Chef extraordinaire Ina Garten has many talents, but one of my favorite things about the Barefoot Contessa is her ability to find new food hacks that make life way easier in the kitchen. One of her most brilliant tricks includes cooking hash browns on a waffle iron — and I may never go back to what I was doing before.
Garten’s recipe only calls for five ingredients: 1 ½ pounds of russet potatoes, one medium yellow onion, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, one large egg that’s lightly beaten, and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour (plus salt and pepper to taste). Once you’ve grated your potatoes in a food processor, roll them up in a towel and wring them out to get out all of the excess moisture, then place them in a mixing bowl with the rest of your ingredients. Stir them together with a fork until they’re combined.
Next, preheat your waffle iron to a medium-high heat setting, and brush both sides of the iron with melted butter or a nonstick spray. Spread out ⅓ cup of your mixture in each of the waffle divisions, then place the top part of the iron down to sandwich everything together. Let your hash browns cook for five to 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your appliance.
Voila! You’ve got hash browns straight from the waffle iron. If you’re making numerous batches and are worried about them going cold, you can always put your finished potatoes on a lined baking sheet and pop in an oven preheated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, they just stay warm without cooking.
This really does produce the best of both worlds, in my opinion: You get hash browns that are crispy on both sides but have a fluffy middle layer of potatoes when you actually bite into them. While you don’t necessarily need the onions to make a perfectly good potato dish, they do add a little more depth of flavor and a tiny kick to your hash browns.
And of course, there are plenty of other great Ina Garten hacks aside from these hash browns that’ll take your cooking to the next level, like adding orange zest to roasted carrots and putting limoncello in fruit salad. Yum!