Worst Cook Explains Breakfast Potatoes

Restaurant hashbrowns and home fries can taste so good, or so-so.

Potatoes get a bum rap. Everyone thinks they’re fattening (they’re really not) and no one credits them for their intense nutritional value.

Take advantage of how great breakfast potatoes really are with these tips:


Start with a peeled russet potato—a small potato is about one serving of hash browns. Grate it, as if it were cheese, right onto a plate.

Now the hard part. Using paper towels, squeeze as much water as you can out of the potato. I guarantee that the first couple of towels, even doubled up, will be downright soggy once you squeeze. Unwrap them carefully from the grated potatoes and bend the paper back to knock off all the little pieces, or you’ll lose half your food. Then repeat. 

This step is necessary. If you don’t squeeze the water out of the potatoes, your hash browns will be crisp on the outside and mushy in the middle. Choose one of the methods below.

  • Fold a clean dish towel, cover it with a couple of paper towels, spread out the potatoes, cover them with a couple more paper towel and another clean dish towel, and press. You can use a rolling pin or or something heavy to squeeze the moisture out. Again, you’ll have to shake and scrape the potatoes from the paper towels. Use older dish towels if you're worried about stains.
  • Use a potato ricer. Most modern ricers will set you back about $20-$45 depending on where you buy.

Cooking instructions:

Heat up some olive oil on a heavy, cast iron skillet. Heat it on at least medium, maybe medium high, till the olive oil gets a slight sheen to it.

Add a bit of chopped onion and let it cook for a minute or two.

Toss in the grated potatoes. Use a spatula to spread them around the pan so they're no thicker than a ½ inch at any point. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Within a few minutes, the bottom will be toasty-golden-brown. Flip the potatoes over with the spatula until the other side is also golden, and they’re done.

Quick tip: Do not attempt to cook eggs in the same pan. It’s just too hot. The eggs will have browned whites and barely-cooked yolks within minutes.

Home fries

Most recipes include chopped or sliced sweet onion. Some add red and green bell pepper. Some cooks add garlic, and a few even throw in cheese toward the end of the cooking time.

Home fries are never the same twice, so you can use whatever type of fat, potatoes, and extras you like.

Cooking instructions:

Pick whichever type of potatoes you like.

Scrub the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Cut them in quarters and half-cook the spuds, either in the microwave for 5-7 minutes, or by putting them in a pot of cold water, bringing it to a boil, and letting it boil for about 7 or 8 minutes. Then drain the pot, and cover the potatoes with cold water. You can even do this the night before and leave the pot in the fridge, as long as the potatoes are covered with water.

Warm some bacon grease, butter or olive oil in a skillet. Bring to medium-low heat, then add sliced or chopped sweet onion—about a quarter onion for each large potato (or cup of potatoes). If you’re adding bell peppers, add about one quarter pepper for each potato, cut in strips. If you’re adding garlic, either a crushed clove or minced, add it now too.

Cook the onion and other ingredients for 5 minutes. Cut the half-cooked potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Spread the potatoes on a clean towel and dry them.

Once the onion has been softened throw in the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt or Lawry’s seasoned salt, and pepper. You can add dill, too. Stir it up good and cover. If your skillet doesn’t have a lid, a sheet of aluminum foil will work.

Let it cook 15-20 minutes but stir every 5 minutes.


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