This McDonald's Hash Brown Hack Will Change Everything

McDonald's brought its breakfast to the nation in 1977, including the famous Egg McMuffin and hash browns (via CNN). The classic hash brown took its crunchy goodness to the late crowd with 2015's debut of all-day breakfast. And people love them. Adding a crispy hash brown to a beautiful view might seem like, as one fan describes it, "actual heaven" (via Instagram). It's portable. It's a potato. It's salty, and filling, and simply good.

Even without the scenic view, these crispy bites are addictive, as hash brown lovers can't get enough of the unique McDonald's taste. "Why have one when you can have three?" asks one enthusiast, while another calls the crunchy classic a "superior food" (via Instagram). But did you know that you can make the hash browns even better?

Crispier, crunchier goodness. You can take your hash browns up a level when you order with this clever hack that takes advantage of one of the big selling points for eating at Mickey D's, namely their industrial fryers. It used to be an industry secret, but you can order your hash browns well done (via Foodbeast). Just ask for "well done" when you place your order either in person or via special instructions in the app. You'll get game-changing crispiness that you never knew you needed.

But just why is this hash brown so good? And how can you reproduce that goodness at home? The secret is more than just the cut or frying because, as always, ingredients matter.

Crispy bites of portable goodness

On the surface, these hash browns aren't too different from any other. The potatoes patties contain potato (no surprise), vegetable oil, salt, binders like corn flour and dehydrated potato, and then fast food additives like dextrose and sodium acid pyrophosphate (it's supposed to help with color) (via McDonald's). The company also lists extractives of black pepper and natural beef flavor among its ingredients. For those who know McDonald's history with beef tallow, the hash brown's beef flavor is actually not made from beef but rather from wheat and whey (via Taste Cooking).

The biggest game-changer is one specific ingredient, namely a potato that will get both properly crispy and properly soft. McDonald's uses specific potato varieties that resemble a Russet Burbank. Think of a potato that is very starchy and low in moisture, then let it age just a little so it gets a bit drier and you'll have a hash browns-ready spud. The Russet Burbank we grow today was developed in 1914 by Lou Sweet, but the original seeds were discovered by Luther Burbank (via Idaho Potatoes). This variety is described as having "a distinctive, earthy potato flavor" with slightly chewy skin and is hugely popular for baking and frying.

When it comes to crave-able bites, texture can matter as much as flavor, so this hack will help you capitalize on the starchy goodness that makes the McDonald's hash browns delicious, to begin with. You couldn't pick a better variety of spud to cook a little extra than the Russet Burbank.

Try these hash brown mashups

After you've got your extra crispy hash brown, it's time to level up that hash brown yet again. The first hack you need to try is a breakfast upgrade known as "Menu Remix #82." It's suggested by the Golden Arches themselves (via YouTube). Acquire an Egg McMuffin and a hash brown (extra crispy, for extra delicious), and then place the hash brown in the sandwich.

For a lunch- or dinner-themed mashup, check out the "Quarter Hash Pounder" (via The Daily Meal). For this hack, you'll need a Quarter Pounder and two hash browns. Ditch the buns of your burger and replace them with your hash browns. You can think of this a bit like eating your burger and fries all in one. This one looks a little unwieldy, given the size of the patty, and sounds messy since you're handling a sandwich with greasy hash browns as the "bread." 

Finally, meet the Daily Meal's the "Big McCarb Mac." The McCarb requires your standard Big Mac and fries along with two hash browns. Admittedly, we're not quite sure how you're supposed to take a bite because this burger gets really tall really fast. Disassemble your Big Mac. The bottom layer is a bun with the condiments and toppings followed by a beef patty, then a hash brown with fries on top. Next, add the middle bun and repeat the order of ingredients.

Go ahead and try these ideas, no matter what time it is. After all, McDonald's breakfast is offered all day!