The Secret To Making Perfectly Crispy Hash Browns Every Time

Well-cooked hash browns are a thing of beauty and a joy forever... or at least until they start to get all soggy and mushy and gross. If you want to make sure your hash browns have just the right amount of light golden crunchy crust on the outside while remaining smooth, creamy and tender inside, there is one secret you've got to know before you get cooking. Just like in real estate, where it's all about "location, location, location," the secret to perfect potato cooking can also be summed up in a trio of words: "moisture, moisture, moisture."

Say what? A potato, it seems, is about 80 percent water, and it's this water that can bog and sog down your hash browns if you don't do something to reduce it. Heat plus water equals steam, after all, and steam is the antithesis of crispness. You don't have to go to the lengths of actually dehydrating the potatoes since that would make your hash browns more like potato chips, but you will need to cut down the water content somewhat by partially cooking your shredded potatoes before turning them into hash browns.

How to par-cook potatoes for hash browns

Taste of Home advises wrapping the shredded potatoes in a (clean) dish towel and wringing it like your worst enemy's neck (well, they didn't use those exact words). While this can get a lot of the wet out, you're not done yet. Take the partially de-moisturized potato shreds and zap them in the microwave for two minutes and voilà! Your shredded spuds are all ready for the frying pan.

If you don't have a microwave — well, you should probably get one! They're a lot more versatile than you think, and not all that expensive, either. In the absence of a microwave, though, you can also remove excess moisture, paradoxically enough, by immersing them in water and boiling them, also for two minutes. After doing so, though, you'll really need to squeeze the heck out of them to get all that extra water out.

Since you've partially cooked your hash browns already, they won't need to fry for as long a time — just two minutes per side in a greased skillet ought to do it. Eat them up while they're fresh and hot, and you'll have a homemade breakfast treat that's far better than any fast-food hash browns could ever aspire to be.