Crispy Hash Brown Cakes

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There is something about a weekend breakfast at a little greasy diner that I love so much. 

Mr. Hungry usually orders a breakfast plate... eggs, bacon and hash browns.  I like some sort of scrambled egg whites with cheese and maybe some grits and a good biscuit.  I love grits so I always go with that carb option, but only because I know I can sneak some hash browns off Mr. Hungry's plate. 

Now that you know more than you ever needed to know about our breakfast habits, let's get to the point.

There is nothing monumental or fancy about these breakfasts. Pretty standard food we could choose to make at home.  But Mr. Hungry loves good hash browns and they seemed to always to turn out tasteless and mushy in my kitchen. 

Until now that is. 
hash browns
These little hash brown cakes have a crunchy crispy exterior with a bit of soft buttery potato inside.  
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There is exactly one major secret involved in getting these incredibly crispy potatoes.  Wringing every ounce of water out of these spuds.  It was quite shocking to see how much water is in a potato. 
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When you think you have all of the water out.  Wring a few more times.  Im talking squeeze-until-your-biceps-hurt kind of wringing.  
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After that, all you need is a good cast iron skillet and a generous amount of butter.

These hash brown cakes are kind of like my hair.  
They start out a very unruly mess and all over the place, but with a generous amount of product... butter... and quite a bit of shaping and care, you can pull together a somewhat presentable hash brown cake. 
Nice and crispy too.  Hopefully not like my hair. 
Crispy Hash Brown Cakes
Slightly adapted from The Kitchn
Recipe Notes
There are two keys to crispy hash browns.  Wringing all of the water out of the potato and generous amounts of butter.  When you think you are finished squeezing all the water out, squeeze again.  I can barely believe how much water is in a potato, but get it out of there if you want crispy cakes.  Half way through the cooking my potatoes had absorbed the whole tablespoon of butter so I added more half way through to make sure both sides got crispy.  Add butter as necessary. 
1 large (8 to 10 oz) russet potato
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, more if needed
Cheese grater
Dish towel
Skillet, preferably cast iron
Step by Step
Cover your surface with a clean dish towel. Peel the potato and discard skin.  Using a cheese grater, grate the potato over the clean dish towel.

Gather the dishcloth and twist the neck until you form a tight package. Over the sink, squeeze and wring the potato as much as possible.  Squeeze one more time just to make sure you have gotten every last drop.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and then add the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes to coat them with butter and then divide them into portion sizes using a spatula. Flatten each portion with the back of the spatula to maximize contact with the hot pan.

Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Cook each side until desired doneness.  Whether that is a little bit soft or overly crispy, you be the judge.  Try to only flip once so that the cake does not fall apart.

Serve Immediately. 

Makes 3 small servings or 2 large servings. 


  1. WOW those look super yummy! I never really thought of making them into cakes. ;) I do love me some hashbrowns! xoxo A-

  2. Mm, those look awesome! Like latkes that you can eat all year round. I think I may just have found a new go-to brunch side dish. :)

  3. Hi Ashlea, I tried these over the weekend but when I drained all the water and put them on the pan...instead of coming out thread like they became a lump. What should i do about that? Also did you use salted or unsalted butter to cook these? Thx...

    1. Hi Sony,
      That is a bit odd. When you add them to the pan, make sure to coat with butter. Maybe you could even break them apart with your hands or two forks before adding to the pan? Once in the pan, they should be stringy if you get them nice and coated in butter. I used salted butter. You could use unsalted, but you might need to add more salt at the end. Hope this helps.

  4. Love this recipe! Especially the importance of getting as much moisture out of the potato as possible. I usually use a Potato Ricer to grate the potato and remove moisture all at once. It really is a wonderful tool for making the crispiest hash browns!