There’s an art and a science to how fast food restaurants make their French fries crispy, and it also applies to McDonald’s hash browns. Only after the potatoes go through an elaborate pre-cooking prep process — including two rounds of inspection, two rounds of slicing, and the forming of the sliced potatoes into the well-seasoned ovals we’ve come to associate with McDonald’s hash browns — are they finally fried, and twice at that!
The first time McDonald’s hash browns meet hot oil, it’s known as “part-frying.” Part-frying is basically blanching, except in oil as opposed to in water. Part-frying fries the hash browns only “part-ially,” and in so doing, helps to remove water from the hash browns that might otherwise make the finished product soggy (via NPR), since during part-frying, moisture contained within the potato shreds rises to the surface.
After part-frying the hash browns are cooled, frozen, packed, and shipped to individual McDonald’s restaurant locations (via McDonald’s). The second fry, which occurs at individual locations, burns off any moisture that rose to the surface as a result of part-frying. The result is a crisp, crunchy shell wrapped around a tender, fluffy interior.