Be Careful How Much Oil You Use To Cook Hash Browns

Of all the staple pantry items, potatoes are surely one of the most delicious — and versatile. Showing up on our breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates time and again in the form of mashed potatoes, French fries, potatoes au gratin, and so many more dishes, the starchy tubers are affordable, have a long shelf life, and are loaded with nutrients, according to Health.

One of the most satisfying potato dishes out there — and one most of us have loved since we were young — is hash browns. Also known as breakfast potatoes — for obvious reasons — hash browns are a simple mix of seasoned, grated potatoes, sometimes mixed with onions, that are fried until crispy in a hot skillet. A classic accompaniment to eggs, bacon, and sausages, hash browns are far from just diner food, as they're super simple to fry up at home: All you need is potatoes, onions, salt, and oil. But as for that last ingredient, just make sure to go easy on it when you're cooking hash browns.

Too much oil can leave hash browns soggy

The best hash browns feature a contrast of textures, crispy on the outside while creamy on the inside (via Epicurious). But all too often, hash browns — whether ordered in a restaurant or made at home — fall far short of that ideal, turning out gummy, greasy, and decidedly not crispy. There are plenty of tricks for ensuring crispy hash browns — among them parcooking the potatoes first — but another one suggested by Eat This, Not That! is making sure to use only a moderate amount of oil.

Many cooks tend to douse their hash browns in oil, hoping for a crispier result. But counterintuitively, too much oil weighs the potatoes down, leaving them heavy and moist. "It's common to want to add a lot of oil for crispier hash browns, but too much oil makes them soggy," Palak Patel, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, told Eat This, Not That!

Rather, the outlet suggests reaching for clarified butter instead of oil, and using a wide pan, which will spread the potatoes out and help them crisp instead of steam. If you don't have any clarified butter or simply prefer to use oil, make sure to be light-handed with it, and take the extra step of grating the potatoes, rinsing off their starch, wringing them dry, and then frying them (via Bon Appétit). With these tips, your next plate of hash browns is sure to be restaurant-level.