Crispy and golden, homemade hash browns are the best of shredded potatoes fried in your favorite nourishing fat, salted just right and served up piping hot for breakfast or (my favorite) dinner. Put the frozen ones to shame with these easy secrets.Jump to Recipe
Have you been a lover of frozen potatoes all your life? From french fries (give me a good waffle fry any day) to hash browns they are so easy to grab and go. Just cook them from frozen and you’re all good.
That’s what you thought. But like everything else, this trend of homemade food really being better than the bagged version—it’s true.
And when there are times that you 1) really want to impress someone or 2) can’t find what you need on store shelves, just get a bag of potatoes and feel proud of yourself.
Homemade hash browns from scratch only take about 20 minutes to make and most of that is just making sure you don’t burn them. You can fry eggs, make grits and whip up a batch of biscuits just about as fast.
How to prep your potatoes for the skillet
Step 1: You can use any kind of potato you have on hand for your hash browns. Russet is a good choice but red potatoes would also be delicious. Peel them, rinse them off and use a box grater to shred them.
*If you don’t have a box grater you can use a grating blade on a food processor or just cut your potatoes in to tiny cubes.
Plan for 1 medium potato per person you are serving. If there are a lot of other dishes going with the hash browns, you can estimate a bit less. If there are fewer dishes, make a little more per person.
Step 2: Once the potatoes are shredded, place them in a bowl and add cold water. Use your hands and swish them around then drain them over and over again until the water runs clear. This took four rinses for me.
Step 3: Transfer your potatoes to a clean towel or paper towels and squeeze like the dickens and get out as much water as you can. Then open them up and spread them out a bit so they can dry further while you get the butter ready.
Remember: A dry potato is a golden brown crispy potato and not a wet steamed soggy one. This matters.
Choose a great fat for flavoring your hash browns
I’m a bit of a vigilante when it comes to fat. We gave up vegetable oil and its side effects a while back and now use only solid, cell-nourishing, good quality saturated fats in our cooking. Those include:
- Butter from pastured cows (like Kerrygold butter) or ghee
- Bacon grease from pastured or locally grown pigs (Epic has a good brand)
- Refined coconut oil (make suer it’s refined so it doesn’t taste like coconuts)
- Avocado oil
You want to make sure your fat is able to tolerate the high heat that comes with frying. Olive oil isn’t a good choice here and of course, if you want to use vegetable oil I won’t say another word about it. Not right now at least.
We are going to use butter in this recipe but we are going to remove the milk solids that burn in high heat before we add the potatoes…that means we are making clarified butter or ghee.
Step 4: Add 4 tablespoons butter to a good heavy skillet and heat gently over very low heat. This causes the milk solids (they’re white) to come to the top. Use a spoon to skim off as much of the solids as you can and then raise the heat to medium high.
Step 5: Add the potatoes and spread them out evenly. Then: Don’t touch them. Reduce the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to sit undisturbed for 8 to 10 minutes. You can peek under one side if needed but please let them have time to sit there and get crusty. Then flip them either in one piece or in sections.
Step 6: Add salt to taste. We wait to salt them because it pulls moisture out and if added early it would make the potatoes steam. This is one time when salting after the fact is a good idea.
Other potato recipes you’ll love
Try these great potato dishes to satisfy your comfort food cravings:
- Cheesy hash brown casserole
- Loaded hash brown potato skins
- AuGratin Potatoes
- Classic southern potato salad
How to make homemade hash browns
- 3-4 medium russet potatoes washed and peeled, you'll need about 4 cups of shredded potatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter or bacon grease, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
- Peel potatoes and shred or grate on a box grater to get 4 cups. If you don't have a box grater, cut your potatoes in to small cubes.
- Place potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water. Swirl them around and drain. Repeat 4 times, or until water runs clear.
- Transfer to a clean dish towel or paper towels and squeeze to drain out any extra water. Open the towel and spread out the potatoes to dry while you heat the butter.
- In a heavy skillet, add the butter over low heat and gently melt. Once melted, turn off the heat and use a spoon to skim off the white milk solids floating on top. You won't get it all, but do the best you can.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and heat 2 minutes. Add potatoes and spread them evenly and reduce the heat to medium. Leave the potatoes undisturbed and cook 8 to 10 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown (you can peek if needed) and they release easily from the skillet.
- Flip in one piece or in sections and cook an additional 5 to 8 minutes until golden brown on the other side. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve warm.