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busy my way

Recipe: hash brown potatoes

Hey, what have you been up to lately? I’m guessing most people in the States are thinking about Thanksgiving. I’m not there yet. Nope. Finally got my ski on last week at Breckenridge and I have to say – in light of my travel schedule and the lack of decent snow this fall – it’s about time! We had some visitors over the weekend too. Shauna, Danny, and Lu were in Colorado for part of the book tour. We met up with them in Breck for lunch, but the following day they made their way to Boulder and our neck of the woods. So I’ve been playing hostess for the past few days.

first day of the season at breckenridge and we caught some nice pow

things you come across when tidying up our house

radek and danny at l’atelier in boulder

lu mimics kaweah

After a beautiful dinner at Radek Cerny’s L’Atelier in Boulder (Danny used to be Radek’s #2 chef in Denver, back in the day), they came up to spend the weekend at our house. On Saturday, we attended Shauna and Danny’s gluten-free potluck in downtown Boulder and had a great turnout of 65+ people! All of these people came and shared their amazing cooking and baking.

just look at the spread

gorgeous gluten-free pizza from the organic pizza company

several of my favorite local blogger gal pals

shauna thanks everyone at the potluck

The best part of their visit for me was seeing Danny in his element – in his hometown (Breck), with his old restaurant bosses, loving the cold weather and drinking in that clean mountain air. He was beaming when he introduced Shauna and Lu to his old friends. Boulder was the last segment of Shauna and Danny’s Colorado book tour, so it was with sadness and gratitude that we hugged on Sunday in the golden light of the morning sun, our white breath floating up into the air as we wished them safe travel back to Washington. Sadness that we had to part, but gratitude for so many opportunities to spend time with each other this year!

colorado is delighted to have you guys any time

So I’m not much of a breakfast person, but most of our house guests ARE breakfast people. It’s actually because of house guests that I’ve forced myself to learn to make a variety of breakfast items. While that first meal of the day tends to be sweet in western cultures, Asian cultures are primarily dominated by savory dishes and *I* am a savory brekkie type, to be sure.

beloved potato

peeling the spuds

My absolute favorite breakfast food is hash brown potatoes. Yes, even more than bacon, which is difficult for me to type because bacon and I are good friends. My method for hash browns has evolved over the years mostly because I was doing it wrong from the start. I used to grab any old potato, but these days it’s the Yukon gold that I reach for every time. Not to mention, my hash browns always came out gooey and soggy. That’s because I hadn’t learned to squeeze all of that excess liquid (and starch) out before frying them up.

shred the potatoes

squeeze them out as much as you can

Oh! The worst offender? I fried them in a non-stick pan. Nothing pan fries properly in a non-stick pan. I’m such a fan of crispy outsides on my food that I’ve learned to love “stick” pans. Well, in this case that would be my cast iron skillet. Put enough oil down (hey, no one is calling this a low-fat food), get it nice and hot – but not too hot – and throw the potatoes on.

it’s three ingredients: potatoes, oil, and salt

on the good days, i can flip the whole shebang

Flipping the potatoes can be an upsetting experience if things fall apart or parts of your ensemble jump ship onto the range top or worse yet, the floor. It helps to have a wide spatula and a coherent lattice structure in your hash browns. That means no giant gaps or zones of thin potato coverage. I usually pack them together with a spatula right after I dump the potato into the hot pan because the tighter the weave in the bottom (which fuses together when fried), the less likely it will come apart when you flip it. Once it’s done to your liking you should serve it immediately with your other morning favorites.

a most winning trio: hash browns, eggs, and bacon

Hash Brown Potatoes
[print recipe]

1 lb. potatoes (organic Yukon golds are my favorites)
2-4 tbsps vegetable oil

Peel and shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much liquid from the potatoes as possible (do this a small handful at a time). Discard the liquid. Pour a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over medium flame. When the oil is hot (test by dropping a shred of potato on the pan – it should sizzle), add the potato shreds evenly over the skillet and press down with the back of a spatula. When the bottom begins to brown (around 5 minutes or more) sprinkle some salt over the potatoes and carefully flip the hash browns over (you can do it in sections if it’s too big to flip in one go). We want golden, not burnt potatoes, so watch the heat level and reduce the heat if it’s starting to burn. You can add more oil if needed to help the other side crisp up nicely. Sprinkle a little salt on the browned top and let cook until the bottom has a nice golden color. Serve hot. Serves 2-4 people.

31 nibbles at “busy my way”

  1. LimeCake says:

    that looks like a stellar breakfast of champions! I’d go with a nice dollop of sour cream on these!

  2. yd says:

    That’s what I call a hearty meal! Super crispy hash browns are my #1

  3. Jolene says:

    Great seeing you this weekend! Looking forward to more meet-ups. Your pictures are fabulous as always and the one of Kaweah and Lu is beyond precious, oh my gosh too cute!

  4. Wei-Wei says:

    Mmmmmmm. I don’t get the difference between latkes and hash browns though – are hash browns just really big and broken up?

  5. Andrew Hyde says:

    Everything always looks great, but that breakfast looks especially delicious.

  6. Mollie says:

    You know I’m a savory brekkies girl too…. yum!

    adore the picture of lu and K… awesomeness all around!

  7. shauna says:

    We are so freaking lucky. That’s all I can say. So lucky.

    We love you.

  8. ailo says:

    Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. Shredded hash browns are my FAVORITE. I remember my first breakfast potato experience. I was 11, at farm camp, and we were going to an early morning cattle auction. Beforehand we stopped at a nearby greasy diner for breakfast. I ordered this thing called “American Fries” thinking they’d be french fries. I was shocked, saddened, and then ELATED once I tried them, those rounds of potato goodness. THEN I discovered SHREDDED and oh my. I don’t think I ordered anything else for breakfast any time my family went out for about ten years. I’ve figured out how to do cubes and slices, but never shreds. Thank you! Om nom nom nom nom nom.

  9. white on rice couple says:

    every photograph looks awesome, but the one with Lu and Kaweah is PRECIOUS!
    Thrilled that you all had such a marvelous time and that hash brown breakfast plate? omg, brekkie of champions y’all!

  10. Ann says:

    the REAL breakfast of champions, luv ’em, though I’ve never attempted anything outside of the bagged, store-bought variety =(

  11. Melissa says:

    What Diane said. That picture of them is awe. some.

    And ohhh savory breakfast FTW. Damn straight.

  12. Christine says:

    I LOVE hash brown potatoes. But I love that picture of Lu and Kaweah even more. Adorable.

  13. Lindsey @ Sunshine and Jellybeans says:

    So THAT’S what I have been doing wrong! I’ve never squeezed the potatoes to get rid of the excess liquid before. Thank you!

  14. Kath says:

    Oh man!! Reading this at 7:46pm and all I can think of is breakfast!

    Was GREAT seeing you & Jeremy and meeting Shauna, Danny & Lu! And Denise, Jolene, Rachel among others :-)

  15. Marisa says:

    These look more like what we would call rosti over here, nevertheless, they look smashing!

  16. Nan@tastingoutloud says:

    My husband says “Stellar atmospheres eh?” I’ve always been afraid to throw any bits of paper away – they are laying around everywhere here too. I just gather them up and put them in a special shoebox. Love the pics of Shauna, Danny, and cutie little Lu – especially the one with she and Kaweah — so cute! The spuds look crispy and delicious – especially with the bacon. I’m with you about bacon. Anytime, anywhere — BACON!

  17. Mary says:

    I always parboil the potatoes for at least 20 minutes…I keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to shred…no need to squeeze.. I also use them to make shredded cheesy potato pancakes :)

  18. Jill says:

    YUM….everything looks yummy. The hash browns are mouth watering good……and the bacon looks crisp and like you baked it! MY FAVORITE WAY TO COOK BACON. All Hydes love bacon!

  19. Warren says:

    Hashbrowns are awesome. I do the water squeezing part, but did not realize cast iron is the way to go to get crispy (my solution has been to just add more oil to my non-stick pan – yeah, unfortunately it’s a lotta oil). Also, that picture you have with “the whole shebang”…I like to put that whole shebang on a plate to precook in the microwave before I slide it (or sometimes flip it) onto the pan to fry.

  20. Jaya says:

    What a simple, gorgeous breakfast! It’s so incredibly heartwarming to see how much of yourself, your gifts and your kindness you give to others.

  21. Rachel says:

    As always, gorgeous photos.

    Thank you for encouraging me to come out, I really needed that. And hope to see you at Ignite Boulder! (Yes, I really bought my ticket.)

  22. Alyson says:

    I love potato pancakes! Nigel Slater (the Guardian food columnist) has a great recipe in The Kitchen Diaries for one that’s really similar to yours – it has the addition of whole garlic cloves. Although it took me forever to get used to dealing with a “stick” pan (like yours!), the whole thing turned out really tasty (although, as I’m not a photographer, not very pretty looking).

  23. marianne says:

    These look so good I want to eat my computer screen.

  24. Pei Lin says:

    Fantastic! I have some potatoes that I will love to use for breakfast tomorrow! Thank you Jen!

  25. Pei Lin says:

    Jen, I made this for brunch today. The first one didn’t turn out so good, but the second one was great! No more buying frozen hash browns as this is pretty easy to whip up! Thank you for sharing this!

  26. Ruth Ann says:

    Lovely! Something about a gorgeous breakfast that really makes me happy.

  27. jenyu says:

    Wei-Wei – I don’t either. I *think* latkes have onions in them? Fried potatoes are good no matter what…

    Andrew – if you come home, I’ll make this breakfast for you :)

    Shauna – love you too, sweetheart. xo

    Ailo – you can imagine my joy when I finally figured out how to make these!

    WoRC – xoxo :) We really wished you guys were around for the weekend too!

    Ann – give these a try, they really are not that difficult!

    Melissa – yeah, woman!

    Kath – big hugs, sweetie.

    Nan – well, not stellar atmospheres… molecular clouds in star forming regions (stellar atmospheres are too hot for molecular oxygen) :)

    Jaya – you’re very kind, thank you.

    Rachel – you bet, hon! I’ll see you there.

    Alyson – I used to only use non-stick pans, but now I can’t stand using them! Stick pans are the way to go :)

    Marianne – surely they have potatoes in Antarctica?

  28. Alicia says:

    I LOVE shredded hash browns with my eggs. Hand me some red-hot and a fork!

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