You know those people who say they’re not big breakfast eaters? Or worse…they don’t like breakfast foods (gasp!)? Yeah, I’m not one of those people. I love breakfast and breakfast food. If I could pick one meal to eat out with friends, it would be breakfast/brunch. And my favorite favorite breakfast food? Potatoes. Hash browns. Whatever you want to call them, I will go out of my way to make sure I have them when I’m ordering breakfast or for special breakfasts at home (like, say, Christmas morning?)

I know this is pretty basic, but this is one of those things like scrambled eggs where it seems like it should be easy, but the potatoes just never come out quite right, you know? The key here is to not overwork the potatoes–you want to touch them as little as possible. Also, don’t be afraid of letting the potatoes get a little brown and crispy (if that’s your thing; if you prefer them cooked but not crispy, that’s cool, too). If you cook them just until they’re done, they’ll still taste good, but the texture might be a bit soggy.

You’ll need 4 smallish-medium russet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, it’s up to you; I prefer the skins on mine), 1 small onion, salted butter, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and Tabasco sauce. You can also substitute 2 tablespoons of bacon grease for 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil and cut your potatoes into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes (depending on how big you like ’em). When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened but not completely cooked. Drain and rinse in cool water.

In a large skillet (preferably cast-iron; if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, Santa needs to bring you one for Christmas this year), melt the butter (or butter and bacon grease) over medium heat. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute or until the onions are softened. Add the potatoes in a single layer and combine with the onions, then let the potatoes cook for 3-4 minutes without touching them at all. Sprinkle with paprika, a little salt and pepper, and about 10 dashes of Tabasco sauce. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and flip as many potatoes as you can at once until all the potatoes have been flipped. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and test them for doneness and seasoning; add more salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Give ’em a few minutes more if they need it, stirring gently to prevent the potatoes from burning. Serve immediately. And not just for breakfast–they’re a great quick and easy side for dinner on a cold night!

I kind of completely love them with ketchup; yes, I know that is a completely un-foodie admission, but then I’ve never really claimed to be a foodie. Are you shocked and horrified?


  1. We make our skillet potatoes just like that…oddly enough, I had never thought of making them for breakfast, as we usually make them as a side for dinner. I cannot wait to try them for breakfast now, too. Yummy!

  2. Ooh yum! I make my potatoes somewhat like that except I always sprinkle them with cheese right before I serve them. Cheesy potato goodness.

  3. Those look deish!! And I am so glad you did this post because I HAVE always wondered how to make really good breakfast potatoes! Who knew you needed to par-boil? Thanks!! Just love you ladies!!!

  4. I wake up every morning STAAAAAARVING. True story. I don’t understand people who don’t eat breakfast. At. All.

    Breakfast potatoes are one of my all time favorite things!! Definitely giving these a try.

  5. Thanks for the recipe. I will try this recipe, it sounds very good. I can picture this as a side dish for any meal.

  6. Yum! I’ve never boiled mine first, so they never turn out exactly right. Excited to try this! Think it would also work with red potatoes? I feel the need to always buy the 10 lb bag at Costco so I’m always in search of recipes with them!

    1. Yep, you could and they would be delicious! The only problem is that they aren’t as starchy, so they will fall apart easier. When you’re frying them, cook them at a slightly higher temperature and reaaaaaally touch them as little as possible.

  7. great recipe! when we make these we crack a few eggs over the top at the last minute (usually with bacon crumbled in) to make for an awesome scramble. Thanks for the pre-boil tip!

  8. Where I grew up in western NY, we called these “home fries”. Hash browns were always the grated fried potatoes. I love these waaaay more than those grated things! Never thought to preboil them, but it makes total sense! Thanks.

  9. Shhh, we know you aren’t REALLY a foodie, Kate, so it’s okay if you confess ketchup on your potatoes. After all, everyone accepts ketchup with french fries, so what’s the problem?
    I’ve been making fried potatoes forever. In fact, when my older daughter was pregnant, it was about the only thing she could eat. What an amazing idea to speed up the cooking process by par-boiling! You little genius, you!

  10. Yum! And, no, ketchup isn’t wrong…it’s so right…esp with tabasco. BTW: love the Williams-Sonoma towels! I have the same ones and have had them for nearly 10 years. Thanks, Kate!

  11. Can’t wait to try these. Almost anything potato is okay in my book. I agree about cast iron skillets. I like to reheat mashed potatoes in one so that they get little crusties in them. Yum!!

  12. I make my kids hash browns for breakfast every Saturday… that’s my bribe to get them out of bed to get their chores done. I make them almost this exact same way but I substitute a sweet potato for one of the russets. Mmmmmm!!

  13. I am dairy free for my no longer cranky nursing baby, what are your thoughts on skipping the butter and using maybe canola oil? Or just bacon grease 🙂

  14. These sound great! Do you think it would work to do everything up through the par boiling and then throw them in the fridge and finish in the morning?

    1. I par-boiled way too many potatoes for the “funeral potatoes” I made last week. And since I shredded all of them rather than measuring as I went, I just slid the extra shreds in a bag in the fridge. They were fine when I cooked them as hashbrowns two days later.

  15. Wow, these bring back memories for me as a child. My dad made these for us all the time and when we visit he still does. I LOVE them with ketchup, LOVE!

  16. Thanks for posting this! I love breakfast too, and the potatoes are the best part in my opinion, but I’ve never been successful at replicating restaurant goodness. Gonna have to try this one for sure!

  17. I love brunch/breakfast also….nothing I love more is breakfast for dinner.
    I agree with the cast iron skillet method. I have always cut the potatos and then tried to cook them in their “raw” stage, but I will cook them first next time. Duh? Why didn’t I ever think of that?

  18. We put paprika in ours too! And a little cayenne instead of tabasco. I’ll have to try the tabasco. I don’t pre-boil the potatoes, instead I cook them partially in the pan, and then cover the pan on lower and they sort of steam. Then take the lid off and finish them. But pre-boiling them is a great trick too. I wonder if it’s quicker?

  19. The only thing better than breakfast is breakfast for dinner which I do from time to time (tomorrow being one of those days). I’m SO adding this to the menu. :o) I never thought about boiling first and I never knew why they didn’t turn out right. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Thanks so much for this simple post! I LOVE breakfast food(we have a big breakfast every Sunday) and hashbrowns are my absolute favourite! I never make them from scratch because I always end up messing them up! I will do them this way from now on! Thank you!

  21. These are great. I made them tonight adding a little bit of cheese before serving them. My Mom makes something similar to these, and they turn out very close to one another, but she uses potatoes that are left over from having baked potatoes. She just chops up the left over ones and starts at the skillet point, it works great too.

  22. You ladies are great about breaking down classic recipes. Gourmet food is a great treat, but we don’t really cook that way every night and my kids eat better with ketchup on their plates. Thanks for the recipe!
    For great hashbrowns, bake the potatoes, let them cool, and then grate them. This recipe would be great for the final cooking stage to flavor and crisp them.

  23. I am 30 weeks pregnant, have been up since 3:30am with the effects of a head cold and am starving. Going straight to kitchen to make breakfast for my sweet husband, and these will be included! As always, Thank you!

  24. I just made these and I have to say the Cast Iron skillet must be the KEY. Because I used our regular non-stick skillet and they never really crisped up and the onions were black by the time I thought the potatoes were done. 🙁 Looks like I need a cast iron skillet for Christmas! Even though the onions were black and my kitchen is smokey the potatoes still tasted great!

    1. Oh, thank you for reminding me!!! I kept meaning to put that if you don’t have a cast iron skillet to NOT use a non-stick! I’m so sorry they didn’t come out perfect. 🙁 The good news is that you can get a good cast iron skillet for cheap!

  25. To make them even easier (and quicker), I bake extra potatoes when we’re having baked potatoes for dinner and throw the extra in the fridge. Then for breakfast you just dice them up and you really only have to warm them, not cook them through. The paprika and tabasco sound delicious, I’ve never done them that way before.

  26. I have tried making country potatoes so many times, and they’ve always turned out mushy or burnt. I had no idea that you parboil them first! Thank you! I made these tonight and topped them with pico de gallo and cheesy scrambled eggs and after a few bites, my husband said “Wow honey. If I got this at a restaurant, I’d be coming back to order it again in a few days. This is great!”

    Oh yeah! Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes and tricks!

  27. I’m with you on not being able to understand people who don’t like breakfast foods… these potatoes look deeeelicious.

  28. I love potatoes/hashbrowns too. This recipe looks sooo good except we can’t do spicy. Can you leave out the tobassco sauce or what could you substitute for it?Thanks…can’t wait to make these…mmmmmm!

  29. This is one of my favorite side dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I always add some chopped green and red pepper and a little sharp cheddar. I love the idea of cracking an egg over the top to make a scramble. Thanks for the great recipe!

  30. These were DELICIOUS!!! I had some previously baked potatoes in the fridge. I diced them and cooked them up with my cast iron pan. . .wow! We all LOVED them. Thanks for the great recipe.

  31. Sooo good! These pack a lot of flavor! The cast iron skillet is definitely key. I modified a bit and instead of taking the time to pre-boil, I just microwaved them in a covered dish (my Pampered Chef Micro-cooker worked wonderfully) with 3 tbsp of water for 4 minutes. They crisped right up upon frying.

  32. I finally did it. I made these tonight with my husband after buying tabasco sauce two weeks ago. (Just for this recipe.) I learned a valuable lesson about tabasco sauce, less is more. They were still delicious but next time I will follow your advice and put in 10 shakes and not the 20 I did. I’ve never had potatoes clear out my sinuses before. 🙂

  33. I usually “parboil” mine with a little water and a saran wrap cover in the microwave before frying them in the skillet. I discovered this works well when I was in a hurry to get food on the table.

  34. I have never understood breakfast haters either. In a perfect world, I would have pancakes for breakfast, waffles for lunch, and french toast for dinner. I might have to pepper in some of these potatoes though. They look like they would be awesome with a few sweet potatoes mixed in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.