Serious Eats is no stranger to what's become a mission in my life: Breaking down the waffle iron's sad and unfair label as a unitasker. And the Internet is no stranger to waffled hash browns. There's the Tater Tots version, of course, and Smitten Kitchen has done potato latkes (close cousins to hash browns) in the waffle iron.
Using the waffle iron to make hash browns means you get a beautiful crunch on both sides, with a silky smooth potato interior. And you get all of this without having to flip the potatoes or fuss over them in the pan.
You may never make hash browns any other way again.
In my book, I include a recipe for hash browns with rosemary, but the version I present here is stripped to its bare essentials—just potatoes, salt and pepper.
Yes, as waffle-iron recipes go, this is not the most complex. But I'm starting with the basics, because that's the best way to show that the waffle iron is for more than just waffle batter.
There are a handful of considerations when making hash browns in the waffle iron. One of the same critical techniques for making stovetop hash browns applies here: squeezing the moisture from the potatoes. Potatoes that aren't squeezed will be too wet to crisp up satisfactorily. (You can reserve the liquid from the potatoes and add some of it in place of water to bread dough; the potato starch will make the bread softer and more moist.)
One other consideration is that the cooking time will depend on how finely your potatoes are shredded and the temperature of your waffle iron. Some waffle irons have temperature controls and some do not. Don't rely solely on the suggested cooking times in the recipe here—they're just approximations. You'll need to peek inside and remove the hash browns whenever they're golden brown and cooked through, whether that's a few minutes before or after my suggested times.
Once you've mastered this basic recipe, try playing with flavorings, like shredded onion, spices (smoked paprika would be good), and herbs like the rosemary I mentioned above.