The Trick to Getting the Crispiest Breakfast Potatoes Ever

Want breakfast potatoes that are velvety-smooth on the inside and extra crispy on the outside? Here's the secret.

There’s nothing better than a pile of crispy hash brown potatoes. I mean, sometimes I’m in the mood for creamy, bacon-filled breakfast potatoes, but there’s something so satisfying about the ones you get at a good brunch spot. Don’t worry: you don’t need to go out to eat to get them. For almost four years, I ran a farm-to-table breakfast restaurant. Over the years, I definitely learned a few things about making those breakfast potatoes memorable!

I’d love teach you how to make crispy hash brown potatoes at home because they’re actually super easy. There’s a secret technique that guarantees your hash browns will be velvety and smooth on the inside and extra crispy on the outside.

The Secret to Crispy Breakfast Potatoes

It really boils down to one thing: parcooking your potatoes to remove excess moisture. You see, a potato is about 80 percent water. The rest of the potato is composed of starches, which is what makes them caramelize beautifully in a hot pan. If the water gets in the way, though, you’ll end up steaming your potatoes. That makes them mushy instead of being crispy and wonderful.

The easiest way to remove the excess moisture starts with wringing out your shredded potatoes. Place them in a piece of cheesecloth (or a tea towel) and twist it like there’s no tomorrow. This will remove most of the moisture but not all of it. Here’s where the secret technique comes in: Place them on a paper towel-lined plate and cook them in the microwave on high for two minutes. That’s it!

If you don’t have a microwave, you can boil your potatoes for two minutes—just make sure you wring them out super well afterward. After that, it will be easy-peasy to crisp them up to perfection when you add them to a hot, oiled cast iron pan. They should only take about two minutes a side since you’ve already cooked them in the microwave.

When you’re done, your potatoes will taste like a restaurant-quality side dish. Whip up brunch in no time at all by putting an egg on those potatoes, or top them with cheese and finish them in the oven for a cheesy casserole.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially if it provides an opportunity to highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.