I am a firm believer that some of the best cooks in America work at Waffle House. The speed at which they serve a high volume of customers is very impressive.
To make their famed hash browns, these practiced short-order cooks keep a mound of crispy shredded spuds cooking on their flat-top griddles. They’re flipping and turning (while smothering and covering the hash browns with toppings) all hours of the day.
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That said, most home cooks I know don’t have a griddle that big and turn to either frozen hash browns or shredding and cooking potatoes in a skillet. Skillet hash browns are great, but you need to cook multiple batches to serve more than two people.
While we may not all be as speedy as the best Waffle House cooks, there are moments in life when you want a lot of hash browns. So we worked on a recipe that makes crispy hash browns in the oven—meaning you can serve a group of up to six (or two very hungry hash brown eaters). Here’s how to do it.
Sheet-Pan Hash BrownsIt took 138 pounds of potatoes and more than 40 tests, but we found a better way to make homemade hash browns.
Start with Yukon Gold Potatoes
You want a lot of starch in pan-fried hash browns. But in the oven, without as much oil, too much starch makes for gummy hash browns. So it’s important to use medium-starch Yukon Golds instead of russets. Plus, with their thin skin, there’s no need to peel them before shredding them in the food processor.
Dip in Water; Then Squeeze Dry
Soak the shredded potatoes in water to get rid of excess surface starch. Then wring out the raw shreds in a dish towel to remove moisture that would inhibit browning and crisping.
Use Oil and Cooking Spray
Tossing the potato shreds in a little oil keeps them from drying out in the oven. Be sure to use oil instead of butter (which contains water and can prevent crisping). And grease the baking sheet with vegetable oil spray before adding the potato shreds to prevent sticking and provide more fat for nice browning.
Cook (and Flip) in a Hot Oven
Bake the hash browns on the middle rack of a 450-degree oven for deep browning. After about 30 minutes, use a thin spatula to flip the hash browns in sections before returning to the oven to crisp up the top.