The Real Reason Your Hash Browns Are Soggy

Hash browns have to be among the best breakfast foods. When cooked properly, they are crisp on the outside and just a little soft on the inside. Better yet, they can be seasoned and topped almost any way you like. You can add peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, or even cheese to garnish them with if you like. But before you can even think about what you want to add in to your hash browns, you need to know how to cook them perfectly so you don't end up with a heap of soggy, but raw shredded potatoes.

One of the most important mistakes people often make is that they forget to wash their potatoes (via Bon Appetit). After shredding as many potatoes as you need, the shredded pieces need to take a bath in which they are soaked and tossed around. This helps the potato shreds to release some of the starch they have inside. By releasing some of their starch, the middle of your hash browns will not be raw with crisp outsides. It's the next step after soaking the potato shreds that will ensure you get perfect hash browns that are not soggy, though.

Making sure your potatoes are dry will help guarantee crispy hash browns

After washing your potato shreds, you absolutely must dry them the best you can. To do so, wrap them in a layer or two of paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth and squeeze them over the sink. Open the potatoes up, move them around, and squeeze again as hard as you can, according to Bon Appetit. Repeat this action at least two, if not three times, to remove all of the excess water the potatoes are holding.

When leftover water is not removed from the potato shreds, it can cause your hash browns to have a sticky or tacky texture, according to Dad With a Pan. This tends to happen because the excess water creates steam as the potatoes cook, so they can't crisp up like they should. 

Another thing to keep in mind for crispy hash browns is that you shouldn't salt the potatoes until you are about to flip them. She Loves Biscotti explains that salting too soon will also cause the potatoes to release water which can cause them to steam and be soggy, too. So, in essence, soak, squeeze, salt.