Today is the day you learn how to make hash browns at home. Like, really learn how to make them nearly Waffle House-great, rather than those soggy, mealy, spud lumps you've been getting by on all this time. We've already walked you through how to make diner-style home fries, but making perfect hash browns—crisp on the outside, tender on the inside—is a particular art. It's easier than you might think, and just calls for a few tricks to ensure the right texture, flavor, and tenderness, without ending up with a sad, scorched mess on the bottom of the skillet.
This video shows you the basic method for making hash browns, but Extra Crispy's chef, Jiselle Basille, has a few small tricks that make all the difference in the world. First off, start by making a little bacon in the pan. It's not mandatory, but it lends excellent flavor and the grease left over has a high smoke point. Next, while you can peel the potatoes—or not—to get that lacy texture (pass up waxy potatoes and go directly for russet), use a box grater set over a clean towel, then squeeze the grated potatoes to get rid of as much excess moisture as you can. It's fine to rinse the excess starch off after that, but make sure the shreds are as dry as they can be before cooking. Resist the urge to mound them up in the pan and go with a thin layer to ensure even cooking. All you need is a little salt and pepper and to know just when to flip. Watch the video, then go forth and become a hash brown master.