17 Ways To Give Your Breakfast Potatoes An Upgrade

Whether you like them deep-fried and extra crispy or grilled with sauteed onions and peppers, breakfast potatoes are known for coming in all forms. Hash browns, tater tots, and potato pancakes make a name for themselves, giving you lots of freedom for creativity in your kitchen.

So, the question is, how do you take your home fries? Because Americans so love their potatoes, sometimes it's hard to decide how to cook them up. Not to mention, the breakfast entrée you plan to cook up makes all the difference when selecting your breakfast potato style.

A one-pot skillet meal tastes best with the original cubed and sautéed potatoes used as a base before being topped with other fun ingredients like cracked eggs, bacon, and shredded cheddar. But if you've made a breakfast sandwich, you know a crispy hash brown patty will add convenience and that blissful crunch factor to your egg sandwich. If you've longed for a new and improved way to celebrate the humble tuber during Sunday breakfast, tackle one of the following upgrades.

1. Parboil your potatoes before crisping

It's probably fair to say that most of us love a good one-pot meal that takes minimal prep. If you can get it all on the dinner table in less than 15 minutes, that's a bonus. But, sometimes, the convenience and ease of these meals mean you miss out on essential components like flawless texture and spot-on flavor.

That's why, if you make a batch of perfectly crispy breakfast potatoes, you'll appreciate taking the extra time and effort for this two-step cooking method. It's super simple — all you have to do is parboil the potatoes before crisping them up in a pan.

Instead of cutting your potatoes and then cooking them in a skillet, you'll need to take a few extra minutes to partially boil them. Once they are partly cooked, you'll remove them from the boiling water, cut them, then cook them in oil. This method will help you reach a crispy exterior and a fluffy soft interior every single time. Yum.

2. Switch up your cooking fats

You might already have a good quality fat you prefer cooking your potatoes in, and that's fine, but for an exciting upgrade, we recommend using up any stored bacon grease you may have on hand. Your best bet when cooking potatoes is to use more than one cooking fat.

For smoke point purposes, you'll want to start with a fat that has a pretty high smoke point and won't fog up your kitchen during cooking. Vegetables or canola are both excellent because they work well on high heat, and that high heat will help crispy your potatoes up. Other good options include peanut oil and avocado oil.

Once your potatoes are nearly finished, add a bit of bacon grease or butter to help amp up the flavor. Bacon grease is excellent because of the tremendous meaty flavor it offers, but hey, who doesn't love an extra gob of butter?

3. Shred your taters

Shredded hashbrowns give breakfast potatoes a whole new meaning. Not only do they provide a different texture than regular home fries, but the additional surface area around each shredded piece provides more opportunity for flavor.

For the crispiest, most evenly cooked hash browns, you'll want first to skip the frozen stuff. Sure, already-shredded frozen potatoes make for a world of ease. But you'll quickly notice that the flavor quality is so much better with freshly shredded potatoes.

But wait, there's more. If you want the crispest outside, leave your potatoes alone! Once you have given your tubers a little TLC (i.e., shredding and rinsing), you'll want to stick them in an oil-coated pan, then leave them. Constant stirring will only lend to soggy soft potatoes. Do yourself a favor; resist the urge to flip until you notice a gorgeous golden brown crust form on the bottom. If you are bored in the wait, use that time to add a sprinkle of seasoning to the bare side of the potatoes.

4. Throw in a little protein

Who doesn't love a good meat and potatoes meal for breakfast? Well, lucky for you, your home fries are a great place to add bits of protein. It's precisely why corned beef hash sells so well.

But beyond that Irish staple, you'll appreciate mixing your breakfast potatoes with other types of protein. Crumbled breakfast sausage, chopped bacon, and shaved ham taste lovely when dotted throughout your potato-filled skillet.

The idea here is to use what you already plan on cooking up. So if you've cooked up a little bacon, there is your base. Use the grease to fry your taters, and crumble a few pieces into the mix. Otherwise, chop up a few sausage links or mince a few slices of ham. And, since we're obviously not worried about our heart health here, a little shredded cheese wouldn't hurt either.

5. Deep fry them

Deep frying is the way to go if you are after crispy, crunchy cubed potatoes. We know most are not interested in drenching your food in a deep pot of hot oil, especially since the invention of the air fryer. While that handy appliance certainly knows how to crisp up your favorite "fried" foods with a deep slash in calories, the flavor isn't 100% the same.

For the best flavor, consider deep frying your spuds. You'll want to fill a deep skillet or large pot with high smoke points, like vegetable or peanut oil. Make sure you have enough so your potatoes will be fully covered, and use the right tools for transferring your potatoes to and from the oil. Once they have crisped up to a gorgeous golden brown, you can remove them and season them to your liking. They aren't the healthiest option, but they are the crispiest.

6. Transform them into a skillet meal

It doesn't need to be the weekend for you to enjoy breakfast, and it certainly doesn't have to be morning time either. If you've never had the opportunity to enjoy breakfast for dinner, then this skillet meal is a great place to start.

Featuring all the essentials like meat, potatoes, and vegetables, there's no reason to scuff at the idea of eggs at dinner time. To create a skillet meal, you need to start with a base, usually your potatoes, sauteed veggies, and a little protein of your choice.

Before throwing it in the oven, you'll crack a few eggs and a generous helping of shredded cheddar cheese. You'll know it's ready when the whites are cooked, but the yolks are still slightly runny. You can drizzle a little hollandaise from there or top it with fresh herbs.

7. Bake them into a cozy casserole

Your oven may be a great hot box for heating skillet meals, but you'll also love the idea of a bubbly hot breakfast casserole. There are many ways to go about this, but if you're looking for something simple and oh-so-cozy, a cheesy hash brown casserole is a great place to start.

After combining shredded potatoes with onion, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken, and sour cream, you'll make your way to the casserole dish. From there, your magical oven will take care of the rest. If meat and eggs are a must, consider mixing half a dozen eggs with milk, breakfast sausage, shredded cheese, and cooked and cubed potatoes. Simply combine, then place it in the oven until the eggs are set. A little salt pepper and chives should finish things off just right.

8. Potato pancakes win hearts

Potato pancakes are the way to go if you're looking for ways to enjoy your leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast! A few cups of mashers combined with flour, an egg, plus some salt and pepper is all you'll need to make these little cakes. The best part is they pair beautifully with a few fried eggs!

While we won't recommend enjoying these with a generous dousing of maple syrup like typical pancakes, we wholeheartedly endorse eating these with a few other delicious condiments. Butter and sour cream are definite winners, but freshly chopped chives from the garden taste excellent with them too.

If you're looking for a yummy dipping sauce, we recommend combining equal parts ranch and sour cream. The dressing will help thin out the sour cream just enough to create a dreamy, tangy, rich condiment. Fresh dill or chives will lend well to the dip too.

9. Turn your taters into donuts

Whoever thought potatoes could be turned into donuts? The humble tuber, which has a pretty bland overall flavor, can be fried into a sweet fried confection, and boy, is it best enjoyed as a breakfast treat.

Potatoes add a dimension of flavor like no other and create a lovely texture thanks to the starchiness of the vegetable. Krispy Kreme's first donut recipe actually included this very ingredient in their donuts. So, if you are looking for ways to use last night's leftover mashed potatoes and you're not feeling potato pancakes, then perhaps a sweet fried cake will do the trick. Grab your powdered sugar, and cream fillings, because it's time to make some delicious donut holes.

10. Stuff a few baked potatoes

Breakfast baked potatoes are lit! You can make them any way you choose, depending on what you already have to work with, and they can be really healthy if you're looking for a nutritious way to start your morning right. The general idea is to bake a few russets or sweet potatoes, score a line down the center, and fluff the insides up a little.

You may need to remove some of that potato to make room for other ingredients. Add bacon, sausage, or a little breakfast ham to the potato, crack an egg over the top, then crank a little salt and pepper over the egg. You'll need to put it back in the oven until the egg whites cook through, but you aren't done yet. While they are cooking, this is a great time to whip up a hollandaise sauce, shred some cheddar cheese, chop a few chive sprigs, or slice some avocado for your potatoes.

11. Creole seasoning gives a nice kick

We don't mean to hate on other seasonings in our pantry, but creole seasoning has a special place in our hearts. Creole seasoning is unique as it carries a blend of distinctive flavors influenced by several different cultures.

You'll appreciate the savory flare it provides and the subtle kick of the featured flavor too. Some of the flavors you might taste come from the garlic, onion, paprika, and cayenne. It works well over French fries, helps flavor chicken and fish quickly, and always makes it to our breakfast potatoes.

Whether you plan on shredding your potatoes or cubing them before crisping them up in a pan, you'll appreciate a generous sprinkle of creole. Not only will it add a depth of flavor to your home fries, but the lovely red hue looks nice, too.

12. Paprika provides an earthy warmth

Next time you plan on making a batch of homestyle breakfast potatoes — you know, the ones cut into cubes and grilled in a pan — grab the jar of paprika. The spice is made from ground chiles and boasts a lovely touch of spice paired beautifully with cooked potatoes. What we love most about pretty paprika is that the hint of spice is subtle enough to tingle your tongue but mild enough that sensitive taste buds won't mind. 

Then there is color! Paprika provides a gorgeous red hue to potatoes that are both lovely and inviting. If you start your potatoes with the two-part cooking process, then give them an excellent crispy exterior with an appropriate high-smoke point oil, then finish those crispy spuds with a hint of paprika, you are well on your way to a plate of heaven. Don't forget the Creole seasoning and a knob of butter, which both provide a splendiferous swirl of flavor.

13. Savor the sweet and salty combo

Humans are biologically hardwired to crave foods that are both sweet and salty, thanks to the essential minerals found in sodium and the high-calorie sweets that suit our needs. So, while most of us think of salted caramel or chocolate-covered bacon as a perfect sweet and salty combo, there are many other ways to fix your human craving with healthier foods. Yes, you can even achieve this with breakfast potatoes. 

All you have to do is peel, dice up an apple, and throw it into your skillet of homefries once the potatoes are almost ready. If you throw them in too soon, you'll lose the satisfying crisp and end up with mushy apples. This upgrade works particularly well in the fall months when apples are prevalent and in season. A touch of sweetness from your McIntoshes and a world of savory thanks to your well-seasoned potatoes will have your taste buds dancing in glory.

14. Throw in a few sautéed veggies

There is something special about a broken egg yolk flowing over a mountainous pile of breakfast potatoes. The yellow-hued richness creates a sauce-like finish for every bite, giving your breakfast a new name. You'll find that same satisfaction with runny yolks over sauteed vegetables. 

If you have leftover green beans, wax beans, carrots, and onion, cooked from the evening before, you'll love tossing them in the old skillet and topping them with eggs. Consider chopping those same nutritious ingredients and adding them to your home fries. Some favorite additions include sauteed onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms, but squash, zucchini, and fiddleheads taste delicious as well.

If you are looking to bring on loads of nutritious value, then grab your leafy greens. Chopped kale, spinach, and mustard greens bring health benefits and taste lovely, and sun-warmed diced tomatoes will give your potatoes a little brightness too.

15. Don't forget a sprinkle of herbs

There are so many reasons to love gardening during the months when the weather is just right for it. From cultivating nutritious soil to watching your herbs and vegetables thrive throughout the seasons, the hobby can be pretty rewarding. You'll really catch those benefits when you find yourself in the middle of a recipe and need to give your meal an extra oomph of fresh flavor. All you have to do from there is snip some herbs and bring them to your kitchen.

Well, next time you cook up your breakfast potatoes, don't forget to visit your close-by herb harden for some flavor enhancement. You can get creative, depending on what you have. For instance, you can give your potatoes a really fresh feel by adding fresh basil, diced Roma tomatoes, and a little feta cheese. Finish that side with a poached egg and some hollandaise, and you are in for a world of delicious. Otherwise, keep it simple with a sprinkle of parsley or chopped chives.

16. Toss your potatoes in pancake mix

We know you might be wondering how the heck pancake mix will help flavor your breakfast potatoes, but don't knock it until you've tried it. This tried-and-true trick will add a subtly sweet flair to your tubers while providing a nice crispy exterior. 

Simply grab your potato, give it a good scrub, then cube it up and boil them until they have cooked through. Make sure not to overcook them into a soggy wet mess. Once they have cooked through, you'll drain the starchy water and let your potatoes cool down. Once cool enough to touch, you'll work to coat them with a little pancake mix combined with baking soda. Fry them up and enjoy the newfound flavor and texture. 

17. Make a smooth pancake batter

Speaking of pancakes, we have one more recipe for you to try, and this time you get to make your own mix! With the help of two humble ingredients, you can transform a magical sweet potato into a stack of jacks doused in warm maple syrup. This works especially great if you already have a few sweet potatoes cooked up from the night before. 

The recipe is as simple as mashing a few orange taters, then adding raw egg to the mix. The naturally sweet flavor from your sweet potatoes makes these perfect for a healthy breakfast that tastes delicious. The egg will provide the proper binding structure to help keep your potatoes intact. 

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.