15 Ways To Upgrade Your Homemade Hash Browns

hash browns on serving board
hash browns on serving board - DronG/Shutterstock

A comforting breakfast favorite, hash browns are loved for their crispy exterior and tender, flavorful middles. These carb-packed patties of potato-y goodness are the perfect morning energy boost, and they're easy to make at home too. Some prefer to keep things simple with a classic recipe containing shredded potatoes, salt, pepper, and oil, but there's also plenty of opportunity to inject your hash browns with some extra flavor. Some simple additions to this breakfast classic can transform your hash browns from a basic side dish into the star of your breakfast.

In this article, we'll take you through some delicious ways to take your homemade hash browns to the next level. Whether it's adding bold spices and fresh herbs, or incorporating cheese or extra veggies, there are so many options when it comes to customizing the classic recipe. You might be looking to add a bit of protein with bacon or sausage, or experiment with different cooking methods like oven-baking. Whichever upgrade you choose from our line-up, it's sure to result in homemade hash browns that are bursting with moreish flavors and textures. So, if those potatoes sitting in the back of your fridge are calling your name, read on to discover how to transform them into the ultimate mouth-watering breakfast.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Add Some Garlic Powder

stack of hash browns
stack of hash browns - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

We're kicking things off with a seasoning that packs a punch — garlic powder. This simple yet potent ingredient is a wonderful addition to hash browns that can elevate them to a whole new level. Its savory, aromatic taste infuses the potatoes with another layer of flavor that makes them feel extra comforting and taste totally delicious.

To incorporate garlic powder into your hash browns, try adding a quarter teaspoon per pound of potatoes. You can always adjust this to taste if desired. Start by peeling and shredding the potatoes, then squeeze out any excess moisture using a cheesecloth or kitchen towels. Toss the shredded potato with the garlic powder and any other seasonings of choice, before shaping the hash browns and frying them in oil.

For even more savory goodness, you can also combine the garlic powder with a pinch of onion powder. These two seasonings pair perfectly together and will give your hash browns a wonderful depth of flavor. They'll make a wonderful compliment to eggs, bacon, and other components of a classic savory breakfast plate.

Add Some Spice

spice bowl with spoon
spice bowl with spoon - Jr images/Shutterstock

Spicing up your hash browns is an easy way to bring some excitement to your breakfast. There are an array of spices you can experiment with here, each giving your hash browns a unique kick. Some great options include smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Each will add a slightly different flavor and level of spiciness, so feel free to mix and match your favorites.

One simple, classic option is to simply add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the hash brown mixture. For a subtle kick, start with a quarter teaspoon. This should bring a noticeable element of heat without blowing your socks off! Another great hash brown upgrade is the addition of smoked paprika. This is a spice that compliments the flavor of the potatoes brilliantly, creating a smoky and mildly spicy profile. If you prefer a bit more heat, try combining this with a dash of chili powder too.

Spices are a fantastic way to personalize your hash browns, so go ahead and experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect blend. It's a simple customization can completely transform the flavor of your breakfast.

Add Some Fresh Herbs

chopping fresh herbs
chopping fresh herbs - Image Source/Getty Images

Another great way to add a tasty twist to your hash browns is with the addition of fresh herbs. Some wonderful options include parsley, chives, and dill. These herbs will add a pop of color to your hash browns, as well as a fresh flavor that balances perfectly with the heaviness of the potatoes.

To add a herbaceous flavor boost, chop your herbs finely and mix them into your shredded potatoes before cooking. Chopped parsley can add a mild, slightly peppery taste without being too overpowering, whilst chives provide a subtle onion-like flavor and tossing in some dill will add a bright and tangy twist. There's of course the option to try mixing together a combination of different herbs too. Another idea is to add a little lemon zest to the hash brown mixture alongside the herbs, for extra fresh and zesty flavor.

There's also the option to use fresh herbs as a garnish. Simply prepare your hash browns as usual, then scatter the chopped herbs on top right before serving. As well as adding flavor, this will elevate the presentation of the final dish, making the hash browns look even more appetizing if you're serving them up to guests!

Add Some Extra Veggies

vegetable hash browns on plate
vegetable hash browns on plate - freeskyline/Shutterstock

Sure, potatoes are pretty great on their own, but sometimes we might be in the mood for a little extra color and freshness. Adding some other vegetables into your hash browns is the perfect way to enhance their nutritional value while bringing new flavors and textures.

Great choices for adding some veggie goodness include bell peppers and onions. Bell peppers have a lovely sweetness and will add a little bite to the hash browns, while onions bring heaps of savory depth. It's up to you whether you opt for white, red, or green onions here. Make sure to shred or chop the vegetables finely before adding them to the potato mixture, so they cook thoroughly and evenly. You could even sauté the onions before adding them to the potato to make them extra sweet and tender.

Spinach can give your hash browns a pop of nutritious greenness, and shredded carrot or zucchini also make great additions. These will transform the hash browns with their natural sweetness and bring an extra element of texture. As with the potatoes, it's best to squeeze the moisture out of the veggies after shredding them. This will ensure you don't end up with soggy hash browns!

Add Bacon

cooked bacon strips
cooked bacon strips - Apomares/Getty Images

If your breakfast plate simply doesn't feel complete without bacon, why not try adding it to your hash browns? It's an easy tweak that will take your recipe to a whole new level of deliciousness, with the smoky, salty flavor of bacon transforming those crispy potatoes. The result is a savory, indulgent dish that's totally irresistible.

If you're opting for the bacon upgrade, start by cooking up a few strips until they're nice and crispy. Then, crumble or chop the bacon into small pieces. Mix the bacon bits into your shredded potatoes, along with any other additions or seasonings you're in the mood for. Green onions, or perhaps a sprinkling of cheddar cheese could both make great accompaniments to bacon. Then, it's time to fry everything up. If you want an even richer flavor, you can cook the hash browns in the bacon grease instead of using oil or butter, to infuse every bite of the potatoes with the bacon's smoky flavor. If you have any extra bacon bits left over, scatter them on top for a beautiful crispy garnish.

Add Shredded Cheese

shredded cheese on cutting board
shredded cheese on cutting board - Robert Stedman Pte Ltd/Shutterstock

To make your hash browns extra indulgent, try adding some shredded cheese. As they cook, the cheese melts into the potatoes, creating a rich and gooey delight that's the epitome of comfort food.

For these wonderfully cheesy hash browns, you'll simply need to add about three quarters of a cup of shredded cheese per pound of potatoes. Shred and drain the potatoes as you normally would, then toss in the cheese. Cheddar is the perfect choice if you want to add sharp, tangy flavour, and it melts beautifully too. However, you can experiment with other cheeses like mozzarella for its mild creaminess, Parmesan for a nutty and rich variation, or a combination of a few.

There's also the option to create a crispy cheese crust by sprinkling some extra cheese on top of the hash browns a few minutes before they finish cooking, allowing it to melt and form a golden-brown crust. Another mouth-watering method is making stuffed hash browns. These are achieved by forming two thin layers of shredded potatoes and placing a generous handful of cheese between them before cooking. Yum!

Add Sausage

bowl of cooked ground sausage
bowl of cooked ground sausage - Msphotographic/Getty Images

A fantastic way to give your hash browns a hearty protein boost is with the addition of sausage. An easy add-in, meaty sausage will make this beloved potato dish extra special, resulting in a super satisfying breakfast.

The best way to method to use for sausage hash browns is cooking the sausage separately before adding it to the potato. Use your favorite type of sausage, whether it's breakfast links, ground sausage, or perhaps Italian sausage if you'd like to give the hash browns more of a herby or spicy taste. Simply break apart the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks in the skillet, or chop it beforehand if needed. Once the sausage is cooked and crumbled, mix it into your shredded potatoes. You can also cook the hash browns in the same pan used to cook the sausage for added flavor.

Sausages pair amazingly with veggies like onion and bell pepper, so this can make a great combination if you want to go all out with a fully loaded hash brown. Either way, the result will be a rich, hearty, and flavorful breakfast treat.

Add Mushrooms

sauteed mushrooms in skillet
sauteed mushrooms in skillet - Rudisill/Getty Images

Another top tier veggie addition that we think deserves its own special mention is the humble mushroom. Adding these to your hash browns will introduce a wonderful earthy, umami-rich flavor and meaty texture. Mushrooms are a great way to add heartiness to hash browns without the need for meat.

A variety of different mushrooms can work well here, including cremini, white, or button mushrooms. Firs, wash and slice the mushrooms finely. Then, sauté them in a little butter or oil with some salt and pepper until tender and browned. Adding them raw isn't a great idea as this might make your hash browns rather soggy, but cooking them beforehand will allow them to release some moisture. Mix the sautéed mushrooms through the shredded potato, then you can go ahead and form the hash browns.

For an extra flavor boost, try adding some garlic or herbs to the mushrooms while they sauté. You can also create a layered hash brown dish by placing a layer of sautéed mushrooms between two layers of potato mixture, to ensure every bite is packed with mushroom deliciousness.

Turn Them Into A Casserole

hash brown casserole in baking dish
hash brown casserole in baking dish - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

For the ultimate crowd-pleasing dish that can be served for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner, whip up a hash brown casserole. This method allows you to combine the classic shredded potato base of hash browns with other delicious ingredients and bake them all together in one dish for an easy, flavor-packed meal.

There are plenty of options for trying different seasonings and flavorings when it comes to hash brown casserole. Many recipes will include some wet ingredients to help bind the shredded potato together, such as sour cream or canned soup. Shredded cheese and finely diced onion are also popular additions, or you could try incorporating bacon, sausage, or other veggies like bell pepper or spinach. To save time, you can even use frozen and thawed shredded hash brown potatoes to create your casserole.

Once you've mixed everything up, it's a simple case of spreading the mixture out in a greased baking dish and popping it in the oven. It should be ready in about an hour, when the top is crisp and golden. This dish is perfect for feeding guests and can be made ahead of time too.

Use Sweet Potato

frying sweet potato hash browns
frying sweet potato hash browns - Easy GF Recipes / Youtube

A fun and nutritious twist on the classic hash brown is to switch out the potato for sweet potato. This can bring natural sweetness and vibrant color, transforming the traditional hash brown into something totally unique.

Making sweet potato hash browns involves following pretty much the same method as you'd use for the classic version. Just peel, shred, and squeeze the moisture out of the sweet potatoes. Drying them out well is an important step here, since sweet potatoes contain more moisture than regular potatoes. Once well squeezed, combine the shredded sweet potato with your seasonings. Garlic powder and chili powder are great options, and don't skip the salt and pepper. Some recipes also feature egg and flour to help bind the shredded sweet potato together, but this isn't essential.

Shape the hash browns and fry them in a skillet with a bit of oil or butter, cooking on both sides. Once ready, they should be crisp on the outside and tender in the middle. These are great served with avocado, fried eggs, or with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Oven-Bake Them

baked hash browns
baked hash browns - Chef Ani / Youtube

Oven-baking your hash browns is a convenient and healthier alternative to pan-frying, as it uses less oil and allows you to make a large batch at once. This method still delivers perfectly crispy, golden hash browns, so it's a great option if you're feeding a crowd or doing some meal prep for the week.

To make oven-baked hash browns, first prep the hash brown mixture as normal. Make sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible to help the potatoes crisp up in the oven. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F. Now, you can shape the potato mixture into patties. About a quarter cup of mixture per hash brown is a good amount. Place each hash brown on the lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, before flipping and baking for another 15 minutes.

Once they've cooled a little, serve up your hash browns with your breakfast additions of choice. Eggs, bacon, sausage and grilled tomatoes all make amazing accompaniments to these crispy beauties.

Use An Egg Ring For A Perfect Rounded Shape

making hash browns with egg rings
making hash browns with egg rings - Eat This LLC / Youtube

Well-executed presentation is sure to give any dish an upgrade, and when it comes to hash browns, making perfectly round patties is a pleasing way to give them a professional touch. All you'll need to make your hash browns neat and circular is an egg ring, which will contain the potato mixture and give your entire batch a uniform shape and size.

Once you've prepped the hash brown mixture and you're ready to start frying them up, heat some oil in a skillet and brush the egg ring with a little oil too. Then, pop the egg ring in the skillet and allow it to heat up for a few seconds. Next, you can fill the egg ring with the potato mixture, pushing it down to ensure everything is even and compacted. After a few minutes of cooking on medium heat, the hash brown should be golden on the bottom, and you can safely remove the egg ring before flipping it over to cook on the other side.

If you don't have an egg ring, you can also use a round metal cookie cutter for this trick. Just be careful when handling the cutter after its been in the hot pan.

Serve Them With Sweet Chili Sauce

bowl of sweet chili sauce
bowl of sweet chili sauce - SUNG MIN/Shutterstock

When it comes to making the perfect hash brown breakfast, it's not just about the potato-packed treats themselves, it's also what you serve them with. Some might say a hash brown isn't complete without a side of ketchup, but we think there's an even better sauce to dunk these breakfast staples into — sweet chili.

Sweet chili sauce has such a delicious balance of sweetness, heat, and tanginess that's quite simply a match made in heaven for hash browns. Its refreshing taste pairs so well with that satisfying, crisp potato, giving the final dish a spicy twist. This is an especially great dip option if you've already added some spice to your hash browns in the form of chili powder, cayenne, or paprika. You can even stick with the Asian-inspired theme and incorporate some diced green onion and fresh cilantro into the potato mixture, or garnish them with a scattering of sesame seeds.

Serve Them With Spicy Mayo

bowl of spicy mayo
bowl of spicy mayo - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Another dip that's sure to give your hash browns as serious upgrade is a simple spicy mayo. It's creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy, complimenting your breakfast perfectly with a little heat and richness.

This creamy dip is super easy to whip up at home. All you'll need is half a cup of mayo and one to two tablespoons of sriracha, depending on how much heat you'd like to add. It's easy to customize this one to your taste. A dash of lime juice is great for adding some extra zing too, or try mixing through some garlic powder for more aromatic flavor.

Prepare your hash browns using your recipe of choice, and once they are crispy and golden brown, transfer them to a serving plate. Fill a small bowl with your spicy mayo, then get dunking! The creamy texture of the mayo is such a dreamy pairing for the crispy potatoes, while the spice adds a flavorful kick.

Turn Them Into Hash Brown Eggs Benedict

hash brown eggs Benedict
hash brown eggs Benedict - PaulCanCookItAll / Youtube

Love eggs Benedict but want to skip the bread? Hash brown eggs Benedict is a creative twist on the classic brunch recipe that uses crispy hash browns as the base, instead of the traditional English muffin.

For this recipe, you'll prepare hash browns as normal, but there are a few extra components to cook up as well. Whilst the hash browns are frying, you can poach the eggs in a pan of boiling water, since this will only take a couple of minutes. Hollandaise sauce is also super easy to make, with the combination of egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper coming together in a blender.

To assemble the hash brown eggs Benedict, place your crispy hash brown on a plate. Top with a slice of ham, followed by a poached egg. Then, spoon the hollandaise sauce generously over the top. This result is a fun and super satisfying dish that will certainly deliver on texture and flavor.

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