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I buy frozen, shredded potatoes. What is the best way to drive off moisture to help make them crispy when cooked?

Would microwaving on a paper towel help remove ice crystals and help avoid soggy potatoes?

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Would microwaving on a paper towel help remove ice crystals and help avoiding soggy potatoes?

I don't believe this would be a good approach. To microwave long enough to drive off moisture, you will wind up cooking the potatoes in the microwave. Then when you attempt to finish cooking, the interior of the potatoes will over-cook before you get the right degree of browning.

What is the best way to drive off moisture to help make them crispy.

First you need to make sure they are thawed. Per the other answer, rinsing in a colander under cold/lukewarm water will accomplish this. Of course, this will add moisture to what's already there, so it will be even more important then to remove the excess.

Once thawed, you can remove the excess water by wrapping the potatoes in a clean linen dish/hand towel, and then twisting the opposite ends of the towel to create pressure on the potatoes, which will squeeze the water out of them.

Then once you've gotten the water out, cook them as usual. Make sure you use sufficient oil or butter to ensure a nice browning rather than just drying out and toasting the potatoes.

Bonus tip: when I make hash browns, I use fresh potatoes and I find that the potatoes start to oxidize once shredded. This can result in a slight green tinge to the cooked potatoes, which I'm not a big fan of (it doesn't affect the flavor at all, but I prefer the fresh color). This can be avoided by tossing the shredded potatoes in a dilute vinegar solution; I find that an 8:1 solution, e.g. 1 cup water to 1 oz. vinegar is strong enough to prevent the browning while not imparting a vinegar taste to the potatoes. Naturally, do this before you squeeze the water out of them. Of course, if you like a little tangy flavor in your food, you might try a stronger solution, as well as experiment with other types of vinegar or acids (e.g. lemon juice). :)

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Here's my method. First I rinse the frozen potatoes under cold water (in a colander) until thawed. It only takes a minute or two. Then I squeeze as much excess water out of the potatoes as I can. Then I season them and put them in a very lightly oiled pan and press and form to get the shape and thickness I want, and get them to hold together. When the first side is golden, I turn and let the other side get golden and crispy.

Over the years, I've found that the excess water caused problems with browning, crispness, and holding together. Also, I usually add a tiny bit of butter to the pan as it helps to get that perfect golden color.

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According to these folks, just compact frozen, shredded potato and begin frying. Cover, and cook the first side until golden. Remove cover, press, flip, season, cook side 2.

Perhaps adding your current technique could help me improve my answer.

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    I would expect covering would trap steam and work against crisping. Covering will keep the splashing/popping oil from being messy--but the water causing that popping really needs to escape. – AMtwo Aug 4 at 11:46
  • @AMtwo according to the recipe, the cover is removed after cooking side 1. Covering doesn't necessarily eliminate the possibility of browning and crisping. – moscafj Aug 4 at 12:49

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