Hash Browns: The Holy Grail of Breakfast

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For perfect, light, crispy, delicious hash browns, every time, use this method. I'll also show some ways not to make hash browns, as well as an experiment showing what happens when you skip the crucial step.

Hash browns (along with biscuits, which I haven't yet mastered), are the holy grail of breakfast. Done right, they are crispy, light, and delicious, worthy of every praise and love-song ever written in honor of food. Done wrong, they are mushy, soaked in oil, half-burned and mangled. They are, to borrow from the Grinch, "an appalling dump heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots".

But once you figure them out, they're surprisingly easy. Get excited.

What you need:
  • Potatoes
  • A grater
  • A strainer
  • Oil or butter
  • A frying pan & spatula
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Step 1: Grate your Potatoes

Picture of Grate your Potatoes
OK, you knew this. Peel or wash first.

Step 2: Rinse Your Potato Shreds

Picture of Rinse Your Potato Shreds
Pour your shreds into a strainer and rinse them out. You can also put them in a bowl, fill it with water and potato shreds, then strain and repeat until the water runs clean.

This is where the magic happens. When you do this, you will see your shreds turn from a gray, mushy mass into crisp, white shreds of delicious potato goodness. According to the (always reliable) internet, you are removing "the starches" in this step. I'm not sure why this makes a difference, but it sure does. All the difference.

Step 3: Squeeze the Water Out

Picture of Squeeze the Water Out
No need to go crazy here. Just grab the potatoes in your hands and squeeze some water out of them so they aren't sopping wet. 

Some people will use a towel and twist it. Others get "potato-ricers" (giant garlic press type contraptions that will squeeze every last ounce of moisture from potato shreds). This is only necessary if you haven't already rinsed the potatoes. If you have rinsed them, then squeezing really isn't all that important (see the experiment at the end of this instructable).
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dropkick9 months ago

I'm a professional cook. Nothing the matter with the way that your doing this, but I have a suggestion that works if you have the time to plan ahead. I think my way is somewhat easier and you end up with much faster browning hashbrowns.

Clean and boil some whole potatoes.

Cook the potatoes untill a fork can penetrate them but they're still firm (normal sized potatoes only take 15 to 20 minutes at a rolling boil).

Quench the potatoes (run some cold water over them to stop or limit any residual the cooking process - you don't need the potatoes to be completely cold - just enough so you can handle them)

Put the potatoes uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. - This is a very important step as the potatoes firm up in the refrigerator. If you use them while they're still warm you'll likely end up with fried mashed potatoes.

Heat oil or butter up in a frying pan and grate the unpeeled potato directly into the pan. - It will grate easily and most of the skin (if it's a brown potato) will sluff off to the side instead of grating. it's easy to discard the skin or you can fry and eat it also - I like it.

The potatoes will brown very quickly and you'll have no problem with blackening.

I boil potatoes and put them in my home refrigerator about once a week. That way I have them ready for hashbrowns, scalloped, twice-baked, or any other potato dishes that meet my fancy.

solobo (author)  dropkick9 months ago

Nice, thanks for posting that. I'd heard something about pre-boiling, but it always sounded like too much work. But I can see how if you have a bunch of them pre-boiled, it's not so bad. I'll have to give it a try and see how it compares. Thanks!

Do people in Chicago put sour cream on hash browns as we did when I lived in MN. Makes sense if you like t on baked potatoes. Try it if you haven't.

solobo (author)  lamontej126 days ago

I don't know about in Chicago, but here in San Francisco I haven't ever seen that. It sounds delicious though! I'll have to try it.

This is how I make Latkes! Great tip.

guitarpicker79 months ago


Suggestion; get a salad spinner - I find them for about $2 at the DOLLAR TREE store. They have a big basket that can be used for rinsing, draining and, of course SPINNING the shreds to get them as dry as possible without crushing them into pulp. I often put a bit of salt and /or onion powder and/or garlic power in the final rinse, let the shreds sit for 10 or 15 minutes to absorb the extra flavor, then drain and SPIN.

Hmmm... Think I'll go make a batch!

Good job!


Wait, $2 at Dollar Tree?
Also, thanks for the reminder. I forgot Dollar Tree has kitchenware items.

the DOLLAR TREE in my area (SW Ohio) has items marked for even $, sometimes as much as 20 or 30 of them... ;-)

Weird! I live in NE Ohio, and everything is $1. That's their main advertisement to get people to come in. :D

great idea!

solobo (author)  guitarpicker79 months ago

Ooh, that sounds like an excellent idea.

sofia212 days ago


rohit545 days ago

great idea

money366 days ago


monika547 days ago


arvindr9 days ago


honey12110 days ago

amazing idea

great idea

abbeyheinz11 days ago

Im so happy I reveiewed these comments,Nice ,Just adds a little more security to cooking ,and turning out easy thanks to all of you !

geet2113 days ago

great idea

tanvi78614 days ago


great thinking

hanish78614 days ago

great idea

geetika78614 days ago




jyotisingh1 month ago


jaretth1 month ago


jaretth1 month ago


jaretth1 month ago


jaretth1 month ago


midnightfood2 months ago


stevebhalla3 months ago

looks Delicioous

BARNABASSABA6 months ago

excellent Solobo....its very delicious... i made it once..FOVORITED it

solobo (author)  BARNABASSABA5 months ago
dummy19778 months ago

Thank you...this is one thing I always butcher. Grayish mess...yep.

solobo (author)  dummy19778 months ago
You're welcome!
acabrera79 months ago
solobo (author)  acabrera79 months ago

Mm, sounds good.

acabrera7 solobo9 months ago

Just a heads up, i tried that and it went EVERYWHERE. It kept on destroying the pattie shape everytime it popped.

So I reccommend ham. If it doesnt do that yet.

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