Making hash browns

Ever since I decided to prepare this item, as an occasional breakfast side dish, I have wanted to cook them so they will live up to their name, so to speak.
I use a small Teflon skillet on a gas flame (ordinary stove burner), with cooking oil, and frozen shredded potatoes and a non-stick spatula.
Any hash-browns mavens out there with advice on the best way to do this?

Use a bigger pan. Like a hamburger, turn only once. Don’t stir. Be patient. You have a lot of water to get rid of before they get good. Freshly-shredded potatoes are better than frozen, but you have to soak, drain and squeeze them, so they aren’t for a spur of the moment breakfast.

Thanks…I had already fried the sausage links and eggs (2 of each) in the skillet so it’s ready when I put the potatoes in…I try to keep the fire at medium, not too hot. :slight_smile:

This thread from last October has some great tips on making hashbrowns.

Shouldn’t you cook the eggs last? They cook the fastest, by far.

This gave me some pause, but then I realized you said ‘frozen’ hashbrowns, which means pre-cooked, I assume (?). I would still cook the eggs after the potatoes are done, so they are hot when served.

Freshly grated potatoes take some time to cook, and require sufficient fat so that the potatoes brown without sticking. You also would want to time the eggs to coincide with the potatoes finishing, which is a whole 'nuther discussion.

Isn’t really high heat not a good thing for teflon? Or is that old/wrong info?

[ul][li]Peel some potatoes.[/li][li]Grate the potatoes. (I use a food processor with the grating disc.)[/li][li]Rinse the shredded potatoes in a colander. I turn them and squeeze them to get as much of the starch out as possible.[/li][li]Soak the shredded potatoes in cold water while you cook your bacon or sausage in a large frying pan.[/li][li]When the meat is done, wrap it in foil and put into a 200°F oven to keep warm. Rinse the grease out of the pan.[/li][li]Drain the potatoes and get them as dry as reasonably possible. I drain and toss them in the colander, then squeeze them with paper towels.[/li][li]Melt butter or margarine in the frying pan. Portion the grated potatoes into the pan. For example, I make two oblong mounds for the two of us. Season with salt and pepper (probably more salt than you think) and flatten and shape the mounds.[/li][li]I have to use an electric range. I set the dial to 4, which is the low side of medium heat. This allows the middle to cook without burning the outside. When the bottom of the potatoes is a nice dark golden brown, flip them. Add more butter. You can increase the heat at this point if you like.[/ul][/li]I heat the breakfast plates in the microwave oven for a minute. While the plates are warming, I make the eggs – Over-medium in lots of margarine. Put the hashbrowns on the warmed plates, top with the nice, runny eggs, and get your rashers of bacon. I add Tabasco to the eggs.

I know there might be some disagreement regarding the rinsing and drying, and maybe other things. But this is how I do it, and Mrs. L.A. says they’re better than the ones at restaurants.

The frozen potatoes I use are raw, in a package kept in the freezer until ready. I knead the package to losses the hard clump, then pour the loose shreds into the pan. (I used to try heating them in the microwave until I wised up.)
When I eat out and order fried eggs, I ask for once over medium. I don’t have the expertise to fry them once-over, myself. I let the sausage (Farmer John pork links) and eggs sit aside, while the hash browns are cooking; when everything else is ready I heat the eggs and sausage in the microwave for 15 seconds.
Dopers are invited to comment on my method as thus described.

Mrs. L.A. has mentioned a couple of times that she doesn’t have the knack to flip eggs without breaking the yolks. You’re the second person who mentioned having an issue with eggs. I think lots of marge helps, as they’re not going to stick and they’re really tasty.

A question: What is ‘once-over’? Do people turn eggs more than once where you are? I’ve never heard of anyone turning a fried egg more than once. :confused:

Definitely not a good thing. Medium high is plenty for taters (if precooked), but I wouldn’t turn a Teflon pan above medium, especially if the spuds are raw. They need to cook through as well as brown.

Sometimes I like to dice up a bit of onion and add to the pan before the spuds. One side, they get a little blackened and crispy. Butter is great for frying potatoes at a low to medium heat but don’t get carried away with the heat. Sea salt, not too much but don’t be shy either. White pepper is good here, try it.

I cover them for the first half, (electric skillet) uncovered for the final, unless adding cheese. Purists will cringe, though Velveeta melts OK and has that classic 4 calender cafe flavor. Sprinkle the remaining bits of crispy raw onion on top of the gooey cheese.

If you don’t want to dirty another pan you can try the hybrid steam/poached egg. Turn down to low/medium 250F, crack the eggs carefully in. Add a 1/4 cup of skim milk or water and cover. Punch the toast down. About the time the toast is ready check on the eggs. The trick is (mostly) runny yolks, but otherwise cooked. Season with more sea salt and pepper. Serve with juice and coffee, receive rave reviews from otherwise skeptical spouse.

That’s similar to my Breakfast Fry-Up. First I fry up four rashers of bacon and remove it, reserving the grease. Next, I cook diced potatoes, covered, in the microwave oven for about five minutes to speed up the cooking process. Fry up the potatoes and some chopped onion in the bacon grease with salt and freshly-ground pepper until they’re done. The bacon, which you have now chopped or crumbled, gets mixed into the potatoes and onions. Flatten it all out and make four depressions in the top. Crack an egg into each one. Cover with a lid or foil until the whites are set and the yolks are still liquid.

Come the Revolution all you “runny yolk” deviants will be headed for the wall.

I don’t want to offend any purists but the Golden Grill Russetdehydrated hashbrowns you can get at Costco are awesome.

They last a long time in the pantry and when you want a big breakfast you just fill up the box with hot tap water, wait 15 minutes and then pour them into a pan to brown them. Way easier and way better than frozen.

I worked for a long time to perfect hash browns. I’ve tried the methods outlined above and they work well enough, but here’s what I do with excellent results and a lot less hassle.

If you remember, do the first step the night before. If you forget, you can do it the same morning, but you’ll need to build in a little extra time before serving breakfast.

Use whatever potatoes you favor. I prefer Russets, but I’ll use any I have laying around.

Leaving the skins on, nuke your potatoes about half way. Don’t fully cook them. Allow them to cool either overnight or until they are cool enough to handle. Peel. It will go fast and easy. Shred them however you like. I usually use a box shredder, but that’s for just me. I’ll use my food processor if cooking for a larger number of people. Season to your preference. (I don’t usually add anything except salt and pepper after they’re done, but that’s just how I like them.)

I don’t like to use a teflon pan. Can’t get them crispy enough. Use cast iron or stainless steel.

Heat an equal amount of oil and butter. Butter has too low a smoking point by itself, but adds lovely flavor. Be generous, about 1 TB of each per hash brown “patty.”

Make hash brown piles in your pan of heated oil and butter. Press them lightly. Turn heat to medium and allow to fry till crisp on one side. It will take a little time. Flip once and fry until crisp on the other side. Add more oil and butter if you need to, based on how much is in the pan at the time you’re ready to flip.

Make your eggs shortly before your hash browns are finished crisping on the second side. Your hash browns will be very crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I think you’ll like them using this method.

I must be doing it wrong. Large pan. Hashbrowns go in preheated pan with a little oil. Oil quickly disappears, then in goes the sausage links. When they are done, 2 eggs go in the same pan.
Seems to work just fine.

The waffle iron is the way to go with hashbrowns! It’s not a “traditional” hashbrown but the waffle texture gives you maximum crisp to volume ratio and the double sided cooking means you don’t have to flip.

To make, grate a baking potato with a coarse box grater, toss with a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, squeeze small handfuls of potato shreds to get rid of excess moisture, and then toss the dried potato with some melted butter. Drop a good layer in the waffle iron, close it and let it cook for 8 - 10 minutes or until it’s golden brown and crispy.

Depending on what you prefer, you can make a thin hashbrown that’s 90% crust or a thick hashbrown with a layer of gooey potato in the middle. Couldn’t be simpler or more delicious!

Peel potatoes (or not; it’s really optional). Grate potatoes. Throw them in a ricer to squeeze the excess moisture out, then fry them on a mix of butter & oil over medium-high heat (I use cast iron) with no more than about 1/4 inch of a layer. Flip once, but it’s really not a big deal if you do it more than once (same with hamburgers and steaks–that whole “flip once” thing is a big pile of bullshit.) With hashbrowns, though, it’s a pain in the ass to flip more than once so I try to do it that way.

One thing I’ve recently discovered that improved my hashbrowns: keep them covered while you brown the first side. Because the first side is in contact with the pan, it will get brown and crispy even while covered. (If it’s not brown and crispy, you needed a slightly higher temperature on the burner.) Covering them means that the potatoes in the middle and top are cooking faster before the first flip than if you left the pan uncovered.

When you flip, you leave it uncovered. Thus, the top stays crispy and the bottom has very little cooking left to do; it’s mostly a matter of browning.

This not only cooks them faster, but I’m happier with the overall result. It’s also a good technique for potatoes cut up into cubes.

For the rest of my process: pretty much what Johnny LA describes except I don’t bother rinsing or soaking in water. I just shred, squeeze out excess moisture and put them right into the pan. I think soaking is mostly necessary to prevent them from rusting if you have to hold them, but I’m willing to be corrected on that if someone knows better.