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What’s the Difference Between Home Fries vs Hash Browns

When ordering breakfast potatoes at a restaurant, customers often ask what’s the difference between home fries vs hashbrowns. Through the years, I’ve had to explain this so many times.

Potatoes are part of part of so many breakfast dishes. With their straightforward, crisp exterior and tender interior, they complement eggs, meat, sauces, and gravies. When done right, their presence is subtle, seamlessly blending into the plate. Yet, when done wrong, it’s a culinary tragedy of epic proportions. It’s all you seem to notice.

Few things rival the satisfaction of perfectly cooked potatoes at breakfast time. They are both delicious, yet there are differences. They are different ways of cooking raw potatoes. Let’s break it down for you.

What's the Difference Between Home Fries vs Hash Browns

What are Home Fries?

Home fries, cubed, or diced potatoes, fry in a skillet until they are a golden brown with crispiness on the outside, yet tender and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. Often fried onions and sometimes bell peppers are included in the fried potatoes. According to Southern Living, they are ideal for soaking up runny egg yolks or mopping up extra gravy from a plate of biscuits.

Hash Brown Patties

What are hash Browns?

Hash browns are shredded potatoes that are usually pan fried in loose piles until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Home Fries vs Hash Browns

But what sets home fries apart from their hash brown cousins? It all comes down to the cooking methods and the little bit of magic each brings to the table. Home fries are typically diced, resulting in a chunkier texture with a tender interior and crispy edges. Hash browns, on the other hand, are all about those shredded potatoes, creating a crispy, golden crust that’s irresistible.

So, how do you make the perfect batch of home fries or hash browns?

pan fried potatoes

How to Make Home Fries?

For home fries, peel and dice your potatoes. Then start by parboiling your diced potatoes for about 5 minutes until just about fork tender. Then, heat up a large skillet or a cast iron skillet if you have one with some olive oil or vegetable oil over medium heat and toss in your potatoes. Cook them until they’re golden brown and crispy, seasoning with salt, pepper, and any other spices you fancy. I like to serve with a pat of butter on top.

If you want to include onions and bell peppers, cook those separately and add to your crispy fried potatoes at the end.

Some people prefer to use bacon fat rather than the oil for the added flavor.

Get the full recipe for home fries.

How to Make Hashbrowns?

As for hash browns, peel the potatoes then shred them using a box grater or a food processor. If you are making a lot, put the shreds in a large bowl of cold water. This will keep them from turning brown while you continue to prepare the rest of your potatoes.

Before frying, make sure to squeeze out the excess moisture from soaking in the water. Patting them with a paper towel to remove even more water will help them crisp up faster when frying.

Then fry in a skillet with a generous amount of oil over medium-high heat and spread out your potato shreds in an even layer. Let them cook undisturbed for a few minutes until they form that coveted golden crust, then flip them over and repeat on the other side.

Get the full recipe for crispy hash browns.

What Are the Best Potatoes for Home Fries, Hash Browns, and French Fries?

  • Go for Russet potatoes are the best because they have more starch than other potatoes. Also, they don’t contain as much water as other varieties, allowing them to get extra crispy.
  • Another alternative potato with lots of buttery flavor are Yukon Gold potatoes.
  • Waxy potatoes like red potatoes, fingerlings, and new potatoes. Have more moisture, which makes them hollow out when fried.

As long as we are talking about different versions of potatoes, let’s cover a few more.

What are French Fries?

Homemade French fries are potato sticks that are fried in hot oil.

To get them crispy, soak them in water to remove the starch. It helps with crisping and helps prevent the potato sticks from sticking together while frying. Let the potatoes soak in the water for 2 to 3 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

Use a Double Fry cooking technique for Crispy Fries according to the Spruce Eats. Then the best fries are double-fried. First fry at a lower temperature to cook them through. Drain on paper towel, then fry again in hotter oil to crisp them up to golden perfection. 

How to Reheat Leftover Home Fries and Hash Browns?

The best way to reheat and bring them back to their crispy texture, is to pan fry in a skillet using a a few tablespoons of oil or butter until heated through. When I’m reheating mine, I prefer using the butter for extra flavor. It only takes a few minutes when using a hot pan.

You can microwave them to reheat, but they will not have the same crispy texture. Therefore, for me, reheating in a pan is the only option.

Hash Browns vs Home Fries

If you love potato dishes as much as we do, we have a few more recipes for you to explore.  


You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.

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