the secret to perfect hash browns

My husband is a bit of a hash brown connoisseur. Perfect hash browns to him are golden and crispy on top, light and buttery underneath. These hash browns exist at Dockside here in Portland. (Don't be fooled by the dive bar atmosphere... the breakfast is delicious.) But we could never get them to turn out right at home. They always congealed and turned grayish and kinda chewy. Tasty in a weird way, but not quite right. Then we came across this recipe that said the only way to get them perfect is to use a potato ricer to squeeze all of the moisture from the shredded potatoes. Now, Alton Brown taught us to never buy a kitchen gadget that can only do one thing (a rule that likely saved our wedding registry and subsequently our kitchen drawers.) But the idea of being able to make perfect hash browns at home was so tempting! Thankfully we came across a recipe in a recent Food Network Magazine that said you needed a potato ricer to make homemade gnocchi. Hash browns AND homemade gnocchi! Even AB would understand. So we caved and bought the Cuisipro potato ricer. (There are less expensive models, but all the reviews I read said that the quality of this one made it worth the extra money.) I'm happy to report that we tested it out this past Sunday and it was, well... see for yourself:

We followed the recipe I mentioned above, and they were so so so good. Just the right amount of crispiness. We had them with bacon and scrambled eggs with fried shallots. I'm thinking there will be a lot more brinners in our future (breakfast for dinner = brinner) so that we don't have to wait a whole week in between making them.

I'm tempted to try making the hash browns with butter next time instead of oil... I know it would make them a bit worse health-wise, but really - when you're going to serve them with bacon anyway, you might as well go all in.

Here's the recipe (courtesy of Elise @ Simply Recipes):


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil
  • 1 lb Russet baking potatoes, peeled and grated
  • Salt and pepper

Equipment needed:

  • Large frying pan (at least a 9" diameter bottom)
  • Potato ricer


1) Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.

2) While the pan is heating, squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes. It's easiest to do this with a potato ricer, using it much like you would a garlic press, except you don't force the potatoes through the ricer. You just press out the moisture. If you don't have a ricer, use paper towels to squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes.

3) When the oil in the pan heats up to the point of shimmering, but not smoking, add the grated potatoes, spreading them out along the bottom of the pan. The potatoes should not be too thick in any one place, no more than a half inch thick. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the potatoes. After a few minutes, lift up one edge of the potatoes and see how done they are. If they have fried to a golden brown they are ready to flip. Use a large spatula to flip the potatoes over all at once, or divide the large potato cake into halves or quarters and flip. Continue to cook until they are golden brown on the bottom.

Serves 4.