Hashbrowns are one of those breakfast items that always seemed to never turn out right for me. They would either be mushy, gluey, burned, or not cooked enough. If I tried to get fancy and add onions, the onion would burn and the potatoes would be raw. I never could figure it out and felt like I was a complete failure in the world of cooking one of the humblest foods on Earth.
That is until I learned how to get rid of the starch — that made a world of difference in how my hashbrowns turned out. It takes a little time, but it is worth it.
The key to creating not only edible potatoes, but potatoes that are also crispy, golden, and light is soaking and draining those taters. That is it. How simple, right? I don’t know why I never thought about doing this before. I had tried everything, even nuking the spuds and burning my hands trying to peel and grate them. This new information was truly revolutionary. Maybe you already knew about it, but if not, I hope that this is helpful to you, too!
What you need to make perfect hashbrowns:
Russet potatoes (estimate about one potato per person or more if you really like your potatoes)
a larger bowl full of cold water
a clean tea towel to squeeze the water out
salt and pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1Tbs butter for a nice golden color
large saute pan & a box grater or food processor
Wash your potatoes and peel them. Use either a box grater or a food processor to shred your potatoes. Try to shred them as thickly as possible, which means using a lot of pressure if you are using a box grater. Just watch your fingers — ouch!
After shredding your potatoes, put them in the bowl of cold water for about 20 – 30 minutes. If you check on your potatoes and the water is super cloudy and dirty, drain the water out and add fresh water. The cloudiness is the starch and you want to say “bye bye” to that stuff.
Once you have soaked the starch out of your potatoes, drain the water and put your shredded potatoes in a clean tea towel. You are going to wrap them up in a nice little bundle and twist it until you start squeezing the remaining water out. You want your potatoes nice and dry. As a side note, this is a great way to get stress out. Just picture whatever issue or person is bothering you in that toweled bundle and squeeze the living daylights out of it. Ahhh!
Put the dry potatoes back in your now empty bowl and season them with salt and pepper. The amount of salt and pepper depends on the amount of potatoes you have used. Be liberal with the salt because potatoes need it. I’d estimate about 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of salt per potato used, but you will have to just use trial and error to figure out what you like in taste. Mix the potatoes up and they are ready to fry!
Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat and add the oil and butter. Once the butter starts to sizzle, add your potatoes and smooth them into one even layer. You can press them down a little here, but otherwise, don’t touch them. Just let them fry for about 10 minutes. You can check the bottom with a spatula every so often to see if they are golden yet, but don’t attempt to flip them until they are a nice golden brown color.
If you have the skills to flip an entire pan of potatoes with the flick of your wrist, I envy you. If you don’t, you may want to try to do it in sections with a spatula. I usually turn them over in three sections.
Let this side cook another 5-10 minutes until crispy. Put them on a serving dish and you are good to go!