These Copycat Waffle House Hash Browns Are Everything a Homesick Southerner Needs
Scattered, covered, diced, or smothered, they taste like home to me.
I love Waffle House. I love that it is open 24 hours. I love that, no matter where you go, you can be assured that the menu will be the same. I love that you really have to work hard to spend $20 on breakfast for two, and that during natural disasters FEMA uses the Waffle House as a scale of how bad things are. (A closed Waffle House means it is really, really bad.)
I grew up in Alabama eating Waffle House on road trips and in those weird in between times when nothing else is open, like breakfast on Thanksgiving day, or Christmas Eve when the party we were planning to go to ended up being a bust. But as a New Yorker, the closest Waffle House to me is an hour and a half away by car, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. (Yes, I've checked. Yes, I've gone.) Which is why these copycat Waffle House hash browns are not just a lifesaver for breakfast. They're the thing I want to eat when it's cold out and I feel homesick for a place where March meant that the azaleas were already in full bloom.
If you're familiar with Waffle House hash browns, you know that there are many options for toppings. Don't get me wrong, they are just fine on their own. But the Waffle House menu offers you variety: capped (with mushrooms), covered (with cheese), smothered (with onions), chunked (with ham), diced (with tomatoes), topped (with chili), or peppered (with bell pepper). I hear that you can also sometimes cover it in gravy (country). You can go your own way with hash browns, is what I'm saying, which is exactly what this recipe lets you do.
The key here is the mixture of butter and oil, which will crisp up those shredded potatoes nicely and give it that unctuous buttery flavor. The other key is to resist moving them around. You have to pile those potatos onto the skillet and be patient—it's the only way they're going to get all brown and crispy. Once you flip it, you can add the ham and onion (or mushrooms or peppers or whatever else your heart wants) and let it cook more to get the rest of it crispy. There you go—a little piece of diner heaven right at home.
Get the recipe: Copycat Waffle House hash browns.