Hash Browns

Hash Browns with Vegan Cheese

It turns out I’m a snob when it comes to hash browns. If you have strong feelings about them, I might just offend your potato sensibilities today. I’m sorry if it comes to that, but I need to fight for all those people out there who ask for a crispy hash brown, like myself. I know they’re out there!

The worst offense against hash browns, in my mind, is confusing them with home fries. Home fries have never excited me the way glorious, crispy, hash browns do. Home fries are made from chunks of potatoes. They are usually mushy, kinda slimy, and covered in a mishmash of spices, unlike their delectably lacy and crunchy cousin which are not made from chunks at all; dare I point out that they are, well, hashed?

See. I told you I was a snob about this. Relax, I’m sure you’re home fries are wonderful. I just haven’t had the pleasure of trying them.

The two lesser offenses against hash browns (but offenses nonetheless!) are 1) an inappropriate ratio between crunchy outside and soft inside and 2) general under-cooking. I have ordered hash browns from restaurants many times and had them arrive at the table sort of browned on the outside with unbelievable amounts of a soggy white mass on the inside. I end up eating all the crunchy parts and sadly digging through the rest of it hoping to find another golden bite.

After doing some research online, it seems that preparing hash browns is like curing the hiccups; everyone has their own method that they absolutely swear by. Most everyone, including myself, agrees that you need to remove excess water from the potatoes. Suggested methods include drip drying, squeezing, pressing in a ricer, and spinning dry in a salad spinner.

This is my preferred way to dry them. Place a clean terry cloth towel on your counter. Place two sheets of paper towels on top of that, then spread out your shredded potatoes evenly on top of that. Place another two paper towels over the potatoes, and roll the entire thing up as tightly as possible. Squeeze with all your might. Unroll and sprinkle with salt.

I should mention that potatoes oxidize quickly. If you don’t work fast, you’ll have purple brown potatoes before you know it. Make sure you have everything ready to go before you shred your potatoes, including a heated pan on your range. That way, you should be able to get them in the hot pan before they start to discolor.

Once dry, toss them in hot pan with some canola oil. Don’t overload the pan! You actually want to see through to the bottom of the pan in some spots. Spread the potatoes out evenly and press down with the back of a spatula. Heat is key here. I find a medium or even medium-low heat works best. This will brown the potatoes fairly slowly, which is a good thing. If you brown them too fast, they’ll be raw in the middle.

Besides pressing on them occasionally, don’t touch them until you can actually see that they’re turning brown on the other side. If you try to move them or flip them too early, they won’t fuse together. If you think they’re ready to go, lift up the corner and peek to make sure.

You’ll need to cook them on the other side for another few minutes. This is where I add “cheese.” Vegan cheese is notorious for many things, not the least of which is its melting capabilities (or lack thereof). I use one slice of Tofutti “American Style” cheese. If you decide to use cheese, chop it small and sprinkle it evenly over the hash browns. To help it melt, turn down the heat and cover the pan.

Once the other side is sufficiently browned, remove it from the pan and drain for a moment on a paper towel. Slice into wedges and serve with ketchup and/or hot sauce if desired. You’ll never want them any other way.

Hash Browns wih Vegan Cheese

16 comments

  1. Sam

    A well-done home fry is a thing of gloriousness…ness. Seriously, Sully’s in Amherst made the best homefries ever. Small potatoes, bits of onion, and plenty of salt and pepper. Delicious. I think, however, that the enjoyment of said homefries may be a regional thing.

  2. Regina

    Wow! You have an amazing blog that makes me incredibly hungry!!!! Beautiful photos! I am so glad to have found you. I will definitley be trying out some of your recipes! Thanks!

  3. Emily

    I love hash browns so much, but every time I have them I am so disapointed. Thanks so much for the recipe! I will probably try this tomorrow for breakfast.

  4. pst

    I agree wholeheartedly with Regina. Your attentino to detail is wonderful for us foodie folks, and the fact that you are so honest about your likes and dislikes aids me, a budding flexitarian with vegan dreams, in finding all the foods that taste good. Love your recipes, and love the fact that you don’t just post vegan porn, and no recipes. It’s a wonderful thing to have found your blog. Thank You!!!

  5. bunniee

    Undercooked hashbrowns are an abomination. Yours look perfect!

    I only ever eat hashbrowns at home; restaurants just don’t make them crispy enough to my taste.

  6. valerie

    this looks wonderful and i can’t wait to try it! thank you so much.

    although if i were to make one suggestion, it would be that perhaps a rice cheese would do better than tofutti as they generally tastier and melt wonderfully.

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  8. axman

    ALOHA ARE U MARRIED AND YOU SAY IM A GUY AND JUST LIKE THE MOVIE ” WITH MY GIRLFRIEND ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT OR THE MARRIED WITH CHILDRE WITH AL BUNDY AND PEG GOES DANCING WITH A GAY GAY AND HIS BOYFREIEDND GETS JESLOUS AND CONFROTS AL AND HE TELLS AL HE HAS A JOB AND HE COOKS LOL LOL MY DAD PASTED AWAY 1 YEAR AGO AND NEVER TOLD ME THE RECIPE SO I HAVE BEEN MAKKIN BAD H B S FOR ALL MY LIFE MY BROTHER TOLD ME TO MICRO WAVE TO SPUDS FIRST BUT I DIDNT HELP MUCHH I KNOW ITS WEIRD BUT TRY THEM EITH MAYO AND HOT MUSTARD TNKS

  9. Connie

    This is how I brown my hash browns too! But I was looking on line for a recipe that could tell me how to make them fresh from potatoes. I grew up with freezer hash brown potatoes and just found out this year that people actually grate their own potatoes. Your recipe ommitted this step. Could you explain it to me? Thanks.

  10. carolina

    hi, im from Colombia, South America, i didnt know hush browns, really we dont have this product in my country and im tryng to taste it to sell it in a restaurant for the breakfast, can you send me some recipies about this product to try them please?, it will help me a lot. thank you very much, my email is caritomoya@yahoo.com.

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