Thursday, March 1, 2012

Classic Diner Hash Browns - The Real King of the Breakfast Potato

When people make breakfast at home that includes some kind of potato side dish, they almost always go with homefries over hash browns. I’m not sure of exactly why, but I think people assume that hash browns are somehow more difficult, which is simply not the case.

Grating a couple potatoes is not that much harder than cubing them up, and the cooking process is almost identical. If anything, hash browns cook faster than homefries, and in this chef’s opinion are the superior breakfast potatoes. They are crisper, more interesting, and absorb runny egg yolk like homefries can only dream about.

One thing to note when you look at the ingredients below: this is a scalable recipe, with one medium-sized russet potato portioned per person. If you're going to make this for a larger group, you’ll want to use several pans, as you need enough room to get the proper crustification.

Speaking of russets, the potato variety is much more important here than with homefries. Just about any potato will work for those, but for hash browns you need the starchy texture of the russet, as opposed to the waxier texture of red potatoes. By the way, Yukon gold also works okay, but russet is the best.

Anyway, the next time your cooking a proper breakfast at home, I hope you give these “other” breakfast potatoes a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients per person:
1 medium russet potato, grated
1 1/2 tbsp clarified butter (melted butter separated from the milky liquid)
salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika to taste

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried a potato ricer to squeeze all the water out and make patties ? Works really well so long as they aren't too thick .

Chef John said...

No, just my fists ;)

Morgan said...

Not ketchup!!! I thought you were better than that, Chef John! :P

Erin said...

Chef John, I'm just curious, but why do you have to use clarified butter? Thanks for teaching me some good stuff!

Chef John said...

Since milk solids and water are gone it just seems to crisp up the potatoes a little better. Not a major deal.

Michael said...

im curious, given the ketchup/europeans comment, do you have brown sauce in the states? its sort of like ketchup with molasses and other stuff in there, i think it makes for a far superior breakfast condiment. im from scotland by the way

Birder said...

Ok supernovice cooking question here but I'm intrigued by the clarified butter. How do you separate the two substances once you've microwaved the butter?

Chef John said...

Just spoon off the clarified butter, as the milk settles to the bottom.

Michael, I've never had brown sauce!

Michael said...

you should track it down, put it on bacon and sausages etc. HP is the brand you want. ketchup is for burgers

1Bigg_ER said...

Link to the peeler, if it's not too much trouble Chef John.

Puro y Eterno Amor said...

You are great!!!!

Joel said...

Brown Sauce is on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/HP-Brown-Sauce-Original-Glass/dp/B000JM7IF4

Linda said...

Thank you for shareing all your knowledge. I never could get mine crispie, and am looking forward to trying it your way.

Mark said...

Thanks for the great video, I prefer mine the same way as yours (except with syrup instead of ketchup), but I've recently become severely lactose intolerant. Is there any particular type of oil that you would recommend to use instead of butter? I tried canola but it just didn't brown like butter.

Big Philbert said...

Beautiful hash browns, but those eggs are sexy. I want those eggs inside of me.

Chef John said...

I'm no expert, but isn't clarified butter lactose free? All the milk is gone.

Vinnie said...

How did you cook those eggs? They don't look greasy at all!

Chef John said...

peeler... http://www.amazon.com/R%C3%B6sle-12735-Crosswise-Swivel-Peeler/dp/B000063Y8E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330677505&sr=8-1

Villy said...

Anything with eggs is the King! This looks like a "breakfast for lunch/dinner" waiting to happen. Seriously.

Anna said...

I knew I was right to go to your blog first whenever I was looking for a recipe. I've been making hash browns for years for my kids and they were OK (ish). The moment I tried this recipe, what do you know, they were perfect! I used the same ingredients and even imitated every gesture of yours. You are a great teacher, it's in your blood, chef John, thank you!

Lisette said...

Haha, everytime I think: " Ieeeeewwww" you say something like: "take that Europeans" Spot on!

Lisette, the Netherlands

Food Junkie said...

For us North Americans brown sauce is steak sauce.

philogaia said...

I'm American and love brown sauce but it can be hard to find the the States. I find it in the International section of my megamart but it is expensive. I make it myself which is superior. Fresh ground spices, tamarind, molasses. Yum. From the recipe it is clear that this sauce comes straight out of the British Raj.

Clarified butter is great but if you don't want to use that rendered chicken fat (schmaltz), duck fat (the gold standard) or home rendered lard are all great. And they all have a healthier fat profile. For hash browns vegetable oil is a poor substitute unless you are vegan.

Now I knew about washing the starch off for fries but never knew about doing the hash browns that way. I figured it would make them not congeal properly. I need to give this a try.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
Yeah for the crusty!! Beautiful eggs - I always screw mine up and end up with over-hard 'cause I break them on the flip...somehow I don't think you flip yours :>) Thanks ...as always! Jan W

Anonymous said...

Just in time! My two year old wanted potatoes for breakfast this morning. Chef John with the save!
-Jesse from Detroit

Anonymous said...

How did you get them eggs looking that good? Mind sharing the secret :) Wish you the best.

-Brett

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Hey Chef, try the Hot & Spicy Tabasco flavored ketchup... it's the best. :)

Steven K. said...

Yeah, don't use vegetable oil. I just tried this with olive oil and it turned out floppy & greasy rather than crispy. It also took forever to get browned. I was just lazy and felt like skipping the step to make clarified butter. They still tasted great, but the texture was off.

If you're lactose intolerant and don't want to have butter in the house, you can still try to make this recipe. Look for a product from India called "Ghee." It's butter that is already clarified to remove the milk solids. When I bought some, it was sold in jars, unrefrigerated in the "Ethnic Foods," section of my grocery store.

Steve said...

Chef:

A trick I use is to rinse the shredded potato in a salad spinner basket until it runs clear then take them for a quick spin. They come out nice and dry without a lot of squeezing, draining, or blotting.

Jalal said...

Olive oil worked for me, but it did take a while.
Also, Chef John, I definitely watched that video and thought, "1 potato per person is way too much."
I'm cooking the second batch now.
I apologize for doubting you.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your recipes and enjoy watching you cook them as well I think you should have your own show! cause I think the way you teach and talk to your audience is very charismatic and ingenious and fresh. Please continue

Sincerely a follower
Thera Holmes
From Ottawa Ontario Canada

Sarah said...

mmm... i love hashbrowns.. now i love them even more! AND can make them at home! (never tried before this) THANKS Chef!!

Prospero said...

Charred potato coleslaw!

I buttered a non stick pan, but I did not microwave the butter. I was waiting for the potatoes to crisp at the bottom but a lot of smoke was coming out of the pan. I guess the butter had cooked out? I turned the potatoes over to prevent more burning, occasionally adding butter, oil or water. They cooked but never congealed. I couldn't get crispiness or uniformity, and they turned out charred and spicy.

Help!

Chef John said...

sounds like heat was too high. btw, butter can't "cook out" fat doesn't evaporate like liquids.

Prospero said...

Why use clarified butter as opposed to just regular?

Rob Pitingolo said...

This is my go-to hash browns recipe - good stuff! I don't use clarified butter because it's an extra step that I don't think is worth it. I just melt the butter over medium heat and go from there.

Lana said...

Just made hash browns for the first time according to your methods and they turned out BEAUTIFULLY. Best hash browns I've ever had, so wonderfully flavourful and crispy! I've been watching your videos for a while now and never got around to making one of your recipes yet, but today I was craving something carbs-y and this sprang to mind. You are a genius Chef John, now I can't wait to try more of your wonderful recipes, especially seeing as your videos always put a smile on my face :)

Love from Sudan/Ireland/Lithuania! (Yeah I know, I'm a mess)

Chef John said...

Thanks!! :)

E said...

Chef John, after the initial crust and I flip the potatoes, they just start turning black instead of the golden brown color. Do I have to add more oil after flipping?

Chef John said...

Maybe, but sounds like too high heat or thin pan.

Anonymous said...

I've never made a hash brown I've been proud of before! Thank you Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Seems nobody noticed the scrapple on the other side of the eggs. Chef, if you haven't already, please make a video on scrapple and educate the masses. If folks get this excited over hash browns and eggs, getting the word out about scrapple could go viral. If there's enough demand, maybe someday scrapple will be something you can purchase in every town in America. Thanks.

Labute Rabe said...

I've always had trouble with this recipe and finally found a method that works. But it comes from another site! Fear not chef, I'm still ye faithful servant. Here's what I do...

The first thing is to use oil, and lots of it. Then preheat the oil on high. This is a must so stay by the pan and be smart. Lastly, use a pan with a wide surface area so the potato spreads out thin and cooks through.

Cook the first side for 3 minutes and it will have crisped and congealed. Turn the cake over and cook second side for two minutes. Voila! You're done! Beautiful and crispy. You don't even have to peel skin or remove the starch. The whole thing takes 8 minutes.

Give it a go!

Aaron said...

No one noticed that "scrapple" on the other side of the eggs because... it is toast.

Brenda said...

Hey! What's all this European stuff. My two grandsons eat ketchup with practically every dinner, I'm sorry to say. But for breakfast, I agree with a previous poster, it has to be HP Brown sauce. Nom nom!!