Homemade Hash Browns and Tater Tots


Dear Mary: We grow our own potatoes but I find I still want to spend money at the supermarket to buy frozen hash browns and Tater Tots. I hate to do it because we have so many potatoes. But every time I’ve tried to make them myself, they turn to mush. Thanks for any ideas you might have. –Norma, Wisconsin

Dear Norma: I tore through my vast recipe collections and have come up with three recipes for you that use potatoes and other ordinary ingredients, which you’re bound to have on hand.

The Hash Browns are very traditional, Crispy Potatoes make an elegant side dish for just about any dinner entree, and I believe you’ll find the Potatoes Bites to be a more than reasonable facsimile of your favorite “Tater Tots.” All of these recipes are a bit involved, but the results are well worth the effort!

Potato Harvest


Homemade Hash Browns
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 pound raw potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  1. Peel potatoes and grate them raw into a large bowl using a cheese grater, or in a food processor. Dry potatoes thoroughly by placing them in a kitchen towel, rolling it up and then squeezing out as much water as possible. You should end up with about 1 1/2 cups grated potatoes, when they are loosely packed in a measuring cup. Toss them in a bowl with garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Place half the butter and half the olive oil in a heavy large skillet and heat over medium high heat until sizzling. Add the grated onion. Stir and allow to sauté for a minute or until fragrant. Add all of the potatoes and pack down with a spatula.
  3. Reduce heat to Medium and cook for 7 minutes. Flip the hash browns onto a plate; add remaining butter and olive oil to pan. Slide the hash brown “cake” back into the pan, uncooked side down, and cook for about 5-6 minutes longer, or until the bottom is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.


Crispy Potatoes
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 Russet* potatoes, raw, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over Medium-High heat. Add the cubed potatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to High, add water, stir and cover the pan with a lid. Allow potatoes to steam until the water evaporates, 3 or 4 minutes. Check every minute or two, stirring to make sure they don’t stick.
  2. Remove the lid, lower the heat to medium and sauté another minute or two or until all of the water is gone. Toss in the butter and stir to coat the potatoes.
  3. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until the potatoes are crisp and browned to your satisfaction, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how dark you want them. Serve immediately. You’ll achieve the best result with Russets, but don’t be afraid to try other varieties.


Potato Bites
  • 8 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled, and hot
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion
  • canola oil
  1. Finely shred (or use a ricer if you have one) while potatoes are still hot. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and onion.
  2. Heat 1/4-in oil in heavy skillet. Form potato mixture into small balls and drop in oil; fry until slightly golden. Drain on paper towels, then freeze for casseroles or to serve alone.
  3. When ready to use, preheat oven to 400F. Remove the number of “bites” from freezer that you wish to prepare and place them still frozen in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake until desired doneness for about 12 minutes, more or less.

Question: What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?


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9 replies
  1. max
    max says:

    Use a salad spinner to remove moisture from your potatoes instead of a towel. Just rinse the salad spinner to clean, you have to wash a towel,

  2. Deb
    Deb says:

    My favorite is Smashed Potatoes. Scrub the potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks, boil in water or chicken broth; drain; mash by hand, don’t use an electric mixer! Add about 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup butter. Mix with Granny’s big old spoon, then add 1/2 cup sour cream and mix again. Leave some lumps! Adjust ingredients to your own taste. The first time I was served these in a restaurant in Colorado, I said, “I can’t eat these, they have peels in.” My companion convinced me to try them, and I’ve been making my version ever since.

  3. Heather Scoggins
    Heather Scoggins says:

    I cook mine a lot like Tracey’s but with small red potatoes, I use olive oil, and I just use season salt for the seasoning. My family loves them!

  4. penny50
    penny50 says:

    Dutch fried potatoes. After I boil red potatoes, I save the leftover ones. (My kids don’t eat them becaus they would rather have the dutch fries.) Learned this recipe from a Mennonite restaurant. Slice the potatoes thinly on the slicer on a box grater. Fry them in a skillet with a little butter or margerine. After they are browned, you add a spash of milk (I prefer whole milk) and stir. It is amazing how different this makes them taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Diana L. Verhulst
    Diana L. Verhulst says:

    Best way to use potatoes for EVERYTHING: Clean them. Don’t peel. Boil them for about 45 minute. Drain, dry/cool, refrigerate in vegetable bin, uncovered. To prepare hashbrowns, scrape off skin – it comes off real easy. Shred. Place in pan of hot oil. Cook on med-high heat until desired crispiness – salt/pepper. If you like, add onions, garlic, peppers, etc., part-way through the pan-frying process. This is the very best way to prepare potatoes. To have a “baked potatoe” from these, simply split open the whole potatoe and microwave for a minute, add toppings. Cut in different sizes for different kinds of potatoes. To make them like a tater tot, cut them into squares, dip into a milk product (I use soy), toss in seasoned flour, then fry.

  6. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie says:

    Your recipes sound delicious. However, I would caution on use of canola oil and prefer olive olive oil for health reasons. I actually prefer Idaho or Russet potatoes baked with a small dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt. In the summer I boil or steam halved or quartered unpeeled new, red or gold potatoes with onion wedges and string beans and mix with a vinegrette for a refreshing light potato salad that can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

  7. itriedthemall
    itriedthemall says:

    Whenever I make hash browns, American Fries,… I thoroughly rinse out the starch after I slice, dice, chop, or grate the potatoes. Then, as your recipes say, I roll them in a towel to dry as much as possible. I think they fry up nicer when they’ve been well-rinsed. I also use onions with most fried potato dishes – However, I don’t add the onions till the potatoes are mostly cooked. It is too easy for the onions to “over-brown.”

  8. Tracey Petsivas
    Tracey Petsivas says:

    Home made potato wedges. Scrub and clean, do not peel, small to medium size potatoes, slice into 2 lengthways. coat with oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder (or other herbs to your own choice) and roast in the oven till the inside is soft but the skin is crispy. You can place them in the microwave for 10 minutes to reduce oven time. Yummy, delicious and easy.

  9. Janet
    Janet says:

    Mary, When you are making potato bites if you cut the potatoes as if serving baked potatoes and scoop out the potato meat you could save the skin and make potato skins easily another time. I even freeze mine when needed.


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