Hunting for hash browns

The Restaurant Guy enjoys eating out (or ordering out) for breakfast as much as the next person and he tends to order the same thing at a restaurant nearly every time: 2 eggs and hash browns. In addition to simply enjoying it, I find that this morning meal is reliably good no matter where the food originates, except for one place: the supermarket.

Cooking eggs at home has not been a problem but good hash browns under this roof have proven elusive. I have tried hash brown biscuits (“McDonald’s style”) that come frozen in a box from my neighborhood grocery store. Verdict? Fail. I also tried a variety of brands of frozen shredded hash browns that come in a bag. They were better than the biscuits IMHO but they took a very long time to cook and were still not as good as when served at a restaurant. I even tried making them from scratch with both a raw potato and a baked potato. Verdict: I am a terrible cook.

This week I was shopping at Costco and saw an 8-pack of “Idaho Spuds Hashbrown Potatoes” that come dehydrated in milk carton-style containers. Dehydrated didn’t sound very appetizing and I was a little concerned that I might end up with a huge supply of something inedible but I gave them a try anyway.  Verdict: Amazing. You add hot water, let it soak for 12 minutes, the fry for 6 minutes with a little bit of oil and it seems to be the best hash browns I have ever cooked at home.

Of course The Restaurant Guy still likes ordering from restaurants but breakfast cooked at home will now be much better when he can’t.

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11 Responses to Hunting for hash browns

  1. Kim says:

    So happy for you! FYI, Trader Joe’s has a much easier version in the freezer section: A package of about 7 servings, a stack of rectangles of hash browns, wrapped in plastic over the 1/2 box tray. Pop’em in the toaster oven for about 8-10 mins. Perfection!

  2. SB & Tahoe says:

    I’ve been buying those for years and just bought the 8 pack from Costco again today. I agree, they are good!

  3. Dennis Houghton says:

    I have found that the majority of products offered at Costco are very good. The secret to their success is the Company’s system of having tenured buyers for different categories such as books, housewares, food products and pharmacy. If it is difficult to find noteworthy products that offer quality and value; Costco may source it or manufacture it themselves under the Kirkland brand. Having called on corporate headquarters for chain drug stores in my past career, I appreciate the responsibility and decision making given to buyers from HQ executives.

  4. Christine_Z28 says:

    Oh my gosh! I, too, love restaurant has browns that aren’t patties! And I also have never recreated them at home. I want fluffy on the inside and golden brown crispy on the outside. Thanks for this Costco suggestion, but I’m not a member… *cry*

  5. Rick says:

    Feel same way about hash browns! Tried and love Simply Potatoes. Albertsons, Vons, Wal Mart carry. Saute with a bit of canola oil, turn out perfect!

  6. Gary Sudder says:

    we all love love hash browns!! we go to many of the fast food places around sb, and some of them make really good hash browns rather than big box swill

  7. Josh says:

    Trader Joe’s hash brown patties cooked in an air fryer for the win!

  8. Gerald Bostock says:

    Much respect, Mr. John. I always have those hash brown patties (TJ’s) in the freezer. They’re decent — they are not hash browns! But I like the ease of cooking them. They’re McDonalds hash brown patties. I’m mostly writing to say: DO NOT USE ANY OIL when cooking them! It’s wholly unnecessary. Good gods, they sure don’t need MORE oil. 😉

  9. Gerald Bostock says:

    to add: your recommendation is much appreciated. Now to find a shopper with a membership…

    I might try this if I ever get un-lazy:

    A latke technique that seems hugely applicable: The recipe is paywall-protected.
    Article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/dining/hanukkah-latke-recipe.html

    “You want to dry the potato, but you don’t want to cook it through,” he said. “So you have starch, but not too much.”
    “I did what he suggested, baking the potatoes until some of the moisture had cooked out, but they remained raw in the middle. The technique worked perfectly. I also followed his suggestion of grating the baked and cooled potatoes by hand. Instead of pressing the grated potatoes on a sheet pan into a large rectangle, thicker than hash browns, I formed them into individual round patties like proper latkes, left them on a plate, and refrigerated them for a few hours. Because the potatoes were almost cooked through, I did not have to worry about oxidation: The latkes remained perfectly white. And since they went straight from the fridge to the frying pan, they crisped easily without needing to deep-fry them.”

  10. Gerald Bostock says:

    I’m gonna be a jerk & reiterate John’s entire point: “I have tried hash brown biscuits (“McDonald’s style”) that come frozen in a box from my neighborhood grocery store. Verdict? Fail.”

    My standard order too was 2 eggs, hash browns and “gravy” at Cajun Kitchen, but often with bacon. I took the cornbread/cake home, with the butter, for dessert that night.
    Say what you will with disgust, but Dang, how I miss the old Farmer Boy gigantic omelette! (jack cheese, bacon, onion, spinach.) I remember hanging out there over 40 years ago when a friend worked there; grew up and lived with it as it was my neighborhood. Went to grade school with the daughter of the owner of Pet Manor too, Mr. Redding. excuse the nostalgia.

  11. Allison says:

    Cody’s has bomb hash browns!

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