Hash browns are classic home-style diner food. But it takes an astonishing amount of butter to create those crispy, pan-fried cakes of shredded potatoes! This recipe from my first cookbook, Not Your Mother's Casseroles, lightens up the classic hash browns a little by baking them in the oven instead of frying them.
It's an easier method for making hash browns that are crispy, but just a little bit lighter.
These hash browns are crispy on the outside, and light and creamy inside, with notes of smoke and spice from the smoked paprika — also known as pimentón or Spanish paprika. When they come out of the oven they're flipped upside down, revealing a smoky, crispy, crunchy bottom of oven-fried potatoes. Delicious!
I love hash browns and breakfast potatoes but sometimes find them fussy and time-consuming to make from scratch. This easy way of starting with frozen hash browns tossed with oil and seasonings and then cooking it into one big pancake in a hot cast iron skillet is great and so hands-off. Be careful flipping it out of the hot-from-the-oven pan, or just avoid that part entirely by cutting it into wedges while it's still in there!
— Christine, May 2015
Smoky Baked Hash Browns
One 15-ounce bag frozen hash browns
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Take the frozen hash browns out of the bag and drain between two layers of paper towels or clean kitchen towels to absorb any excess moisture.
Toss the potatoes in a large bowl with the smoked paprika, salt, pepper, scallions, and olive oil. Stir in the beaten egg.
Place the cast iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is quite hot, melt the butter. When it foams up, add the hash brown mixture. Immediately put the skillet in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the potatoes are crispy around the edges.
Have a large platter ready. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and flip the hash browns out upside down onto the platter. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted and reprinted with permission from Not Your Mother's Casseroles by Faith Durand (Harvard Common Press, 2010)