hash brown patties

It’s not entirely healthy or sane, but I can fiddle with a recipe for years before finally getting it out the door. What is done? What is ready? Aren’t we all works in progress, forging paths to even more greatness? Sometimes it’s obvious when a recipe is ready to laminate and tuck in our forever files; I love those days. Sometimes, the longer I leave it, the more it metamorphosizes. What I’m trying to say is that in 2020, this was a tater tot recipe. In 2021, it became a giant tot, i.e. a thick hash brown patty, and also gluten-free. In 2022, because I’m so attached to the Trader Joe’s version stashed in my freezer and wanted these more like that, it became thinner.

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The year is now 2023. Books have been published. Regimes have changed. Children have entered and nearly completed middle school, gray hairs have sprung, betraying, and I believe — I mean, I’m absolutely utterly certain — that this is the final iteration of what I consider to be the perfect homemade hash brown patty: crisp, as fuss-free as possible, and my absolutely favorite raft for an egg, or the base of a salad-y lunchtime avocado toast. The only thing I forgot to do is test it in an air-fryer but I’m going to send this off regardless, before we blink and it’s 2024, and trust that someone will report back in the comments below about how it went. Deal?

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Fun stuff!

* Signed cookbook: Want to buy a signed cookbook as a Mother’s Day gift for yourself or someone else? While the shipping deadlines have passed, both Strand Bookstore and Books Are Magic have copies of Smitten Kitchen Keepers signed by me this week.

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14 years ago: Artichoke-Olive Crostini and Chocolate Caramel Crackers
15 years ago: Spring Panzanella and Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake
16 years ago: Arborio Rice Pudding and Gnocchi with a Grater

Hash Brown Patties

  • Servings: 4 large or 6 smaller patties
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

[Shown in these photos is a 1.5-pound batch, making 6 large patties. This recipe is easily scaled up and down, as needed.]

  • 1 pound russet potato(es), peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • Neutral, high-heat oil for frying

Cook your potatoes: Place potato chunks in a pot of cold, salted water and turn the heat to high. Set your timer for 15 minutes. At the 15-minute mark, even if the water hasn’t boiled for long, check a chunk of potato. We’re looking for it to be tender enough for knife or skewer should go through it but it shouldn’t be mushy; add another minute or two if needed. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large cutting board. Spread to cool slightly in a single layer, about 5 minutes.

Form the hash brown mixture: Chop the potatoes into small bits, about the size of peas. In a bowl, combine with starch and season to taste — I call for salt but you can add pepper or any other seasonings you like in your hash browns at this point.

Shape the patties: Transfer back to the counter and knead in on the cutting board a few times until you can shape it into a big, thick round. Divide it into 4 wedges for the generously-sized patties you see here, or 6 for smaller ones. Use your hands to form each wedge into a round, and then flatten it about 1/2-inch-thick and form shape you want against the board — either a round patty or you can nudge it into more of a rounded rectangle, as I do here. Repeat with remaining wedges.

Fry the patties: Heat a medium-sized, heavy frying pan over high heat with enough oil to go most of the way up the sides of the patties. [In my photo, I’ve fully submerged them in oil, i.e. deep-frying them, but shallow-frying will work too.] When the oil reaches 350°F to 360°F, or a crumble of potato immediately sizzles and begins to darkens in the pan, use a thin spatula to transfer the first patty from the board, lowering it slowly in the oil. Fry until medium brown underneath, 1 to 2 minutes, spooning oil over the top of the patty for even color. Carefully turn it over and fry until the second side of the patty is also nicely browned, another 1 to 2 minutes. Lift out of the oil, shaking excess droplets back into the pan, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle immediately with salt.

Repeat with remaining patties. If your pan is big enough, go ahead and fry two at a time. [I use a smaller one so I need less oil.]

To finish: Eat right away, as is, or topped with a fried egg or salad-y avocado toast and a soft-cooked egg, as shown above. Leftover patties can be frozen. From the freezer, reheat on a tray in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, flipping once. From the fridge, 10 to 15 minutes should be sufficient.

A few questions, pre-answered:

  • The Russet is the best potato choice here; we need its floury lightness to give us that fluffy tot texture and great binding.
  • I buy a bag of potato starch approximately once every four years from Bob’s Red Mill. It will not go bad. I use it for latkes, too. It’s also phenomenal on Japanese fried chicken (karaage) but that post for another time. If you do not or do not wish to buy have potato starch, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour will work, too.
  • Frying oil: My favorite for savory shallow- and deep-frying is peanut oil, but of course this will not work for everyone, given how common peanut allergies are. Any neutral, high heat vegetable or canola oil will work here. The bottle you buy will make it clear it works at higher heats for frying [or have a picture of fried chicken on it]; if not, choose a different one.
  • Yes, you can reuse your frying oil. I prefer to do this when what I’ve fried has no additional (garlic, onion, or spice) flavors, such as here because it smells neutral later. I made the Easiest French Fries two months ago and strained the leftover oil, removing any crumbs, and poured it back into the bottles it came from once cool. It’s been in the fridge since and I used some here; it was as perfect as the first day. You can also freeze leftover oil.
  • No, I haven’t tried this in an air fryer yet but I suspect someone will soon and I’ll point you to these comments as they emerge.

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79 comments on hash brown patties

  1. Mary

    They look beautiful, brown and in one piece. (Mine would undoubtedly break in the middle!).Can you please tell me what brand of tongs or kitchen tweezers you are using?

  2. Anne Schaeffer

    For some reason, I don’t get the full recipe when you send it as an email. No pictures, and some parts of the recipe are missing. (like the part where you boil the potatoes!)

    I can always click thru to the website, but thought you’d like to know that there may be many of us out here who get it like that. :-(

    p.s. this recipe is great!

  3. Anna

    These look delicious! Your story made me wonder how you keep track of recipes and their alterations/iterations. Do you have a giant excel spreadsheet?

    1. deb

      No, I have a Google doc for most of the (gazillion) recipes I consider in progress. If I’m trying a few approaches, they’ll all be there. Lots of notes. Plus you can see document history if you’re losing your mind trying to remember what you’ve changed.

      1. Wow – that’s a fascinating look at the SK process! Would you ever consider a post where you shared the Google doc and some of the iterations? I would LOVE to see that!

      2. This is the reason why your recipes are always perfect. I would love to learn a bit more about your process and look forward to seeing it all in action. I love order and organization. I am sure to pick some great points from your creative process.

  4. Helen E Bratzel

    Thanks Deb! I love potatoes in any form, and especially hash brown patties with an egg on top. Will this recipe work with rice flour? That has been my gluten free go-to lately.

    1. deb

      I haven’t tried it but I’m concerned it might be too binding — the starch barely does, which is what we want. And this is, of course, gluten-free regardless.

  5. Robin Lewis

    When you say leftover patties can be frozen or refrigerated, do you mean leftover ALREADY FRIED patties or uncooked ones? TIA.

  6. Josee Thibodeau

    Hi Deb,

    Do you think these could be baked in the oven instead of frying in oil?

    Lovely seeing you at Indigo in Toronto a few months ago. Come back soon!

    1. deb

      Thank you, I’d love to. I think they could be baked, but I don’t think they’ll get the cracky crisp brown edges at all. They’ll just taste like mixed texture baked potato patties.

    1. deb

      I think frying first is probably better — I’ve never frozen and defrosted what is essentially a disc of mashed potatoes before, but once it’s fried, it will hold together. Plus, they reheat well. And you’d be front-loading the work.

  7. Erinn

    I saw the comment about air fryers but I am not a gadget girl. I don’t really fry, hate the mess and smell. Thoughts on coating with oil and baking?

    1. deb

      I commented above that while I think they could be baked, I don’t think they’ll get the cracky crisp brown edges at all. They’ll just taste like mixed texture baked potato patties. An air-fryer is a little better at getting things crisp because it’s a fan/convection oven, but my gut feeling here is that if you want a hash brown that tastes like hash browns you’ve liked, they need to be fried.

    2. Lauren

      Hi Deb, made these yesterday, got 6 patties. The first batch of three came out fantastic, the second batch of three fell apart as they cooked in the oil. Any idea what happened?

        1. Lauren

          The first batch were perfect. The second, yes, they felt together when we put them in the pan but then as they cooked they didn’t stay together. They were more just little bits of extra crispy potato.

          1. Loretta Januska

            The opposite happened to me. The first batch looked fine at first but then started falling apart. Soon it was mostly small chunks of potato. Tasty but not right, not patties. The last two I mashed up with more potato starch and they cooked better. Took a long time to brown with each batch.
            I’ll try again.

      1. Aurora

        I had the same thing happen, and I’m pretty certain the oil just hadn’t come back up to temperature when I added the second batch. They disintegrated in the oil, soaked up a lot and didn’t brown nicely. The first batch had been perfect. I need to buy a thermometer.

        1. Lauren

          That is exactly what happened! Thank you for this, I definitely need to buy a thermometer too. The first batch were too fantastic to not try again!

  8. @magicwords

    I would love to see the google doc, that sounds really cool!!
    This looks amazing! I am always looking for new recipes for Sunday brunch & SK is a lifesaver. 😊

  9. Anne Eisenhower Turnbull

    Love this! I live somewhere with no Russet potatoes (it’s very sad). Could I use Yukon gold or red potatoes?

  10. PloniAlmoni

    Now I know what to do with all the potato starch left over from Passover.

    Have you tried freezing and reheating? Does anyone know if it would be better to freeze fried or raw(ish)?

  11. Stacy

    Would leaving the skins on still work? I have to admit that if a recipe says to peel I either skip the recipe or the step :-) Just wondering . . .
    Thanks –

  12. Carol

    I had these today with a fried egg and it was the perfect rainy day WFH breakfast. I had one 10 oz red potato so I scaled down the flour (used AP) to 2 tsp and got three patties out of it. The red potato needed maybe an extra 3 minutes of boiling. And I don’t know if it was because of the potato substitution, the flour substitution, the avocado oil I used, or my ineptitude at frying, but I couldn’t get mine anywhere near as evenly cooked or golden as yours. The edges got dark brown immediately and the inner area stubbornly stayed white. I’m planning to reheat the leftovers in the toaster oven which I’m hoping will help them crisp up and get some color.

    1. deb

      First, mine are definitely white inside. But I do think it’s probably the potato. A waxier potato such as a red potato might not have that roughed-up edge that russets get, which catches color well. Was the avocado oil labeled for high heat?

      1. Carol

        I meant the outside that wasn’t the edge was white. And yes, it’s high heat avocado oil that I always use for deep frying.

    2. Jessica

      “In 2020, this was a tater tot recipe.” For this did you form the cooked potato bits into a rope and cut into smaller segments, similar to gnocchi?

  13. Kris

    These worked great in the airfryer for me! Sprayed top and bottom with a bit of avocado oil and kept them in for about 20 minutes. I started the temperature at 350 but moved it up to 400 by minute ten because they weren’t browning. I think the times/temps would be a bit different in an airfryer nicer than my beat up one but it resulted in a yummy crispy hashbrown regardless!

  14. I know I’m lazy, I fully admit it. But lately, instead of boiling potatoes and having them get a bit soggy, I’ve been cooking them in the IP.

    Would that work here? If not, no bfd, it’s just 1lb, so not a huge deal. Just thought I’d ask.

  15. Gregory Thow

    Re: Air Fryer. I can report they work GREAT in the AF. I will never cook them in a pot of oil given these results. (Preheat at 390 or 400).


    1. Anita

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for the report! This is what I was hoping someone would say. How long did you put them in the air fryer?


  16. Rupa Sikdar

    I have kidney issues & follow low potassium diet, potatoes are loaded, but cauliflower’s allowed. I’m going to try the recipe, but might smush some of the pieces so they bind together. Deb I made your latke recipe with shredded daikon and rice flower, and they were amazing, thank you. Of course they tased different, but excellent. My adult son who thinks he doesn’t like daikon ate it without knowing, and loved it.

  17. Sophie

    Can’t wait to try this! Info from my allergist : allergens are “stored” in the protein, therefore, peanut oil is not dangerous even for allergic people (like me!), since oil does not contain protein.

    1. Aly

      It might depend. My son likely had an allergic reaction to peanut oil when we were at a restaurant (he had chicken strips and fries but got hives right after, even though the server thought there was not peanut oil). His allergist said to still avoid peanut oil because sometimes the proteins get into it if it isn’t processed properly.

  18. Aurora

    As I commented somewhere above, I need to buy a thermometer, as my first batch came out perfectly but second and third disintegrated in the oil and didn’t brown nicely. My 5- and 3-year-olds were helping in the kitchen, and I’m pretty sure we’d do well to chop the bits smaller next time, too.
    That aside, since the first patties were successful, I can report that using cold leftover baked potatoes (my go-to for hash browns) works fine!

  19. Amanda

    I tried these, and my first attempt failed. I think it’s VERY important to cut the potatoes to 1″, no smaller, and to not overcook your potatoes (check them at 12 minutes)
    My potatoes got too wet, and therefore cooled down the fry oil too much,and were an oil bomb.
    I added more potato starch to the rest of the dough and made smaller patties for the second round.
    I recommend a shallow fry, not deep fry,
    Don’t cut your potatoes too small.
    Pull them BEFORE the edges are softening- that’s too mushy.
    Delicious in the end!

  20. Paddy

    I just reheated these hash browns and they were so good. In fact, maybe I should freeze more the next time I make them.
    I will admit I had some difficulty to get these puppies to form a cohesive mass. I almost think maybe my potatoes got too dry before mixing. Still I persevered and they tasted fantastic and really didn’t break up too much when they hit the oil. I learned you have to be gentle in the introduction to the hot oil.
    They froze (is that the past tense of freeze?) well. I just gently wrapped them in the paper toweling I used to drain…
    Hope that makes sense
    Thanks for another great recipe!

  21. Chloe

    These are amazing! I love the texture that the potato starch gives the final patty. I made extra to freeze and I am sooo glad I did, I honestly think these are leagues above the Trader Joe’s ones 😉

  22. Farrell May Podgorsek

    I’ve made these a few times. Each time I thought that I was making extras to freeze but they all were eaten. My tips: cooking time on the potatoes is important. They need to be soft enough to form some mush to help them stick together. After I formed the patty’s I placed them on a sheet pan and refrigerated them, uncovered, until I was ready to cook. They held together much better. I added salt, pepper and Burlap & Barrel toasted onion powder to the potato mixture. I deep fried them and they came out looking just like Deb’s picture. They were perfect for Mother’s Day Brunch.

  23. Jan Beard

    I formed the patties individually, then air-fried on oil slicked pan with oil brushed on top of each at 425 for 20 minutes. Delicious with your Bodega-Style Egg on top! Loved seeing you in Irvine, CA last winter and have made all the dinner and dessert items we had there from your new book. My daughter-in-law was with me and is a Smitten Kitchen convert. Thanks for all your great work!

  24. Bea Mendoza

    Easy to make (and I am clumsy) and delicious. For even golden color I think you need to really flatten and even out the patties with a spatula before frying them and for the chunks to not be too large.

  25. Geovanny Lueilwitz

    This journey of recipe development is a testament to the passion and dedication that goes into creating delicious and satisfying dishes. It’s a reminder that even the most seemingly simple recipes can be elevated and slope transformed into something truly extraordinary.