, not soft but still mostly raw. it's faster than par-boiling but accomplishes the same thing in way less time and way less hassle. i agree about the clarified butter...a must! what a difference it makes. cast iron skillets work really well for any type of hash browns too to guarantee a crust on both sides.

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em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 5 years ago

Use russets, grate them and then wring them out in a towel. I dont get a good crust unless mine are pretty dry!

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added over 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice, everyone! Think I finally found the trick: shred them on a box grater, wring the moisture out with a potato ricer, toss with some flour, and fry in a combination of canola oil and butter. Haven't tried the clarified butter yet, but the combination of suggestions has made them a lot better!