Hashbrowns are a delicious morning staple in some households. But how do you go about thawing them in preparation for cooking?
If you don’t thaw frozen hashbrowns properly, you might find yourself struggling to make sure the hashbrowns don’t turn into a watery mess or turn rubbery when cooked.
How to thaw hashbrowns? The simplest way is to thaw them in the fridge overnight before cooking. If you are in a pinch, you can also thaw them in the microwave or in water, with various degrees of success.
In this blog post, let’s find out some easy-to-follow methods on how to successfully thaw hashbrowns so they’re all ready for your next breakfast feast!
Is It Necessary to Thaw Frozen Hashbrowns?
Frozen hashbrowns are an easy and convenient breakfast option. They’re pre-shredded, which makes them much faster to cook than potatoes that you have to slice yourself. But is it necessary to thaw frozen hashbrowns before cooking?
You can buy bags of frozen hashbrowns in most grocery stores. These are potatoes that have been shredded, mixed with seasonings, and then frozen into patties or shredded into small pieces.
They can be made from different types of potatoes, such as russet or Yukon gold. They come in several different forms—patties, cubes, or shreds—and can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
Do I Have to Thaw Frozen Hashbrowns Before Cooking?
The answer is: it depends! Although it’s certainly possible to cook frozen hashbrowns without thawing them first, some recipes like casseroles require that you thaw the hashbrowns first so that all the ingredients will cook evenly.
If you want to cook frozen hashbrowns without thawing them first, you can simply place the frozen hashbrowns in a skillet over medium heat with some butter or oil and cook until they are crispy and golden brown.
You can also bake them in the oven for a crunchier texture. If you have an air fryer, you can also air fry the hashbrown for a healthier cooking option. If you choose to bake or air fry, make sure to lightly coat the hashbrown with cooking oil so that they don’t get too dry while baking.
If your recipe requires the frozen hashbrowns to be completely defrosted before cooking, then let’s take a look at the most efficient ways to thaw frozen hashbrowns below.
How to Thaw Hashbrowns in the Fridge
The most convenient way to thaw hashbrowns is in the fridge. It takes no effort at all, and you can thaw the hashbrowns safely overnight to enjoy a delicious breakfast in the morning.
Step 1: Place the Frozen Hashbrowns on a Plate or Tray
When thawing frozen hashbrowns, it is important to place them on a plate or tray before putting them in the fridge.
This ensures that any moisture that may come off of the potatoes during the thawing process will not drip onto other food items stored in your refrigerator. It also helps keep your fridge clean and tidy!
Step 2: Put the Plate or Tray in the Refrigerator
Once you have placed the frozen hashbrowns on a plate or tray, put them in the refrigerator and leave them there until they are completely thawed. This could take anywhere from 8-12 hours, depending on how cold your refrigerator is set.
Be sure not to leave them in too long, though, as this could lead to spoilage.
You can check if they are done by gently pressing on one of the potatoes with your finger — if it yields easily and feels soft all over, then they are ready! If not, place it back in the fridge for another few hours until fully thawed.
Moisture may collect and release from the hashbrowns, so you can use a towel to remove any excess moisture before cooking.
Step 3: Cook as Desired
Once fully thawed, you can cook your hashbrowns as desired! Whether you prefer them fried in olive oil or baked in the oven, these delicious potatoes will be ready for whatever flavor profile you choose.
They should come out crispy and light golden brown when done.
How to Thaw Hashbrowns in the Microwave
If you find yourself needing to thaw frozen hashbrowns in a hurry, the microwave is your best friend! Here is how to do just that.
Step 1: Preparing Your Hashbrowns
The first step in thawing hashbrowns in the microwave is to make sure they are prepared correctly. For optimal results, make sure to take your frozen hashbrowns out of their packaging and place them on a microwave-safe plate or dish.
If the hashbrowns are still clumped together, use a fork or spoon to spread them out evenly so they will cook more evenly. This will also help prevent them from sticking together when cooked.
Cover the plate with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture that releases when defrosting.
Step 2: Defrost
Once your hashbrowns are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start microwaving!
Start by setting your microwave at 50% power, or set it to the Defrost setting, and microwave for 1 minute at a time until they have thawed.
Be sure to check on the progress of your hashbrowns every few minutes while they’re defrosting; you don’t want them to cook in the microwave!
Step 3: Cook
Once the hashbrowns are out of the microwave, use a dry paper towel to pat them dry and cook them to your preferred crispiness.
How to Thaw Hashbrowns in Water
The best way to thaw your frozen hashbrowns quickly is to place them in cold water. Start by placing the frozen hashbrowns in a clean bowl or container that can hold at least two quarts of liquid (a large bowl or pot will work).
Then, fill the bowl with cold tap water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The cold, running water will help break up any ice crystals that have formed, resulting in faster thawing. Make sure to change the water every 5 minutes or so, as it will start to warm up over time.
Once your frozen hashbrowns are fully thawed, remove them from the water and pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.
Now, they are ready to cook! You can either cook them right away or store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them (just make sure they don’t stay out too long).
If you do decide to cook them immediately, be sure not to overload your pan with oil—hashbrowns cooked in too much oil can become greasy and soggy.
Instead, spray the pan lightly with cooking spray before adding your thawed hashbrowns, and then add just enough oil or butter so that they brown nicely without becoming overly greasy.
Can You Defrost Hashbrowns at Room Temperature?
Although defrosting frozen foods at room temperature is a common practice, there are some risks involved with this method that cannot be overlooked or minimized.
When food is left out at room temperature—typically between 40°F and 140°F—it provides an ideal environment for bacteria growth. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses such as salmonella or E. coli poisoning if ingested.
In fact, studies have shown that the time it takes for bacteria to grow on food doubles with every 10-degree increase in temperature.
This means that if you leave your frozen chicken out on the counter for an hour or two, it could already be contaminated by harmful bacteria when you start cooking.
Defrosting food at room temperature also increases the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen.
Bacteria from raw foods can spread onto surfaces and utensils, contaminating other foods that are not cooked before consumption — even if they were previously stored in a safe place like the fridge or freezer.
Cross-contamination is especially common when defrosting multiple items at once; one item may contaminate another without even coming into direct contact with it!
It’s always better to play it safe when defrosting your frozen foods; make sure to either do so in the refrigerator or using cold water instead of leaving them out at room temperature.
How to Cook Thawed Hashbrown
Once your hashbrowns are fully thawed and free of excess moisture, it’s time to start cooking!
Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it is hot and shimmering. Place a layer of potatoes in the skillet and cover with a lid. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes before flipping them over with a spatula.
Once flipped, let them cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Remove from heat and place them on a plate lined with paper towels or a tea towel to drain any excess oil. Repeat with remaining patties until all of them have been cooked.
Once all of your hashbrowns have been cooked, it’s time to season them! Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the hashbrowns before serving them with your favorite breakfast items, such as eggs or bacon, for an extra tasty meal!