The Trick To Prevent Potato Rösti From Falling Apart

Potatoes are a staple food in hundreds of dishes, from french fries and hash browns to loaded baked potatoes and simple mashed potatoes. Potato rösti (pronounced "raw-stee") is a Swiss dish originally meant for breakfast, notes, and over time it became what many consider to be the national food of the nation. Think of this delicacy as hash browns made into a ½-inch-thick pancake up 6 inches wide that holds its shape after frying in a pan for 30 to 40 minutes.

More than just breakfast, potato rösti is a versatile dish that works well as an appetizer, side, or meal unto itself. It also handles many kinds of fresh herbs and spices to accommodate the flavors in your household. There are tons of combinations you can pair with potato rösti. Simply add your favorites into the potatoes, pile ingredients on top, or both. 

Yummy Yatra tosses finely chopped jalapeño peppers, chives, parsley, and scallions with coarsely ground salt, onion powder, and lemon pepper before mixing them into the potatoes ahead of cooking. Then the recipe adds a thin layer of sour cream piled with some avocado on top after it's done cooking. This makes for a beautiful presentation, but that could all be for nothing if the rösti falls apart, so here's how to prevent that.

What perfect potato rösti looks like

Many home chefs have tried and not quite gotten the hang of making these fried creations. Potato rösti should be crispy on the outside and steamy on the inside while keeping the pancake-like shape, explains Huffington Post. Even when following the recipe exactly and shredding the potatoes perfectly, the main attraction could fall apart before your eyes. Afterward, you've got a steamy mess that might be too dry because the outer layer didn't crisp fast enough and let in too much heat. You could also have undercooked potatoes that are too hard because you were afraid of burning the outer edges and turned down the heat.

The overall goal of potato rösti is much like a roasted chicken or turkey. The initial cooking is designed to make the outside brown and crispy to seal the heat inside before the rest of the time fully cooks the potatoes. Use the right amount of butter, oil, or fat to keep the potato rösti from sticking to the pan. But the correct frying method is not the only tip you need to hold this potato pancake together.

Preventing potato rösti from falling apart

The main trick to keeping potato rösti from falling apart happens before you even start cooking: Do not rinse the potatoes after you shred or chop them because you'll wash away some of the starch, per Huffington Post. Starch becomes sticky when cooked and helps the rösti keep its shape while cooking without adding any other binders. Don't dry the shreds, either. The water helps steam the potatoes, leaving them soft and moist on the inside while cooking them completely. 

The best potatoes to use for this dish? Swiss Family Fun notes that in Switzerland, markets often label potatoes as "rösti" on the bag, but suggests Yukon Gold potatoes as an excellent substitute. Russets offer another great choice, according to Huffington Post. 

Keep in mind these other tips for perfect potato rösti. Don't use a spatula when flipping. Instead, cover the pan with a plate and invert it. Then re-grease the pan with butter before gently sliding the potato rösti from the plate to the pan with the opposite side down. Finally, make sure to cover the pan during the second half of cooking. In the end, your creation will serve as a hearty side dish to pair with meat and vegetables that could quickly turn into a fantastic family favorite.