Don’t you just love that freshly homemade crispy hash browns for breakfast? Either with some fried eggs or maybe sausages or perhaps even bacon – yum! And worry not if you’re used to buying the pre-made ones because you can now try making your very own. It's pretty simple actually. You can even level up a classic recipe with just one or a few spices for hash browns!
The hash brown that we have come to know today originated in the US. Its original full name was ‘hashed brown potatoes’ or ‘hash browned potatoes.’ They’re simply described as chopped-up potatoes that are formed into cakes, frequently added with chopped onions, and were fried until golden brown. It was not until 1970 when it was finally called its most common name – hash browns.
Again, making homemade hash browns is very easy. And it’s even healthier! The store brought ones if you’re not careful or too keen about reading food labels, maybe loaded with not-so-healthy ingredients – like added vegetable oil or salt, for instance. By simply making your own at home, you know exactly what goes in your hash browns.
Firstly, you’ll need potatoes. Go for the starchy ones like Russets because waxy potatoes tend to have higher moisture content which is a no-no if you want your hash browns really crispy! You’ll also need onion, oil for frying, salt, and pepper. That’s pretty much it! Some recipes also use a little flour or egg, or sometimes, both. And of course, here’s where you can start using different spices for hash browns to make yours more interesting.
And for the crispiest hash browns, make sure you squeeze out as much moisture as you can from your shredded potatoes. You can use a lemon press, potato ricer, salad spinner, or a tea towel to wring out excess moisture. Make sure, too, that your pan and oil are hot before dropping in your potatoes – and remember to spread them evenly in a thin layer. Be patient as well and wait for it to brown before flipping, have a peek underneath if you have to.
Sounds really simple, right? So, are you ready to make your very own hash browns? It’ll be perfect with your homemade sausages or homemade hams (check them out if you want to give those a try as well!). And to inspire you and get you excited at the same time, here’s a list of spices for hash browns along with suggested recipes to get you off to a good start.
Spices for hash browns
Sage has an earthy and slightly peppery taste with hints of eucalyptus, mint, and lemon. This herb is also sometimes called common sage or garden sage. It has a high vitamin K and antioxidants content. It also provides minerals such as magnesium, copper, and zinc.
This Spicy Sage and Olive Hash Browns although called spicy are not overly spicy but of course, you can always adjust or omit the red pepper flakes. The sage and parsley along with the olives interestingly made this recipe fresh with a mild salty kick.
Cumin’s taste can be described as rich, hearty, earthy, and warm with hints of citrus. This spice is widely used in Mexican, Indian, Mediterranean, and North American cuisine. Cumin is particularly a good source of magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. It’s also rich in vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K.
If you’re not too keen about frying then try baking your hash browns. Here’s a great recipe that will make breakfast time so much easier but still interesting – hash browns seasoned with cumin, thyme, and garlic powder. And it got cheese, too!
Basil’s taste can be described as a balance between sweet and savory. It has that fresh flavor with slightly peppery, anise, and mint notes. This herb is also sometimes called sweet basil or great basil and is a member of the mint family. Basil particularly has a high eugenol content which has antimicrobial properties.
Adding herbs to your hash browns really does wonders, just like with this restaurant-style hash brown patties recipe. And this herb combo – dried basil and chives, absolutely worked great with cumin and chili powder.
Garam masala is a blend of hot spices which gives it a strong flavor with a slightly warming, sweet, and pungent taste. It’s a lot stronger compared to curry powder which is made of milder spices.
This Masala Hashbrown is not just spiced but deliciously includes veggies as well, so expect color along with really amazing flavors. And of course, the avocado chutney really brought the dish to a whole new level! A must-try for sure.
Thyme has an earthy and minty taste with a slightly lemony taste. This herb actually has over a hundred varieties. It has thymol, which has antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It also has vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium in small amounts.
Using grated baked potatoes with rolled oats gave these healthy hashbrowns an interesting texture, one you might not use to. But still, it’s worth giving a try. It’s simply flavored with cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and thyme. And it’s served with tomatoes, mushrooms, and bacon! So, what’s not to like, right?
Mustard seeds in their whole form generally have a mild aromatic nutty taste. When it’s cracked or grounded, its taste turned pungent and strong. It’s actually one of the world’s oldest known spices and condiments. Mustard seeds contain fiber, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.
Hash browns don’t always come in patties or shredded form, some are simply cubed – just like with this Indian Spiced Potato Hash with Fried Egg recipe. Bear with the long list of spices in this dish because it’s all worth it. You’ll see.
Chives actually taste like an onion with a slight garlic note, and not surprisingly so because these two are its closest relative. Its’ flavor can also be likened to the green onion. Chives are high in vitamin C content. It’s also rich in riboflavin, potassium, iron, thiamin, and beta carotene.
Aside from using fresh chives and dried oregano, these cheesy hash brown patties are actually baked. So, again, if you’re not up for frying then this is perfect for you. And don’t worry you can still achieve those crispy edges even without frying.
Za’atar is a culinary herb that is also called wild thyme, bible hyssop, or Lebanese oregano. It also refers to a spice mix that includes za’atar herb mixed with toasted seeds, dried sumac, oregano, thyme, other spices, and salt (the blend varies). It has an earthy, herbal, and subtle citrusy taste with a slight nuttiness to it.
Here’s a Mediterranean Potato Hash recipe that will surely cure your craving for Mediterranean flavors. Aside from the fact that it's absolutely delicious, it's also the perfect breakfast because it is nutritionally packed. Not to mention that it's really simple to make, too. It sure is a great way to start your day.
Marjoram has a fresh, woody, citrusy, and floral flavor. Compared to oregano it has a much milder taste. It’s quite similar to thyme but with a sweeter taste and stronger aroma. Aside from culinary, marjoram also has medicinal purposes. It has high levels of beta carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Again, if you’re not up for frying hash browns, no problem, because aside from baking you can also use your waffle maker! Here’s Cheesy Hash Brown Waffles to put to test. As to whether it’s more of a waffle or a hash brown – will just leave it to you!
Chili powder has that Tex-Mex flavor profile due to the aromatic and savory spices used in the blend. And depending on how much cayenne is in the mixture, it can be mild to moderately spicy. And since chili powder contains other herbs and spices, it’s also a good source of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. This is of course on top of its antioxidants content.
If you’re into spicy foods then you’ll appreciate this spicy hash brown recipe. It’s not overly hot so you may want to give it a try still even if you’re not up for anything spicy. You can also opt to use perhaps just a teaspoon of chili powder instead.
Rosemary has a strong flavor with minty, peppery, sage-like, lemony, and pine-y taste. It is native to the dry and rocky areas of the Mediterranean. It’s a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B6, and C. Rosemary is also particularly rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
This hash brown recipe is particularly vegan-friendly. But of course, it’s delicious just the same. It’s simply seasoned with salt and pepper and a stalk of rosemary. Using a muffin pan to bake it is absolutely a great idea!
Paprika has a sweet, peppery, and slightly earthy taste. Hot paprika tends to be mild to moderately hot while smoked paprika has an added outdoorsy taste with a distinct char-grilled flavor. It’s rich in iron and vitamin E which are vital for maintaining healthy blood. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin K, and antioxidants.
If you don’t have the time to shred potatoes for your hash browns then simply opt for the pre-shredded ones. This hash browns patties recipe used one and still managed to make it interesting by using paprika and garlic powder to the usual salt and pepper.
Oregano has a bold and earthy taste with a hint of bitterness. It can be described as peppery and assertive with a pungent aroma. In case you haven't seen an oregano plant bloom before, it has purple or pink flowers which are also edible. It’s particularly high in phenolic acids and flavonoids. It also contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid which has antiseptic properties.
This Chorizo Stuffed Hash Browns recipe called for preferably Mexican oregano – perhaps to further boost the chorizo’s flavor, so try to get that if you can. If that’s not possible, simply use what you have and it’ll still taste delicious just the same.