Oil-Free Waffle Iron Hash Browns

by on August 18, 2014
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Oil-Free Waffle Iron Hash Browns

For years, my daughter’s favorite after-school snack was Ore-Ida hash brown potato patties. They were made of shredded potatoes with no oil added, and it was a tight squeeze, but two of them fit in our little Foreman grill (they often came out fused together in one mega-patty). They were a healthy treat for a growing girl with a large appetite, one that she learned to make herself, with a little supervision. But then there came a day when our local grocery stores stopped carrying them, and eventually, I learned, the company stopped making them completely.

I hadn’t thought about them in years until I started seeing photos of potatoes cooked on waffle irons in the McDougall Friends group on Facebook. Most of these were whole, pre-cooked potatoes, smashed and browned between the plates of a waffle iron. So I decided to see if I could make shredded hash brown patties using the waffle iron. I did a Google search, of course, but every one of the top search results for “waffle iron hash browns” used oil. I knew from our Ore-Ida experience that they didn’t need oil in order to get crispy on the outside while tender on the inside, so I decided to give a fat-free version a try. And they were great!

Since this is a one-ingredient recipe that requires few words to explain, I thought I’d give it to you in pictures:

Red Potatoes

I started with 4 small red potatoes, weighing about 5 ounces total, which I washed well and dried. I began heating my George Foreman Next Grilleration on high. This large Foreman grill has removable plates so that you can switch between a grill set-up and a waffle iron. I used the waffle iron plates and wiped them a few drops of oil on a paper towel (most of the oil stayed on the paper towel). Any waffle iron should do, and if you know for sure that yours won’t stick, you can skip the oiling. I found out the hard way that oiling is necessary for mine.

Shredded Potatoes

While the waffle iron was heating, I shredded the potatoes in my food processor. It took 5 seconds.

I piled the potatoes in two circles on the Foreman’s large waffle iron grill. If you are using a regular waffle iron, just spread them evenly over the whole surface. Close the waffle iron. If yours has a temperature control, turn down the heat to between medium and high. If there’s no temp control, don’t worry about it. Set your timer for 15 minutes.

Fat-Free Waffle Iron Hash Browns

Open the waffle iron slowly, checking to see that the potatoes aren’t sticking to the top. If they aren’t quite brown enough, close the iron and give it a few more minutes. Remove from the grill and serve with your choice of condiments.

After I made the first batch, my daughter came in for a sample and pronounced them a winner. Then she quickly made–and devoured–a couple more.

Then I tried to get fancy and made a batch with red pepper and red onion–that’s them you see on the grill in the photo above. Unfortunately, that batch was not a success. It took so long to cook on the inside that it burned on the outside; and then to make matters worse, it stuck to the waffle iron (probably because I had forgotten to oil it) so badly that it had to be soaked for an hour to get all the pieces off. If I ever try that again, I will blot the vegetables with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess moisture. And I will oil the grill.

Fat-Free Waffle Iron Hash Browns

This spud’s for you!

Susan

This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I love (and bought with my own money). When you buy something through my links, I receive a commission that helps support this site. Thanks for your purchase!

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nadege August 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Brilliant idea. Thank you!

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2 moonwatcher August 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Susan, theses are just the prettiest hash browns I’ve ever seen! I love the imprint of the waffle iron, and they sound delicious. Simple pleasures are the best. Makes me wish I still had a waffle iron! I usually just make mine in a non-stick pan with the cover on, but they don’t look nearly as lovely as these. And thanks for the heads up about the McDougall Friends on facebook. That looks like a fun group to join.

xoxo

Maria

ps: loved “this spud’s for you”!

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3 Millie l Add A Little August 19, 2014 at 12:02 am

These look crispy and super tasty!!

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4 Elisabeth August 19, 2014 at 12:13 am

Yum, these look great! I do the same thing with the bags of shredded hashbrowns from the grocery store. They are just potatoes and I think some sort of starch to keep them from sticking together in the bag. I don’t use any oil, but my waffle iron is nonstick. My husband and I each have a potato waffle for breakfast everyday. I want to try ones with veggies in them now.

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5 matmedmera August 19, 2014 at 12:29 am

Brilliant idea! I think my children would like it too!

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6 LindaV August 19, 2014 at 3:52 am

Thank you for this recipe! It looks soooooo good, I can’t wait to try it!

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7 Stephanie August 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

Oh, yum! What a brilliant idea, Susan.
Looks like sweet potato latkes are back on the menu this year.

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8 Teresa August 19, 2014 at 7:47 am

So, just to be clear – you didn’t have to blanch the potatoes before you cooked them?! I have always wanted to shred and freeze potatoes to be able to use for hash browns, and in that process everything I’ve read says you need to blanch them first before you freeze them. It was just too much work, so I gave up on the idea. But, if I could make these without having to blanch, that would be so great!

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9 Susan Voisin August 19, 2014 at 8:36 am

I didn’t blanch them, but then, I was cooking them right away, not freezing them. The blanching thing has to do with stopping the enzyme action so they don’t go bad while frozen. Since I was cooking them immediately, that wasn’t an issue. If you wanted to freeze them, you could probably cook them first, freeze them, and then reheat them in an oven later. I can’t promise they would still be crispy, though.

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10 Kristy August 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Yum! I will definitely be making these soon! I have had trouble cooking hashbrowns in a pan with no oil. They always burn on the outside and not quite cooked in the middle. Maybe it will work better on the waffle iron! : )

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11 Werner August 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

“…so I decided to give a fat-free version a try. And they were great!” YES these are great! Gave up years ago on crunchy potato attempts in all forms after going oil free. But, ran right to the kitchen and gave these a try – quick, easy, crispy – fabulous. Used gold potatoes shredded in food processor, then super brief spray of Spectrum high-heat canola oil with first hash batch in the waffle iron, 8 minutes on med-high. Perfection, will be a regular brunch staple.Thank you for your genius, always laced with simplicity.

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12 nagila oliveira August 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

What blade you use to make the potatoes look this way, can u post a picture. I’m new with the food processor. Tank you

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13 Dawn August 22, 2014 at 11:17 am

Yum!!!!!

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14 Sharon Herbitter August 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

FYI — Ore-Ida DOES make oil-free hashbrown patties: https://www.oreida.com/Products/S/Shredded-Hash-Brown-Patties#.U_d3aPldWSo

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15 Anne McGuigan August 23, 2014 at 3:55 am

Hi Susan,
These looks very tasty and crispy. I like the notes you include about what worked for you and what didn’t. I have a non stick waffle iron, so I think that I will give these a whirl.
Many thanks, Anne

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16 fern reed August 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Interesting!! Thank you!!! I am going to try it one day next week!!

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17 Kyra August 24, 2014 at 1:07 am

Yum! One of our favourite weekend breakfasts has been hash browns, but I try not to buy them anymore as they are quite oily (and expensive!). I love how you made these on a waffle iron, they look awesome <3

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18 Tracy August 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I made these on a non stick (Breville) Panini press with no oil and they came out great and clean up was a breeze, just an fyi :-)

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19 Nicole August 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

These are delicious! Thanks for sharing. For my second attempt I added a bit of chickpea flour to see if it would hold together better. Made it crispier! Next time I’ll add some Indian spices too for waffle iron sort of pakora :D

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20 Nancy A. August 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

Susan,
This recipe hits it out of the park! I have made them several times now since you posted this. My waffle iron hasn’t seen this much of a work out in years! What a great way to make hash browns! Thanks!

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21 Cheryl August 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

I read about these, so tonight I wanted something quick and stopped at the store for a bag of shredded potatoes and a bag of steamable veggies… worked like a charm and we really enjoyed them! We’ll be doing this often :)

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22 katiejayne August 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Thank you for posting this! I made these this morning and they are so good. I made one with just potatoes and one with potatoes and shredded zucchini. I shredded the zucchini, salted it and put it in a colander to get some of the liquid out then squeezed it before mixing it with the potatoes.

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23 Cindy September 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I just made these this weekend and they worked great-everyone enjoyed! With my waffle irons (yes, plural) they were perfectly cooked and crisped by 8 minutes (thanks for the comment below!). What a wonderful dish to point out that being vegan can SAVE you money. I linked your recipe to my site and will recommend it to my friends. Thanks for sharing! http://www.veganaugusta.com/bread-sides/

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24 Randi (laughfrodisiac) September 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Hah I love it! It’s so adorable! Waffle irons really are so versatile. Between this and the falafel waffle that was going around, it’s like every meal can be made in an iron.

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25 Jac September 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

OMG. Susan, I think you just changed my life. These look delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

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26 Mack the Spork September 23, 2014 at 9:39 am

I just made these last night with scrambled tofu for a breakfast dinner! I think I turned my waffle iron down too far because they took a lot longer; next time I’ll leave it on high or between medium & high.

But they turned out GREAT and so easy! I have got to use my George Foreman more. Thanks for the idea!

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27 Audrey September 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

When making hash browns they were suppose to be soaked first after shredding them?

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28 Susan Voisin September 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

No soaking. In fact, you might want to dry off any of the natural moisture that forms when they’re shredded to help them cook faster.

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29 Shawna September 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

omg, this is a *genius* idea! I love hashbrowns but hate how greasy they are – can’t wait to try this out!

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30 Rebecca October 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Susan, I tried this for the first time today, and it was an overwhelming success! So fast, so easy, so tasty and crispy. Thank you so much for sharing.
Rebecca
:)

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31 Dan October 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

So, not oil-free then, since you are oiling the waffle iron.

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32 Susan Voisin October 29, 2014 at 5:53 pm

[sigh] Yes, I oiled the waffle iron because I wanted to actually be able to eat what I had cooked. As I said in the post, if you know for sure that your waffle iron won’t stick, you can skip the TWO DROPS of oil it takes to oil the iron.

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