Why It Works
- Pre-salting the eggs helps them retain moisture and reduces the chances of weeping.
- Layering the fillings one atop another means that you get a bit of everything in each bite.
We salute whoever first had the idea to stuff all of breakfast into a single, large flour tortilla (credit, in case you're curious, seems to go to New Mexico's Tia Sophia's restaurant, which put a "breakfast burrito" on their menu in the 1970s). With that one creative innovation, an entire morning meal can be eaten using just one hand, potentially on the go—though let's be honest, a good one is likely to create enough of a mess to make it less portable than your average breakfast sandwich.
What makes a good breakfast burrito? The answer isn't any specific set of ingredients, since a breakfast burrito is (and should be!) endlessly variable. Eggs are common, usually scrambled, and most of us would expect some kind of starch, melted cheese, a bit of meat, and a generous range of condiments; some nod towards Mexican or Tex-Mex ingredients and flavors is typical, but not absolutely required. Ultimately, though, any of these components could be altered or omitted.
Making a good breakfast burrito involves assembling some combination of these ingredients in a way that delivers a bit of each in almost every bite, while maximizing moisture but avoiding wateriness, which would make the burrito unpleasantly soggy.
In the case of this recipe, we achieve that by layering sour cream, guacamole, potato hash, bacon, and scrambled eggs with melted cheddar in such a way that the burrito will contain a bit of each along its entire length. It's a pretty classic breakfast in burrito form, with the condiments adding a Southwestern vibe.
There are a few key techniques used here, aside from the specific way of layering the components. First, we pre-salt the eggs, which we've demonstrated before leads to more tender results. They sit while the potatoes cook, which is just long enough for the salt to work its magic on the egg proteins.
For the potatoes, meanwhile, we break with our standard hash method, which calls for par-cooking the potatoes in acidulated water. Adding vinegar to cooking water when simmering spuds helps firm up the potato cubes, maximizing crispiness and ensuring they remain in distinct pieces when they're crisped in a skillet later on. That's great when the hash is being served on a plate alongside other breakfast items, but it's less desirable in burrito form, where we actually want some softening—instead of a lumpy filling of ultra-crisp individual potato chunks, we get golden and crispy hash that melts into the rest of the ingredients.
Lastly, for the bacon, we cook it until crisp, which makes it easier to break into pieces. Those pieces are important because they prevent the dreaded "pull" from happening, where you bite into a burrito or sandwich and accidentally pull out its filling along with a stubborn strip of meat.
- 4 large eggs
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (60ml) canola, vegetable, or other neutral oil
- 1 pound (450g) Russet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 medium (8-ounce; 225g) yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
- 4 rashers crisply cooked bacon, broken into pieces
- 2 ounces (55g) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 large (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed through on a dry griddle or cast iron pan
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce; 30g) sour cream, divided
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces; 55g) guacamole, divided
- Hot sauce of your choice (optional)
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with a large pinch of salt until homogenous and no visible egg whites remain. Set aside.
In a medium cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, stirring only occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Lower heat to medium, stir in onion, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until potatoes are golden and crisp and onions are browned and tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat until foaming. Add eggs and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until eggs have formed curds but are still runny, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and eggs are soft and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
Working with one just-warmed tortilla at a time, lay tortilla on a work surface. Spread 1 tablespoon (15g) sour cream in a thin, even layer on center of tortilla, leaving about 2 inches of border on either side and 3 inches of border above and below. Top with 2 tablespoons (30g) guacamole and spread it around on top of the sour cream. Arrange half the bacon on top of the guacamole.
Pile half the potatoes on top of the bacon, followed by half the eggs and cheese. Douse with as much hot sauce as you want.
Fold the tortilla sides in over the filling. Then roll the bottom flap of tortilla up over the filling, holding the sides tight as you roll. Continue rolling until the burrito is sealed. Repeat with remaining tortilla and filling ingredients. Serve right away.
Medium cast iron skillet, medium nonstick skillet
These are our recommended Medium cast iron and medium nonstick skillets.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The burrito is best prepared shortly before serving, though some components, like the guacamole and potatoes, can be prepared a few hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to use; make sure to press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation, and reheat and re-crisp the potatoes in a skillet before using.