Your Guide to the Best Diner-Style Hash Browns

I do not go out to breakfast without ordering potatoes in some form. Home fries, tater tots, and of course classic shredded hash browns. Likewise, I have eaten an immeasurable amount of homemade hash browns. Most of the homemade hashes hardly ever compare to the perfect griddled hash I order at greasy diners.

Homemade shredded hash is always plagued by the same flaws. The potatoes tend to be undercoked yet burnt. The flavor doesn’t match the classic diner seasoning. And the shreds often clump together.

But, worry no longer! The Handy Chef is here to make your next at-home Brunch just as good as the restaurant version.

1. Shred your own potatoes

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Pictured: Handy Chef Lex spreading the openings of a traditional cheese grater.

I like the convenient, pre-packaged potato shreds as much as any online food writer. But shredding the potatoes yourself is not only more fulfilling, but also cheaper. Just take a normal cheese grater and a chopstick (or something of similar shape.) Use the chopstick to spread the wide grates even wider. This create rounder, and more classic shaped shreds.

2. Wring those potatoes

Homemade hash browns crispy
Wring the moisture from the shredded potatoes in a tea towel.

This is the most important step for achieving crispy potatoes. Fortunately, it’s a step that most home cooks are aware of. Place the shredded potatoes into a tea towel then wring them with your hands. As you learned from the roasting guide, moisture is the enemy of crispiness.

3. Cover the skillet while cooking

Without covering the hashbrowns, the potatoes only cook when in direct contact with the skillet. This will lead to the potatoes on the bottom burning before the potatoes on the top can cook all the way through. When you cover them, the skillet fries the potatoes on the bottom and the steam trapped inside the skillet cooks the potatoes on the top. This step is the difference between hashbrowns that are crispy but fluffy inside, and hashbrowns that are crispy and undercooked on the inside.

4. Salt after cooking; don’t season before cooking

An honest misstep many home cooks make is using multiple spices on hashbrowns before cooking. Once finished, the hash taste like the spice cabinet instead of tasting like hash. Instead, simply salt the hashbrowns immediately after removing from the pan. You truly only need salt. Think about it hashbrowns are just fried potatoes. Would you put that chilli powder on your french fries? Probably not, so put that back in the cabinet for this dish.

Handy Chef Perfect Hash Browns

What do you usually make for breakfast at home?

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