Make Ahead McDonald's Style Hash Browns

A golden brown & crispy treat that can be prepped ahead of time and finished in minutes for breakfast.

6 servings

Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

This recipe is designed to prep the hash browns ahead of time and store them in the freezer for whenever you are ready to cook them, which I explain the science of in detail in the original video.

Once prepped, these can be fried or baked to a crispy, golden-brown texture in minutes using 3 different techniques.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Hash browns

    • russet potatoes
    • cornstarch
      8 ga spoonful
    • neutral oil
      for frying
    • salt
      to taste


Step 1: Grate & wring out the potatoes

Peel the potatoes and rinse under the sink to get rid of any schmutz from peeling.

Using a box grater, grate the potatoes into a large bowl.

  • Optionally rinse the potatoes under cold water to get rid of excess surface starch, then drain. In my recipe testing, I didn't notice a difference in taste or texture in the final product whether or not you rinsed the potatoes. Rinsing them does make a slight aesthetic difference and results in a lighter potato color.

Dump the grated potatoes onto a clean towel. Grab the 4 corners of the towel and twist it to wring out the excess water in the potatoes. Twist as tightly as possible.

  • The more water you squeeze out, the better since you'll need to the potatoes anyway for a crispy final texture.

Spread the potatoes out over the towel to continue drying for a few minutes.

Step 2: Par-fry the potatoes

Meanwhile, set a wok or cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add about 2 inches of oil and let come to about 200-210°F/93-98°C. Verify with a thermometer.

Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes and let them for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, get out heat safe bowl and place a metal strainer overtop. Once the potatoes have fried for 6 minutes, pour the potatoes and oil into the strainer.

  • Let the oil cool and save it for the next time you fry.

Step 3: Finish the potato mixture

Transfer the potatoes from the strainer to a large bowl. Add a large sprinkle of salt and the cornstarch to the potatoes.

  • This extra cornstarch helps the hash browns hold their shape and crisp up better during frying.

With a spatula, mix to evenly disperse the cornstarch and slightly rough up the potato exteriors. Let the mixture cool down until workable with your hands.

Step 4: Shape the hash browns & freeze

Set a piece of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Form the potatoes into hash browns by first squeezing about 100 g of the mixture into a small dish or into your hand — you want a compacted mass with no air pockets, otherwise, it will fall apart during frying.

Then, shape it into the classic hash brown shape, about 4x2.5x0.5 inches(10x6x2 cm) thick.

  • There should be enough potatoes for around 6 100 g pieces.

Evenly space the hash browns on the sheet and place them in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

  • After two hours, the hash browns are set into their shape and can be moved safely to a freezer-safe bag or container. They will keep for 2-3 months until you are ready to cook them.

Step 5: Choose your crisping method & finish

When you are ready to enjoy these hash browns, pull however many you want out of the freezer and finish cooking them with one of these three methods:

1. :

Set a wok or pot over medium heat and fill with 1 to 2 inches of neutral oil. Heat to 350°F/176°C. Verify with a thermometer. Place each hash brown straight from the freezer to the oil. Don’t do more than 2-3 at a time. Let them fry until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.

2. :

Set a cast-iron over medium heat and fill with enough peanut oil to go about halfway up the thickness of the hash brown. Heat to around 350°F/176°C. Place the hash browns straight from the freezer to the oil. Only do as many as can comfortably fit in the pan. Let them fry until just barely browning on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and fry until brown on the other side. Repeat the process once more until evenly browned on both sides. Baste the hot oil over the hash browns for even browning. This takes about 6 to 8 minutes in total.

3. :

Preheat the oven to 450°F/232°C (425°F/218°C for convection/air fryer). Once the oven is heated, drizzle neutral oil on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 5 minutes to heat through. Take the pan out and add hash browns from the freezer onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes then flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.

As soon as your hash browns finish cooking, sprinkle them with salt. Enjoy warm.



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