Why It Works
- Squeezing the liquid from the potatoes helps them crisp up quickly.
- The waffle iron cooks the hash browns on both sides simultaneously.
- The direct high heat of the waffle iron crisps up the outside while leaving the inside silky smooth.
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 moister.)
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.
2 russet (baking) potatoes, about 10 ounces each, peeled and shredded
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Preheat waffle iron. If it has temperature controls, set it to medium.
Squeeze shredded potato with a towel until it’s as dry as possible.
In a mixing bowl, combine shredded potato, salt, and pepper.
Using a silicone brush or paper towel, carefully grease both sides of waffle iron with butter.
Pile shredded potatoes into waffle iron, over-stuffing it a bit, and close lid. (The pressure of the lid will compress the potatoes and help them emerge as a cohesive, waffled unit.) Cook for 2 minutes, then press down on lid to further compress potatoes (be careful: lid may be hot).
Continue cooking potatoes for 5 minutes longer, then begin checking them: They are ready when potatoes are golden brown all over, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve hot with eggs or any other breakfast foods.
The liquid squeezed from the potatoes can be reserved and used in place of water in bread dough to yield a softer, moister loaf. The times given are approximations: The actual cooking time will depend on the specific waffle iron you have, and the size of the grated potato shreds. Be sure to peek inside the waffle iron and remove the hash browns whenever they're browned outside and fully cooked within, regardless of whether that takes more or less time than the recipe states.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 31g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 12mg||59%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|