The Real Difference Between Hash Browns And Home Fries

It's hard not to love a big, leisurely breakfast when you have time for it. There's something luxurious about taking time for a slow morning every once in a while to enjoy all of your breakfast favorites. And if you're a fan of a savory American breakfast, chances are you love breakfast potatoes on the side of your eggs. But if you've ever wondered what the difference is between hash browns and home fries, it really comes down to the cooking technique and the texture of the potatoes. Either way, they're both delicious in their own right.

Hash browns are potatoes that have been par-cooked initially — usually boiling or steaming the potatoes, though the microwave works, too. Next, the potatoes are shredded and fried on both sides so you end up with a perfectly crisp, golden potato patty or cake. Home fries, on the other hand, are boiled, diced, then fried. It isn't uncommon for these to be cooked with onions or bell peppers (via What's The Difference).

It's all about the texture of the potatoes

The process for making the two dishes might sound pretty similar, since you par-cook the potatoes for both hash browns and home fries before frying. The way in which the potatoes are cut, however, makes all the difference in the texture of the finished breakfast potatoes, not to mention the added mix-ins that are often associated with home fries, like additional flavor from the chopped onion and bell pepper.

The texture of hash browns is crisper, with very crunchy edges, so long as there isn't excess moisture inside the potatoes that needs to be squeezed out. The potato shreds are thinner and therefore cook so they get a crunchy exterior, but if the middle is piled higher with shreds, the center of the hash browns will remain a soft, creamy texture. Home fries, however, are a thicker cut. This means that when they cook, the inside of every diced potato will get soft and creamy in texture, but the outside of the home fries will fry to a nice crispness (via Southern Living).

So, if you prefer smoother potatoes to crunchy ones, then home fries are probably your go-to instead of hash browns.