The quest for Homemade McDonald's Hash Browns is over! After years of trying different techniques, I finally perfected homemade hash browns and they are so incredibly easy and made right in your air fryer. These are a great make-ahead breakfast treat that can be air fried in under 20 minutes for delicious crispy hash browns any day of the week! Simply take as few or as many frozen hash browns as you want to cook out of the freezer and air fry them golden brown! The crunch is amazing and you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE these air fryer hash browns!
You can make such a quick breakfast with these frozen patties and serve them up some scrambled eggs and fresh fruit!
I happen to love breakfast foods, often eating breakfast for dinner. Here are some of my all time favorite and easy breakfast recipes! These crispy hashbrowns go great with my steamed egg bite recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
There is quite a bit of discussion around this topic and even the internet disagrees on what is what. However, if we take some very large breakfast restaurants like McDonald's, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, and IHOP, there does seem to be some unity in the description of home fries versus hash browns. Hash Browns, in most instances, refer to shredded potatoes and either formed and deep fried (like McDonald's) or scattered and pan fried.
How long will Hash Browns last in the freezer?
If they are lightly coated with oil, individually frozen, and stored in an airtight container, they will last 3-6 months in the freezer. It's not that they "go bad," and they certainly are safe to eat even after a year in the freezer, but the quality does deteriorate over time. This is especially true when ice crystals form, but even when they don't, the quality goes down because they dry out too much in the freezer.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This recipe calls for Russet Potatoes, but I have also tested the recipe with white potatoes that I bought at an Amish auction (so I'm not sure the exact type) and they worked perfectly. I do think the Russet potatoes crisped up a little better, but the difference was very slight. You can also try using Yukon Gold or a combination of different types of potatoes. I recommend sticking with fresh potatoes and not preshredded and dried potatoes for this recipe.
Another option, although I haven't tried it, is to use sweet potatoes in place of the Russets. I would follow the same instructions, but you may need to par cook them for just a little longer than the white potatoes.
Seasonings & Oil
Seasonings: You can use any kind of seasonings you like. I kept it simple and used just salt, not even any pepper and I loved them! However, I think a bit of black pepper, onion powder, or even garlic powder would be great in the recipe. You can also replace the salt with a multipurpose seasoning like a season-all. If you want them spicy, add in some cayenne or chipotle pepper.
Oil: I recommend using a neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil like I used. Some olive oils will impart a flavor into your potatoes, so be careful if using that.
Cornstarch (also known as corn flour) is the binder that acts like the glue to hold everything together, and I definitely recommend using it. While flour does work, I found the taste to be off putting and much prefer cornstarch. That is my personal preference, so if you would rather use flour, I would use between 1½-2 Tablespoons.
You can also add in some other ingredients like shredded or finely diced onions or bell peppers. I haven't tried the recipe using extra ingredients, but as long as you don't add too many it should be just fine. I would stick with a total of ½ cup for any extra vegetables you want to add in to make sure they don't give off too much moisture and prevent the hash browns from crisping.
Another ingredient you can add in is cheese! I'm not sure why I'm just thinking about this because I sure would have tested one of the batches with some sharp shredded cheddar! Anyway, next time! There are only a few things to keep in mind when using cheese mixed with the potatoes. You don't want to use too much cheese or the hashbrowns will become too brown and kind of oily as the cheese melts and releases its oil. I would stick to no more than 1 cup of shredded cheese per batch. You also may want to increase the cornstarch to 2 Tablespoons just in case the oils release from the cheese, the starch will absorb it. Since I haven't tested the recipe with cheese, these are only my recommendations so feel free to experiment! Let me know if you add cheese and how it went for you!
How to Make Homemade Hash Browns
No matter how you plan on cooking the hash browns, making them is exactly the same and it's so easy you won't believe it! I have been working on this recipe for most of my adult life and let me tell you, I was making it way more complicated than it needs to be!
I tried soaking shredded raw potatoes, using egg and flour, pan frying, and all kinds of other things and the flavors and textures were never spot on, but all that changes with this recipe! You get the pure potato taste and the crispiness that you expect from a deep fried hash brown, even though I only air fry mine!
This is the most important part of the entire recipe. You want to par cook the potatoes! Yes, it's that simple. I use my Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper to pressure cook them, but you can also boil them in water on the stove for about 15 minutes or so.
Wash the outside of the potatoes, but you don't have to peel them.
Stovetop Instructions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the potatoes. Boil them for about 15 minutes or just until a fork can be inserted into the potato, but not so long that the potato falls apart. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
Pressure Cooker Instructions: Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot. Place the potatoes on the rack or in the air fryer basket and put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes and do an immediate release.
Remove the potatoes and place them in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Chilling them helps when you go to shred them, if you shred them hot they tend to fall apart and get gummy.
I don't recommend putting them in ice water to chill faster because they may absorb the water and have too much moisture when you go to shred them. However, this is an option for a quick chill.
Making the Homemade Hash Browns
Prepare the 9x13 pan by lining it with parchment paper (or wax paper) and then spritzing about ½ Tablespoon of oil onto the paper and brushing it all over the bottom. I get asked all the time about the oil spritzers I use so I wanted to make sure to include a link here: EVO Oil Spritzer on Amazon.
Once the potatoes are chilled, peel the skins with a paring knife. I find a vegetable peeler to be more difficult once the skins are soft.
Next, grate the potatoes into a large bowl. I use a box grater or the large holes on a cheese grater. I don't recommend using a food processor for this step because the heat of the blades can break down the potatoes, releasing excess starch and creating a gummy texture.
Add in the salt and cornstarch and toss to coat the shredded potatoes.
One the potatoes are coated, dump them out onto the prepared tray. Spread them out into an even layer and press down to compact the potatoes. Place the tray in the freezer for a few hours so they partially freeze. This is important for cutting the individual patties.
Once they are partially frozen, slide the parchment paper with the potatoes onto your cutting board. Cut in desired sizes and shapes. You can use cookie cutters for fun shapes, a biscuit cutter for round, or cut rectangles like I do.
Once they are cut, spritz the top of the hash browns with the remaining ½ Tablespoon of oil. Freeze for several hours or overnight. You want the hash browns very frozen before cooking or bagging them up for individual servings later on.
Once they are completely frozen, you can bag them up to keep in the freezer until you want to cook them or choose from the cooking methods below and cook them up!
Cooking Methods for Homemade Hashbrowns
My preferred cooking method is definitely using an air fryer! The results are so wonderful and uses less oil than deep frying. However, there are many ways you can cook them and here are some common cooking methods with temperatures and times.
Not only is using the air fry quick & easy, it gives great results! The outsides are nice and brown and crispy, but the insides are soft and tender. So good!
The first thing you want to do is preheat the air fryer for at least 10 minutes. I use the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker and Air Crisper, so I select the "Broil" (also known as Grill in the UK) function because it's the hottest setting using the crisping lid.
I also make sure the air fryer basket or whatever surface you are air frying on is in the air fryer during the preheat. This helps create a hot surface which will increase browning and decrease sticking.
No matter what make/model of air fryer you are using, just choose the hottest heat setting and go a full 10 minutes.
Once it's heated, place the frozen hash browns in a single layer in the basket or tray of your air fryer.
Switch over to the Air Crisp or Air Fry setting and set the temperature for 375℉/190℃ and air fry for 10 minutes without opening the lid. This gives the hash browns time to set up and they are less likely to break apart when you flip them over.
Flip the hashbrowns and cook another 5-10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on your air fryer, so cook as long as they need to get golden brown on both sides.
When they are done, remove from the basket and place on a cooling rack. You can serve them immediately. If you need to make more batches, it's important to keep them on a rack of some sort so they don't steam and get soft.
Heat a large pot of oil or your deep fryer to 350℉/176℃ and add 2-4 frozen hash browns, depending on the size of your pot/fryer. Make sure the pot is big enough and the oil is the correct temperature. Fry for about 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain on paper towels.
If you are not familiar with deep frying, I recommend you pan fry or air fry these instead. The ice crystals will cause some rapid boiling followed by a cooling down of the oil. Make sure to allow enough time for the oil to come back up to temp before deep frying more hash browns.
You can make these delicious potato hash browns right in the oven. This is perfect when you need to make a whole lot at once even if you do have a smaller air fryer! The recipe is exactly the same, but there are some tips for getting the shredded hash browns crispy in the oven and it all starts with preheating!
One of the issues I ran into was the frozen hash browns sticking to the tray. This was fixed by preheating the tray in the oven at the same time it is preheating AND spritzing some oil on the tray. If you want to avoid the extra oil, then I recommend lining the tray with parchment paper.
Regular Oven: Preheat the oven to 450℉ with the cooking tray inside the oven. Once preheated, spritz the tray with oil and add the frozen hash browns. Bake on 450°F for 7 minutes, flip and bake another 7-10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Convection Oven: If you have a convection oven, I recommend using it for this recipe. The circulating hot air helps dry up the moisture from the frozen potatoes and the results are crispier hash browns.
Pan frying or Shallow Frying is a perfect way to make these delicious hash browns. Make sure to heat your frying pan over medium high heat and add just enough oil to cover the bottom.
When the pan and the oil is hot, add in 2-4 hash browns. The number you can cook at once will depend on the size of your frying pan. You want to makes sure they are in a single layer. Fry over medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes per side. Flip when the one side is golden brown and repeat on the other side.
When they are done, remove and place on paper towels until serving.
You can fry in butter, but you will have to monitor your heat closely because butter burns quite easily. Sometimes I will mix 50% oil and 50% butter.
No matter which cooking method you choose, you are going to love these crispy hash browns and I can't wait to hear what you think! Are they better than McDonald's? Tag me on your favorite social media channel and let me know!
Now, the best part! Eat and Enjoy! Do you use ketchup? I usually do!
Homemade Hash Brown Recipe (Air Fryer & Oven Directions)
- Pressure Cooker or Pot on the Stove To Par Cook the Potatoes
- Air Fryer or Oven To Cook the Frozen Hash Browns
- 9x13 Tray
- Parchment Paper or Wax Paper
- 3 pounds Russet Potatoes
- 2 teaspoons fine grind sea salt
- 1½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil divided in recipe
- Wash the potatoes. No need to peel them right now. If you have a pressure cooker, add 1 cup of water to the inner pot and place the potatoes on a rack or in a basket and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes with an immediate release of pressure. Or, you can boil a pot of water on the stove and cook the whole potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until a fork will just go into the potato.
- Place the par cooked potatoes in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The potatoes won't shred correctly if they are not cool enough.
Making & Freezing the Hash Browns
- Prepare the 9x13 pan by lining it with parchment and spritzing about ½ Tablespoon of oil and then brushing the parchment with the oil.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough, use a paring knife and remove the skin and any dark spots. Use a box grater or large hole cheese grater to grate the potatoes into a large bowl. I do not recommend using a food processor for this because the heat from the spinning blades can cause the potatoes to gum up from starch and not shred nicely.
- Add the salt and cornstarch to the bowl of shredded potatoes and toss to evenly coat.
- Dump the entire bowl of shredded potatoes onto the prepared parchment lined pan. Spread them out into an even layer and press them down so the potatoes compact together.
- Freeze the tray for at least 2-3 hours so they are firm for cutting.
- When they are firm, slide the parchment from the tray and onto your cutting board. Cut the frozen hash browns into the sizes or shapes you like. You can make them as small or big as you like, the size will not affect the cooking time since that is based on depth.
- Transfer the parchment with cut hash browns back onto the tray and spritz the top with another ½ Tablespoon of oil. Freeze for at least 4 hours, but overnight is better.
- If you are not cooking them right away, place the individually frozen hash browns into a freezer container or bag and freeze until you want to cook them. If you are ready to cook them, pick a cooking method below and proceed.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat the air fryer on the hottest temperature setting with the basket or tray in the air fryer for a full 10 minutes.
- Place the frozen hash browns in a single layer in the air fryer and air fry on 375°F/190°C for 10 minutes. Flip and air fry another 5-10 minutes or until the hash browns are golden brown.
- Remove from the air fryer and serve immediately or place on cooling rack until ready to serve.
- Preheat the oven and the cooking tray on 450°F/230°C for 10 minutes. If you are using a convection oven, reduce the heat to 425°F/220°C. Spritz the cooking tray with oil or place a piece of parchment on it after it preheats.
- Lay the frozen hash browns in a single layer and bake for 7 minutes. Flip and bake another 7-10 minutes or until they are golden brown on each side.
- Serve immediately or place on a cooling rack until you are ready to serve.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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