Consider making your own hashbrowns from scratch. They are healthier, cheaper, and you may find it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.
There are two secrets I have to making awesome hashbrowns.
One is to use a high temperature oil in combination with butter. You want to get the pan real hot and the oil keeps the butter from burning. The butter adds more flavor than if you use oil alone.
The other trick is to use a very large skillet or griddle. The secret to browning vegetables is to have more space between the pieces so you avoid steaming them. I have found one large potato is the limit for a 12-inch skillet and serves three. A medium potato cooks perfectly but serves just two, so you may have to make your hashbrowns in batches or use a griddle if you have a large crowd.
I like to use white potatoes, but red or golden ones will do just as well.
Parboil the potatoes and let them cool before you make the hashbrowns. You can do this the night before and store them in the fridge or give yourself some time in the morning. Remember, parboil means to partially boil, you don’t want to fully cook the potato.
Bring the potato to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook a large potato on low for 5-6 minutes, a medium potato 3-4 minutes. Avoid overcooking and remember the potato is still cooking after you’ve drained the water and left it sitting in the sink. You may rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, then drain and let the potato dry.
Once it has cooled, grate the potato while you warm up the skillet. Give the pan plenty of time to get to a medium-high temperature. Add 1 tbsp. of cooking oil and one tbsp. of butter, then add the grated potatoes. Distribute them evenly and watch for steam coming from pockets of potatoes. Spread the pocket out or poke a hole to minimize the steaming, this will give you that crispy, golden finish.
When they are golden brown on one side, move the hashbrowns to allow a spot to flip over half the potatoes. Melt a half tbsp. of butter, then flip half the hashbrowns onto the butter. Repeat for the other half.
After the hashbrowns are golden brown on both sides, move them to a platter and keep them in the warming oven while you make more hashbrowns or move on to the rest of your breakfast menu. Hashbrowns keep well in the warming oven – if they need to be in there a while, add a damp cloth or towel to the oven to minimize the hashbrowns getting dried out.