It’s the crack of dawn and people are on their way to an early day on the job, or perhaps those coming down from an epic all-night endeavor are ready to eat. When the sun rises, there are few things better than golden-crisp hash browns from the drive-thru. AM-eats are big business in America, and these humble savory treats are worthy of determining the top five best fast food hash browns.
We get it, mornings can be rough. If you dread waking up in the mornings, you’re not alone. A survey of 2,000 Americans finds that one in seven say they’re not morning people. Moreover, 35 percent say they still feel tired and another 31 percent feel groggy. Those who are not early birds say they would rather sleep in than make breakfast. A quarter (26%) shared that they don’t have the time to whip up a tasty meal in the mornings.
A survey of 2,000 Americans suggests that your career may benefit from starting the day off with the proper nutrition. The poll, split between 1,000 breakfast eaters and 1,000 who don’t eat breakfast — reveals that those who have a morning meal are more likely to receive a promotion at work. Sixty-five percent of these respondents say they have moved up in a position over the course of their career. In comparison, only 38 percent of respondents who didn’t eat breakfast said the same.
Breakfast eaters also reported slightly higher overall life satisfaction than their non-eating counterparts. Perhaps that’s why this group seems more likely to look on the bright side of things. Seven in 10 breakfast eaters report being optimistic about what the future holds.
So if you find yourself starting early, it might be best to start off the day with a piping hot order of potato goodness. Our list of the top five best fast food hashbrowns might give you food for thought about your next breakfast order. Let us know your favorite hashbrowns in the comments below!
The List: Best Fast Food Hash Browns, According to Experts
1. McDonald’s Hashbrowns
Some McD’s stans will vehemently claim that breakfast at the golden arches is top-notch. When it comes to hash browns, they just might be right. “Earning the top slot on our list is the iconic hash brown patty from McDonald’s. In the end, we preferred the traditional patty style over the nugget hash browns on the menu at so many places. This style offers a better potato-to-crunch ratio given the size and shape,” raves Microsoft Start.
Amazing Hash Browns start with amazing potatoes. pic.twitter.com/k36BwBJYMI
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) January 17, 2015
“McDonald’s switched from frying their hash browns in a mixture of cottonseed oil and beef tallow to vegetable oil with all-natural beef flavoring. They did this because beef tallow is a form of rendered fat, causing the original oil to be unhealthy and making the hash browns very high in saturated fat. The new and improved hash browns are now not only healthier, but also even more delicious. They’re made from fluffy shredded potatoes, so the crispiness of the exterior harmonizes with the cloudy interior without overpowering one another. They also don’t taste greasy, but somehow pack a load of flavor into one patty. It’s magic,” exclaims Eat This, Not That!
“The McDonalds hash brown is the most iconic fast food hash brown on the market, hands down. From its massive size to its perfectly ‘deep fried’ crunch, Mickey D’s hash browns have my heart. When making the early morning breakfast trip, don’t forget to add a hash brown on the side,” lauds Spoon University.
2. Wendy’s Seasoned Potatoes
Though strictly speaking these breakfast potatoes are not hashbrowns, they did achieve highest honors from our sources. A newcomer on the breakfast block, Wendy’s now offers black-pepper laden breakfast potato wedges that some folks crave. “Ranking this one number is going to make a lot of people mad, but, bring it on. Sure, Wendy’s Seasoned Potatoes might not be hash browns, but this is a better form factor and provides a better flavor than any other breakfast side. What you lose in crunch, you gain in flavor. This mix of cracked black pepper and garlic powder beats the salt, grease, and crunch combination that every hash brown delivers. It tastes so damn good that Wendy’s has no excuse to keep this a breakfast exclusive. If you could order these wedges at lunch and dinner time, Wendy’s wouldn’t even sell French fries anymore — they’re that good,” gushes Uproxx.
— I'm Fat Podcast (@ImFatPod) May 23, 2023
Although Wendy’s may not be well-known for breakfast offerings, some breakfast diners swear that these potato wedges are the best. “Imagine my pleasant surprise when the bag of hot potato I received from the cashier was not a patty, but individual chunks of potato—home fries!—like mini steak fries, but for breakfast. They resembled potatoes, were appropriately seasoned and taste like what you’d get at a brunch spot you’ve never been to but walk by every time, thinking ‘Oh yeah, this place.’ They’re good. Like, honestly pretty good. I’d eat these again,” praises My Recipes.
“When Business Insider checked out Wendy’s breakfast menu, they found them as worthy competitors to the more common hash browns, pointing out how they achieve that elusive balance between crispy exterior and soft center. Brand Eating called them ‘the best part’ of Wendy’s breakfast menu, finding them far superior to the chain’s fries. Most of the commenters agree, wishing that Wendy’s would offer these all day instead of sequestering them to breakfast only,” according to Daily Meal.
3. Burger King Hash Browns
In the never-ending comparison between the clown and the king, BK hash browns just barely miss the crown. “While the restaurant‘s fried potato nuggets score points for staying true to their nature, two reviewers… complained that they had too much potato flavor, which seems like an odd thing to be disappointed by in a food item that’s pretty much all potato…. Unlike some of the other crunch-heavy options on this list, BK is able to achieve a crisp exterior while maintaining a soft center,” says Daily Meal.
biscuit, iced coffee, hash browns. okay go pic.twitter.com/WePblZvFcw
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) October 20, 2021
“Burger King’s hash browns are thick-cut and fried to perfection. They have a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior…The best part of Burger King’s hash browns is that they are little rounds. The small cylinders maximize the amount of crunch texture on each hash brown. I’ll be honest; the crunchy parts are why I love hash browns. If you’re looking for a fast food hash brown that won’t disappoint, Burger King is the place to go,” states Restaurant Clicks.
“They were in the middle price-wise compared to other fast-food restaurants. Burger King hash browns are vegan, so this is a safe choice for anyone looking for vegan fast-food options,” explains Microsoft Start.
4. Chick-fil-A Hashbrowns
Even haters come out of the woodwork to praise this hashbrown. “I’m genuinely surprised by this, not because I’m a Chick-fil-A fanboy (far from it, I actively root for this brand to lose like I do for BK to win) but because Chick-fil-A does just about everything they do… pretty damn well. Credit where credit is due, Chick-fil-A has an amazing batting average,” offers Uproxx.
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) March 26, 2015
“The hash brown nuggets from Chick-fil-A ranked as our favorite nugget-style hash browns on the list. They arrived warm and perfectly crisp. The hash browns at Chick-fil-A are vegan, so that’s another plus. Bottom line: Chick-fil-A makes the best nugget-style hash browns, served by a super friendly and helpful staff,” states Taste of Home.
“Chick-fil-A may be best known for its chicken, but it has some decent hash browns. Having sampled these previously for a different taste test, I can confirm they’re still as tasty as the last time. Like Burger King and Carl’s Jr., Chick-fil-A has miniature hash-brown discs rather than single, palm-sized patties. But unlike the two other chains, Chick-fil-A’s hash browns actually offered the right texture and flavor,” adds Yahoo!News.
5. Jack in the Box Hash Browns
Jack in the Box isn’t afraid to let their hash browns out at night, as one of the only drive thrus to offer has browns outside of normal breakfast hours. “One word: Yowza. The hash browns from Jack in the Box aren’t your usual, let’s-just-shred-some-potatotes-and-form-them-into-a-patty-and-drown-them-in-hot-oil-and-leave-it-at-that kind of thing. They’re more like the how-in-the-world-do-they-make-potatoes-taste-this-freakin’-amazing kind. The smell alone is mouth-wateringly potato-y, as you’ll find out if you order them in your car. (That smell does kind of stick, though, so watch out for that.),” warns Mashed.
Wake up and smell the hash browns. And by “smell,” I mean “eat.” And by “hash browns,” I mean the Wakey Bakey Hash. pic.twitter.com/ivmnfG4wCS
— Jack in the Box (@JackBox) July 31, 2018
Jack in the Box offers a much thinner hash brown that is just different enough to set them apart. “Your opinion on Jack in the Box’s hash browns may depend on whether you think their skinny size is a plus, adding extra crunch, or a minus, necessitating a double order for true satiation. One bonus feature of this narrow frame is that it makes them easy to layer onto a breakfast sandwich, which adds an extra stratum of starchy, crunchy goodness,” explains Daily Meal.
“Jack in the Box’s hash brown got the flavor right, but it was way thinner than I expected… It was served super warm and had a solid potato flavor with a noticeable butteriness, but thankfully without any weird oily taste. I also liked that it came in a fun square shape since it made it different from any other hash brown I tried. For a moment, I thought this could potentially give my favorite a run for its money,” states Yahoo!News.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Fast Food Breakfast
- Best Fast Food Fish Sandwiches
- Best Fast Food Ice Cream
- Best Fast Food Coffee
- Daily Meal
- Microsoft Start
- My Recipes
- Eat This, Not That!
- Spoon University
- Taste of Home
- Restaurant Clicks
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.