Hash browns are made from potatoes that have been grated, diced, or shredded before being fried or baked. Potatoes are relatively bland, but the caramelization from frying can help the taste out to an extent. Spices are important if you want to give them even more flavor. Some of the best spices to improve your hash browns include:
Garlic is a globally loved seasoning that is perfect for pretty much every savory food, including crispy fried potatoes. The garlic plant is an Allium, which means that it is in the same family as onions and shallots. Like onions and shallots, it adds earthy and pungent depth that enhances other savory spices while also giving an intense umami note to the potatoes.
You can use fresh garlic in your hash browns, but many people find garlic powder or garlic salt to be more convenient options. You can mix garlic powder or garlic salt into the hash browns or sprinkle them over the top at the table.
Like garlic, onions are a popular and intensely flavored Allium. They pair well with bland, starchy foods like potatoes. When fried with hash browns, they caramelize, giving the potatoes an intense umami flavor accompanied by a sweet nuttiness. When sprinkled on to cooked hash browns, raw onions can provide a burst of herbaceous and savory flavor.
Onions offer you quite a few more options when it comes to adding them to hash browns. You can add onion powder, chopped green onions, or any of the other varieties, including red and yellow onions.
Cayenne powder offers little flavor aside from its heat, but that little kick can be beneficial in hash browns. Its modest spark is an excellent complement to most other spices you might want to use. The little dash of bright red can also enhance the appearance of your hash browns.
The best black pepper to use in your hash browns is made by grinding fresh peppercorns onto them as they cook or right after they are removed from the pan.
The most potent and complex flavor comes from fresh spices that have been stored correctly. Fresh ground black pepper is extremely complex with lemony notes and a mild heat. It also goes well with most other spices, including all of those on this list. It is the perfect addition to the ultrasimple flavor profile of fried grated or diced potatoes.
Old Bay seasoning
A blend of spices associated with the city of Baltimore in Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning delivers a flavor profile that many consider to be zesty and complex.
Several spices are listed as ingredients on the official Old Bay Seasoning website, including black pepper, celery seed, and red pepper. It most likely contains many others. Other probable ingredients include mustard, cloves, and allspice. Since it contains salt, you can season your hash browns with Old Bay Seasoning and nothing else, but you can also use it as one of several seasonings.
Hash browns are best when fried, and the oil used to fry them can be considered one of the seasonings if it is flavorful enough. Olive oil is an excellent option for making hash browns because of its flavor profile and health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent option for frying hash browns, but you will need to cook them at a relatively low temperature because of this oil’s low smoke point.