Diner-Style Crispy Hash Browns Recipe

Recipe developer Deniz Vergara asserts that the best hash browns "are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside." How does one make such spuds? "All you need are a few simple ingredients and some time," she says. One of Vergara's top tips for assuring maximum crunch is to soak the shredded potatoes in water, then squeeze out the excess liquid. This, she says, "is key to getting crispy potatoes." Another way to make sure the hash browns have the optimal texture, she tells us, involves "cooking the potatoes undisturbed so they have a chance to form a crispy crust."

While classic old-school diners are often known as greasy spoons, and not without reason, Vergara prefers to eschew grease in favor of clarified butter, or ghee, to cook her potatoes. The reason, she says, is that the milk solids in regular butter may be prone to burning at high heat. While you can instead use a high smoke point oil in place of clarified butter, Vergara notes that the resulting hash browns will, of course, have a different flavor than the kind cooked in ghee.

Gather the ingredients for diner-style crispy hash browns

For hash browns, the primary ingredient, of course, is potatoes, and Vergara favors the russet variety in her recipe. Besides the spuds and clarified butter, you'll just need a few staple seasonings: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. While this recipe makes a fairly big pile of hash browns, you can easily cut down on the size if you'd like a smaller amount.

Grate and rinse the potatoes

Start off by washing and peeling the potatoes, then grate them into classic hash brown shreds. Vergara suggests doing so with the largest holes on a box grater or, should you prefer to employ an electrical appliance, the coarse grating disc of a food processor. Once the potatoes are shredded, swish them around in a bowl of cold water, which you can drain once it starts to look cloudy. Rinse the potatoes in a colander to get rid of any remaining starch. Oddly enough, while starch will stiffen up your shirt collar, it prevents potatoes from reaching maximum crispiness — so don't skip this step.

Dry and season the potatoes

You won't want to cook the potatoes while they're still soggy, so put them in a towel (a clean one, of course) and squeeze them to wring out all that water. Vergara says you'll need to do this in batches, unless you're using a bath towel and have really big hands, since the shredded potato pile is quite sizable. Once the potatoes are as dry as they're going to get, mix them with the seasonings.

Fry the hash browns

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat, then add about ⅓ of the shredded potatoes to the pan. Let them sit for about 5 minutes until they form a bottom crust, then flip them over. At that point, stir them up a bit to break up the chunks. Cook the potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes, turning them with a spatula every so often, until all of the shreds are crispy and brown. Repeat this process with the next two batches until all of the potatoes are cooked, then eat the hash browns while they're still warm. Vergara suggests serving them with ketchup or hot sauce, but they're also good with a simple sprinkling of salt and pepper. And they're at their peak, of course, when accompanied by eggs and bacon.

Any leftover hash browns can be refrigerated, then reheated in an oven or air fryer (or a microwave, although they'll likely be less crispy with this method). They can also be frozen for longer storage. Vergara is a fan of freezing her hash browns in individual servings. That way, "all I need to do is pop them in the air fryer and make some eggs on a busy morning," she says.

Diner-Style Crispy Hash Browns Recipe
5 from 11 ratings
There's more to perfectly crispy, diner-worthy hash browns than grating potatoes and frying them in a pan. Follow these extra steps for the best texture.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hash browns with green onions
Total time: 55 minutes
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 or 5), washed and peeled
  • 9 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee), divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Shred the potatoes, then soak them in a bowl of cold water until the water becomes cloudy.
  2. Drain the water, then rinse the potatoes to remove the residual starch.
  3. Wrap the potatoes in a towel and squeeze them to remove the water. (You may need to do this in batches.)
  4. Mix the potatoes with the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter over medium-high.
  6. Cook ⅓ of the potatoes in the oil for about 5 minutes until they form a crust on the bottom. Do not stir the potatoes as they cook.
  7. Top the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of butter, then flip them over.
  8. Stir the potatoes to break them up, then cook them, turning occasionally with a spatula, for 8 to 10 minutes until they are crisp and brown.
  9. Repeat the process until all of the hash browns have been cooked.
  10. The hash browns are best eaten while they're still warm.
Calories per Serving 525
Total Fat 28.9 g
Saturated Fat 17.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 73.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 62.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 2.2 g
Sodium 860.8 mg
Protein 7.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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